SERAPHIM HOME DIVINE MERCY APOSTOLATE
SILENT SCREAM ! ! (mummy!)
Lucy Lanelly was just 12 years old when she had her first abortion.
She's blanked out most of the memories, but what she does recall are her mother Shelley's tears of shame as they arrived at the private clinic, and the disapproving looks of the medical staff when they discovered Lucy's age.
She does not remember feeling frightened at the prospect of the operation, only a strange, emotional numbness and feeling of guilt at having upset her mother.
Her chief emotion when she came round from the general anaesthetic was one of relief; that she could forget she'd ever been pregnant and get back to school.
'I didn't understand what was going on,' she says. 'My mum organised the termination and I went along with it, but it was the right thing to do.
'There was no question of keeping the baby. I didn't want it. I was too young to have a baby. It was a mistake.'
A traumatic experience for one so young, yet by the time she was 16, Lucy had made three more 'mistakes'.
The second termination, aged 13, was again organised by her mother - a mental health nurse - who was this time furious with her wayward daughter for ignoring her lectures, and sat by her side in stony silence at the clinic.
When Lucy fell pregnant again, aged 15, she was too frightened to tell her mother, so it was her grandmother who took her to the clinic, unaware of the previous two abortions.
Lucy organised her fourth termination, aged 16, without telling anyone.
She insists each time it was the right decision and that her four abortions have left no lasting emotional damage.
Being so young, she frets little about the damage the repeated abortions might have done to her body, or that her future fertility might be affected.
Now, aged 18, and engaged to 20-year-old Jack, a landscape gardener, Lucy, who left school at 15 with no GCSEs, works as a promotional model.
'Obviously the first pregnancy was a mistake, but can I say that about the other three?
'When it happens four times before you are 16, you have to wonder what's going on,' says Lucy.
'I still don't know the answer to that. I don't regret having the terminations because I was too young to have a baby, but I do regret having sex when I wasn't mature enough to deal with it.'
She adds: 'Now I am 18, I understand how important it is to be responsible about contraception, but when you are 12 or 13 you are too young to understand anything.
'You are given all the information, but you don't know what to do with it. I thought I was grown-up and knowledgeable, but I knew nothing. I was incredibly naive.'
Each year, more than 1,000 teenagers have an abortion, and the number of terminations performed on under-14s rocketed by 20 per cent last year.
The Government's response to this depressing statistic appears to be a tacit acceptance that children are becoming sexually active sooner, and to promote sex education in schools at an ever younger age to prevent teenage pregnancies.
However, listening to Lucy's disturbing story of family breakup, dysfunction and emotional neglect, one can't help but wonder if even the best sex education would have made any difference at all.
After her first termination she was given a contraceptive injection and taught everything she ever needed to know about safe sex.
Yet she simply ignored follow-up appointments at the family planning clinic when her three-monthly contraceptive injection ran out. Why?
'I had more important things to do,' she says. 'When you are 13 you don't want to waste time going to the doctor when you can be having fun with your friends.'
Didn't her mother make her go?
This part of Lucy's story reveals a far deeper malaise at the heart of Britain's increasingly fractured society, for which politicians might be hard-pressed to find a solution.
Meeting Lucy at the terrace house she shares with her fiance in Doncaster, she appears much older than her years.
Since her mother's sudden death last September, aged 39, from a gastrointestinal haemorrhage, she is bringing up her six-year-old sister, who lives with them.
She says she is determined to give her younger sister the kind of safe, happy childhood she never had, with stricter boundaries and two parents who are generous with their time.
Although Lucy talks with a detached lack of emotion about her four abortions, she can't hold back the tears when she talks about her parents and the way she feels she let them down - even though, in reality, it was surely the other way round.
Lucy's parents broke up shortly after her birth and, until the age of 11, she was brought up by her grandmother Frances, 66.
Her father, then 41 and a railway worker, was a very 'solitary character' and not easy to live with, according to Lucy.
Her mother was an ambitious 21-year-old with a desire to better herself through education and, following the break-up of her relationship, materially provide for her daughter.
With her mother away at Leeds University studying for a nursing degree, Lucy saw her parents - who remained friends - only at weekends when they spoiled her with presents and days out and bought her ponies to ride.
'When I was a child, I didn't understand why I couldn't live with them,' says Lucy.
'Dad would come to see me one weekend with presents and take me to a farm, and then my Mum would come and try to go one better than Dad with her treats. I was very spoilt.'
Aged 11, Lucy finally went to live with her mother. Shelley had completed six years of study and had reached the top of her profession, managing a care home for patients with Alzheimer's and dementia.
She had a four-bedroomed house in a 'posh' part of town, a sports car and designer clothes.
She wanted Lucy to attend a high-achieving secondary school and mix with more suitable peers than the ones in her primary school in the more deprived part of town.
'It felt awkward at first living with mum because I was only used to seeing her at weekends,' says Lucy.
'She was very busy working in a high-pressured job and wouldn't be home before 6pm or 7pm.
'I think she thought it would be enough for me to go to a nice school and live in a nice house, but it wasn't. She was very easy going, too easy going.'
Perhaps it is no coincidence that Lucy started running around with an older crowd from her previous neighbourhood, when her mother started dating a new man, a self-employed joiner who, in 2001, became her husband.
'I didn't like him because having only just moved into my new home, I wanted my mum to myself. I used to visit my gran at weekends and meet up with friends who were 14 or 15.
'All they talked about were boys and who they'd slept with and I wanted to be like them. I wanted to feel grown up.'
Her first sexual encounter was with a 15-year-old boy who was part of this older crowd.
She fell pregnant on their first and only time together as they canoodled at his parents' house, and says she didn't know what was happening.
'I'd received no sex education at school or at home,' says Lucy, 'My mum assumed I wouldn't be sexually active at 12, so even though she was a nurse she felt it was too early to talk to me.
'When I started to feel sick in the mornings she asked me if I'd had sex, but I denied it because I was frightened.
'She took me to the doctor and when the pregnancy test showed positive, she was so distraught she started crying in the surgery, and said: "You stupid girl."
'I knew I didn't want a baby, so I was happy for her to arrange the termination.
'She sat me down and explained what would happen and talked to me about how important it was to wait until I was in a loving relationship before having sex.
'I felt closer to my mother then than I had ever felt before. She was very loving towards me afterwards.
'She blamed herself and I lapped up all her attention. I was 12 weeks' pregnant when I had the abortion and I didn't think about the baby at all.'
This closeness, however, did not last. When her mother married and became pregnant with Lucy's younger sister, Lucy felt jealous and excluded.
She would pick fights with Shelley and her step-father before storming off to be with her friends, whose behaviour influenced her far more than her mother's attempts at discipline.
Lucy was 13 when she fell pregnant by a 19-year-old man at a party, where she'd become so drunk on vodka and cocktails that she didn't know what was happening to her.
'When I started to have the same symptoms as before, I knew I was pregnant again and I was terrified of telling my mum, but I just came out with it one day.
'She was angry, shocked and disappointed and we ended up having a huge argument,' says Lucy, who has never told her father about her pregnancies because 'he would go mad'.
'I said some awful things. I told her she was a horrible mum and that I wished she was dead.
'I didn't mean it, but I felt so left out and alone. She organised the termination, and second time round it was really different.
'Mum was much more distant and angry with me and the staff at the clinic seemed to be looking down at us.
'It made me feel incredibly guilty because I felt I had let my mum down again. I was 14 weeks' gone, but we both wanted it finished with so we could get back to normal.'
Lucy says that for the next two years she avoided boys, changed her friends and did not have sex.
By this time she had other things to worry about.
Lucy's mother had given birth to a second daughter and plunged into post-natal depression.
She started drinking heavily, leading to the loss of her job and the break-up of her marriage.
It fell on Lucy to look after her younger sister when her mother was too ill or depressed, or had been drinking.
'Mum tried time and time again to stop drinking. Once she checked into a rehab clinic and spent £2,000 to try to stop, but it didn't work.
'I felt sorry for her and guilty that I might have been the cause of it. For the last years of her life I became her parent rather than the other way round.
'She used to apologise to me all the time, saying what a bad mother she was, and tried to commit suicide twice.'
Because of Shelley's fragile physical and emotional state, Lucy did not tell her mother when she fell pregnant again at 15.
This time it was by a 17-year-old boy. They dated for two months before having sex.
But they weren't using any contraceptives because 'I hadn't been sexually active for two years and he told me he didn't need to use condoms because he was infertile,' says Lucy.
'I remember him being so upset as he told me, and I believed him because who'd make up a thing like that?
'Before I had always gone for bad boys, but this one seemed really nice and caring, the sort of boyfriend a mother would approve of, but when I fell pregnant he dumped me and accused me of sleeping with other boys.'
Lucy was 16 weeks' pregnant when she had her third termination. 'I couldn't tell my mum, so I went to my grandmother for help.
'She was shocked, but didn't know about my other abortions and I made her promise not to tell my mum or dad.
'This time I had a termination on the NHS, and I didn't tell them I'd had two terminations before because I wanted to get it over and done with.
'I felt nothing but relief afterwards.'
Lucy was 16 when she met the man who is now her fiance.
Her mother was more than happy for Lucy to move into a rented house with him, relieved that her daughter seemed at last to be in a settled relationship.
Yet again, however, Lucy fell pregnant accidentally - this time, she says, when a condom failed.
Together she and Jack decided they were not ready to become parents, and Lucy underwent her fourth abortion, without telling anyone.
'This is the only abortion I felt bad about. It was because I was older and more aware of what I was doing. I felt guilty to have had so many abortions so young, and guilty that I was able to get pregnant so easily with babies I didn't want while other women struggle for years to have a baby.
'I feel it was the right thing to do, but sometimes I feel selfish.
'Jack knows about my other abortions, but he doesn't like to talk about it. I wish I'd waited until I was in this relationship before I had sex.'
Lucy wants children one day, but her priority at the moment is to be a mother to her sister.
'Obviously she's been affected by what's happened, losing our mum. I'm not over it yet either. I've had to grow up very quickly.
'My sister often cries, but I'm determined to give her some happy childhood memories.
'I've blanked out my abortions and I have too much self-respect to go through all that again.
'I just wish other young girls would respect their bodies enough not to give them up to anybody.'
13 May 2012, Mothers Day