I still remember the feeling that went through my body, when the pregnancy test turned positive. It was a combination of fright and anxiety, which went through every single bone and limb.
I was 19, confused and uncertain what my future would bring – and this did not exactly make it easier. I had no job and lived at home with my parents. How could I even raise a child – a real, living, breathing individual – under these circumstances? I was careful when it came to my contraceptives, for exactly this reason so I would not even have to make this decision.
The personal conditions weren’t ideal either. For years I had been struggling with anxiety, but through the last months I could finally tell myself, and mean it, that I was in a good mental state. I was finally starting to socialise again, exploring my limits and slowly moving towards something, that felt good and free. When I started to think about the situation I was in, I immediately felt that these could not be the right circumstances to welcome a child into this world.
I also thought about him. He was such a charming, kind guy, when I first met him – and I fell in love right away. Everything escalated so quickly, and it was almost as if we didn’t notice it. Within a few weeks, we met each others families and our friends became more than familiar to each other.
Just as everything seemed a bit too good to be true, everything turned around and the tingly feelings of joy soon turned to an overwhelming heartache. After a few months, I found out that he had been cheating on me – with one of my best friends. I could feel how my self-confidence started to fade away. Signs of my anxiety started to show. Everything happened so fast. And now I was sitting here. On the bathroom floor at my parents’ house – with a positive pregnancy test.
He didn’t handle it well. He told me to convince my doctor I was mentally ill, so I could get an abortion. I have to admit that the idea had occurred to me before and was playing like a loop in my head. Days went by, and I decided to tell my family and closest friends. I remember how they without success tried to comfort me and tell me that everything would be fine. One of my friends asked me to join her on a night out, so I could take my mind off things.
I honestly thought this was a great idea, but the night ended like a nightmare. I met him. He was drunk and said that he wanted to talk. I hesitated for a minute, but then convinced myself that is was only fair to let him speak his mind. We went to a more private place. He told me how unhappy he was about this unexpected pregnancy. I agreed with a small nod. He was not ready to become a father. I wasn’t ready to become a mother either, I replied. He apologised for his actions – for being so unfair to me. Then he asked me if I would try to get an abortion – and for the first time I was sure what I had to do. ‘Yes’, I replied. My gut was telling me that this was the right decision.
The story could have ended here, but it didn’t. I want to tell the whole story so hopefully someone – and especially those who hold the power – will finally understand that abortion is never simple, and that there is something terribly wrong in our society’s perception of ‘respect’.
He started to kiss me. Not a bone in me wanted to kiss him – but he didn’t care. He forced himself upon me. I said no – but once again he didn’t care. I have lost count of how often I’ve blamed myself for being raped that night. I could have screamed. Or I could have bit him. But instead I cried and waited until it was over – till he finished.
I went to the doctor a few days later. I told her that I was pregnant, but that I wanted this to be over as soon as possible. She supported my decision instantly and sent me to the gynecological department at the hospital. Even though my real reason behind wanting the abortion was simply not wanting to become a parent. My medical records says it is because I was suffering from serious mental illness and was a danger to myself. It wasn’t true but I went along with it anyway. Those are the conditions you have to accept and if you are desperate enough, you would do anything it takes.
This was my decision and I had thought this through. I wasn’t ready to become a mother. Where would I live? How would I provide everything that you need when having a child? Now I was also fully certain, that if I would have a child now, I would have been alone in it, I would have been a single parent.
I could never see myself give 100% of me for a child at the time, let alone provide the love and care that a child needs. I also wanted him out of my life. I believe that fathers do have rights to their children, but the thought about him – a rapist – as the father of my child still gives me the creeps. I know I could never accept it. Not for my potential children nor myself.
In the Faroe Islands abortion is only permitted if:
- The maternal life is endangered
- Severe fetal defects
- Pregnancy is resulted from rape or incest
- The woman due to serious physical or mental illness is estimated unsuitable to take care of her child
This story was originally published as a part of a campaign by Social Democratic Youth of the Faroe Islands (Sosialistisk Ung) that sought to achieve free abortion on the Faroe Islands in 2017. The woman in the story wishes to remain anonymous, but Sosialistisk Ung knows her real identity.
The story has been revised in order to make it understandable in an international context with consent of the woman.