Renata

Renata is from Italy. She tells about her abortion from 1990. She was then 22 years old, and she still thinks about it.

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    OTALT/Helene Karlsson

Renata's story is collected especially for the SHHH project. All informants and stories in this project have been anonymised. All names are changed.

Renata's story

I have had one abortion. At the time I was 22 and I had a son that was barely one year old. 

It was a difficult time for me, because I wanted to break up with his father, who was violent. I didn’t see any other way out than having an abortion. I didn’t know how to feed and raise both my young son and a newborn. 

I had finally found the strength to split up with my partner. One day when he came home in a daze and tried to beat me, my son woke up. I fled in the night, just wearing a T-shirt and slippers, with my son in my arms. I ran to another neighbourhood, called my father from a pay phone and asked him to pick me up. That night I didn’t know that I was pregnant again.

I didn’t see any other way out than having an abortion. I didn’t know how to feed and raise both my young son and a newborn.

Renata

My parents learned that I was pregnant, but they didn’t offer to help me financially if I wanted to keep the child. They hated its father. Since I also suffered abuse in my childhood from my family, I did not really trust my parents and only partly wanted their help. I didn’t want to live with them for too long, but wanted to start my own life with my son as soon as possible.

With the help of my psychologist I registered at the hospital, and the abortion with anesthesia was performed on a Monday, the day they performed abortions at this hospital. It was important to me not to be alone and I asked my psychologist to accompany me to the hospital. Although my parents found out and wanted to be there for me, I didn’t want to accept their help.

It was important to me not to be alone at the hospital.

Renata

What no one knew, not even my psychologist, was that I was almost certain that I became pregnant on one night when my drug and alcohol addict partner came home with one of his buddies, and they both abused me sexually. I didn't know who of these two men got me pregnant.

I have a very ambiguous relationship to abortion. I am not an absolute advocate, because I have personally experienced that it is not something that is easy to cope with.

I don’t care what moment a fetus is called alive or not, for me a soul has chosen to come to me and to the world. To actively not allow this, has done something to me and to many women with whom I have talked.

Abortion opponents are mostly religiously motivated and only look at the life of the unborn child, not at the life situation of the woman. What woman likes having an abortion? For many, it is often the only way out they can see. What does that say about our society?

I want a society where abortions are not necessary, so women can fulfil their role as mothers and where children are wanted ‒ a society in which adoption may be done humanely and easily (in their own country) and where there are solutions that are looking after both the women and the children to come.

I have a very ambiguous relationship to abortion. I am not an absolute advocate, because I have personally experienced that it is not something that is easy to cope with.

Renata

I wrote my daughter ‒ I knew the baby was a girl and I called her Yasmin ‒ a stack of letters. In these letters I lived out my sorrow for not being allowed to receive her in this world, because I was not able to cry when it happened. I was numb, too traumatized by my childhood experiences and from living with an abusive man.

In the letters I promised her that if the situation went well, she could come back to me again, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. For me, the price I had to pay is that I have no daughters.

Years later, at a family gathering, I cried all the tears that I could not shed about the loss of my daughter at that time ‒ together with my son, who was also there and had understood for the first time that he actually had a sister.

It would be good for us women to be able to say goodbye to our aborted children in our own way. To this day, I do not know what happens to the aborted fetuses in this hospital because there is no clear information.