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Non Fiction: Five Abortions, It Was All My Choice

Distorted image of a pregnant woman

Teenage pregnancy is a recurring theme in the Nigerian experience. It is estimated that between 1.8 to 2.7 million women resort to abortion annually and it accounts for over 40% of maternal deaths recorded in the country. Behind the long list of complications that might occur when this important decision is made, abortion has endured as the leading cause of female deaths within the country state. The mere fact that efforts aren’t taken to relax the laws forcing women into the hands of quack doctors baffles. And according to legislation, abortion can only be carried out if the woman’s life is at mortal risk. Any other reason is not enough.


In a way, this is better than some African countries who would not consent to abortion even if certain the woman will die. Senegal, for example, is notorious for its punitive disposition towards the act. What follows these restrictive laws, and suppression of human rights is a keen stigma that makes it difficult for people to speak out and seek help. We only get to know after the fact; that’s if we even get to know at all. A common sentiment will be abstinence however, that is not realistic. Too many reasons lead to unwanted pregnancies, and if the sole purpose of the law is to protect and uphold the rights of citizens. The statistics sadly report that it has failed.


Dee of TheBlotted sat down with Oma (Not real name), a lady now in her late twenties for an extensive conversation about her ordeal within this system. She has had a number of procedures spanning her teenage years to early twenties. Oma’s story is no different from the 43 in every 1000 women putting their lives in danger, just so they can have a choice.


Dee: What was your first pregnancy like?

From the moment I noticed the first sign, I knew what I had to do. I grew up with a tough mother who took my excesses to heart and preferred to hand me tough lessons.


Don’t talk to boys
don’t wear short things
don’t look at boys
cover yourself at all times
do not be the only girl in the room
bring a child home and die


If I was flogged for growing breasts early, I shudder to imagine what will happen when she gets wind of my predicament.


Dee: Did you tell your Boyfriend about it?

Yes, when my period was six days late. I ran to my boyfriend.


I was 19 at the time. I had just finished Jamb, Post UTME and awaited my results and admission offer. I told him how late my period was and insisted we visit the hospital for a proper test. We went to a medical lab and the result came out positive. Whilst he jumped for joy, I brooded over what will become of me. I mean, I have all these dreams, goals, visions, and aspirations. Things I want to achieve at a certain age and I will lose them all for what? When the doctor gave us privacy to talk, all I could hear were my thoughts. “Your mother will kill you.” “There is no difference between you and the girls in your village.” “You have failed your dad…”. So, his ‘let’s keep it’ was met with a gigantic NO!


There were so many back and forths but my decision was ironclad. I wasn’t going to throw away all these dreams, and subject myself to pain and ridicule for anybody. I knew what I wanted and I stuck to it. When all his emotional blackmail failed, he gave me his support, and funds.


Dee: Now you have the money, and resolve, what did you do?
The next problem was getting it done. Abortion is illegal in Nigeria and this made it difficult for me to get a willing doctor, everyone I spoke to turned me away. It took me an extra week to get a willing doctor, a friend hooked me up.



Dee: Hooked you up with what?

A doctor now. I remember it clear as day, it was at the outskirts of town. The path was bushy and we drove for an hour 30 minutes before we got to the location. The building was a square-like storey building with a thick brown roof. It was unrefined, and in some ways– forebode what I would experience within. My thoughts were validated the moment we stepped in. This underwhelming residential building; the doctor operates from a small room at the far left corner of his room. His wife and children were assistants.


There was someone inside with him so we had to wait. My cousin was trying to put my heart at ease but all I wanted was to get it done and leave the place ASAP. I could hear tiny screams from the room, my heart would sink in each time I heard it. When she eventually walked out and signalled me to go in, my heartbeat tripled.


I walked into the room with my heart at the bottom of my stomach. I was sure everyone in the room could hear my heartbeat. I trembled so much that the doctor’s wife had to ask my cousin if it was my first time. She said yes but the doctor dismissed it with this sarcastic tone “it’s always their first time.”


Dee: That’s cold.

In the room, he wore his gloves whilst signaling me to undress and lie on the bed. My heart pounded while I obeyed. I was considering taking a walk back home and damning the consequences that I didn’t hear him call me. His tap on my shoulder jolted me to reality. He looked at me with disdain and signaled me with his hands to hurry up. I did and laid on the bed and he held my legs apart with something on the bed.


He brought out this gigantic stainless equipment and took it towards my privates. I didn’t know the name at the time, I later found out that it was called a speculum. I thought he was going to cut me open, when I felt the cold chills of the speculum at my vagina opening, I knew I was in for it. He forced it in. My breath seized, I could literally see my spirit leave my body. I screamed and he slapped me on my lap “SHUT UP!” he said.


My cry went right back where it came from and I settled for groans. The pain was brutal. I thought I was going to die each time the speculum went inside me. Whenever he inserted it, it cramped my navel upwards. The pain cut as though he was pulling all my organs at once. As if someone stabbed me in the belly and twisted the knife as I bled. I groaned till I didn’t have strength to groan any more, he had to tap me to ensure I still lived.


It was the longest eight minutes of my life. The doctor didn’t make it any better. He kept on cursing me out. Each time I screamed he would snap, ‘’shut up! When you were opening your legs without protection, didn’t you know this will be the end goal?” Or “didn’t your mother teach you to stay away from boys?” He just had one bad thing to say to me each time. I couldn’t get up for close to five minutes, as I was so sore and tired. There, I made a resolve, to never have unprotected sex again and that this abortion will be the only one. I shut out the pain and focused on the bright side, relieved that a baby won’t tie me down.


Dee: Hmmm, so after that ordeal, you guys lived happily ever after?

No o. Few months later, we had a nasty fight and he accused me of cheating and pinning someone else’s pregnancy on him. I was dumbfounded. I mean, you were my first and the last pregnancy happened after our second sex when you blatantly refused to use condoms. That fight drained me emotionally. I was always crying out of the blue or lost in thoughts. Yet, amidst the pain and turmoil, I wanted him back. I already grew attached to the relationship, so when he came back, I didn’t hesitate.


Dee: Ni****s… sigh, but atleast did you try safer sex?

Well, since the last time, I devoted more time to learning about contraceptives. Although, I had older cousins around me, I wasn’t comfortable discussing sex with any of them. Ruling out family left me with friends, and they didn’t know much. I didn’t have access to the internet, all I had was the information they gave me. I was told that Postinor 2 and Gynaecosid are abortion pills while Andrews Liver Salts and saline solutions are contraceptives. I took their advice and I’d gulp Andrews Liver Salts or saline solutions after sex.


Dee: Oh my…

I got away with it twice and the third time, I was hooked again.


It was January just after the Christmas celebration. I’d just gained admission into the University and was processing registration when I found out. I went for an ultra sound this time and it revealed that I was two weeks gone. This news didn’t hit me as much as the first time. My heart did sink but the depths were familiar, considering that this time, I could take care of it myself. The only thing that bothered me was the pain, I dreaded it. So, I started asking questions to know if there were other options I could explore asides going through a D and C.


Dee: What is D&C?
Dilation and curettage, invasive surgery.


Dee: Oh, right.
A friend then told me about injections or ‘hot injections’ as it was tagged and I jumped on it.


The injections cost me 5 thousand Naira, two weeks of constant bleeding, intense cramping, and aches. This particular one was tough– I still lived with my family, and wincing, groaning or any sign of reaction would attract questions that I couldn’t answer. I shouldered it all, I took the pain with a straight face. I tossed in bed at night and laughed all day before my mum. There were times the pain would erupt at my lower abdomen, pinning me to a spot, and I would have to crawl out of sight before they noticed.
I went through it all alone. I didn’t want him putting me through that emotional trauma again. After the whole process, I resolved, again to stay away from unprotected sex.


Dee: At this point, how did you feel?
Terrible. It’s bad enough that I don’t enjoy it, that I did it to please my boyfriend, so why go through so much for it? I was just 20 and I’d aborted twice, the guilt almost killed me. I lookeed at myself in the mirror and all I saw was a selfish cold-blooded murderer. I wasn’t going to make the same mistakes again. This time, I told him it was either protected sex or nothing. He said so many hurtful things to blackmail me into doing his bidding but it was a solid no. Finally, he adjusted, but we broke up a few months later and I focused more on school.


Dee: What a rollercoaster.
It really was. I remained celibate till I met someone else in 2011, towards the last semester, 200 level in Uni. We started dating. There was only one issue, unprotected sex. I was still scarred from my previous experiences, reliving it will be detrimental. I gave in when the pressure became more than I could handle but not before I surfed the internet to know what contraceptive works. The internet revealed that I’d been doing it all wrong, Andrews Liver Salts and saline solution are no contraceptives. The problem became getting contraceptive pills without being judged.


Dee: I can imagine the looks a young girl asking for pills would have gotten. I mean, even men buying condoms get side-eyed. Maybe it is something about the environment being prude?


Maybe. I always had to travel miles from my house before I could get it without judgment. Maybe they judged me, maybe they didn’t… what mattered most was that I got the pills.
Despite my carefulness, I fell pregnant again.


Dee: What? Number three?!
I was shocked at the result after carrying out a urine pt test myself. The news broke me to bits, I cried so much that I came down with a fever. I wasn’t crying because I couldn’ t do anything about it. I cried because I was tired of doing something about the situation, but it is what it is. When he found out, he said he would support whatever decision I took. My stance was abortion again.


Dee: *Glares
I was already at 300-level, so close to graduating. You don’t expect me to drop out now, do you? Anyway, I went for another injection and he was with me all through the journey. And When I got pregnant again for him, he vehemently kicked against aborting it.


‘‘Let us get married,’’ he said. “I might not be very rich now but I can take care of you and the baby.” These were his words but my answer was still NO. He wasn’t in a good place emotionally and financially at the time. His business was going under. I knew it was his emotions talking and it would be selfish of me to say yes because I was pregnant. I wasn’t going to pin him down with pregnancy and watch him blame me in future for his predicaments.


Also, I didn’t want to be a hire-purchase wife, whose only reason for getting married is pregnancy. I wasn’t going to bring forth a baby to suffer. If I was going to get married, then I would have attained financial stability alongside all my goals and aspirations. After so much back and forth, he paid for the injection again. The bleeding was more than 2 weeks this time, the pain was all three pains of the past abortions combined. He withdrew from me and eventually broke things off with me in June 2012.


Dee: That’s sad. Things like this can actually fracture relationships.

I stopped dating after my last breakup and focused on school and other things. Mid into my 400 level just before the ASUU strike of 2013, I had a fling with someone. It was protected, which is why I was shocked when I missed my period. I saw him put on the condoms and to the best of my knowledge– the condom was still intact after sex. However, my suspicions grew when he called to ask if I’ve had my period. I prodded further and he told me he tore the condoms before penetration.


Dee: Scum!

Like! I was distraught. I had to prepare myself for the abortion pains I was about to go through and the possibility of contracting an STD from him. It was a lot, I felt like dying. I eventually summoned the courage to get tested. Luckily, everything came out negative– except the pregnancy part.


I was broke at the time and it delayed the whole process. I was six weeks gone when I raised funds for abortion. I was so ashamed to go back to the injection lady for the fourth time that I went to another specialist off my vicinity. It cost me more but that was the least of my problems. Aside from the usual bleeding and pain, I had an injection abscess and the pain lingered for long, I still get it sometimes.


Dee: Really? Till date?


I met another guy in 2016, and I liked him. We got along well, he seemed perfect. I didn’t want to have unprotected sex with him but he insisted. He even went on to study my cycle and I decided to shift ground a little.


Dee: You had unprotected sex again?

He was really bent on it. He said he had it all and couldn’t fathom why I worried so much. I loved him so much so I was willing to put my beliefs aside and work with him. He said we should tell mum but I said no. I wanted to be sure I wasn’t making a mistake since my gut wouldn’t stop telling me that I was making one.

Well, I got pregnant again and I opted for abortion pills, Misoprostol precisely.


Dee: But you loved him and he was rich, why abort?

He lied about everything, including his name. He wasn’t who he said he was. One night even, an angry guy walked into a house he claimed to be his, demanding that we leave. I knew I was in for a huge surprise. My gut kept yelling “I TOLD YOU!” Nothing was his, he just wanted casual sex but got caught in his web of lies, he ghosted when it busted in his face.
There were so many factors in play and I was glad I took that decision. It wasn’t an easy one considering I wanted to keep the baby this time.



Dee: Being a single parent wasn’t an option?
I explored the cost of raising a child without financial backup, what the stress will do to my mental health and that of the child. I want a baby I can care for on my own, not one that I will have to lean on people to cater for. I stalled for weeks trying to see if there are opportunities or strategies I could jump on to keep this one child but it all boiled down to where I started. After constant deliberations, sourcing for help and crying myself to sleep, I finally took the one decision that I dreaded so much, ABORTION.


Dee: Lucky number five…
Tough! I wanted this one baby so much but not at the expense of his/her wellbeing.

I’m yet to deal with it, I honestly do not know if I will ever deal with it. It’s just that in all these tough experiences, I still feel no loss. I believe it’s for a better cause.


  • Joy August 28, 2021

    Wow this is a lot and I’m shook to be honest. I hope the woman is okay and as much as i don’t believe in abortions. She’s had it tough. I hope things in the future get better for her.