my abortion could mean I’m now infertile do I regret it?

In short - no.

After spending some time with other girls who’ve had abortion I’ve learnt how truly bizarre and fucked up mine was. Definitely not the norm. I keep wanting to talk about how bad my abortion was not to scare people out of having one, but even after how atrocious mine was, I don’t regret anything, and would do it all again if I needed to.

The only thing I regret from my abortion was not pushing for myself to be looked after better by the hospital I was at. They did a lot of great work with me (NHS in general has saved my anxiety induced hypochondria multiple times) and looked after me incredibly well, but there were things they weren’t listening to me about, they thought their expertise was more valid than what I was telling them was happening to me.

I got pregnant on New Years Eve. I then went on holiday with my family for a week, when I found out I was pregnant the hospital was insistent that I got pregnant on 7/8th of January. I know the rule of sperm being able to live inside you for 5 days, but even if this had happened to me the dates were still wrong. With the hospital going by the date of 7th of January when I finally had the abortion I was only a week under the limit of being able to have a medical abortion, which meant by my record of getting pregnant I was over the limit.

In my abortion I saw a full fetus come out of me, which after speaking to other people is not normal for medical terminations. When I went home they said I should bleed for around 2 weeks, at the 2 week point I was still bleeding heavily and passing huge blood clots.

Went back to the doctors, they said leave it another week.
Went back a week after, “You have an infection, heres some antibiotics should be fine in a week”
Back the week after, still bleeding “give it another 2 weeks” and it carried on like that.
Finally in May, 3 months after my first abortion I was given an ultrasound that said the abortion hadn’t worked properly and now I would need to have a surgical abortion - double abortion lucky me! The amount of tissue that was still in my uterus meant they classified me as still pregnant. The infection they had mentioned before had been there since the beginning and was still there 3 months later. An infection they told me could lead to me not being able to carry children in the future.

“We can test to see if this has happened… but only when you’re trying for children in a few years time.”
I knew when I was bleeding that something wasn’t right, I knew I should have pushed the doctors and said they needed to examine me earlier because now it could be too late, and I won’t know until I’m trying for kids and will have to experience heartache when or if I’m told I can’t carry them.

It’s the same reason I think I got pregnant - not pushing for the pill that I wanted and saying yes to the cheaper version. Knowing something wasn’t right with my bleeding but just accepting it. Push for your body and what you want for it, trust when you think something isn’t right.

Even after the complete fuck up of my abortion[s] if my choices really were to carry my own and have it at 19 or maybe having to struggle when I’m ready for it then I’d pick the latter every time.

If anyone out there could test me to see if I can have kids lemme know, could be a great next article.

dealing with anti-abortion protesters

“The Beginning of the End of Abortion” yeah right.

40 Days for life is an anti-abortion campaign, twice a year they spend 40 days standing outside abortion clinics across the world. Last week I attended a counter presence against 40 Days, where they stood outside an abortion clinic harassing and shouting at women to try and stop them having abortions, pushing leaflets and unwanted advice to women and girls who are already having maybe the hardest day of their lives. I’m part of a counter presence group where we stand in front of this group with pro-choice and supportive messages, in general try to protect people using the clinic from the shit-bricks stood outside.

My first shift we were very fortunate as none of them turned up - they don’t seem to be able to wake up early to do “the Lord’s work.” This is something that has happened a number of days as they simply do not have the man power to have someone standing outside a clinic everyday for 40 Days. In contrast, on my 2nd shift too many of us turned up to counter their presence, we’re bursting at the seams to support choice and abortion.

During my 2nd shift 3 vigilers arrived with signs to litter in front of the clinic: the classic anti-abortion images over exaggerated fetus' mothers and babies, Jesus on the cross ect ect. During this time a man came out of the clinic to ask what the vigilers were doing by being there. Man number 1 (age around 80) replied “We’re here to stop the murder of innocent babies.” It takes an awful strong will to not reply to such a hate-filled comment from a man clinging onto his rosary beads. How they can believe shouting something like that is really going to help somebody is delusional.

From personal experience of turning up somewhere to have an abortion, once you’re at the clinic your mind is made up. If I had seen or had to deal with vigilers at my appointments it would have just made me go to another clinic, their idea of “saving lives” is a cover to hide their spite against women making their own decisions. How many of them have adopted the babies they’ve “saved”? how many of them foster children in care? Or even give money to charities that do?

My friend wished me luck as I left to go and said “I hope its not too difficult for you!” This hadn’t even crossed my mind, I didn’t feel upset or sad about myself when I was there - there was this sadness for the other girls dealing with this especially since they had these crusty old men judging them as they go in. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel going to an abortion clinic, seeing these women who are in the same position I was in a few years ago but I felt this immense sense of pride. I felt proud for the girls going in that they’d taken charge of their situation and made the choice that best suited them and proud of the group I’m involved with to counter the anti-abortion presence. I’ll keep shouting about my abortion as long as I can because of how proud I am of getting through it!

I refuse to call people pro-life, as I don’t see them as so. They’re not pro the life of the woman who’s pregnant, they don’t care about how being pregnant might effect her, they’re not interested in what she might want to do with her life or the fact that she just doesn’t want a child. Pro-life gives off this fake aura of positivity and after standing face to face with this group for a few hours I can say there was not an ounce of positivity between them.

I don’t know what got them so fucked up in life to think shouting at people or saying 10 hail Marys will make them change their minds but, their anti-abortion and anti women values are something I can’t wrap my head around. Their main belief is that you shouldn’t have sex unless you want to have a child or as to do so is a sin…Looking at this group of people I don’t believe for a second that in their 80 years of life they only ever had sex to procreate, or lets say they did, I’m supposed to believe that they have never committed another sin? A lot of religious groups have a great habit of picking and choosing which “sins” they focus their attentions on. Some examples from The Bible:

1 Corinthians 14:34 reads:

“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.”

translation: women better stay quiet in Church

Leviticus 19:19 reads:

“You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together.”

translation: don’t wear polyester (I can say for certain all of the vigilers were breaking this one)

Some other of my favourite sins:

  • no seafood Leviticus 10–11

  • no working on Saturdays Exodus 31:14–15

  • no round haircuts Leviticus 19:27

  • no beard trimming Leviticus 19:27

  • and definitely no eating cheeseburgers Leviticus 3:17 

All of these sins they could focus on, they could go picket outside McDonalds for the sinners of the big mac, but no. They focus their attention on the women choosing what to do for themselves, because that’s what they’re comfortable with - questioning a woman’s choice.

Trying to stop abortion won’t stop abortion. When it was illegal here people still had them, where it is still illegal women still get them. Trying to stop abortion will never stop abortion, it only stops safe ones.

telling my dad I'd had an abortion

Just what every Father wants to hear.

My Dad cried when I told him I’d had an abortion.

I only told my Mom in my family when I was actually pregnant. Neither of my sisters knew, not my step Mom and definitely not my Dad. It wasn’t because my Dad wouldn’t have support me or my decision I know he would have, he’s not religious but he does tend to question a lot of my choices in life (job and degree mostly).

Not telling most of my family about my pregnancy/abortion I think was because I wanted to be treated normally by people. My university life was not normal I didn’t go into lectures for months and I didn’t hang out with anybody other than my boyfriend and his friends (who all knew). I was getting a lot of looks of sympathy along with this constant fear of being judged about it, I thought everyone was always thinking about the fact that I was pregnant which of course they weren’t.

Telling my Dad was something I dreaded, we are not an emotional family. We keep things on a superficial level, if we disagree on something I don’t argue with him about it. I’ve accepted we don’t agree on a lot of important things but, I don’t push my corner as I’ve just been labelled as the black sheep of my family. If being the black sheep means not voting Tory I’ll take that label and stick it on my forehead for the rest of my life.

I told the rest of my family about a year and a half after I’d had the abortion. I visited home with the specific purpose of opening up about it. I’d made my dissertation film about it, and by this point people were asking why they weren’t allowed to watch it yet. I was sat on my sofa with my Dad and brought up the topic of my dissertation.

“So there’s a reason you haven’t seen my film yet Dad...
It’s about me getting pregnant last year and having an abortion”

I immediately went into my rehearsed speech of how its fine, I’m not really emotional about it, it was what it was and its done now. He asked about how my boyfriend had handled it and if thats why we’d broken up - I tried to attempt a joke about the fact that no it was because he slept with someone else a week later and we were “just in general shit together.”

It went silent for about 3 minuets that felt like an eternity of me trying to guess what he was thinking, then my step Mom walked in (who I’d told earlier that day - saved telling my Dad till last to extend the self-induced anxiety stomach ache as long as possible).
“Why didn’t you tell us Ab?”

Then my Dad cried, then I cried because he was crying, then my step Mom cried.
They both focused on the fact that they would have been supportive and wished I’d told them at the time. I kept trying to explain that I just needed to do it and get it done, that I wanted to go home and get treated normally by people without getting this look of pity. A few days after I’d had the medical abortion we went on walk and I was not in a state to keep up with him and my sisters. The whole walk I was getting the shit ripped out of me for being unfit and I loved it, I liked having this self-pity secret; I was proud of myself for even going on the walk and then being made to push myself further.

After that day we’ve never spoken about it. I tested the water at our Christmas dinner making a some what poor taste joke. My Dad made a comment about wanting grandkids, and I replied “well your chance from me got literally flushed down the toilet last year.” As soon as I said it I knew I shouldn’t have but I couldn’t stop this smirk from being sprawled across my face - but then looking at my Dad’s eyes bulge out of his head and my sisters awkwardly looking at each other whilst trying to carry on eating their pigs in blankets I thought I should maybe find a better audience for the niche market of abortion comedy.

That’s why I’m airing all my dirty laundry on the internet.

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.

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.