I had a medical termination at 6 weeks in July 2012.
Age 32 this was the first time I had been pregnant, and after trying to conceive 2 years before with a previous partner for approximately 4 months with no success I felt happy to actually be pregnant and also in shock as this was not planned. I did 4 home tests to make sure.
I felt in a daze as though the situation was not realI also felt certain I would not continue with the pregnancy. Apart from the father showing no support and breaking contact I would also be half way through my second year of a professional degree on my due date. In addition I was just about managing financially providing for myself. I have always wanted children but felt sure I didn't want to bring a child into the world under these circumstances. Particularly as I do not know my own father and grew up in a single parent family where my mother struggled financially, and did not want that for my own child.
Within a week at 5 weeks I went to the Dr who referred me for a consultation. The nurse was friendly and non-judgmental which helped as I was already feeling guilt and alone as I felt ashamed to tell anyone. However I did feel part of a process of females coming in and out being asked the same questions. Looking back I needed something personal which should have been from a friend or family member. I advise anyone not to do this alone.
I also had a dating scan which confirmed I was 5 weeks. I asked to see the scan but was strongly advised not too. When I persisted I was told that as I was so early there was nothing to see. I think I was told this as seeing the scan may cause me distress. I do wonder whether I would have changed my mind seeing it. I wonder whether I should have been more persistent or whether it was good for me not to see. Despite a lot of conflicting emotions that day I remained certain I was doing the right thing.
The following week at 6 weeks I went into hospital to orally receive the first tablet. I experienced a conflict in my mind on whether I should take the tablet right up to it being handed to me by the nurse. Though once handed to me I took it just thinking "this is it your decision is made". Although not unfriendly the nurse was very clinical and matter of fact. I should have had a friend or family member there. I had to return to hospital 2 days later. During the two days I felt very odd and strange sensations. I am not sure whether this was due to the tablet or my emotional state. The father contacted me during this period where I informed him what I had done. He did not offer any support but attempted to engage further in a casual relationship with me, which I declined. I did not hear from him after this. Although I still felt certain the decision was right I had great feelings of guilt and being selfish. I wanted to tell someone but felt very ashamed of myself. I returned to hospital 2 days later at 8:30 am as requested. I was told I would go home at around 2 pm. At 9 pm 2 further tablets were inserted with an instrument similar to a tampon. I had a hospital bed and the curtains were drawn for my privacy. I was offered food and drink throughout my time there. Again nursing staff were not unfriendly but very clinical and matter of fact. I really wanted friendly support and someone who cared.
I can only emphasis to anyone how much you should have personal support through this experience.It took quite a while, I would say 3 hours for the tablets to take effect. Just before 12 I began feeling discomfort and pain in my stomach which grew more and more intense. Not long after this regular trips to the toilet began where I experienced loose stools, bleeding and clotting. By another hour later the pain became I would say unbearable, it was on and off and I was experiencing a high temperature and sweats, and also feeling very sick. I found pacing and rocking helped a little. I felt in so much pain over the next hour at 2 pm the nurse offered and gave me an injection of pethidine. The side effect was having poor balance, almost like double vision and vomiting. Due to this I found it difficult to use the bed pan in the toilet and had to attempt to look to make sure I didn't go all over the floor. Unfortunately I saw the collection of what had grown of the pregnancy and found this distressing. I left the hospital at 4:30 pm, and took a week from work sick to rest as I was experiencing a very heavy blood loss, and to gather my emotions together. I attempted to call the father throughout this time but he never answered my calls. I also considered telling a friend but couldn't bring myself to do it. Once I returned to work and began living my normal life, I became easily distracted and was able to put the termination to the back of my mind. My blood loss continued for approximately 6 weeks, but became less heavy after about 2 weeks. During September of that year when I returned to University I began to struggle with my emotions again. I felt confident enough to tell a few close friends about the termination. However I increasingly felt down and ashamed of myself and also anxious I would never have children. I began experiencing panic attacks. This was on-going so I attended my GP in November who prescribed me with anti-depressants. I decided not to take them and to pull myself together. Christmas was a good distraction and I was able to do this. I also began a new relationship at this time and the New Year appeared positive.
February of this year was my due date which will be etched in my mind forever.The closer I came to the due date the more I began to think over my decision and feel guilt, shame, anxiety and depression, and be very tearful. I continue to feel this way. I feel a sense of great conflict as although practically I still feel I made the right decision, emotionally I struggle to cope with the decision I made. I did not anticipate to what extent I would feel this way. I'm hoping that over time this will lessen. From my experience I would advise anyone to seek proper counselling prior to a termination, and to have personal support from a trusted friend or family member.
Editor's CommentYou have been very brave to describe your experience and to admit to your feelings of guilt, shame, anxiety and depression that have obviously been a shock to you after feeling so sure about your decision at first. I feel that post abortion support would help you to think through some of these difficult emotions. There is a programme called **The Journey**which would help you at this difficult time. Please have the courage to access this through the website. 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.
This story was sent in on 06/03/2013