I temporarily stopped taking my contraceptive pill

I was 18 years old and had been with my boyfriend for just over a year when I found out I was pregnant.

I had an abortion 2 months ago at approximately 11 weeks.

I had been experiencing mood swings and depression with my contraceptive pill and as a temporary measure had stopped taking it to give me and my body a 'break' from the artificial hormones.

I've never told my boyfriend this and it was so stupid of me to think that I wasn't going to get pregnant. I missed 2 periods but I'd taken at least 3 pregnancy tests and all were negative. I assumed it was because my hormones still weren't back to 'normal'.

About a month before I found out that I was pregnant, I noticed a change about myself.

My priorities, likes and dislikes had changed. I no longer wanted to get drunk or party, I'd lost all ambition to 'look good', and I didn't care about dieting or exercise or tanning anymore.

Looking back it was as if the motherly behavior and attitude was showing even early on in the pregnancy.

I even decided to start taking the pill again, but when I didn't have a period during my pill free I thought it best to take another pregnancy test, just to be sure.

I never for one moment expected it to be positive.

I remember it clearly, I was in the bathroom of my house just getting in the shower and thinking to myself 'I don't know why I'm bothering - I'm on the pill anyway'. Then I looked down to see a positive result on the test strip. I couldn't believe it.

I rang my best friend and told her and she came straight round. I was shaking, crying. I couldn't believe it. All I could say was 'I'm such an idiot'.

I already knew that I would have an abortion.

The situation I'd left myself in meant that I'd had plenty of time to think about it. It felt like my only option, in some ways I think it was the easy option. I knew having a baby would stop me going to university, stunt my youth, put massive pressure on the relationship I had with my boyfriend and cause unbelievable financial strain.

But to be honest the reason I had the abortion is because the thought of being a mother scared me.

There's nobody in my family younger than 16. I have never really been in contact with young children and the mental state I was in around that time meant that I wouldn't have been the best mother I could have.

When I told my boyfriend I was pregnant, and planned to have an abortion he felt exactly the same. He told me he loved me and stood by me throughout. There have been times when I've needed him and he has always been there without fail.

I wish he'd have talked to me about his feelings but I understand why it must have been hard or awkward for him as I think he saw it as very much 'my' grievance.

The month leading up to the abortion was difficult. I felt so disconnected from everyone. At my first appointment with the abortion clinic I had a scan to determine the gestation. I know it was probably a bad idea but I looked at the screen showing the fetus during the scan and asked to keep a picture. I felt so proud.

In some ways I was thankful because it made it easier to come to terms with the fact that I was pregnant and bring me out of the shock so I could think about it and know that I was doing the right thing.

But in other ways the more I came to terms with it the harder it became. I found myself looking up what stage it was at on the internet, whether it had fingers and toenails.

It was so hard knowing that soon I would willingly allow someone to destroy something I so desperately wanted to protect.

I'd always been the type of person to find pregnant people so beautiful, and I was going to allow a stranger remove it from my womb. It became hard to let my boyfriend touch me anywhere near my womb.

I know it sounds silly but I worried that it would know that its father was there, instincts and all that. I imagined the glee on its little face and it hurt so much.

I opted for the surgical abortion on the advice of the doctor at the abortion clinic. On the day of the abortion we arrived on time and when I was called in my boyfriend was asked to leave the centre.

The surgeon had decided that it was best for me to take tablets to widen the cervix before the abortion so I was in the clinic for around 4 hours. It was a very friendly atmosphere, light hearted and kind staff.

I found it almost ironic that they were being so happy considering how many lives must be destroyed there every day.

I was sat in a recliner chair and given 4 pills which I took with water under supervision 3 hours before the abortion itself.

The abortion was over very, very quickly. I was taken into the operating theatre by a nurse, introduced to the surgeon who looked heartbroken himself. I imagined it to be such a horrible job to have.

It all happened very quickly.

There were at least 4 nurses, 1 doctor and the surgeon. All of whom were either preparing something, asking me something, taking my blood pressure and arranging me on the operating table thing. There was so much happening, I hadn't expected it. I felt so vulnerable and small laying there half naked on the table. I let them take something so precious.

I put myself in that situation - that was my doing.

After the abortion I was put in a wheelchair and returned to the recliner chair where I had been before. After a short time I was given a biscuit and a cup of tea and talked through the 'do's and don'ts' and given my antibiotics.

I remain very thankful to the staff for being so warm and nice. I felt ever so relieved after the abortion. I felt that it was finally over after all the weeks and now I could continue with life and whatever may come after the abortion. My boyfriend booked us into a hotel for the night and I took the next 2 weeks off of work to go and stay with my sister and get away to try to deal with it.

I suffered with depression after the abortion.

Though I never felt regret I did feel guilt and a massive sense of loss.

I tried to think about it as much as possible in an attempt to get over it quicker, and it just made it so much harder for me. I absolutely cut myself off from everything. I didn't go out, I didn't talk to anybody at work, I was insecure, I was comparing myself to others after the weight I'd gained during pregnancy.

I thought about counseling and started proceedings with it but things picked up shortly afterwards so I didn't.

My boyfriend and I are still together and very much in love. We like to think of the abortion as 'delaying' children until we're ready, a thought that I find rather comforting.

My advice to anyone having an abortion is to know your options and talk to somebody you trust. It could be anybody, just make sure there's someone on the end of a phone when you need to send a text to talk about the abortion.

There are counselling services for pre-abortion too I believe. Don't make any rushed decisions and remember that you can change your mind at any moment!

This story was sent in on 29/01/2011 and it's been viewed 14,269 times.

Editor's comment

Very few women take this decision lightly and even when it feels a right choice, you can still feel very painful emotions afterwards that are sometimes hard to come to terms with.

Depression, guilt and a sense of loss are all emotions that many women talk about and need to be worked through. It may be that you considered counselling too early, and I would encourage you to get some help and support if you find yourself still struggling with painful emotions.

The post-abortion support that is very helpful is a programme called 'The Journey' used by many counsellors around the country.

Please follow this link to find a centre for post abortion support in your area.

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