You can be strong enough to do it on your own

by Lily (UK)

I want to share my story for other girls reading this that are or feel that they are all alone.

I’m 18 and I’ve just had an abortion today. Becoming pregnant to my best friend during our first year at university was never the plan, although I can’t say it was a surprise. I’m being honest here so I’ll admit we didn’t use contraception, we just didn’t think it would happen to us.

I unluckily enough figured it out even before I missed a period; stomach cramps and being exhausted etc. So after I’d confirmed it with a home pregnancy test I rang the family planning clinic immediately (I’m not saying that you can’t change your mind but I’ve always been of the opinion that if your having sex you should already know what you want to do if you get pregnant).

The clinic told me that I was able to refer myself to the termination of pregnancy centre in my city. Although when I rang I was told I’d have to wait 2 weeks (as they could scan at the earliest of 6 weeks).

This was by far the hardest part. Obviously the pregnancy symptoms were setting in which meant I was exhausted and getting spotty in my case. But that was not what made it so hard; it was because I was keeping it a secret from everyone. My parents started to ask if I was depressed because I slept so much and I struggled to keep the bodily changes (bigger breasts) from my friends whilst shopping.

However the day of my first appointment finally arrived. I was given a scan (just like in the movies but you don’t see your child or hear the heartbeat) and I was confirmed at 6 weeks and 3 days. I was then offered to come in 2 days later to take the first tablet of the medical abortion and then return a day after that for the rest of the tablets.

Taking the first tablet was non-descript for me, although it did cause a temperature and vomiting. However I was relieved that the process was finally underway.
Returning a day later I had nothing but a numb feeling (I think this comes from doing it in secret, although I’d been emotionally preparing myself for 2 weeks it felt very much more like a task than a life changing procedure). I inserted the rest of the tablets into my vagina, sat in the hospital bed and waited.

I didn’t have to wait long before the bleeding started (akin to the first heavy day of a period). Upon going to the toilet I felt what seemed like a solid ball about the size of a ping pong ball drop out. I was it considerable pain by this point and sick so I rang a nurse who brought me some pain killers. They were immediately effective and I can say those 5 to 10 minutes of pain was all I’ve felt through the whole process. The bleeding continued for about an hour after that until I passed something bigger (although you do not have to push at all). I read this when say thing when I was worried before hand and it didn’t make sense but I’m saying it now: when you’ve passed it you just know. After that I went and lay down and slept for about 3 hours. About an hour later a nurse came in and said I was free to go.

I walked slowly to the bus stop like nothing had happened. Some people may say that’s sad but that was my choice, I did not want a drunken mistake between friends to have an impact on my entire life so I kept it a secret and I don’t regret it. If you have someone to tell who will support you and most importantly not judge, then tell them, but my message is that if you don’t, don’t worry, make the choice that is best for you no matter what and most importantly remember that you are strong enough to do it on your own.

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