My Seoul Story: A traveler’s journey of aborting abroad

My Seoul Story: A traveler's journey of aborting abroad

What If I told you that behind my #happy #livingthelife #Ilovekorea #blessed #travelforever hastags was a girl that was filled with #guilt #pain #confusion and #loss.

This is the other half of my story, the one that I have kept inside for a long time…

My seoul story: A travelers journey of aborting abroad

Expect the unexpected

Last year I was faced with the the situation that so many other women have faced in their life time. The lines on that little plastic test that you never saw coming that end up transforming you in ways that you never imagined.

The guy was my boyfriend at the time, a Korean, but I had already realized quite early on that the relationship would not last due to his aggressive, forceful and slightly abusive side. Although I had said “no” numerous times that night because I wasn’t ready for it , he chose to ignore my request and his forceful side took over. My various other requests that I made that night were also ignored.

Requests that could have prevented this life altering situation from happening. But 1 month later and here I was, a foreigner in Korea carrying a Korean man’s child. Being a female in Korea can be and has been incredibly challenging, especially being an female expat. Not only am I living in a culture that tells me that women need to submit to men but I am also living in a culture where few women have the courage to speak up about their situation. Whether that be rape , abortion or domestic violence .These are all huge issues that are swept under the rug here and my situation just became another one of those stories.

How could I openly talk about it when my situation in Korea is regarded as taboo and utterly disgraceful. A western woman carrying the child of a Korean man out of marriage is not something that is taken lightly here.I was faced with having to make a decision that I thought I would never have to make nor did I want to make. I was the well educated Catholic girl that had always said I would never do such a thing. Isn’t it ironic how we are so quick to form an opinion and judge a situation about something until we are faced with the situation ourselves.

To this day I still sit in guilt and pain and wonder if I did the right thing , but I knew that had I gone through with the pregnancy in Korea I would not have been able to give this child the life that it so deserved nor did I want to have to spend the rest of my life with a man who had already started to show abusive and aggressive tendencies towards me. The thought of staying with him with a baby and knowing his aggressive nature was too much for me.

My seoul story A traveller's journey to aborting aboard.

The surgery

It was incredibly difficult finding a hospital that would do it as it is illegal in Korea. It was the most emotional two weeks of my life as we searched endlessly trying to find any doctor that would help. At times I wanted to give up and just go through with the pregnancy as the guilt and confusion continued to pile up in my mind but by far the most emotionally draining part was the fact that I was in a country where the English is incredibly limited.

Eventually we found someone who was willing to do it.Not being able to communicate my feelings and concerns with the doctors was incredibly stressful. My boyfriend offered little support and told me “not to worry”. Not the words I wanted to hear when I was about to hand over my body to someone who couldn’t even communicate with me what exactly was about to happen. I was at the mercy of this doctor. I had no choice but to just pray during the surgery and put all my faith in God that nothing would go wrong.

I remember very little about that day but I will never forget the overwhelming emotions that flooded through me. As I lay there tied to a bed and being put to sleep with gas I cried out and prayed to God asking him to forgive me. 20 minutes later I was in a recovery room. I woke up in such a daze unsure of where I was. An hour later I was told to leave and life went back to normal. Monday I was back at school teaching as if nothing had happened the day before.

Post surgery

The next few months were the hardest months of my life. I guess no one can understand what a woman feels when they have gone through something like this nor can someone prepare you for the flood of mixed emotions that come after. I had read stories of how terrible the post psychological and emotional trauma can be and here I was now experiencing those exact emotions and feelings. For the first time in my life I truly felt hopeless and a sense of complete loss.

 

When in doubt pray

I never went to speak to anyone about my experience and perhaps I should have but I didn’t have the courage and so instead I resorted to what I had been taught to do my whole life, pray. I was part of a church here in my city and it became a place of refuge for me during that time.

I spent the next few weeks waking up at 5 am and attending early morning prayer until I felt healed and forgiven. It was the hardest few months of my life. I spent so much time on my knees crying asking God to forgive me for what I had done. It is during this time that I believe my faith and relationship with God became unshakable.
I sit wondering now how I can use this experience of pain and turn it into something of value to help other women who have faced similar experiences.

Reflections My story is one that I have not even shared with the people that are closest to me and now here I am sharing it with the world. For a long time I have been wanting to write about my story, what held me back, the very reactions and judgement that I would get from others. Because there is nothing #instagood or #instafabulous about posting stories of your pain and reality. But we are living in times where that’s exactly what we need to be posting and sharing with the world, the #truth behind our picture perfect posts.

We all have pain and stories that we feel the need to hide but the truth is the more we share and open up the more we are able to connect, help and understand each other. I am terrified to the reactions that this post is going to receive and even more terrified by the fact that soon the people closest to me will know the story but I have decided to put my pride aside because I promised myself that when I felt ready I would share my experience. I am not sharing this to gain pity from others. I am doing this in the hope that it gives all the women who have felt they need to be silent about their own experiences some courage to finally speak out.

My experience is one that challenged me emotionally , spiritually and mentally but I do believe with my whole heart that it is such experiences that transform us. My greatest hope is that I can somehow use this experience to help other women who have been through similar situations.
This is for all the women of the world who have suffered in silence.

This is for the women who continue to carry the guilt and pain from their decision that they had to make. This is for the women who said “no” but were pushed into having their bodies used as objects for sexual satisfaction. This is for the women who despite their pain and suffering continue to press forward and remain strong.
This is for my girls all around the world. ♡

About the author:

Born and raised in South Africa she fell in love with the idea of traveling at the age of 16 when she had the opportunity to  travel to Thailand for a school tour. In 2013, she decided to leave home and embark on a journey to South Korea, which for her has been life changing to say the least. She is a passionate teacher who loves working with children and molding young minds.

Her greatest  joys include traveling, teaching, volunteering, connecting with locals and most importantly, sharing her experiences and stories through social media and her photography. She has come to realize the importance of being a conscious traveler and as a result she will be spending the next 3 months volunteering her way through Vietnam, Laos , Myanmar and Nepal where she hopes to share her experiences and encourage others to not just be travelers but conscious travelers  who are able to give back wherever they may find themselves in the world.

My Seoul story: A travelers journey of aborting abroad

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My Seoul story: A traveler's journey of aborting abroad

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15 thoughts on “My Seoul Story: A traveler’s journey of aborting abroad

  1. Sky

    This post made me cry. Flower, you are beyond brave for sharing this story. I cannot imagine being in your position but situations like this are exactly why I will ALWAYS fight for women to have this choice. I am sorry that you were put in this position and I hope you were able to get away from your boyfriend. The fact you caught those patterns and realized they were not okay is very important. Much love to you! xoxo
    Sky recently posted…How to Stay Healthy on the RoadMy Profile

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  2. Jean

    You’re not alone. Many of us have been through similar situations in our own countries or whilst on the road. Thank you for sharing your story. Without sharing our stories we can’t hope to make a difference.

    Reply

  3. Isadora Koller

    Breaks my heart to imagine your situation and even more to think about how many girls pass through this! You are brave! I don’t know what I would do in your place, I think that this kind of situation is something that definitely you shouldn’t judge if you haven’t pass through it, because it is something that you don’t really know how you would react.

    Reply

  4. Kristine

    Reading this was hard, I can’t imagine what you had to go through during that period in your life. Hopefully you’re recovering well and have left that guy. Take care and please go easy on yourself! *hugs*
    Kristine recently posted…Is Dubai worth visiting?My Profile

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  5. Bidisha

    An overwhelming post! I can only imagine what you must have been through. But you are immensely courageous to have braved through such tough times and the fact that you are sharing it here says you have come a long way. Kudos to you girl, you are an epitome of strength and grit to many others out there. Keep traveling, keep praying and keep rocking. Good things are your way!☺

    Reply

  6. Minna

    It takes so much strength to share something like this so sending massive hugs. I can only imagine how hard this was to write but hopefully you found it strangely therapeutic Flower.

    Reply

  7. Cliodhna Ryan

    This is a beautiful, important post. In Ireland more than 10 women a day travel to the UK for an abortion as it is illegal here. There is currently a huge campaign to repeal the 8th amendment which makes abortion illegal. It’s so important that stories like yours are heard so well done for telling it so eloquently.

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  8. Caroline

    You made the right choice for you and the right choice for any family that you will have someday, and that is brave. You had to be so strong through all of this and that is so admirable. The stigma that so many societies have surrounded this issue with is unfair and unproductive. I’m so sorry that this experienced caused you grief and pain but I am so glad that it brought you closer to God. Good luck!

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  9. Kyntra Strickland

    This is so sad. I’m so sorry that this happened, thank you for being so honest and transparent. I hope that your story will inspire others and give comfort to those in similar situations.

    Reply

  10. Sasha

    This article was so emotional to read. Well done . You are so brave to have written such an emotional heart wrenching article. . *hugs*

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  11. Karen

    What a moving story. It sounds like such a difficult situation and I only wish the author the best in the coming months as this must be a very difficult thing to hold inside.

    Reply

  12. Jiahui

    I hope you are feeling well now on the way to recovery. Thanks for sharing your story. It was not easy but you were brave. Do not dwell on the past anymore. Remember, you deserve the utmost respect, so if Korea is not the best place for you, consider moving on to another country. All the best and remember, we women will help each other out, always.
    Jiahui recently posted…VISIT THE NOSTALGIC AND CHARMING CHECHENG TRAIN STATION IN NANTOU, TAIWANMy Profile

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  13. Brooke

    This was heartwrenching to read and I’m sorry you had to go through this – not the procedure but being pregnant against your will in the first place and being surrounded by unsupportive people and an unsupportive society. You’ve been extremely courageous! Take care.
    Brooke recently posted…West Side Story: What to Do in Thonburi, BangkokMy Profile

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  14. A

    Thank you dear girls your support and kind words it mean a lot I just truly hope that this give others courage talk up about their experiences. We all in this together. As of tomorrow I will be spending the next 3 month’s traveling around Asia in the hope to get some closure and new perspective. Happy travels and love to all. Please feel free to contact me privately of you feel the need.

    Reply

  15. Ciara Mc Nally

    Reading your story made me want to reach out and hug you. I can’t imagine the fear and worry you’ve been through and I’m glad you’ve got your faith to get you through. You are amazing and I wish you the most amazing time on your 3 month travel adventures.
    Ciara Mc Nally recently posted…Wine Cruise on the DanubeMy Profile

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