“My then boyfriend was away on some important work when I realised I was pregnant. He tried being supportive but was sure that in our situation we couldn't have handled parenthood or a family together.
“While his stance saddened me, I was also negative on the whole. In India, you are really frowned upon if you're caught up in these things.Taboo“I could have risked being shunned by my family, workplace and social circles if I’d gone ahead with the pregnancy. You know how it is – sex is a taboo until you're married.
“I knew very well that I would hurt my parents if I told them about it. So I found it easier to stay quiet and go ahead with the abortion. In fact, they still don't know about it.
“While nothing could make up for my ex-boyfriend's absence during the entire ordeal, a few close friends were extremely supportive. I was really lost during this time, always confused and emotional. I can never forget how helpful they were through the abortion.
“But we were all young and inexperienced in these matters and didn't quite know how to deal with them. I relied on an older friend to get some guidance. He arranged for practical issues like finding a doctor and filling in as a guardian.
“I remember making rounds to the doctor's clinic, answering uncomfortable questions, meeting hostile medics, going through tests all by myself. I hated being alone through all of that. I hated keeping it a secret. I just wished I had been in a different society where people were more accepting and open.
“I guess it's normal that I felt I had lost a part of me after the abortion. In the months and years that followed, I suffered on an emotional level.
“I hated the idea of sex for a long while and that brought cracks into my relationship. I never stopped feeling guilty for having decided to abort. I dipped into minor depression but never sought help because I thought I deserved to be unhappy.
“My ex-boyfriend seemed to have fared well with recovering from the trauma. It made me feel as though we weren't on the same page anymore and that tore us apart. Though we saved our relationship at that point, it didn't last very long afterwards.
“Five years later, I realised my feelings about the issue weren't progressing. I needed a bit of coaxing from a friend and I finally decided to seek professional help.
"Counselling kick-started the recovery process. I have since tried to accept the incident and stopped being too harsh on myself for what happened. It still seems really difficult to come to terms with it entirely, but I'm glad I've made a start.”
To protect the identity, the person in the picture is a model and names have been changed.
This article was first published on June 27, 2011.
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