The People

My abor­tion didn’t work, I’m so glad. Keira is my whole life...

- by Ali­son Smith-Squire Women's Health · Abortions · Chelsea

CUD­DLING her pre­cious daugh­ter, mum Chelsea Harmsworth is the pic­ture of hap­pi­ness.

Yet these de­light­ful pho­tos should not ex­ist as Keira, three, was never meant to be born.

Chelsea made the agonising de­ci­sion to have her aborted at 10 weeks but, in­cred­i­bly, the pro­ce­dure failed.

Yet when Keira was born months later Chelsea in­stantly fell in love with her.

Chelsea says: “ Hav­ing an abor­tion was the hard­est de­ci­sion I’ve ever made and when I dis­cov­ered I was still preg­nant I was shocked and an­gry.

“I burst into tears, I couldn’t be­lieve the abor­tion hadn’t worked. But as soon as I held Keira in my arms in the de­liv­ery room, she melted my heart.

“I fell to­tally in love with her. She has brought me such in­de­scrib­able joy.”

Chelsea got preg­nant at 16, four months af­ter start­ing go­ing out with Keira’s dad’s Richard Woolls, a 19-year-old plas­terer.

Chelsea, now a 20-year-old uni­ver­sity stu­dent, had been on the pill and was hor­ri­fied by the pos­i­tive preg­nancy test. She says: “I al­ways wanted chil­dren even­tu­ally, I never wanted to be a teenage mum.”

“There was no way I could bring up a child. I was still liv­ing at home with mum and nei­ther Richard nor I had any money.

“I didn’t see how I could go to uni­ver­sity and study for a ca­reer with a baby.”

Af­ter much agonising the cou­plede­cided to abort the baby and Chelsea, about 10 weeks’ preg­nant, had the pro­ce­dure at Colch­ester Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal in De­cem­ber 2006.

Chelsea be­came tear­ful over the next few weeks but she was re­lieved it was all over.

She be­gan tak­ing the pill again and en­joy­ing her stu­dent life of par­ties and nights out.

“Now I look back in horror. I was still preg­nant but car­ried on as usual – like any other teenager.

“ I went out and over Christ­mas had a few drinks too many.” But by March 2007, Chelsea be­gan to feel un­well. “I wasn’t over eat­ing, I no­ticed I’d put on weight es­pe­cially round my tummy.

“I felt tired and washed out and al­though I’d had a pe­riod af­ter the ter­mi­na­tion my cy­cle was all over the place.” She took an­other preg­nancy test and was stunned when it was pos­i­tive. The next day she went to see the GP who had pre­vi­ously re­ferred her for the abor­tion.

She says: “As soon as he felt my tummy, the colour drained from his face. A few mo­ments later he brought a nurse into see me.

“She ex­plained I would need an­other scan but the abor­tion ob­vi­ously hadn’t worked and I was still preg­nant – about five months. She said I could have an­other ter­mi­na­tion but her words were a blur. It was such a ter­ri­ble shock.”

Worse was to come. “At the scan a few days later doc­tors said I was 21 weeks’ preg­nant. The doc­tor said I could still have a ter­mi­na­tion but as I was so far on, I would be in­duced and go through labour.

“ By then I’d felt my baby move. See­ing her on the scan, with kick­ing arms and legs, made her even more real. I knew I couldn’t pos­si­bly face such a late abor­tion.

“I felt sick with worry and in­cred­i­bly an­gry. I was very wor­ried the abor­tion might have dam­aged my baby.

“As well as that, I had taken the pill and hadn’t watched what I ate or drank or had any an­te­na­tal care.

“Telling my par­ents was the hard­est part. I felt so ashamed and dis­gusted with my­self. I felt they were dis­ap­pointed I was go­ing to be a teenage mum but they were sup­port­ive.”

Two months later Chelsea and Richard moved into a flat and in the July, af­ter a long 24hour labour and a day af­ter her due date, Keira was born nat­u­rally weigh­ing in at 6lb 11oz.

Chelsea “She was laid on my tummy and as soon as she looked up at me, I fell in love with her.”

But Chelsea soon re­alised some­thing was not quite right.

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