What She Said: I Had An Abortion, I Regretted It

April 8, 2020

Navigating life as a woman in the world today is interesting. From Nigeria to Timbuktu, it’ll amaze you how similar all our experiences are. Every Wednesday, women the world over will share their experiences on everything from sex to politics right here. This is Zikoko’s What She Said.

Every Wednesday, women the world over will share their takes on everything from sex to politics right here.

Last year I had an interview with a woman who had had four abortions and regretted none of them. For International Women’s Day, we decided to reshare all of the interviews from last year. A couple of days after this interview went live I got an email from the woman in this interview. The title of her email was simple ‘I had an abortion, I regretted it’. Reading a woman speak so flippantly about abortions according to her had triggered some painful memories and she just had to share. 

What about that interview made you reach out? 

She made it seem so easy. Like you can just be popping in and out of clinics to get abortions after getting pregnant with no emotional or physical consequences. I never talk about this but I don’t want young women out there thinking it’s ok to get abortions whenever they feel like. You have to be more responsible. 

How old are you? 

I’m 35 in June, but don’t tell anyone that, my football age is 32. Lol.

Football age? 

Yes, I use 32 at work. It might not seem like much of a difference but it makes my life a lot easier. Story for another day. 

Is it safe to assume that you are pro-life (against abortions)?

Yes. Yes, I am. I think the only time a woman should have an abortion is if the pregnancy is a risk to her or the baby’s life. There might be one or two more exceptions, but I can’t think of any of them now. Bottom line is that you shouldn’t abort a child just because you don’t want it or raising it would be too hard. These are consequences you should have considered at the point you were being reckless. 

But pregnancies don’t always result from recklessness.

I know that but I just don’t think you should be having sex if you think you are not responsible enough or not ready to raise a child. I know what you are going to say next. What about rape victims? That’s a tricky one, I’ll be the first to admit. But if you just think to yourself this thing in me is half me, half of my blood and DNA, then deciding to keep it shouldn’t be hard. 

Well, that’s debatable but that’s not what I was going to ask next. I was going to ask about your story, where does it start? 

It starts with marrying too young. I got married at 22, that age doesn’t scream child bride but looking back I think I was one of the most naive 22-year-olds you would ever meet. If I could go back I’d change a lot of things but my marriage isn’t exactly one of them. I love my husband, but the timing of it could have been 5 or 6 years later. 

Were you sexually active before you got married? 

No, I wasn’t. I waited. It’s not like I didn’t date. I dated, I fooled around with some NFA (no future ambition) boys for a bit but by the time my husband came around I knew he was the one. 

Why did you wait? 

Different factors. I’ll admit that a big factor for me was religion. But I also knew the boys I was seeing casually were not for me and there was no reason for me to give myself up to them when they weren’t going to be my final bus stop. I met my husband when I started NYSC and by the end of it we were engaged to be married. I just knew he was the one God had earmarked for me. With him, I could have had sex before we made it official because I knew from the beginning he was going to be my husband. But he never asked. I think he too wanted to wait. 

I’m more curious than ever now, how did your abortion happen? 

After my husband and I got married we decided to wait to have kids. Both our careers were priorities for us. I had gotten retained at the place I did my NYSC —  one of the top financial firms in the country and I had something to prove. I wanted to rise through the ranks as quickly as I could. I was always the first one in and last one out. Same with my husband. By the time I turned 26, I was two levels higher than anyone else I entered with. That was when I got pregnant. 

What was your initial reaction? 

My initial reaction was joy. A baby is one of the greatest gifts a woman could ever receive. Right below the gift of life. Then I went into panic mode. At that point I was pulling all-nighters at the office and handling the most demanding clients. The only time my husband and I really saw was on Sundays and even then he’d get called into work sometimes. The timing couldn’t have been worse. My first mistake was calling my older  sister instead of calling my husband. 

Why is that? 

Because if I had called him first I won’t have gone through with it. I called my sister in a state of panic. I told her I wasn’t ready and this wasn’t how I’d planned it. See I’ve had a plan for my life since I was nineteen and I’ve followed it religiously. In that plan, I was supposed to marry at 27/28 to give myself time to grow my career. That’s why I say even though I knew my husband was the one for me right off the bat, I should have waited. If I had, I’d never had had an abortion. 

I’m sorry I tend to jump from story to story. Anyway, my sister tells me to calm down and come to hers. It was one of those rare Saturdays I wasn’t at work, but my husband was. When I got to her she asked me a simple question – “Do you want this child?”. I told her I did but not right now. Then I started rambling through the list of all the reasons it was a bad idea. I can’t even remember half of what I said now. I just know it was all work, work, work. Then she said she’d handle it. I didn’t even ask what she meant — she’s my older sister and she has always babied right from when we were kids. Next thing I knew, we were in a car and then at a popular women’s clinic in Surulere. 

On book, they don’t do abortions but that’s only because I think it’s illegal here. Their branches in other countries are known abortion clinics. My sister told them I’ve come for a pregnancy test. They took my blood to run the test and confirmed that I was pregnant. Then my sister came right out and said it: ‘She doesn’t want it, what can we do?’ The doctor faced me and asked if that was true. I nodded, I hadn’t processed it yet. 

He told me there were two options. I can’t remember the second but it was the pill I went with. He told me to wait till I was home to take it and to take two painkillers before I did to brace myself for the pain. I got home with my sister, she got a glass of water for me, I took the painkillers first then I took the pill without thinking about it. Immediately I did, I asked her to leave and I went to sleep. It was the pain that woke me up. 

How bad was it? 

I can’t explain it. It was so intense that I thought God was punishing me, I kept on crying and begging for forgiveness. I remember saying God, if you can still save this child, save it, I’ll love and cherish it.  By the time my husband came back at night, the pain had subsided to a really bad menstrual camp but I was still bleeding heavily. I went back for a pregnancy test two weeks after to check if I was still pregnant. I wasn’t. 

Did you tell your husband? 

No. Till this day he has no idea. We don’t keep things from each other but I know he’ll never forgive me for this so I can’t tell him. 

I get the sense you didn’t want the child so why do you regret it? 

Because I let a split second selfish thought change the rest of my life. I could have made it work, a baby and my career but then I couldn’t imagine anything being more important than my career — even my marriage I’ll confess. If my husband had asked me to quit my job back then, I’d have left him. I regretted it almost immediately after. I had the worst dreams about dead babies.

Every time I saw someone’s baby or heard a baby laughing or crying, I’d start crying. It was so bad my husband asked one day if I was pregnant and I started crying even harder. If I could undo it, I would. I’ve never regretted anything more in my entire life. At some point I was so depressed I wanted to quit my job. The only thing that stopped me was thinking ‘ this job that you killed your child for, you now want to quit it’. 

I’m sorry.

Then there’s my sister. I blamed her for years and it completely ruined our relationship. I know it was unfair to blame her, it’s not like she forced the pill down my throat. But me on my own I could never have come up with such a solution. As at the time I was taking the pill, the implication of what I was doing didn’t hit me. That I was actually killing my baby. It wasn’t until the pain started that I fully realised what was going on.

It was like I had been in a daze the whole day and the pain woke me up. I just thought that she should have known better. She should have made me wait a day or two, recognise that I wasn’t in the mind frame to make that kind of decision. She knew me better than even our parents but I’ve forgiven her now and I’m trying to repair our relationship. 

Did you talk to her about this? What did she say?

I did. She was livid and refused to accept any of the blame. I can still remember the conversation she just kept on screaming ‘did I force you?’ and ‘are you a child?’ I understood where she was coming from, but I maintain that she should have known better. 

Do you have any kids now? 

No, I don’t. Given all I’ve just told you, you can imagine how much of a sore spot this is for me. We’ve been trying for two years now and no luck. The first time we went to a hospital to find out if anything was wrong, I went with my husband so I had to lie about the abortion. I went back the next day to tell the doctor the truth and I was so ashamed. At the end of the day, the doctor told me the abortion had nothing to do with the fact that I wasn’t getting pregnant and that there’s nothing wrong with either me or my husband. But I know what’s wrong, it’s not medical, God is punishing me for my mistake. It’s only when he decides to forgive me that I’ll be able to get pregnant. 

Toketemu Ohwovoriole

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

November 27, 2020

Women are often overlooked in conversations about marital infidelity, thanks to the notion that women aren’t very inclined to cheat on their spouses. I spoke to six married women who have had relationships without their husbands’ knowledge. They had some pretty interesting stories. Editorial note: This article was updated to include Chidinma’s entry which was […]

July 29, 2020

The woman in today’s WHAT SHE SAID, there’s nothing worse that being single and fat in your 30s. She talks about how the problem of finding clothes her size made her start making clothes for plus-sized women and why she’s currently doing everything she can to lose weight. Tell me a bit about yourself.   I’m […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

April 11, 2021

Today’s Man Like is Andy Obuoforibo, a 40-year-old politician and product manager. He tells us about how his father’s warmth and work ethic taught him the real meaning of masculinity, how his mother’s foray into politics influenced him to participate in politics and why he supports the LGBTQ+ movement as a Nigerian politician. When did […]

April 11, 2021

See ehn, nobody is a hundred percent “normal” and being weird can be cool or creepy depending on how you look at it. Let’s not argue sha. Take this quiz for a little moment of truth. QUIZ: How Rude Are You? Are you polite abi everybody should getawt? Take the quiz and we’ll tell you.

April 10, 2021

With almost two years of being in existence, Sex Life has grown while staying true to its goal of exploring the sex lives of Nigerians. In the last one year and five months since Sex Life was created, we’ve spoken to about eighty Nigerians who are at different places in their lives, with different orintentations, […]

prayer house
April 10, 2021

As told to Mariam I travelled to Ilorin for an exam last week and on the bus, I rode in, I met Yoma*. Somehow the conversation of faith came up, and she told me she didn’t subscribe to the Christianity practised in churches. When I asked why, this is what she told me: I grew […]

Recommended Quizzes

November 12, 2019

Are you a single pringle, stuck in a complicated situationship or happily married to the love of your life? This quiz is here to guess your current relationship status, and as you know, Zikoko quizzes are incredibly accurate (don’t quote us). So, give a shot:

October 29, 2019

We are going to be attempting to guess when you’ll marry based on your favourite Nigerian foods. What does your fave swallow have to do with when you’ll tie the knot? Please, don’t ask complicated questions. This quiz is rigorous and accurate (don’t quote us), so just take it already. QUIZ: Why Do You Have […]

March 24, 2020

While we know that a lot of the best Nigerian artists deservedly have fans across generations, that won’t stop us from attempting to guess how old you are based on your taste in Nigerian music. So, take this quiz to see if we got it right:

December 11, 2019

In the past month, we’ve made quizzes that guessed the last time you had sex, how many people you’ve slept with, and just how good you are in bed. For our latest attempt, we will use your taste in Nigerian music from the 2010s to ascertain what you’re like in bed. Take to find out:

November 11, 2019

Today, we are going to be using your taste in music to determine how good you actually are in bed. All you need to do is create the ultimate Nigerian hit — from the lead artist to the producer — and we’ll tell you if all your partners leave satisfied, or if you are just […]

More from Her

prayer house
April 10, 2021

As told to Mariam I travelled to Ilorin for an exam last week and on the bus, I rode in, I met Yoma*. Somehow the conversation of faith came up, and she told me she didn’t subscribe to the Christianity practised in churches. When I asked why, this is what she told me: I grew […]

workplace horror stories
April 9, 2021

Working in Nigeria is the ghetto. No shade to my boss. Last week, I asked Nigerian women to tell me the worst things they have experienced working in Nigeria. Here’s what eight of them had to say.  Jumoke, 25  My former boss used to gaslight me, to the extent that I began to doubt my […]

April 8, 2021

You want to know why the Nigerian women in your life do not iron clothes? Well, here are six very simple reasons. 1) Clothes Have you seen the clothes of an average Nigerian woman? Where do you expect them to start the ironing from? With all the ruffles, puffs and pleats. The clothes look like […]

April 6, 2021

The HER newsletter is a weekly Zikoko newsletter that comes out every Saturday by 2 p.m. Since we just got to 2k subscribers, we decided to explain the six types of HER Newsletter readers. 1) The early bird They read at exactly 2 p.m. every Saturday. They have no time to waste. The only thing […]

April 5, 2021

The series was initially to run through just the month of March, but we decided to extend it to April, and maybe even May. So, here’s what happened in March incase you missed it. 1) The Elevator: From Four Degrees in Finance To Multimedia Journalist In this story, Aisha Salaudeen talks about how she was […]

Alopecia loss of hair
April 1, 2021

As told to Mariam Last week, I asked Nigerian women to share their biggest insecurities with me for an article. Sandra* was one of the women that reached out to me. After she responded, I asked more questions and this is what she told me:  I was born with dreadlocks. When I was two years […]

Marriage married woman
March 31, 2021

As told to Mariam In my first month at Zikoko, I put a call out for Nigerian women to tell me about their proposals. Cynthia* was one of the women that reached out to me. I thought it was interesting that she was a bisexual married woman, and I wanted to know how that worked […]

March 31, 2021

The subject of today’s What She Said is a Nigerian woman in her 50s. She talks about her difficult experience living with extended family, her relationship with her father and managing her mother’s mental health until she died.

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X