Please Note: This is Ep.17
Please click here for Ep.16
(As everything I write is true, names have been changed to protect identities.)
“Positive. Maanav, it’s positive.” I was in shock, my hands were trembling holding the test out to show him. Maanav was freaking out, crying almost, it didn’t help either of us, I was a nervous wreck too. Neither of us knew how to react.
We called the nurse to the room and told her that it seemed I wasn’t ill after all and quite likely, by the look of the test, pregnant. She immediately struck all my medication off the chart and told us they’d do a blood test to be completely sure. She said it was possible for home pregnancy tests to throw up a false positive. Drawing the blood she sent it off, now all we had to do was wait and try to act like everything was normal. When the doctor came to see me on his rounds that evening, he confirmed that the blood test showed I was indeed pregnant.
It made sense now, I’d had no sickness on the flight to India but I felt faint and nauseous on the way back. What I thought was just travel sickness was clearly something else.
I felt dizzy all over again and my heart was racing. I told the doctor how afraid I was because of our conservative culture. It would be a huge scandal. Pregnancy out of wedlock just didn’t happen. I hadn’t heard of anyone in the Indian community, especially not in our family, who’d had a baby like this, and now here I was, an unmarried, pregnant teen.
The doctor told me that if I was sure of a certain decision, I had the option of having a surgical abortion at the hospital and no one else would need to know. It was completely legal and routine and would be done at no cost under the National Health Service (the NHS), no record of it would show on my health insurance claim. I could tell the family that I needed to stay in for a day so more until I finished my course of antibiotics and then I could go home. I had the night to think it over. Or, he said, I could take my time and visit a family planning clinic and discuss my options with them within the next few weeks.
I decided I couldn’t make a decision like that straight away and I wouldn’t do anything either way without talking to Maanav about it first. I telephoned him from the hospital and told him it was 100% confirmed, we were pregnant. The next morning we had an ultrasound scan to confirm how far along we were in the pregnancy and to check that everything was okay. Before they discharged me they gave me a photo of the scan. And there it was, my teeny tiny jelly bean (that’s exactly what it looked like) growing inside me, barely a couple of weeks in the making, but clear as day.
As I lay in bed at home that first night after being discharged from the hospital, I placed my hand on my tummy and felt the connection.
On the doctor’s advice, I started taking prenatal vitamins and natural remedies for the ‘morning’ sickness, which for me was more like ‘morning, noon and night’ sickness. I could barely eat anything more than completely bland, instant noodles in soup. Because I’d been so underweight and lacked a nutritional diet living in Molly Way, my body took the physical impact of the pregnancy really badly. After some days the vitamins started kicking in and I felt a little better, although I was still vomiting regularly, I hid it from my parents. They assumed I’d recovered from the ‘mysterious illness’ I’d picked up in India.
For days Maanav and I went round in circles discussing what to do. He then got me an appointment at the family planning clinic near his office in central London. Family planning clinics provide a safe and confidential service where anyone can get contraception, testing for STDs and pregnancy, abortions, and advice/counselling. I spoke to a counsellor alone there and told them about my culture and the history of violence with my father and how I was worried what his reaction would be. The counsellor concluded, my only clear option was to have an abortion.
Please click here to continue to Ep.18