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I kept wondering if things could have been different - by N.A.

Chosen Topic:

Moving On / Letting Go

'A' Level student-inmate from Changi Women's Prison

1st Prize

I could still remember as clear as daylight the day I saw the ultra sound image of my baby.  It seemed surreal and I could not believe my eyes.  I felt so trapped like being in a maze that I could not get out of.  I was nineteen years old and twenty weeks pregnant.  My boyfriend had just walked out on me two months ago.  I was alone and forced to make a decision.  It was simple.  I cannot afford to have a child out of wedlock.  Therefore, keeping the baby was out of the question.

The next day I went to the Women’s Clinic that I was referred to, all by myself.  After running through some procedures, the doctor told me to lie down on the surgical bed.  My mind was blank and my heart was in so much pain that I could barely feel anything or hear what the doctor said.  As soon as the needle pricked my skin, I knew I was at the point of no return.

I stared at the ceiling and kept telling myself that everything was going to be alright.  Then the contractions came, wave after wave.  The pain soared through my body and I bit my lips to stop myself from screaming.  I was covered with perspiration in matter of seconds.  My whole body felt like it was being torn apart.  I felt a surge of emotions gripped me at that very moment ranging from guilt to immerse sadness, hate to helplessness.

The induced labour lasted for hours.  At around 7 pm, the doctor broke my water bag and told me to push.  Too desperate for all this to end, I gathered all the strength I had to push.  After the fifth attempt, the pain stopped.  Then I saw the doctor passed something that looked like a roll of meat to her assistant.  A gut-wrenching sick feeling swept over me.  That “roll of meat” was my baby.

When I reached home, I locked myself in the room and cried for hours.  The scene at the clinic kept playing in my head.  How could I be so heartless?  How do I live with the guilt of killing my own child?  I could not sleep a wink that night.  I kept wandering if things could have been different.

A year had passed, yet, I still could not go back to my normal life.  I tried to fill my days with activities but I could not stop thinking about the abortion.  No matter how hard I tried, the image of my dead baby just refused to leave my head.  My heart was always full of sadness and regrets.  Out of desperation, I drown my sorrow and bitterness with alcohol and drugs.  Getting high helped me put the bad memories out of my mind.  Little did I know that I was also putting myself into more trouble.

Ten months after I started using drugs, I got arrested.  I was too high at that time that I could not even remember how or where I was arrested.  When I sobered up, I found myself under Police custody, waiting to be transferred to Changi Women’s Prison.

I had sleepless nights for the first six months of my incarceration.  I fell into serious depression and found so hard to adapt with my surroundings.  Due to my erratic behaviour, I was outcast by all the inmates in my dormitory.  Therefore, to avoid getting into more trouble, I kept to myself and only spoke when I was spoken to.  I had never felt so alone.

One morning, my number was called to attend a programme.  The purpose of this programme was to boost our self-esteem and help achieve our dreams.  There were fifteen of us and we were encouraged to share openly, I sat quietly during all the sessions.  However, just before the last session ends, one of the volunteer came and sat next to me.  She started talking about love and forgiveness and asked me some questions.  When I did not respond to any of her questions, she took my hand and said that she could see the pain living in my eyes.  She also

I was so touched by everything the volunteer had said that I cried.  It was as if all the memories, pains, guilt and regret were welded together with my tears and I cried them all out.  The agony of not being able to tell anyone had to end.  I felt lighter after I revealed everything to the volunteer.  She comforted me and gave me a warm hug.  She said that I should forgive myself before I can let go of my past.

On the following days, I started praying and sough forgiveness from God.  It is through prayers that I found peace and serenity.  Forgiving myself was also probably the biggest breakthrough because I could feel the guilt and pain fell off me.  It was hard to live with the memories of aborting your own child and I never want to go through this same ordeal again.

Soon after I was released, I noticed that I could speak about the abortion without condemning myself.  I was glad that my miserable days were over.  I never thought that I could fully recovered from having done something do atrocious.  The regrets of this mistake will take a lifetime to get over.  Nevertheless, I was thankful for I had finally let go of my past and get on with my life.

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