I was pregnant and it was unplanned.

I'm writing this as the last 2 weeks have been the most difficult in my life when I found out I was pregnant and it was unplanned. I spent a lot of my time online looking up information about my options and in particular, reading the experiences of people who had undergone an abortion procedure. I agonised over the decision of whether to continue with the pregnancy or to terminate. It was without doubt, the most difficult decision I've ever been faced with. I am an Irish woman (abortion is illegal in Ireland), 30 years of age in a long-term, committed relationship. This was my first pregnancy. I felt incredibly guilty for even considering abortion because my circumstances were so different to the many harrowing stories I read and anyway, was it not pass time for me to consider having a baby? Our financial position, while challenging, wouldn't have been all that bad to bring a life into the world and support it….we'd have got by. I continued to read endless stories online wanting to find somebody in the exact same predicament as myself so that I could find out what to do…but that's just the thing, you can read thousands of forums and stories but it's almost impossible to find somebody in the very exact situation as you are in or indeed anybody who has the same feelings as you have right this second. There are no easy answers.

But you have choices and that's a powerful thing.

When I found out I was pregnant I looked at the test and immediately felt distraught. My thoughts: "I don't want to be pregnant, this is the wrong time for me, I don't want a baby right now, I have things I want to do/achieve over the next 2/3 years that I realistically won't be able to do with a baby, why did this have to happen to me, we've always been so responsible" and so on and so on. I was totally distraught. I always wanted and still want to be a mother some day preferably when married, more financially secure with our careers fully in place and especially at a point where it is planned and we're both excited and looking forward to having a baby. None of those things were in place and again, it kept coming back to the same thing - the time for me right now, is wrong. Those feelings were also combined with all the great thoughts of what having a baby would be like, holding it for the first time, bonding with the baby, bringing the baby home, being a mother, being parents and knowing we'd be good at all of that. So, I was torn. And very much torn by the thought that what if I terminate the pregnancy and I'm a prisoner to that decision and its associated guilt for the rest of my life? Will I ever be the same again? So after much back and forth and agonising over what to do, I booked a counselling session with the Irish Family Planning Association. I found this incredibly helpful. I also spoke to Cura. There are free, non-judgemental resources in Ireland that will talk to you honestly and openly about your choices and feelings. We also decided to tell a close family member, one we knew we could trust who would look at things with us practically, wouldn't give out but would really help. That was also one of the best decisions we made at a difficult time. Their support was unwavering throughout it all and it was good to share it with somebody else that was close to us. Following a week of thinking and as I said agonising over the decision, I proceeded to book an appointment with Marie Stopes in the UK. They were very helpful and I must have called them what felt like a thousand times trying to sort out an appointment and get all the info I needed. At the time of booking I still wasn't 100% certain this was the right path but I just said, ok, at least I have an appointment in place for next week if I decide to go that route. I told myself that even if I walked into that clinic unsure and having doubts I could still turn around and not proceed. This took the 'pressure' off me immensely -

remember, just because it's booked, doesn't mean you have to proceed.

Put arrangements in place if you're considering it but don't allow it to be your final decision IF you feel you need more time. Don't rush yourself too much. A big factor for me was I didn't want the pregnancy to progress too long as I knew I'd get more attached, I'd start to feel and experience more symptoms and of course the baby would be growing and in my mind (and this is just me), I couldn't bear the thought of proceeding with an abortion after 7 weeks. Simply because I had looked at scans of babies online at 5, 6 and 7 weeks and you could see (in some) a very significant progression at 7 weeks. I found out I was pregnant at 5 weeks so I was 'allowing' myself a 2-week window to consider the abortion. Again, everybody is so different with how they feel about this. That timeline was just my thought process. I booked flights and again said to myself, no pressure, I can change my mind at any stage. My partner kept reassuring me too - forget about any money spent, nothing is set in stone. We travelled to the UK as scheduled and I walked into the Marie Stopes clinic and thought again, no pressure, I can walk back out the door after the initial consultation if this doesn't feel right. All of that helped me in not pressurising myself into a corner of saying, 'o well the flights are booked now you have to go' etc.… because you can go and still turn back! During the scan with the nurse at Marie Stopes I got extremely emotional. Mainly because I had always pictured that moment in my head where they put the gel on your tummy and they circle around looking for the baby and in picturing that moment, it was always one of happiness and joy and of wanting to see what the foetus looked like etc. I was emotional because I didn't feel that way about this pregnancy. I was distraught and felt guilty for not wanting to see the screen or the foetus. It was so overwhelming. After the initial assessment with the nurse all the documentation was filled out (my partner was with me) and everything was ready to go and in place to proceed with treatment. The nurse asked me, are you sure you want to proceed with treatment, you're naturally very emotional, do you want to take 5 minutes? She explained that if you're not sure once you 'go downstairs', they won't proceed with treatment, you need to be sure this is what you want to do. So with my partner we took the 5 minutes out and walked outside for a bit. I cried on his shoulder as he continued to tell me whatever you decide to do, we'll get through this together, you're not on your own. I couldn't ask for better support. I told him how even though it was a very early pregnancy, the scan had made me really really emotional and that I have strong feelings towards it but in the exact same breath I still said 'but it's just not the right time' and then I knew I needed to proceed. It wasn't the right time for me. So I went back in, scared and I can never say I was 100% sure this was the right thing to do at that time. It was always going to be a 60-40 decision for me either way. It was that close. I had wanted a surgical procedure under general anaesthetic but the nurse informed me that with such an early pregnancy (just over 6 weeks), I didn't need GA, that sedation was best. I told her that it was really important for me not to be able to hear (the suction) or see anything happening during the procedure and she reassured me this would be the case and it was. You need to strip from the waist down but you're given a blue skirt-like gown to tie around your waist. I lay down on a 'half' bed (your legs are placed in stirrups), this was as distressing as it got - that feeling where you know something huge is about to be done to you and this is something you've decided for yourself! A nurse held my right hand and made general conversation while another medic was proceeding to inject my left arm (not sore, just light pinches)…I felt whoozy like the room was going to start spinning, I closed my eyes thinking I don't want to get dizzy and immediately was knocked out. The next thing I remember is waking up with a nurse walking me over onto a recliner chair in the recovery area. I was confused and out of it for about 2/3 mins 'raving' almost but gradually regaining consciousness. And here's the important bit - my immediate feeling was one of huge relief. At that very moment, I knew I had made the right decision for me. And that's the best outcome anyone can hope for regardless of what path you choose. The clinic itself was not what I expected. It wasn't a hospital-like environment with HUGE waiting areas. In fact the entrance to the clinic was like walking into an old but very well kept Georgian house! The staff were all friendly and helpful - but be prepared, this is a job to them, they see hundreds of women every week so don't be surprised if you find their approach very clinical for what is a huge decision/event in your life. I'm an Irish woman who has had what is currently an illegal procedure in my own country. Prior to my unexpected pregnancy, abortion was never something I thought I would ever consider even when faced with an unplanned pregnancy but I guess it's very true what they say. You never really know what you'd do until you experience something yourself. Real life kicks in and you have to make the hard choices. For me, I don't regret my decision. It was the right decision for me. Naturally I will look back with sadness that I had to make that decision in the first place, it's one I didn't want to ever have to make. But I know I was true to myself. I didn't rush my decision, I allowed myself to 'fall apart' for days while I was letting each option settle, we sought counselling to help us weigh up all our options and we spoke to a family member who was very supportive. All in all, every woman is different in her situation and reasons for considering a termination. Be true to yourself, allow yourself the time to fall apart to help make this very very difficult choice and that's all you can do - if you haven't a partner to help you, try to confide in somebody that won't be judgemental or tell you what to do but who will support/help you as your mind races through all the scenarios and options. It's important to reach out to somebody. Whoever you are and wherever you're reading this I truly know how you're feeling. You're not alone, thousands of women are faced with this every day. And nobody can tell you how it feels unless you've gone through it, remember that. This is your life and your decision. I wish you the very very best in whatever you decide xxx
for post abortion support.
This story was sent in on 09/07/2014 and it's been viewed 268 times.

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