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Kenyan woman recounts post-abortion suicidal turmoil

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Wed, 26 Oct 2011 14:34 GMT
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NAIROBI (TrustLaw) – After having two abortions in her early 20s, Akech Aimba fell into a deep depression and became suicidal. She now runs a support group for post-abortive women.

She spoke to Trustlaw about her experience of abortion:

 

“My friends told me: ‘You need to get a boyfriend.’ I was thinking: ‘I’m missing out on something.’ So I got involved with a guy. I just wanted to fit in.

One day we were making out. I got pregnant... I was so naïve.

I was really sick. This friend told me to go for a pregnancy test. It turned out positive.

I was 20. I’d just been accepted to Kenya Institute of Mass Communication to study journalism.

I decided to tell my mum. On the way, I passed by a friend’s place. She told me: ‘You can’t tell your mum. You’ll break her heart. Don’t worry. I’ll sort you out.’

I was so shocked. To me, abortions were done in the West, not in Africa.

She took me to a gynaecologist. My God, it was so painful.

They did dilation and evacuation. They cut the baby into pieces and they crushed the baby’s skull and they scraped it out with a curette. I was four months pregnant. 

They actually showed me the pieces of my baby so I could see the bones, just to prove that they had done it.

I hated myself for what I did. I used to tell myself that no man would want a woman who’s aborted. At the same time, I yearned for love and acceptance.

I got involved with (someone). I thought: ‘How can he love someone like me?’

I was determined to keep the relationship because I knew if this man does not marry me, no one will marry me.

I somehow knew I was going to get pregnant again. And it happened. I was 22.

I went for another abortion. When I was on that abortion bed, I felt like the first abortion was replaying.

This elderly woman who was doing the procedure, I wanted to tell her: ‘Why are you doing this to me? Why are you removing my baby?’

Obviously, I couldn’t say such a thing. She’d think I was nuts.

But, to me, she was a mother figure who should have stopped me. My heart was crying out for help.

So the procedure was done. I went back to my normal life but I was such an angry person. I felt something had been taken away from me that I couldn’t get back.

I really hated myself. I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. I felt: ‘You are such a murderer. How could you do that?’

I went into depression. I could cry endlessly. There was like a stone in my heart and the only way I could release it was through crying.

I used to feel like I was living in a bubble. I was in this world of pain and hurt and regret and despair.

I just locked myself in my house. I would cry, sleep, cry, sleep.  

I wanted to stab myself. But every time I took the knife, I was thinking of the pain. I just found myself falling asleep.

I read a book called Forgiven and Set Free. It’s a Bible study for post abortive women. It helps you to confront all those feelings you are going through: the anger, the hatred, the unforgivingness.

Immediately after the abortion, you go through a season of relief. But you don’t realise that there’s another crisis coming.

It varies from one individual to another. They can use alcohol, sexual activity or drugs – any kind of pleasure to kill the pain.

After going through the book, I started speaking about abortion.

I started a post-abortion support group last year. I have counselled women who are much older than me. They have children but they still come to me saying: ‘There is this thing that I did 15 years ago and I can’t seem to forgive myself.’

I want them to understand that despite the pain they have gone through, the heartache, that pain can be sorted out. I want to give them hope.”

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