Surgical (aspiration) abortion in the first trimester
I had my abortion or got my abortion pills from a local hospital or independent health clinic
What was the very first thought in your mind when that pregnancy test was positive?
I can’t do this right now.
Describe how you felt in the days after you realized you were pregnant.
Depressed, alone, and sick.
What factors did you consider when making a choice?
Financial- could I afford a baby? My living situation- do I have enough room for a baby? My mental health- Can I go through the postpartum period right now and raise my other children/ be fully attentive to everyone’s needs.
My physical health- could I have my eye surgery? Should I have blood tests/ CT done? Could my health cause me to miscarry? Is it “safe” to have a baby right now? What will the world look like when my baby is born?
What is the nature of your relationship with the person who got you pregnant?
Did you experience morning sickness or nausea as a symptom of your pregnancy?
Yes, and it was debilitating and unmanageable
Who was the most supportive or helpful person or resource during your choice-making process?
A doula that I met online
Who was the most supportive or helpful person in your life during and after your abortion?
Abortion doula + my therapist
Describe your overall abortion experience using three words:
Peaceful, supported, safe; I had a wonderful nurse!
I woke up, made breakfast for myself and my kids. Got everyone dressed, left my kids with my dad and headed out of town to the clinic. I waited at the clinic, filled out paperwork, got labs and vitals done, and received an ultrasound. From there, I was taken into a comfy dim room pre abortion. Some were given pain or anxiety medication here. I relaxed for 20 minutes and was called to my surgical procedure. I had 4 numbing shots in my cervix and then the suction began. It took maybe a total of 5 minutes. A nurse escorted me to recovery, tucked me in with a blanket, recliner a chair and gave me a snack. I wasn’t told to fill out one last paper, rest for as long as needed, and have a nurse check my vitals and bleeding. Then, I could go home. My therapist supported me fully, I didn’t expect that. I was afraid to talk to her about it. I didn’t expect my dad to be supportive, but he was. My partner wanted me to do what I felt was best, but I expected him to be more emotional. I expected my sister to support me, but she did not. I didn’t tell anyone else close to me, out of fear.
I felt a great sense of relief and anxiety free. I’m not usually anxiety free, so this was important to my experience. I felt peace and calmness for the first time in a month. Quickly, I felt empty and guilty. I’m still processing the emotions of grief currently. However, there is no regret and this was needed during this time. I’m still allowed to feel sadness and I have to keep reminding myself that. I’ve felt angry with my boyfriend because this didn’t have to happen to both of us. I feel like I lost someone, he feels nothing.
I was afraid that my partner would think that I was awful, cruel, and disgusting for my choices. I wanted to fully pay for my abortion, out of guilt. I have a fear of medical settings/ birth trauma. I didn’t expect the nurse or doctor to be so kind and calm with me. The clinic was packed! Every person in that clinic who worked there treated everyone with nothing but respect, from what I saw.
The choice that I made was important for my family, my health, and our future all together.
What other choices were available to you and why do you think you did not choose them?
Adoption, my sister offered to adopt the baby if I carried to term. This offended me, as I have health issues that have not been resolved or treated. She said that abortion was selfish, but this seemed more selfish that having an abortion. I could not carry a child and watch someone else raise it. I could also not carry a child and not want to nurture and raise the child myself. Adoption is too painful to me.
What do you feel now, looking back on the event? If your feelings have changed, how have they changed and why do you think that is?
I keep blaming myself and being unkind to myself. At first, my appointment could not come soon enough. Now, I feel like I have to apologize to a baby who never existed. Everyday. I’ve learned that this is decision is by no means easy to make. For me, at least. I work with parents and babies, I love them! Just because I am nurturing, that doesn’t mean that this was a good time to carry a child and bring a new life into the world. Especially during COVID-19. I go back and forth with validating myself and then tearing myself down. I never thought I would feel this empty after something that I wanted so badly.
What have you learned about yourself and others as a result of this experience and the way you feel about it? What would your expectations be now?
My expectations would be that I will feel many emotions, not just one.
If you were able to go back in time, what would you do differently? What different choices would you make or different actions you would take?
I would do it all over again.
In what ways has your abortion experience changed you?
I’m more empathetic and understanding to those who have had an abortion or are planning to have one. I never fully understood what others were feeling, now I do.
What have you learned about your ability to make choices?
I’m more in control than I think!
Will you make the same choices in the future? What will you do differently? In what ways will you stay the same?
If I were to get pregnant again in the near future, I would make the same decision. I won’t reach out to my sister or anyone who I think might not be supportive.
I changed my priorities about what is important in life.
I have a greater appreciation for the value of my own life.
I have a greater feeling of self-reliance.
I more clearly see who I can count on in times of trouble.
I know that I can handle difficulties.
I can do better things with my life.
I am better able to accept the way things work out. I can better appreciate each day.
New opportunities are available to me which wouldn’t have been otherwise.
I have more compassion for others.
I put more effort into my relationships.
I am more likely to try to change things that need changing.
I have stronger faith in myself.
I discovered that I’m stronger than I thought I was.
I learned a great deal about how wonderful people are.
I better accept needing others.