I continue to struggle with the decision I made which was uninformed & unsupported.

By anonymous on 13/01/2013
I found out I was pregnant at 23yrs, 3 months into my first permanent post as a Staff Nurse. This was 21yrs ago and I continue to struggle with the decision I made which was uninformed & unsupported. The way I was treated by one particular doctor in that his attitude was extremely judgemental & uncaring (3 wks prior to the procedure) will never leave me & infact I have blocked out what he said.

At 13 wks, (by the time I was able to get booked in for a surgical procedure) I felt very uncomfortable with the decision I was making. My bf at the time never knew as we had a particularly volatile relationship and he was in the forces so he did not return home very often. My own parents were abroad on holiday at the time and I was unable to pluck up the courage to talk to them in the 4 wks leading up to the procedure as I knew how disappointed they would be & would cancel their well earned holiday which I didn't want. Only 3 close friends knew, all 3 advising that I could not keep the baby and what with my new job, reluctantly felt the odds were stacked against me and went ahead with the surgical procedure.

The procedure itself was terrible.

After being given a suppository & pessary the evening before, I woke around midnight in absolute agony, having terrible contractions which felled me to the floor (I was sharing a room with 3 other women which did nothing to preserve my dignity or privacy). I found myself literally crawling on my hands & knees through to the main ward doubled up in pain to get a nurse. She helped me to my feet, took me to the toilet block, thrust a bedpan in my hand & told me to use it each time I needed the toilet as I'd most probably pass the fetus into it at some point which completely terrified me. I was then given two painkillers without water which I vomited up 2 minutes later & was given another two. The contractions finally stopped at 4am & I was able to get 3 hrs sleep.When being wheeled to theatre the next day, I was able to see through the doors(when somebody came through them briefly) a woman lying unconscious with her legs up in stirrups which added to my fear & general disgust for what I was about to do.

On returning from theatre I felt **a huge sense of relief** which continued for the next 24hrs. From that time onwards however I have spent countless days & nights sobbing & agonising over the choice I made. Every year that has gone by, the pain lessens but I hate myself for what I did as when I sit down & look back at my situation I can see that I could have coped. I now have two sons but I always regret & think about the life of the child I denied.

I just wish I'd had access to the technology & support services women have today as I truly feel that my decision would perhaps have been very different.

Editor's Comment

21 years is a long time to carry the pain and regret of the abortion you had. CareConfidential started as a response to the secrecy and lack of information, help and support available to women facing an unintended pregnancy. Whatever decision a woman comes to, we believe she should have had the opportunity to take time and space to explore accurate, unbiased information, and to think through her options with an independent practitioner. It sounds as though this was not available for you and it is sad that you feel your decision was based on fear and advice from well intentioned friends. It may still be important for you to seek out post abortion help now so that you can get final closure of this painful event in your life. You can call the national helpline, log on to Online advisor, or follow the link to find a centre for post abortion support in your area.

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