I am 43 and had a surgical abortion today.
I have 2 lovely teenage children and have been divorced from their father for over 8 years. I was recently in a very controlling relationship (which lasted 3 years) which I found the strength to end at Christmas.
At New Years I met a very sweet younger man who was infatuated with me. I was flattered but careful and told him that I wasn't going to start over with children and babies - that part of my life was over.
We made a mistake and I realised when my period was due that I was feeling 'wrong'. I did the test and it was positive.
I never thought I would have to make the choiceI knew I couldn't keep it. Part of me did think that it might be a mistake not to go ahead and keep it but I knew that there was no way I could be 50 and going to primary school to pick up a child. I never thought I would have to make the choice. I saw my GP and called the clinic and went for the appointment. It was too early for a medical abortion - I cried with frustration and fear. I didn't want the invasive surgical abortion so I rebooked for the following weekend. I had only told my best friend. I didn't want to risk 'the father' influencing me in any way.
Medical AbortionI had the medical abortion and it was surprisingly easy. Too easy. 2 weeks later I was still eating like a horse and my chest was approaching massive proportions. I called and made a follow-up appointment. I saw a charming doctor who confirmed that the procedure had stopped the pregnancy from growing but my body hadn't expelled enough and I was still testing positive. I had no choice but a surgical abortion. I booked for a week later when my kids would be on holiday with my mum. I couldn't face stressing her or letting any of my family know. I told the father - I broke up with him too. He was too young and too selfish to support me through any of the experience and I realised I couldn't be with him. So with much fear I went this morning with my best friend, who was very supportive and kind.
Surgical AbortionI chose no anaesthetic so I could go home as soon as possible. The procedure itself was very quick about 1-2 minutes with a speculum and some tugging and only a little uncomfortable - less pain than childbirth and less than a bad period. The nurse and doctor talked to me through the whole thing. The after pains as my body reacted were the worst part. I had a mild shock reaction and thought I would faint.
I am feeling better now after some paracetomol and some food! I will be more careful in the future. It is not something I would want to go through again. But I am glad I had the choice. I could not have afforded to start again emotionally or financially.
The pro-life people were outside the clinic and I told them off when they tried to stop me going in - I was not ending a life - just removing an empty part of my body - they were judging me for something they didn't know about. I can't believe someone would appoint themselves as judge and jury over another person. This is a personal choice and the health professionals I dealt with made me feel human and they never made me feel judged or guilty. I will always support choice but I do hope I never have to make this choice again.
Editor's CommentYou were unfortunate to end up with a surgical procedure following the medical abortion, although it is not uncommon for the medical abortion to be incomplete and to need surgical evacuation of a retained pregnancy. You were certainly brave to opt for no anaesthetic! I was surprised to hear that there were campaigners outside the clinic, as we tend to think of this as American culture. As you say each woman has the free will to make their own decision and I think it is hard if you felt they were judging you.Please contact the national helpline 0300 4000 999 if you need to talk this through with someone, or follow the link to find a centre for post abortion support in your area. a>
This story was sent in on 02/06/2010