I had a shower this morning and passed a huge clot - I looked at it and I could see tiny arms - my baby.

I don’t know how or what to feel. I had a medical abortion yesterday. I was six weeks and three days pregnant. It was a very strange experience, arriving at the clinic and seeing so many 'normal' people as if I was going to a doctor’s to discuss a minor issue like a cold or flu. So many people were coming and going. My name was called and I had to have a scan to determine how pregnant I was - I have a toddler and my first memory of his scan was excitement - how big is he now, is his heart beating? This time they didn’t refer to it as a baby but said ‘your pregnancy’ is six weeks old. I asked to see the picture - I don’t know why, as I was going to end it but I needed to. Then the nurse printed off the pictures and stapled them face forward for my file for the doctor. I had the first pill, went away for six hours and had to have the second stage. Two hours later the pain began - it was unbearable. I have been through childbirth before, but this was way worse. I always thought about the emotional effects of an abortion but never thought of the physical effects. The pain was horrific but what was worse was going to the bathroom and passing huge clots - was that my baby that I killed?? I had a shower this morning and passed a huge clot - I looked at it and I could see tiny arms - my baby. As I said at the beginning I don’t know what to feel. Maybe time will tell; I know I won’t forgive myself. Editor’s note: Thanks for sharing your story with us…You seem to be in shutdown at the moment; feeling nothing, staying numb, because you’re not quite sure what effect this might have on you. You seem to be a mixture of things: firstly saying how surreal it all felt for you at the clinic, then remembering your first pregnancy scan and the positive emotion associated with that, then noticing the words used – pregnancy, not baby, then saying you’d thought about the emotional effects of abortion before, then being faced with the ‘tiny arms – my baby’ in the shower, then using the word ‘killed’, then lastly saying how you won’t forgive yourself. It feels like you probably had very good rational reasons to go through with this, but your heart is initially responding to it by going numb, shutting down, unable to express anything. (It sounds as if this decision may have been one that you really struggled with or didn’t give enough attention to your heart’s message about it.) This shutting down can happen when we are trying to protect ourselves from engaging with painful realities or from feeling emotional pain. It’s normal, but only for a while, not long term. You may already have surfaced from that numb place, and be feeling all sorts of painful feelings such as grief, anger, loss, regret, guilt and shame. These are some of the emotions many women report following an abortion. Whether you have surfaced or not, you may like to visit your nearest centre to find some support.

This story was sent in on 02/07/2009

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