A surgical abortion at 13 weeks
I had an abortion at 13 weeks by vacuum aspiration.
The journey getting to the point that I was sat in the clinic in a gown was a very distressing, short and rushed one. I had had difficulty getting an appointment with my doctor after doing a home test and finding out that I was pregnant; it took over a week, even insisting that I needed to see them urgently, and they were not at all accommodating. I was immediately congratulated by the doctor after I told her, very shakily, that I was pregnant, I was the one who had to point out to her that I didn't want to be congratulated and that I needed advice as the baby was unplanned and unwanted. Her mood changed quickly and she rushed me through to an appointment at a clinic a few days later where they would do a scan and give me advice on my options.
My partner was at work and was unable to come with me to my appointment. I sat in the waiting room with one of the older women there. Most were girls younger than me. They were all with friends and seemed quite relaxed. I assumed that I would have my scan and they would tell me that I was in the very early stages of pregnancy and that I would be able to take a pill to terminate it. The scan was done very quickly and I was told rather abruptly that my baby was at 13 weeks. I felt sick. Suddenly the baby wasn't just a speck in my mind, it was a growing person inside me, with little arms and legs and a brain developing. I was then rushed through to another room where a nurse asked me what I wanted to do, I said that I couldn't be a mum, and she booked me into the clinic for an abortion just two days later where I was put under and woken up feeling uncomfortable and empty.
My immediate reaction to having the abortion was relief and over a few years, and a few 'would have been' birthdays and anniversaries of my termination I began to feel guilty about this feeling. I started to wonder what the baby would have looked like, whether it would have been a he or she. As I became more financially stable (a major factor in my decision) and bought a house with my partner, the baby's father, these thoughts began to eat me up as I became more settled and mature. I started to drink more and comfort eat and to treat my fiance badly. I refused to talk about it and kept my feelings under lock and key, I couldn't even say the word 'abortion'. I should have been looking forward to mine and my partner's wedding but I couldn't shake off my demons.
In the end it was my fiance that cracked. He hated to see me destroy myself and be so pessimistic about everything.
He found the information on Reading Lifeline and made me contact them.
I was at a dark point in my life and I didn't think I deserved to help myself so I did it for him.
I rang the answer machine and left a message with my phone number and I was texted back,which was such a relief as I didn't feel ready to speak to someone immediately. I had my first appointment which was probably the most terrifying thing I have ever done. I felt so welcomed and not once did I feel judged. During my journey I discovered that it was ok to grieve. This made the biggest difference to my life. I found that even though I, and I alone, had made the decision to have the abortion, that it was still alright to grieve my loss, because that is what it was: a loss. I felt the weight of over three years lift as I gave my baby a sex and a name and cried for her loss. At the time that I had the abortion it was the right decision for me and my life, and of course, I feel sorrow and grief for my child and I always will but I no longer feel guilt and regret.
Please, if you are reading this and are struggling to come to terms with your loss and your decision, please be brave and contact Reading Lifeline. My life has been changed in a way that I never thought it could be. I have recently married and we're now looking to the future instead of being trapped beneath a dark cloud.
For some women feeling of sadness, guilt or regret can happen shortly after the abortion, while for you that reaction was some years later. I am glad that you found the help that you needed, and were able to get post abortion support to work through your feelings. There are a number of pregnancy support centres like Reading Lifeline around the country, so it is worth checking the CareConfidential website to see if there is somewhere local to you.