I chose to have a medical termination

I found reading about other women's experiences of abortion helpful and quite comforting. I found my emotions linked to my unplanned pregnancy quite isolating and felt lonely at times so I wanted to share my experience in case it could help someone in a similar situation. I am twenty five and have spent the last two years living and working abroad. After eighteen months in New Zealand I had a trip booked home to Britain to see my family. However a few days before my flight home I discovered I was about six weeks pregnant. I had been in a fairly casual relationship, using contraception, for several months so never expected or planned to fall pregnant.

Initially I couldn't believe I was pregnant

-I guess like most unplanned pregnancies I just never thought it would happen to me. My partner was also shocked and we both felt it wasn't the right time for either of us to become parents. Having been living and traveling abroad since graduating I have no stable income, support network or home and have no rights to free medical care in the country I am currently living in.
Although returning permanently to Britain and my family was an option, and would have been the only possibility should I have decided to go ahead with the pregnancy, I don't feel ready to become a mother. I want to have established a life somewhere and be in a supportive, loving relationship before becoming a parent. The father felt he could only support me emotionally if I terminated the pregnancy rather than have the baby and while this was definitely not the reason I had my abortion it was a consideration, as I strongly feel I want to have children when I know they will be loved by two caring, supportive parents and I know I will be loved by my future children's father.

I booked my initial consultation with Marie Stopes while I was still in New Zealand and as soon as I spoke to someone from the organisation I felt slightly stronger. I felt as though I wasn't completely alone in this, I felt as though other women just like me had been through this before and been fine. Though sure I definitely didn't want to continue my pregnancy I was very emotional and felt very sad.
The flight home and seeing my family again was very difficult- I hadn't seen my parents for over eighteen months and they had been so excited and happy to see my again I didn't feel it was fair to tell them about my pregnancy and planned abortion as I couldn't bare to ruin their happiness. I know they would support and love me regardless of what I decided to do but I didn't want to upset them with my sadness. I also felt they would definitely become emotionally involved and it wouldn't be beneficial for me to see them upset when I was already very sad. I had a few good friends I told and they were very supportive but had the advantage of being slightly more rational and dispassionate than I think my parents would have been and for me this was helpful.
I found it very hard to talk about my pregnancy and planned abortion without becoming emotional and so it was a very difficult time. Personally I found the week or two where I knew I was pregnant but also knew I was going to terminate the pregnancy the hardest time. I could feel physically in my body that I was pregnant; I felt sick in the mornings and was cold and tired all the time and constantly thought of a child I wasn't going to have.

It felt to me that life and my emotions just stopped

Stuck on a very low feeling from the time I discovered I was pregnant until the time I knew my body had lost the pregnancy. I felt guilty I was just sad and tired all the time when, after not seeing me for so long, all my friends and family were just desperate to be around me and see me again. I felt as though they deserved me to be a lot happier and better company than I know I was.
I chose to have my initial health consultation over the phone and found speaking to the Marie Stopes nurse very comforting and reassuring. More than anything acknowledging my feelings to someone made me feel less alone. I also felt again as though, while my feelings were never disregarded, that many many women had felt this way and been through this before and they all went on have normal lives and normal families. To me this was a huge comfort. I also had a session with one of the Marie Stopes counsellors over the phone and again found it very helpful. They could help me rationalise and accept my feelings and I found this helped me. I feel as though I am fortunate that I knew, definitely, that I didn't want to continue my pregnancy as I think it must be a lot harder if you are in turmoil as to whether to continue. For me being sure of my decision, and focussing on what I wanted to do before choosing to start a family in the future, made the situation easier to cope with.
I found the actual termination was pretty straight forward. I had been dreading it as I found the time I was pregnant so upsetting so I thought the actual abortion would be very traumatic also. I had read online about women experiencing relief after their terminations and couldn't imagine feeling that way but, in a bizarre way, that was exactly what I felt. It wasn't a euphoric, jump up and down relief.

It was a wistful, sad relief that the worst was over.

I chose to have a medical termination as I felt it would be less invasive and the best option for me. The first appointment was fine, I actually left feeling considerably better than when I arrived. The doctor I saw was very easy to talk to and reassuring. I felt like he respected me and my decision and treated me with true compassion. I felt he understood me and how I was feeling, perhaps because he spoke with women in my situation everyday, and his empathy made me feel a lot better. I was very emotional and he listened to me and it was what I needed. He also explained exactly what the termination would involve and answered all my question and while I found hearing the medical version of everything was hard I wanted to know exactly what my body was doing. I found the scan and hearing the doctor speak of my pregnancy in terms of weeks and days hard -in a way it seemed more real. I had romantic notions of a scan involving two blissfully happy parents to be, not me alone and pregnant with a baby I didn't want and I think it really brought home to me what I was doing. But I was sure of my decision and I believe this made the situation easier for me.
After taking the first tablet I had no physical side effects other than some minor pain in my lower stomach area. I was waiting two days before taking the second lot of medication and found this time very emotional and felt quite alone. I was in touch with the father in New Zealand and while he was concerned for my well being I don't feel he truly cares for me. Before falling pregnant we had only been together in a relatively casual way so I guess he felt he was showing enough concern for me by being there to take my calls when I rang him. I would have liked more support from him, I felt very alone throughout everything and I think I would have found everything easier if I had been with someone who loved me. I think he felt responsible for my sadness and maybe out of guilt, maybe out of cowardice, maybe out of lack of empathy or feeling for me, he wasn't able to give me all the support I needed. I don't blame him, he didn't chose to be in this situation and we had never been seriously committed to each other, but I believe I would have found everything easier to cope with if I had more support from him.
I found the second appointment was even easier than the first. It was very practical and quick, as all decisions and hard questions had been made and answered in the first appointment. I took tablets for sickness and pain and then was given four tablet to dissolve in my gums. The whole process is described in detail in your first consultation so you know exactly what is going on. After having the tablets dissolve for around twenty minutes I left the clinic and a friend collected me.
I was slightly nervous of the physical side effects of the termination but was more scared I'd see blood or part of the pregnancy and feel differently about my decision and regret it. About fifteen minutes after leaving the clinic I started to shake and feel a bit sick but it was fine, nowhere near as bad as I was expecting. The bleeding started after about an hour and was very very heavy. At one point blood was, literally, streaming out and I found it quite upsetting. I felt the pregnancy leave my body but it didn't hurt. These are the practical details I wanted to know before my termination so that is why I have included them but obviously different women have different reactions to the medication. I felt sick but I think it was more because I felt quite upset by the blood and clots leaving my body rather than a physical sickness. I had strong cramps, once each one passed my hands and feet sort of tingled as the blood flowed back to them. They did hurt but it was bearable, I don't think the physical pain is something any woman should worry about as it really wasn't that bad. I continued bleeding heavily for a few hours and after that just lost as much blood as I normally would during my period. That was four days ago now and I am still bleeding but it is just like a period only containing small clots and flecks of the pregnancy. The pain stopped on the second or third day but by that point it was just the odd cramp. The very strong pain and heavy bleeding only lasted a few hours.
My mood has been very mixed since then. **I have felt relief it is nearly over and sadness that I will always know I didn't chose to continue this pregnancy.** The whole experience has made me reevaluate my life-I definitely do want children and my own family one day but I want it to be at a time when I am able to be the best mother I can be.

Editor's Comment

Thank you for giving such a detailed account of your experience, and for your honesty in describing the mixture of emotions you felt through the whole process. It must have been very difficult coming back to England with all the excitement of seeing family and friends again, but having an enormous cloud hanging over you at the same time. I hope you make a good recovery, but do please call the helpline if you need to talk anything through.
This story was sent in on 08/05/2013 and it's been viewed 308 times.

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