I met my partner in the first year of Uni (I was studying for my Zoology degree) and just before the second year of Uni began, I fell pregnant.
I went to the hospital to get a scan to confirm how many weeks pregnant I was, six weeks and two days. I cried in every room I went in and my boyfriend never budged from wanting an abortion. I decided to wait two weeks to think about what I wanted before booking in for the first tablet. My boyfriend and I went on a camping holiday for a week with the hope of him changing his mind and me to find out what I truly wanted. At the time, my mum was going on holiday too so I waited till she came back until doing anything.
I remember sitting on the beach during the camping holiday and seeing a pregnant woman with her two children. It really upset me. When my holiday and my mum's holiday finished, I still wasn't sure what I wanted. I was hoping to go to vet school and, with this in mind, my mum advised an abortion if I wanted to be a vet. I had worked so hard on working my way to vet school and I didn't want to give it up.
It upset me to think I was going to have an abortion and I wanted my boyfriend's parents to know what was going on. I had taken the first tablet and later that evening I was feeling upset. My boyfriend wanted to go back home but I wanted him to be around me. I told him I wanted his parents to know but he didn't want that. He ended up going home on his own. My mum brought me back inside my home and talked to me. Later on in the evening I decided to go round to his and tell his parents. He ran off and I sat there crying, telling them. They said if it upsets me that much don't do it, but it was too late. I had already taken the first tablet and was due to take the final one two days later.
The day I was being admitted into hospital to take the final tablet, I had to stop my mum from driving the car whilst I was sick. I wasn't allowed anyone to be with me in the hospital even though I was in a separate room on my own. I remember crying in the room and the nurse said, ‘Is this not what you want?’ I said no, but it was too late, she said.
I took the final tablets and was sick after taking them. Then the pain set in and I was getting up to go to the toilet every two minutes. I was sharing a toilet with another woman and I had to write my initials on the bowl every time I passed something. I remember being in so much pain, crying and just wanting it all to be over. When I passed the foetus, I saw it in the bowl and I was sick. I can still see it now. I informed the nurse I had passed it and she came back in the room to confirm it and that I had passed it all. I cried and cried. I was still in a lot of pain and had to have a painkiller in the muscles in my bottom. The pain eased off and when I could finally relax, I felt one moment of relief. I don't know if it was because I was relieved of the pain that had gone, or that the procedure was over, but whatever it was, it didn't last one minute because then the pain in my mind and heart set in deep.
I cried and cried. Three hours later when my mum came to pick me up, I cried even more. My boyfriend came around to my house that evening with a bunch of flowers and when I said, ‘what are those for?’, he said they were for me and that he felt guilty. I cried a lot. We did go to counselling a year later and we planted a flower in memory of the baby. I wrote a to our baby which said, ‘You will always be in our hearts, love mummy and daddy xxxx’ He cried so much that day watching me cry whilst I planted the flowers. I planted three, one for each of us.
I returned to university and failed the second year. I remember crying to my flatmates but never told them what was wrong. My boyfriend visited me but when I needed him most he said he was going to spend some time with his mates. I re-sat the second year and passed. I am now in my final year, and applied for vet school but wasn't successful. I have cried over the abortion even more than ever because I had done it for nothing. I am now failing my final year and I don't even think I am going to complete the Zoology course. I try and do my work but I just feel awful and upset every time I try and concentrate. I try my hardest to do my work and revise for the exams which I had missed, but then I found a mice infestation in my flat and I have returned home to where I think I will stay.
I don't want to give up my degree because of the abortion. If I quit now the abortion will have been 100% for nothing but I just can't bring myself to do the work. My boyfriend and I are still together and he regrets the abortion too. When we have sex, I regularly break down during sex and cry. We have actively tried for a baby whilst being in our final year at uni but, even though we had sex during my ovulation days, I have failed to get pregnant. All I want to do is become pregnant again.
I hope anyone reading this who is either thinking of having an abortion or who is to quick to criticise anyone who has had one, thinks about the harsh reality that it leaves some women like myself.
Editor’s note: Thanks for writing in…You were obviously deeply ambivalent about having an abortion and it’s not surprising that you are now struggling to come to terms with it, especially now that your dream of becoming a vet seems unattainable now. It seems as if you made a valiant effort to get back to normal, but it’s all too much.
I’m not sure exactly when you had your counselling, but it sounds as if a revisit might be helpful. To be unable still to get back into routine, to be preoccupied as much as you are, to be affected so much in your sexual relationship and to want another baby so much suggests to me that there are still some unresolved emotional responses to be addressed. Sometimes, we need to go back for a deeper look at what’s happening in our hearts. That’s not a failure, just an acknowledgement that this is indeed a profound experience. Visit your nearest centre for immediate support and perhaps a post-abortion assessment so that your needs can be addressed more specifically.
I want to suggest as well that, if you haven’t already, you talk to your tutor or university counsellor about what’s happening so that you can look at the possibility of taking your finals later and having some time out to recover. In the meantime, we’ll be thinking of you.