I'm 21 years old and had a medical abortion at ten weeks nearly three years ago. It's affected me in different ways ever since.
I am 21 years old and nearly three years ago I had a medical abortion at ten weeks which still affects me and has done in different ways ever since. I'm sure it will continue to do so for the rest of my life.
At the time I fell pregnant, I was on the contraceptive pill and took this on a regular basis as I should have done and had a steady boyfriend. However, we hadn't been together for that long but it was serious.
I believe I conceived after being sick
I believe that I conceived on a night out as I had been sick and of course this reduced the effectiveness of the pill. However I know at any time the pill is not 100% effective. I just wish I had taken seriously the advice not to have sex if a pill is missed or I am sick or have diarrhoea.
I first had a feeling I might be pregnant as I had not had a period (never been regular) and something just didn't feel right. It's hard to explain to anyone who hasn't been pregnant before but you just know. I had also been passing blood during sex which was very unusual and the taste/smell of alcohol or cigarettes also made me gag, if not be sick.
Two pregnancy tests...
On the Thursday I took two pregnancy tests, both showed up negative and I let my mum and boyfriend know who were both very understanding.
After the negative result I put my feelings down to being under the weather and put it to the back of my mind, although something still didn't seem right.
On the Saturday, I went to a family party. I had one puff of a cigarette and a sip of champagne all night. I told my mum I felt lightheaded and passed out and started shaking on the floor.
And then a third pregnancy test...
When I came round a woman told my mum I was either pregnant or epileptic!!! We told her I had just had a negative result pregnancy test. However, we left shortly after and on the Monday my mum bought me a pregnancy test just to make sure.
I remember my mum's old boyfriend and my brother waiting downstairs while my mum and I went upstairs to the toilet. My family all knew I had done a negative test.
The wait for the line to come up on the test seemed to take hours and when I finally looked at it, it confirmed what I had thought... I WAS pregnant! So between the Thursday and the Monday my test had turned from negative to positive in the space of 4 days.
My mum hugged me and I know it sounds stupid but I wish I could have been wrapped up in that hug, safe ever since! I cried and cried so much. When I went downstairs my mum's ex's only comment was 'should have used protection' which didn't help much!
We couldn't provide a good life for our baby
I spoke to my boyfriend and we agreed that although we both wanted to keep the baby so badly it wasn't practical. Our reasoning was we couldn't provide a good life for our baby. I was unemployed at the time. He worked a few hours at a petrol station, we both lived at home still and were both young and hadn't been together very long.
Now I say that back to myself, nothing seems to justify making the decision to terminate my pregnancy!
In the meantime I got the pregnancy confirmed and was told I was only four weeks. The nurse gave me the option of a surgical or medical abortion. I chose the surgical as I didn't want to be aware of losing my baby and waiting to have a miscarriage.
Knowing I was going to have an abortion was the worst thing
This means I had to wait until I was ten weeks pregnant under the guidelines for them to perform it.
Getting to that stage of pregnancy knowing I was going to have an abortion was the worst thing in the world for me.
I started getting slight cravings, Wotsits! My boobs were heavy and tender, I started leaking breast milk and I started to get a bump, I also fainted a lot and could not drink or smoke as it made me sick.
I withdrew into myself and didn't want him near him
I was also very tearful and completely withdrew into myself. In particular I cut myself off from my boyfriend as I blamed him which I know now was completely out of order.
I didn't want him near me as it reminded me what I was doing. I only let him attend one scan with me and when I went into hospital for the abortion, I wouldn't let him attend even though he was desperate to be with me through it all.
I hate myself for doing this because I know he was cut up by it as well and, if I had been in a right state of mind, I would never have blamed him at all.
The abortion seemed to all go quite quickly
I was given a pessary to insert in myself and after about an hour I started to bleed.
Then they took me to the theatre and put me under general anaesthetic.
When I came round I wasn't in pain but had uncomfortable stomach cramps. I just felt so numb... a strange mixture of feelings ... relief that things could go back to normal (I hoped), anger at myself and mostly sadness and confusion as to the decision I had made.
The nurse asked me before the abortion if I would mind the foetus being used for research. I know it may have helped in the long run but the last thing I wanted was anyone doing anything else to my baby. I was repulsed and refused.
When I got sent home that same evening my mum and brother came to pick me up. My brother is three years younger so would have been about fifteen at the time. He made me the most beautiful card with a picture of me and him when we were a lot younger to show he cared and was there for me. I was touched by this but also sad as my child would never have that with a sibling.
I only saw my boyfriend a handful of times in the following week. I couldn't bring myself to be near him or speak to him.
I tried to get back to 'normal' life after the abortion
I started to block things out and tried my hardest just to propel myself back into my 'normal' life. When I did see my boyfriend, he told me that his friends had chanted at him down the pub 'where's your baby gone?' when they were drunk, which I found disgusting and still do to this day. I still don't speak to some of them because of it. Some of them also said I should have just kept the baby and got a free house from it which again I find disgusting for them to say!
The way in which I was going about things, blocking things out and getting about my 'normal' life while at the same time pushing my boyfriend away further was the worst thing I could do... I turned very nasty towards him as a result of stupidly still blaming him and we inevitably split up.
I very rarely spoke about the abortion
I went on a strict diet to lose the little baby weight I had gained and threw myself into partying and work, very rarely speaking about the abortion.
The crunch point came when, about eight months later, I was at work and a young girl was talking about how she was pregnant and she was keeping it. She was happy because she was going to get a council house and benefits... she made it sound so easy to make such a decision.... I went to the toilet, broke down and was sent home.
I was diagnosed with depression and given anti-depressants and signed off work for three months in the end... EVERYTHING I’d blocked up came to a head.
Everything reminded me of what I could have had and what I lost
I was not in a good place. I had a little bit of counselling but felt they never gave me any answers and told me I should bury something and have like a little memorial service for my baby. This made things even worse because it made it seem even more real whereas, in reality, the baby wasn't even that far developed.
I went back to work and still work at that place.
I had got better until recently
I had got better but recently I have been very tearful and emotional, keep thinking about my ex and what we could have had with our baby. I don't sleep well, but all I want to do is sleep. Everything that goes wrong I think wouldn't have if I had kept my baby. I think how different things could have been. I will settle for horrid blokes just for attention and to feel loved and reassured.
I have lost my confidence and feel like I am nothing, that I'm going nowhere... I want more than anything now to settle down and have a family but don't even have a boyfriend.
I have also put on a lot of weight through comfort eating.
I don't know if this has all come up again because I am lonely or because the Implanon contraception that I had put in at the same time as the abortion is coming up to be taken out which means it is almost exactly three years, next month.
No matter what the circumstances I could never go through an abortion ever again.
I know this is a long post but I needed to get it all out again. Please help.
Thanks for writing in…
It sounds as if right from the start your head and your heart were saying two different things; one part saying that you couldn’t possibly pursue this pregnancy under the circumstances you were both in at the time, and another part of you saying that you both wanted the baby so badly.
It sounds as if you have suffered as a result – suffered with a sense of loss, grief, anger, regret, sadness, depression, sleep problems, comfort eating, relationship breakdown and wanting to sleep to get away from life. Your ex may also have experienced some of these things.
It sounds as if you haven't really had a chance to successfully work through the emotions you have felt since your abortion. You seem to be stuck in emotion, getting deeper and deeper into negative feelings.
The fact that it is now affecting how you view yourself, your value and significance, tells me that enough is enough. It's time to come out from behind the wall of pain. That means walking a journey of facing any denial you may have about the effect of this experience, then working through the emotions of guilt, grief and anger, then looking at ways to resolve those emotions that keep you locked up, eventually leaving you in a better place than when you started.
I recommend that you contact your nearest centre for some post-abortion counselling. It doesn’t cost anything; it’s confidential and it’s kind. Have courage and take a first step towards healing. You've suffered enough.