No Regrets

by M

November 20, 2019

The second I found out I was pregnant I knew exactly what I needed to do. I had spent an entire year saving thousands of dollars and countless hours working to move abroad and go back to college, and a month into the new life I had built for myself in London, I got pregnant.

There was absolutely no way I was going to let an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy derail everything I had worked so hard for. I cried for about an hour, called the local BPAS (think UK version of Planned Parenthood, but totally free as it’s funded by the NHS), and made an appointment for a consultation and medical abortion pill, all to happen in one week.

The week of waiting was agonizing. Not because I was nervous or regretting my decision, but because I so badly wanted the whole situation to be over with. I was anxious about what to expect from the process–I was so early in my pregnancy that I was scared they wouldn’t be able to detect it or that some other unexpected thing would happen that would make me unable to get the abortion I was seeking. I spent hours researching statistics and searching for abortion stories (how I found this page, and when I decided I would contribute once I had mine). I was very open about my feelings and decision with everyone from my friends to my boss, but I struggled with telling my family. I have people in my family who struggle with fertility and desperately want children, and I couldn’t bring myself to share my plans with them. That is the only time I felt a pang of guilt or shame about my decision.

On the day of my appointment, I walked into the clinic with a friend in tow and everyone was very kind, but straightforward, with me. The appointment took only 3 hours–first a private consultation to confirm my decision (my nurse was very non-judgmental and friendly), an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy, and finally a review of how to use the medication. I walked out having taken the first pill, and the set of four pills to be taken home and taken the next day in my bag. I had no nausea and went out shopping and had lunch with my friend after my appointment.

I thought the appointment would be the scary part, but in fact, taking the second pills on my own in my studio flat was what really gave me anxiety. The statistics for the safety and effectiveness of the pill are very high, but I couldn’t help but worry about what to expect.

Impatiently, I woke up at 5 AM and inserted the pills and waited, going to the toilet repeatedly to see if the process has started. Three hours later, I began to feel cramping, by hour 4 the cramping was severe but bearable. I started to bleed at hour 4 and the sense of relief that flooded over me was huge. It was working, and I wasn’t going to be pregnant anymore. The severe cramps lasted less than two hours and were relieved by walking around and using a hot water bottle. I didn’t take any painkillers, but I probably should have. Eventually, the pain subsided enough for me to take a nap. When I woke up I felt completely fine minus some moderate cramping and consistent bleeding, nothing more than a heavy period.

I am currently on day 1 post-abortion and I feel completely fine. I went to uni as usual and while my bleeding is heavier than usual, it’s manageable and my cramps are nearly non-existent. I would even venture to say I feel newly energized and positive after knowing that I am no longer pregnant and that the process went smoothly.

The access I was given to an abortion saved my life. Seeing the positive symbol of the pregnancy test I took 8 days ago felt like my entire world was ending. I am so grateful not only that I was able to get the abortion, but also that it was a seamless process for me. This experience has certainly shifted my perspective on who I decide to trust and where I focus my energy. It was a huge wake-up call to focus on myself and the position I worked so hard to get myself into. I am also so grateful that the UK government recognizes abortion as a medical right and covers it under the NHS. My healthcare in the US–which was considered great and had a lot of coverage–did not cover abortions.

Please do not let social stigma scare you about your decision. It is completely normal to feel anxious and abortions affect everyone differently, but just remember that you CAN do it, and you will be fine afterward! I thought I would feel differently, not like myself, but having had the abortion I feel more connected to myself than ever before.

Remember that our stories are ours to tell. We’d love to hear your story too!