Jelena's story is collected especially for the SHHH project. All informants and stories in this project have been anonymised. All names are changed.
I had an abortion in 2003 at the age of 27. I was in a relationship with a guy for a long time. I had been feeling for a while that he wasn’t for me and I wanted to end that story.
The condom broke in the middle of my menstrual cycle and I got pregnant. At that same moment I felt pregnant and I knew exactly what I wanted and what I didn't want. The problem was that, from the moment I definitely found out I was pregnant, to the act itself, it took me about two and a half months. That period was an agony for me.
My ex and a couple of close friends were putting serious pressure on me. The guy's father had passed away a few months before, so he thought that the fetus in me was the reincarnation of his father. Prone to narcotics and alcohol, he fell into a psychotic state. One day he would beg me on his knees not to have an abortion, and the very next day he would become verbally aggressive.
During all that time, I had the support of my mother (who persistently repeated: “We support whatever you decide") and of a couple of my friends.
To be completely honest, at no point have I experienced this act as a sin. For me it would have been a sin to give birth to a child and sentence it to an alcoholic father and a frustrated mother, trying to free herself from youthful love.
The only thing that mattered to me at that moment was that the day of January 13th 2003, the day when the abortion was scheduled, would come as soon as possible. So that the potential reader of this would not think that I remember the date because of the traumatic experience, I want to emphasize that on the night between January 13 and 14, the Orthodox New Year is celebrated and that it was difficult for me not to be able to attend the celebration.
I have to admit that my mother pulled the connections so that the act could be performed by, at that moment, the best gynecologist in Belgrade.
As already pointed out, I didn’t change my mind even for a moment. I still think I made the smart move.
I want to emphasize again that I was 27 at the time I had the abortion. After that, I couldn't find love for 10 years. In my thoughts about "what am I doing wrong", I accidentally found a story in which the main character is mentally preparing for an abortion, and her friend tells her: "Think well because they say that you never get over this act and you will have to atone for that sin once".
More because of superstition, I decided to fast for the whole Easter fasting and go to the priest to atone for that "sin". I intentionally emphasize the word "sin” because I still think that the birth of a child would have been a sin both for him/her and for me. However, even though I did not experience the act as a sin, I went to the priest and started crying unstoppably. I literally sobbed. Even today I am not sure why this happened. I was not sad before or after, but I fell apart from sadness in that "office". I had confessed my “sin” and on the Sunday I received the blessing. Already the following Tuesday I met the father of my child.
Coincidence or not, but it certainly happened that way. Less than a month after the confession, I was already pregnant – again, a condom broke in the middle of my menstrual cycle.