I thought I'd share my story with you in the hopes that you will think through your choices.
I chose abortion, words I thought I'd never have to say. I am a pro-choice woman, but also considered myself a practising birth control fanatic. I'm here to say that even those of us who are mature and responsible are not infallible. I'm 32, and I have a stable job and a loving husband, but I also have major debt and huge bills to pay while living in a very expensive city. We're just trying to make ends meet, and knew that we could not afford a baby right now. And so, after crunching numbers for more than a week, we decided we really could not afford to keep the baby and scheduled an abortion. It was heart breaking for both of us. It's a very emotional decision - particularly as I was reminded by pregnancy symptoms every moment of the days leading up to the abortion.
I also had to go to work every day and pretend that things were fine - I ran meetings and even put together a long-planned baby shower for a friend over the weekend. Nobody could know but my husband and I. It would be too painful to describe to my friends why, as a 32 year-old responsible woman, I was not able to share in their joy of raising a family. Most of my friends are pregnant with their second or third children at this point. It just broke my heart. I had to put them aside and think about what was best for my husband and me.
Now the hard part... the medical abortion. I share this with you as a heads up. When I researched the medical abortion, it sounded like a very non-invasive option and liked that there was no surgery. I also liked that I would be at home - it sounded very private to me. All of this was true. However, nothing truly prepares you for the pain.
Like everyone else, I went to the clinic and took the first pill. Twenty-four hours later, I took the remaining four pills. I prepared with a heating pad and pain meds. I had read that it could be painful. Nothing happened from 1:30p.m. until 6:45 p.m. except for some light bleeding. I stayed in bed and concentrated on staying calm. At first, I felt minor cramping - like the beginning of a period. My periods can be very painful, so I thought to myself, "How bad could it be?" I found out around 7 p.m. that the pain is VERY bad. I went from minor cramping to bleeding and clotting. I had extremely bad diarrhoea at first. Then came the contractions. I was in so much pain that I lay on the bathroom floor and began getting cold flashes and sweating a lot. My breathing intensified - I was breathing fast and began to panic a bit. The contractions were deep, and nothing like cramping. I was terrified. My husband was terrified. I was crying... but was in too much pain to even make much of a noise. Then I began to throw up, uncontrollably, all over the floor where I lay. This level of pain lasted for 30 minutes. My husband called the emergency number they give you at the clinic. It took another half hour before the doctor on call actually called back. By the time they called back, my breathing had slowed down and my pain had all but stopped. A very friendly voice on the other end reassured me that this was very normal and that the worst was over. She was right. The contraction-like pains were over.
I share my story so that you know the truth. It is a very painful process, both emotionally and physically. I strongly encourage you to weigh all your options. My husband said he has never been so scared about anything - and mentioned that I looked like prime example of a drug overdose as I lay there on the floor writhing in pain, sweating and throwing up. He said he was seconds away from calling 911 when the pain finally subsided.
Today, three days later, my bleeding continues and the dull cramping that remains is now a reminder of the serious nature of the choice that I made. In the clinic, where I quietly sobbed for many hours of waiting in the waiting room, I saw women laughing and carrying on - didn't they just feel a little bit scared? But I saw another woman like me - distraught and faced with a decision nobody hopes to have to make. I still have no regrets about my abortion. I suppose each has their own experience. I hope to never experience this ever again. Different people have different reasons. Mine was for financial reasons. Best of luck to you. You are not alone.
Editor’s note: Thank you for sharing your story with us…It does help some readers to hear of the experiences of others which can then inform their own decision-making. As with other women who have undergone a medical termination, you seem more affected by the experience of the procedure than the meaning of it at the moment. I do sense in you a split response to your experience, your head saying one thing and your heart saying another, in that you don’t regret it but it broke your heart. If at any time you feel you need more support with regard to your experience, please get in touch.