We both agreed that neither of us were ready for children and went ahead with a termination..

By anonymous on 23/10/2009
Hi, I would be grateful for your advice and I also want an outlet for my thoughts. I met my lovely husband about 11 years ago and 1 year or so into our relationship I got pregnant (I was on the pill but got ill). We both agreed that neither of us were ready for children and went ahead with a termination. My way of hardening myself up to it was to just get through and I told myself it was no big deal - my life was pretty busy and exciting at the time and I had a successful career - so I pretty much went through the process alone and got on with life. I felt a real sense of loss and I cried my heart out in private, but still felt it was ultimately the right thing to do. During the actual termination I was awake and received no pain relief or anaesthetic and it was very traumatic. There was some panic with the doctor and nurses as I fainted and I’m sure I went into shock. When I had enquired beforehand whether I should have local anaesthetic, they asked if I had taken any painkillers and I said 'no' as I hadn’t realised I should. So I thought it must be simple, straightforward and relatively painless. How wrong I was! My question is, was this normal procedure? This happened at a Marie Stopes clinic.

We went on to have another much loved child 5 years later and I’m thinking of trying for another soon, but I’ve had the most terrifying, vivid dreams about losing my child during and after my pregnancy. Thinking about getting pregnant again has brought these nightmares back and they are so regular and horrible. Unlike any other dreams or thoughts I have, they really affect me and make me feel down for some time after. My question is, do you think on a subconscious level these horrific dreams are related to not dealing too well with my abortion all those years ago? Should I seek help to talk things through?...I feel I cope well generally as I’m a strong person - there are people far worse off than me and I’m a little guilty that I may be wasting someone’s time. Its not as if I can’t move on...I have. I just get this overwhelming sense of panic that something will go wrong when I’m pregnant or have a new baby and I’d love to not feel that way next time. Can you help?

Editor’s note:
Thank you for writing in and sharing your experiences with us – you have come to the right place. It sounds like you have been through a very traumatic time. Terminations can be carried out under local or general anaesthetic, but it was not the responsibility of you as the client to provide pain relief – that is the job of the clinic’s doctors and nurses. I have heard other similar stories from women who have found having a termination under local anaesthetic both painful and traumatic. You were badly let down by the clinic because you should have been provided with sufficient pain relief both during and after the procedure.

Although your circumstances at the time meant that having a termination seemed like the best option for you and your husband – you express experiencing a deep sense of loss. The hardening you talk about is probably a hardening of your heart, which is a very natural response to pain. What I think you are experiencing now is a softening of your heart to a point where you are now ready to have a look inside - to see how that experience affected you. It is likely that these past experiences are tainting this time, which should be filled with so much joy and hope. The nightmares sound difficult to cope with, and you are right in thinking that it is likely that these dreams are linked to your past experiences. Feeling overwhelmed and panicked are also likely to be symptoms of something deeper. Please do contact your nearest centre – the advisors will be able to help you and are experienced in helping people journey to a place of healing following a termination.

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