ABORTION DIARIES: The Older Man Took And Took From Me

Abortion had always been strange to me, maybe because I was young and never really thought I would get pregnant. Or maybe because the only times I heard about abortion when I was growing up was when my mother would say to me, “If you ever get pregnant and abort it, you will die.”

Abortion felt like a curse. It felt like a really big deal that would cost me my life.

I was 14 when I got pregnant.

I had fallen for a man in his late 20s; he was fresh out of the university, sounded smart and had all the right words to say. The idea that an older man found me mature enough to want to be with me was foolishly appealing. I was a child, naive on how the mind of an adult man works. Whenever I had suspicions about anything regarding our relationship, he would say I am young and do not know nothing. But if I did what he wanted, he praised me for being smart. I would spend the allowance I had saved to pay for my transport to his house and to buy him things.

I didn’t know I was pregnant until my mother started questioning the fact that I hadn’t seen my period in a while. The queries were becoming too much, so I went to a cyber cafe, paid for time and started to search for reasons why I hadn’t seen my period. Pregnancy was the last thing on my mind because I didn’t know how it worked. I was a smart child but I was never taught these things in school or at home, because pregnancy was talked about like it was an abomination designed to put fear in me. However, when my internet search showed that I might be pregnant, I took some money I had saved up and ran to the hospital close to home to run a test. I was so certain that I wasn’t pregnant, because I thought that the older man I was with was smart enough not to get me pregnant.

Unfortunately, my test results came out positive. I sat there in the hospital, afraid for my life, thinking about how much my parents would hate me for bringing shame to them. I didn’t know any friend I could speak to, so I called the only person that could help: the man I’d been sleeping with.

He told me to come to his place, which I did and we took a walk. He didn’t say anything about my current situation or anything at all. I simply got to his house and he took me out for a walk. We walked for few minutes and stopped at an old almost-abandoned-looking bungalow. He asked that I wait outside and went inside. A few minutes later, he reemerged and told me to come in. inside was a three-bedroom space with the parlour section acting as the reception of whatever this place was.

I immediately realized what we were there for, but I said nothing and questioned nothing. My head kept affirming that I’d rather be dead than let my parents know I was pregnant. There was just one nurse present, who also doubled as the owner’s assistant; I heard her talking in one of the inner rooms. I was asked into the second inner room and the older man I was with went to sit at the corner close to the bed. The doctor walked in; he told me to lie on the bed and take off my trouser and underwear. Both men in the room had no emotions on their face; the older man I’d been sleeping with had neither concern in his eyes nor encouraging smile on his lips. The two of them looked like they’d done this before; the older man was probably a regular.

I laid there, and the doctor used his fingers to press down on the lower part of my abdomen. He kept pressing till he touched a part that caused me enough discomfort to make me wince. He nodded in satisfaction, saying that that was what he was looking for. The nurse came in with two small plastic paint buckets; one was filled with warm water and had about five stainless-steel surgical tools in it, and the other was empty. The doctor told me to spread my legs apart and then he stuck a big clip into my vagina. It wasn’t very painful, but I could feel the tool latch onto something in my lower stomach area. I couldn’t tell what exactly he was doing, but at some point, I saw him holding a pair of scissors on one hand and the bloody clip on the other. He brought the empty container closer and I saw him deposit some things inside.

I laid there until he was done cleaning me up, and then he shifted the container to the side. When I peeked into the bucket, I could see it had clumps of blood in it. The sight of that made my stomach turn, because I hadn’t seen that much blood before. He gave me a rolled-up tissue to use as a pad, left the room and I dressed up. The man I came with asked me if I had money with me. I told him I had 5,000 naira from my savings and he took it from me. Minutes later, I left the place with him; he saw me off to the bus stop to get a bus home. I went home and a week later, my period came.

The older man never called me after that day, and for some reason I never reached out to him, and we never saw or spoke to each other ever again.

Written by Gladys

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