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Emilie comes from an urban area in Sweden. In 2015, when she was about 25 years old, she had an abortion. This is her story.

  • Drawing illustrating a woman.
    OTALT/Helene Karlsson

A longer version of Emilie’s story was originally published in the Swedish book «Hundra om dagen – berättelser om abort» (2017) by Anna Bengtsdotter.

There’s this idea that you should experience an abortion as something really difficult. But I never got those feelings.


I was downtown with some friends when I ran into an ex. We talked for a bit, and then we decided to go home together. I thought we had agreed on him pulling out. But later I understood he hadn’t. Ok, it’s down to both of us, but I feel like he could have controlled the situation better.

After a few weeks I realized I was pregnant. I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror and made two decisions. The first one was to have an abortion, the second was not to tell my boyfriend. 

This was my body, my private matter. I didn’t want to have to take responsibility for his reaction, too. And I didn’t want to be a single parent. I was subletting. I had no permanent job and I was just starting my life. It wasn’t exactly a stable foundation for having a child.


I took the pills on the night before 1 May. My brother came to be with me. The midwife called me several times to check on me. She reminded me to take the full dose of morphine, so I wouldn’t be in unnecessary pain. When the abortion itself began, I went to bed. I tried to rest through the whole thing. I was very tired. When I fell asleep, I was just very relieved not to be pregnant anymore.

One of the midwives I met when I took the first pill asked if I was sure I wanted an abortion. I guess they have to ask that, but it did get to me a bit. I really didn’t feel like being questioned right then. I was certain, but if she had kept asking, maybe I would have started to second-guess myself.

She also asked if I knew who I had gotten pregnant with. That didn’t feel good. It’s like there is this line between good girls and bad. That’s what I grew up with: girls being called whores for example. All of that came over me when I sat with that midwife, pregnant by someone I was not in a relationship with. Even if I don’t subscribe to that view myself.

Now, I feel like I’ve never been pregnant. Sometimes it even worries me a bit. What if I have blocked something out that will eventually resurface? Something that will give me anxiety later in life? Maybe I bottled my feelings up, while I, deep inside, wanted to follow through with the pregnancy?

I kept waiting for those feelings to come up. There’s this idea that you should experience an abortion as something really difficult. But I never got those feelings. No anxiety… and well, I didn’t want a child.