how to support someone having an abortion

Disclaimer - you gotta have a bit of common sense.

When I first found out I was pregnant I phoned 2 people, the first was my friend Amy she was at pre-drinks to go out. I didn’t let on to what was happening, didn’t want to spoil her night so just asked that she phoned me the next day. Then I phoned Ash. Ash has been one of my best friends for years, we’ve helped each other in situations that neither of us deserved to be in and I just needed to hear from someone who knew me really fucking well, who could tell what I was feeling from my tone of voice.

I can’t remember the intimate details of this phone call but I remember he never asked if I was joking, which I would have thought, both of us being 19 at the time would have been his initial response. He asked if he could tell our other friend who he was sat with and then made some stupid joke down the phone to me which is actually when I started to cry, that cry when you’ve laughed and then it dawns on you that even if you can laugh you’ve still got to cry sometimes.

Ash is one of the best people to help you with something like this and heres why. He listened to me a lot, he’d sit on the phone let me cry and bitch to him, without trying to give advice because he didn’t know anything about abortions. It sounds like such cliché advice but I really just needed someone to listen. I didn’t want someone who hadn’t dealt with it to tell me how to feel, I didn’t even want someone who had been through it to tell me how they felt, because every single person deals with it so differently. He texted asking if I was okay but didn’t pester if I didn’t reply. Having a friend that knew me better than I thought he did was a true gift during that time. I wish every person going through this could have their own Ash, and if you don’t, I want this site to be a place to feel some comfort.

Something that really made me lose faith in a friend during this period of time was her annoyance at me not responding. Not responding for the weeks surrounding the abortion and specifically on the day I had the abortion. She texted while I was still in hospital asking if I wanted to go on a night out soon, I opened and didn’t reply, about half an hour later I got an angry message about how I never want to go out and it’s “so rude” that I had left her on read. Even writing this now almost 3 years later it still hits an angry nerve in me. You know your friend is dealing with something at the moment, you know that today is the day the abortion is happening, yet her priorities still lay with the issue she had with me. I’m not saying issues between friends need to be put permanently on hold when someone is dealing with an abortion or any shitty situation, but there should be a level of understanding there.

For a few weeks I had to completely care for myself, maybe selfishly but just look after me. During anybody’s time of difficulty it should be clear (or at least it is to me) to just let them deal with it, bring up your issues with this person later, let them ignore your texts for a while, if they don’t feel like organising a night out at the moment maybe just grant them that.

It’s a hard thing to balance when your friend is retreating into themselves and you’re trying to be there for them. Finding the right mix of reaching out and checking in without being pushy or hurt if they don’t reply is a combination that isn’t easy to manage.
But neither is being pregnant and having an abortion so suck it up and be a good friend.