Just what every Father wants to hear.
My Dad cried when I told him I’d had an abortion.
I only told my Mom in my family when I was actually pregnant. Neither of my sisters knew, not my step Mom and definitely not my Dad. It wasn’t because my Dad wouldn’t have support me or my decision I know he would have, he’s not religious but he does tend to question a lot of my choices in life (job and degree mostly).
Not telling most of my family about my pregnancy/abortion I think was because I wanted to be treated normally by people. My university life was not normal I didn’t go into lectures for months and I didn’t hang out with anybody other than my boyfriend and his friends (who all knew). I was getting a lot of looks of sympathy along with this constant fear of being judged about it, I thought everyone was always thinking about the fact that I was pregnant which of course they weren’t.
Telling my Dad was something I dreaded, we are not an emotional family. We keep things on a superficial level, if we disagree on something I don’t argue with him about it. I’ve accepted we don’t agree on a lot of important things but, I don’t push my corner as I’ve just been labelled as the black sheep of my family. If being the black sheep means not voting Tory I’ll take that label and stick it on my forehead for the rest of my life.
I told the rest of my family about a year and a half after I’d had the abortion. I visited home with the specific purpose of opening up about it. I’d made my dissertation film about it, and by this point people were asking why they weren’t allowed to watch it yet. I was sat on my sofa with my Dad and brought up the topic of my dissertation.
“So there’s a reason you haven’t seen my film yet Dad...
It’s about me getting pregnant last year and having an abortion”
I immediately went into my rehearsed speech of how its fine, I’m not really emotional about it, it was what it was and its done now. He asked about how my boyfriend had handled it and if thats why we’d broken up - I tried to attempt a joke about the fact that no it was because he slept with someone else a week later and we were “just in general shit together.”
It went silent for about 3 minuets that felt like an eternity of me trying to guess what he was thinking, then my step Mom walked in (who I’d told earlier that day - saved telling my Dad till last to extend the self-induced anxiety stomach ache as long as possible).
“Why didn’t you tell us Ab?”
Then my Dad cried, then I cried because he was crying, then my step Mom cried.
They both focused on the fact that they would have been supportive and wished I’d told them at the time. I kept trying to explain that I just needed to do it and get it done, that I wanted to go home and get treated normally by people without getting this look of pity. A few days after I’d had the medical abortion we went on walk and I was not in a state to keep up with him and my sisters. The whole walk I was getting the shit ripped out of me for being unfit and I loved it, I liked having this self-pity secret; I was proud of myself for even going on the walk and then being made to push myself further.
After that day we’ve never spoken about it. I tested the water at our Christmas dinner making a some what poor taste joke. My Dad made a comment about wanting grandkids, and I replied “well your chance from me got literally flushed down the toilet last year.” As soon as I said it I knew I shouldn’t have but I couldn’t stop this smirk from being sprawled across my face - but then looking at my Dad’s eyes bulge out of his head and my sisters awkwardly looking at each other whilst trying to carry on eating their pigs in blankets I thought I should maybe find a better audience for the niche market of abortion comedy.
That’s why I’m airing all my dirty laundry on the internet.