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I had come off the contraceptive pill as it had me feeling un well, we thought we’d been very careful but clearly not careful enough. I went away for a few days to Amsterdam and had just felt really weird. My breasts felt much bigger I felt really different and I thought I could be pregnant. I had however done this before and not been pregnant so I just thought it was paranoia. When I got back I bought a test, I’d argued with my boyfriend about something stupid and slammed into the bathroom and took the test by myself. The second line was clear instantly and I just felt completely numb. I’m a student and work part time, my boyfriend works full time in a supermarket we live in a small rented flat in Cardiff away from our families in the north of England. I’m 21, I knew I wasn’t ready to be a mum. My first reaction though weirdly in spite of all of that was that I wanted it, I was happy with the result it was minutes later when reality sunk in that I just could not have this child that my heart sank. I told my boyfriend and we just sat for a while in silence and he said it was up to me. I waited a few days and made an appointment with the doctor. I told him I wanted a termination and he referred me to the women’s unit. A week later they were in touch and gave me a date to come in. The staff were very understanding and I was very grateful that my appointment was in the NHS hospital and not the bpas clinic as the city clinic constantly has protestors outside and I was very agitated and stressed thinking about how traumatic it would be to go into that clinic; I was relieved to be in the hospital. On my first appointment they did an ultrasound to date the pregnancy usual then we had a consultation. I hadn’t been expecting an ultrasound and that was quite a difficult thing to go through but the staff were very sensitive the screen was turned away and when they took the image the attached it to my forms face down. I did however ask to see it; I was 8 and a half weeks and it just looked like a little blob, I teared up a bit but the dr was very comforting and reassuring and put me at ease. She gave me the first pill then which prepares your body for the abortion and then I was booked into a room two days later. My boyfriend came with me that morning I packed a bag and the room was lovely and clean and spacious with a nice big window, I got changed and a nurse came in with 4 tablets and a tampon applicator type thing to insert them and explained what I had to do. I did this bit alone then my boyfriend came in and was allowed to stay with me. I had to lie still for a while To make sure they took effect. It was a couple of hours before any bleeding or cramping started. I had bad dioreha, my morning sickness had been horrific for two weeks and was every morning including the morning of the abortion so I had already felt nauseous, but the medicine make the sickness even worse. I was vomiting a lot and the nurse offered me an anti sickness tablet which I took along with some painkiller and promptly vomited back up. The pain was very very intense it was the most painful experience I have ever had and I had not anticipated it at all. I was moaning in agony but they couldn’t give me any more tablets because they hadn’t seen them in my vomit. The nurse in the end gave me a suppository painkiller within half an hour the agony was greatly reduced and I had a small nap when I woke up I went to the toilet and a lot of blood poured out it was thick with some small clots this was taken away in a bed pan but was not all of the pregnancy. I went back to bed and ate something else as it was about 5 hours in now and I hadn’t eaten all day, I took small bites and this time managed to keep it down. The next time I went I passed the fetus. They advised me not to look but like the ultrasound I did, it was a very upsetting sight but was visual confirmation that I had passed it it was a mixture of relief that it was over and I had my future back but also intense sadness and confusion. I got back into bed and the nurse took the bedpan with the matter away and I ate and drank some more a nurse came in with a cup of tea for me I bled a little more and 2-3 hours later the bleeding was just like a normal period amount and I felt ready to get back home. My boyfriend helped me pack everything up and I changed into some clean comfy clothes and got a taxi home. I felt very sore very drained and just completely worn out I got into bed and my boyfriend got me something else to eat I ate then slept for hours and hours. I bled a lot for 2 weeks after that I had to use huge sanitary towels and change them every 2 hours this then stopped and I felt my body start to return to normal. I’m now 3 months out of my abortion and feel physically better I had a copper IUD fitted last month which has been a great non-hormonal option for me. Emotionally I’m still very conflicted and confused, I have lots of mixed feelings and have been struggling a lot with feelings of loss and grief; my problem is not really having anywhere to express those as because I chose it and stand by my choice and don’t regret it it doesn’t feel right to then grieve and mourn the loss as well. It has impacted my relationship I think my partner has struggled as well as we perhaps would have had it if our financial position had been secure. He isn’t a very communicative person and although he was there on the day of the procedure at my side the weeks leading up to it he was very emotionally absent and I was very isolated and alone with nobody to support me. I still feel very scarred by that not necessarily by the loss but by the loneliness of it all; I feel like I now see our relationship very differently.

2018 United Kingdom

There were positives matched with negatives I’m still confident in my decision but still finding the best way to process it and move on. I think writing this has been very cathartic.

Very very painful. I don’t say that to frighten anyone or put anyone off some people aren’t that phased at all but the pain I had was genuinely excruciating. It was blood shit and sick for 9 hours complete hell fortunately once that day was out of the way healing was very easy. I was back in work two days later (with very heavy duty sanitary napkins in tow). I told family and colleagues I was having a minor surgery, I didn’t invite too many questions and seemed to satisfy everyone for my absence and meant they could make adequate accommodations (letting me sit down more, not lifting anything too heavy).

How did other people react to your abortion?

I told a friend who had had one previously and she was a tremendous help in guiding me through and letting me know I wasn’t alone in what I was thinking unfortunately she lived quite away away so was only able to help so much. Other friends I told we’re a bit uncomfortable and out of their depth. My boyfriend tried to be supportive but became very introverted and ultimately left me to deal with much of it alone and confused and afraid and I think I’m still coming to terms with that and the sense of abandonment I felt.

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