My Medical Abortion: A Story of Kindness

by Sam

April 20, 2021

When I got a positive test, I was convinced that the test was broken. I was a few days late compared to previous cycles, but nothing too crazy, so I quickly did a test during lunch to ease my mind. When I saw the words “pregnant”, I felt this instant feeling of panic, it was like the world around me closed in on me. I felt trapped. I am 31, engaged, in a stable relationship, a homeowner, and on paper ready for it – I mean we talked about kids and knew we wanted them – but everything about this fertilisation felt so wrong.

Next to it feeling so wrong, so unnatural, I just started a new job, my partner just lost his and we did not have the appropriate space in our house. I am convinced this would not have been a problem if we were ready. We would have just rolled with the punches and found a solution, but now, it felt like climbing a mountain while wearing shackles around our ankles. We were not ready and decided abortion was the best option. It was a lonely decision, as a lot of friends were either desperately trying to conceive or expecting, or had kept their “accident” and now have a little one.

It happened right before a public holiday, so I had to wait 7 days before I could go in for a consultation, 8 before I could access the medication. These 7 days were very emotional. I kept on going over HOW it could have happened? WHAT did we do wrong, WHEN did it happen? I kept on going over WHY I didn’t want to continue. What was wrong with me? Why wasn’t I happy? For the last 31 years, I’ve been fed happy “I’m pregnant” TV shows and friends. Nobody has ever told me that you can be absolutely devastated by it. I wanted factual insights on what was happening in my uterus, but all Google served up were “happy parents” sites, talking about it as if it was already a person, not a blob of cells. I cried a lot. Influenced by pregnancy hormones, I was on an emotional rollercoaster rolling from shame, into regret, into sadness and on to disappointment. I felt selfish for wanting an abortion, selfish for not being able to put myself in the second place.  I regretted finding myself in this position, and was afraid that all these strong feelings were fooling me, and I might regret it in the future, whilst the thought of keeping it would freak me out too. I was so disappointed in myself for letting this happen – as if I am the grand master of my cycle – and all of this was topped up with shame about my thoughts and decision. What I learned is, all those how, what, when and why do not matter. It happened, it is what it is. Not being ready is normal and not selfish. You are allowed to choose for yourself and I think it’s more selfish to set yourself up for something you’re not ready for, just because you’re fearing regret. Abortion is safer than continuing a pregnancy and does not influence fertility at all. Having a child is a big commitment. It is ok to decide that you are not ready, even if you have buts in mind, like in my case wanting a family at a later date. Making a decision based on your strongest feeling, in the middle of an emotional hurricane that throws you in many directions, is the bravest and strongest thing you will ever do, regardless of the outcome. You are not wrong, you are not a disappointment and there is no reason to be ashamed. One in three people with a uterus have navigated the same path, most of them in silence. You’re not alone.

The procedure itself wasn’t pleasurable, but also not the worst. Around 30 hours after taking the first pill, I inserted the first set of pills, accompanied by 2 codeine. The cramping started around 30 minutes in and 1.5 hour later I took 2 additional ibuprofen as the pain was around 6 on the pain scale. It was like a bad period pain when you also have a sore stomach. Approx. 4 hours later, the pregnancy pasted. This took probably 15 minutes and the pain was absolutely horrible (8 on the scale), I had to move around the room and eventually found myself rolled up into a ball on the floor, vomiting. I’m pretty sure I felt it when I inserted the second set of pills, a tiny blob. I took another codeine, and after that, the cramping continued at a 5 for another 6 hours. The next day it was around a 2 and absolutely manageable with ibuprofen. I had a hot water bottle on my stomach from the moment I took the first pill. Bleeding wise it was like a medium to heavy period and the only clot I felt was the pregnancy passing (I did not see it). As soon as it passed, I felt this feeling of relief. The next morning after some sleep, all the feelings that I had earlier were not there anymore. The weight that had been on my shoulders since that positive test had gone. I could breathe. I believe that the hormone levels in my body had dropped, and therefore my instincts weren’t overshadowed anymore. I do not regret my decision and am not ashamed or disappointment in myself. I am proud that I made this decision for me and my future family, that I was strong enough to acknowledge that I needed to be mentally ready and have given myself the kindness and forgiveness to do this. It was probably the worst week in my life, and all this time I wished I could speak to someone, so if you need it, let me be this someone for you. From someone who had been in this situation, you got this. Be kind to yourself.

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