I got pregnant whilst on contraception

Not all contraception works, even when taking it everyday, at the same time, this is something I found out in probably the worse way possible. I had been on Cerazette for 5 months before I got pregnant, I can’t remember the specific brand but I do remember my GP changed the brand 2 months before I got pregnant to “exactly the same pill but cheaper.”

I felt at every appointment I had about the abortion I had to mention I had been on contraception, I didn’t want to appear as someone who just took a risk or didn’t think about it. I’d been on contraception since I was 16, it was a part of my daily life that I never took a chance on. The huge bit of information that me and my friend who came to the appointment with me took away from seeing the nurse is that contraception just doesn’t work on some people, taking the pill everyday doesn’t mean its doing what its meant to. Donia mentioned to the nurse that she sometimes bled during the time she was taking the pill, and this was something that had been happening to me as well. The nurse then said that this meant the pill wasn’t strong enough for us and wasn’t doing what it was meant to - meaning we’d both been having sex when we might as well have been using nothing.

The pill not being strong enough for me was something that had never been explained to me as being an option when I went to see doctors about contraception. It was always just take this and you’ll be safe. I put my ignorance down to the lack of sex education I got from going to a Catholic high school but Donia said she’d never been told that either. Two women in their 20s had never been told that the contraception you’re on just might not work for you, when I’ve told this to other people my age there hasn’t been a single person come back to me and say they knew it, my Mom in her 50s didn’t know it either. Push for your own body, I wish I had said no to the cheaper option and stood my ground for what pills I am putting into my body every day.

I got really angry about this, about the lack of education I’d been given from doctors and sex ed teachers in school. Even now I learn so much about how a women’s body works that I’m embarrassed as 22 year old I didn’t know it before. I’ve had to teach myself biologically how a woman’s body works, because my school didn’t.

We have to do better to teach girls to know their bodies - it took me 3 months to even realise I was pregnant because I was sure every woman who gets pregnant has morning sickness and I hadn’t.

I’ve now got the implant and for me it works pretty well, the not having to really think about it for 3 years is something I love. Downside I sometimes get 2 periods a month, sometimes I don’t get a period for 3 months, which can be a lovely guessing game that means I have a constant supply of pregnancy tests in the bathroom, which thank god so far have only been a waste of time and money.

My hypochondria loves to play the “are we pregnant again?” game every few weeks.

telling my mom I'm pregnant and having an abortion

My support system at the time of my pregnancy and abortion was my Mom and a small group of friends I’d had since high school.

Most of my uni friends who knew seemed to have other things on their minds, or simply didn’t care. At the time I wasn’t really bothered about this, I was too focused on just getting it done but thinking back to it I wish more people who knew had checked in a bit more with me. The friends who did never did more than just ask how I was doing or if everything was going okay but that meant a lot especially when you’re dealing with something that makes you feel so isolated from everything. I think some of the reason more people didn’t check in is the fear around the subject of abortion, fear of saying the wrong thing and fear of having the person whose going through it breakdown on you and you having nothing to say.

I can take the blame here for having such a small support system because I didn’t tell anyone in my family apart from my Mom, I also didn’t reach out for help. My Mom and Dad have been separated since before I was born so I didn’t really need my Dad to know. My sisters and me don’t have a very emotional relationship, we’re all very awkward around anything remotely personal (probably due to my Dad’s lack of emotional output) not like we’ve known each other our entire lives. Then my Dad and step Mom, in all honesty I don’t know why I didn’t tell them when I was pregnant. I knew I’d tell them I’d had an abortion, but when I was pregnant I just needed to deal with it, get it done and then take it all in after.

Telling my Mom wasn’t something I was particularly nervous about, I’m very lucky in knowing that my Mom supports my decisions in almost everything I do. There was no fear of her thinking I was making the wrong decision or that she was disappointed in me, and for that I’m incredibly grateful. I just knew she’d support whatever decision I’d made, like she usually does as long as I’m not being an idiot about something. I’ve spoken to other people who have had to tell their parents that they’re in similar situations to the one I was in I’m very aware it isn’t the case for a lot of women and girls to have support from anyone let alone their families.

After watching TV with my Mom for about 2 hours I plucked some confidence out my ass and said I was pregnant. I said I already had my appointments booked in to deal with it and that she was the only family member I was planning on telling.

“Oh Ab my poor darling girl” - Her voice was pure pain of having to see your kid deal with something shitty.

She was mostly frustrated for me, she knew I’d been safe with everything, she knew I wasn’t naive about those things and she knew I wasn’t in a great relationship. Her main frustration was focused on me being put onto a cheaper version of the pill a few weeks before I got pregnant. This is where he anger and emotion went because it was the only thing either of us could blame other than sheer bad luck.

She offered to come to my hospital appointments with me, but respected when I said I needed to do it by myself. Drove to Manchester a few days after the abortion and drove me back home while I cried and slept.

Writing about it now over 2 years later, we’ve spoken about it multiple times. She’s said she hoped that this would be the decision I would make when I first said I was pregnant. She wanted me to finish university, to travel, live in different countries and be really ready for a baby if/when I finally decide that I want one.

I’m really lucky to have a Mom like her, not just with the abortion but with a lot of other things she does for me. Having the abortion and all the negative side effects that came with that have strengthened our relationship to the max, which really isn’t what I expected to come from it, but I’m very fucking grateful that it did.

If can find any silver linings from the fucked up mess of an abortion I had then I’ll take them and run with them.

anxiety 1 year on

I started suffering with anxiety after I had undergone a medical abortion in March 2016, my first symptoms of the mental illness was my constant fear of my imminent death, sometimes triggered by headaches or muscle pain, but a lot of the time it was something that was constantly on my mind: watching a film, on the bus, in a lecture, at work, eating, drinking, on holiday, it was a worry that had taken over the majority of my mind all of the time. Yet something that did surprise me about this was that I wasn’t afraid of dying, I was afraid about how it would affect the people around me, would my family be alright, who would tell them, what would my friends do, would my dog go on without me.

It wasn't only severe hypochondria that I was suffering with I then started to suffer with intense social anxieties. Friends that I’d had for years I was suddenly constantly worried I wasn't saying the right things, or that they never really liked me. The friends that got me through my abortion I felt only liked me because I was their other friend's girlfriend. I was always concerned about what I was saying rehearsing how I would walk into a room and say hello, listing off different conversation topics I could have with the different people that were going to be there.

I wasn't myself, I was a pushed down, rehearsed, nervous, over-thinker, and I was in constant fear that I wasn't liked along with the constant fear that I was about to die. When I was on holiday in Walt Disney World Florida with my Dad and 2 Sisters is when I think I hit my lowest point, nobody I was with knew about the abortion and they didn't know about my anxieties (my family would always refer to me as a hypochondriac and I wasn’t in the place to explain how bad it actually was) I couldn't go an hour in the "happiest place on earth" without feeling I was going to die in some sort of way.  

When I got home from this trip I started taking medication, these helped me incredibly with the physical panic attacks which then helped to stop the constant fear of death that came with them. After 8 months of being on the anxiety medication I took myself off them, I suffered with mild panic attacks as I had gone off them "cold turkey" (not advised) but after a month I felt more like myself, the fear of death for the most part has gone. I think I’ll always be somebody who over-reacts to something medical, but this I feel has come from being almost 3 months pregnant and not noticing, and then when I did; everything that could have gone wrong dealing with a pregnancy/abortion medically did. 

My social anxiety is something I am still struggling with on a somewhat daily basis, on one hand I have friends I have never felt more comfortable around and who I can be my true self with, but I do still have people I can't quite relax around and still maintain that fear of judgement and rehearsing what I'm going to say, I’m trying to decipher if this is my personal issues or their friendship isn’t right for me. I have become a lot more open about my experience and my illness with my friends and family members which has given us a new stronger relationship, but unfortunately it’s still something a lot of my family don’t really understand and don’t try to.

It's an issue so much in my own head that's a constant mental battle along with the battle of trying to get people to understand.

 

the process of a medical abortion at 12 weeks

I'm not a doctor, this was also over 2 years ago, I might get some medical information wrong, pls go talk to a doctor if you want real expert medical advise.

When I decided between having a medical termination or a surgical my choice took me around an hour, I went back and forth between the idea of simply going to sleep and it being done, and my hypochondria of being put under anaesthetic and not waking up.

In the end my hypochondria won, I didn't want to be put under and felt it wasn't described as too bad when discussing the option of staying awake. OoOH man was I wrong. I don’t want to scare people who might be going for this option but nobody I knew had dealt with this before and I wish I had been more prepared.

1 or 2 days before my full day appointment I went to see the nurse who gave me the initial pill, myself and my friend went I took the pill and got on a bus home. This pill begins the process of separating the foetus away from my womb. This pill made me feel sick about an hour later where I couldn’t sit on a bus without throwing up in my mouth so attempted to walk for an hour before the cramps hit me.

I arrived at the hospital with my (now ex) boyfriend at 11am and began the process at around 1pm, I had tablets inserted into my vagina (misoprostol) to make my womb contract, and then I was given tablets to take orally (mifepristone) to bring about the abortion, along with painkillers, anti sickness tablets and injections throughout the day. 

In my film Choice: My Abortion, I briefly describe the side affects these tablets the sickness and cramps, but these were the worst hours of my life; both mentally and physically. I felt nauseous the entire day, the only relief from this were the minuets after I had thrown up until the nauseous feeling returned. For me personally the cramps along the front of my stomach were not too bad, through the taking of pain killers, but the pain I had along my back was unbearable, I was writhing around in pain, hot, sweaty and bleeding through the nappy I was wearing onto the hospital plastic mattress. Passing blood clots is a feeling I could not get used to even after 5 weeks of it happening to me (this isn't normal, please watch the film to understand) so going to the toilet to pass blood clots and a foetus and then the placenta always into a cardboard bowl was an extremely uncomfortable 8 hours. 

Mentally I hit my low point 4 hours after the foetus had passed. I wasn't pregnant anymore but I still wasn't done, waiting for placenta to come out was infuriating. I could no longer walk around due to the cramps and back pain, so I was tired in bed crying, quite literally in a puddle of my blood. This was when I needed my Mom. Phoning my Mom and crying down the phone that I couldn't do it anymore is a feeling and a memory that stands out most to me from that day, even as a 19 year old who had moved almost 100 miles away for university, all I wanted was my Mom. My boyfriend tried to be supportive but he was only young too, scared and didn't know what was happening to me. If you're having a medical termination take somebody you feel completely secure around, they will see you in the worst states (I almost shit myself at one point so they've gotta be down for holding your hand even through that mess.) I wish I had taken someone who wasn’t my boyfriend, but our relationship was a mess before this and this was just the final nail in the coffin.

Once they thought everything was out I was allowed to go home, the cramps did stop almost immediately, but I just felt shit, the most shit I could possibly feel. I hadn't kept food down for hours, I'd been piled up with pills and just wanted to cry and sleep, which is exactly what I did for about a week when I got picked up the next day by my Mom to be properly cared for in a clean warm house, not the squatters excuse for a house that my boyfriend lived in.

Medical termination is physically and mentally exhausting, surgical for me wasn’t as harmful to my mental state. If I was ever unlucky enough to get pregnant when I didn’t want it I would go for the surgery. (I’m gonna hope that doesn’t happen but with my luck who knows)