We decided to have the pregnancy terminated because of the situation we were in...

With the first semester of uni under my belt, Christmas back at home pretty much over, I made my way back to my university in Wales to start semester two. After my exams had finished we had a couple of weeks off before lectures began again, so in celebration my friends and boyfriend went out. The next morning I felt so incredibly sick, and thinking it was just a bad hangover was wrong... The nausea continued for days and it dawned on me that I might be pregnant. I was too scared to get a pregnancy test or go to the clinic until I got another sign of pregnancy. My boyfriend of four years sat me down and talked me into going to the clinic and getting a pregnancy test. When I asked him what I should do he said he would support me whatever I did. We decided to have the pregnancy terminated because of the situation we were in; we were at university, already in so much debt due to student loans, really not the best time for us to bring a baby into the world. I had to have a medical abortion because the hospital didn't offer surgical unless absolutely necessary. I didn't really want the medical abortion, mainly because the nurse described it as being a "mini labour" process. The word labour stuck in my mind and still is a problem now. My pregnancy was causing me morning sickness everyday and nausea throughout everyday. After the first pill was taken to start the process of the abortion I suffered even more nausea to the point where I couldn't eat without vomiting. The two days between taking the first oral pill and the abortion in the hospital were like hell. I was very weak and emotional. I felt like I had made a big mistake but there was no going back. My boyfriend was by my side and he was attentive. However, I felt so alone during this. My body was changing in so many ways and my emotions too. When the day finally arrived, I could barely think straight. My nerves had made me fall into panic attacks on the way to the hospital. What I was doing didn't feel right. My boyfriend had one last exam to sit so he couldn't be there for the majority of the time. Although it wasn't his fault, I felt resentment towards him. The whole thing did feel like a mini labour like the nurse had said, and it scared me. I felt like I was losing a part of me that day and there was no way of ever bringing it back. I cannot really describe the process but, as soon as the nurses discharged me, I couldn't get out the hospital fast enough. I kept asking my boyfriend if we had done the right thing. I could see in his eyes that he was hurting too. When I got back to my boyfriend’s house, I felt slight relief. This then changed when I passed more clots in the toilet. I couldn't stop crying and couldn't believe what had happened. It seemed like the events of the day had sunk in, in that one moment where I just didn't know what to do with myself. Since January I have found it hard to seek help. The hospital didn't offer me any - only a leaflet to run through all of the medical advice. After that, I felt like I didn't need to look for help until a few weeks before Easter, when my insomnia had come back and my relationship started to strain. I went to the doctor’s, but was brushed off. He said to speak to the counsellors up at the student union, as I would be "wasting the counsellors time" at the mental health counselling service. He made me feel even more ashamed of what I'd done. His reactions to what I said showed he did not approve of my choice and my actions. Since then I have had one appointment with the counselling service at uni, but they cannot offer me anymore for this university year. I feel like things have got worse since then, as it's opened up a can of worms and my relationship is deteriorating. I haven't told anyone about this for fear of being judged. I cannot tell my parents because they are very strict and I don't want to disappoint them. The mental effects of the abortion have really affected my second semester’s work, attendance and my behaviour and emotions go from one extreme to the other. I can't see a way out of this right now, but I hope it comes soon. Editor’s note: Thanks for sharing your story with us…Your decision seems as if it was driven by the difficult circumstances you were in – university, student loans etc. Many women follow their heads in these situations – it all seems perfectly logical to end an unplanned pregnancy when things are not ideal. However, for you, you clearly had deep inner doubts that really only surfaced as ‘it didn’t feel right’, panic attacks, feeling as if you’d made a ‘big mistake’ and asking your boyfriend if you had ‘done the right thing’. The meaning of ‘mini labour’ disturbs you because it’s an expression closely associated with birth, but perhaps you hadn’t acknowledged what this was really all about. Despite the relief you felt from being able to come out from under the pressure, the reality of what happened finally kicked in. There was recognition that this procedure had ended a pregnancy. Sleeplessness shows a lack of peace with oneself in some way. Perhaps you are trying to resolve the pain logically, but your heart is needing some attention and care right now. It would help you to get in touch with your nearest centre for some post-abortion support. Post-abortion stress is not always recognised, but it is very real for the women struggling with its distinctive group of symptoms. Specialised, compassionate and caring help is available and it sounds like it would help you – perhaps your boyfriend too. It sounds as if his heart may have been hurt as well. Get in touch – this is your way out.

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