What it’s really like to have an abortion

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It’s pretty much the universal nightmare of girls everywhere: getting pregnant and having to get rid of the baby. But what happens when that nightmare becomes a reality? 

Most of us were briefly warned about pregnancy in sex education classes at school, after the boys were syphoned off to learn about wanking and stuff, before we were shown cartoon sex. At the time, you probably timidly laughed off the whole thing, too embarrassed to really take notice, right? That’s what Michelle did, but little did she know as she giggled, life was about to hit her with something that’s no laughing matter.

Michelle was like any other 19-year-old girl. She couldn’t wait to finish her A-Levels and hit up Ibiza with her friends for a week. It was just before her holiday when she noticed her period was two weeks late. A sinking feeling came over her as she remembered one night about six weeks earlier, when she had sex with her then boyfriend without any protection. At the time, she thought it would be fine. He didn’t come inside her, after all. But luck wasn’t on Michelle’s side. After worriedly taking a home test, she realised she was pregnant.

With her limited knowledge of pregnancy, she laid out the facts in front of her: £200 in her bank account, a pending status to get into University, a traditional family, a boyfriend who was not supportive and a child in her womb. Michelle felt sick.

She pondered over whether she should keep her baby or not. What were her choices? Being a young mum at Uni? Adoption? Abortion? If only this could just be easier than the maths exam she had just taken. But ignorance couldn’t buy her any time, the clock was ticking and she realised she was standing at a crossroads in her life.

Eventually, Michelle made up her mind. She was going for an abortion. As she signed the consent form, she didn’t regret what she was about to do. Because she was still in the early stages of pregnancy, she was able to take medication to induce a miscarriage.

“I’d made up my mind,” she tells me.

“I remember thinking, I should just stick with it and not think about anything else. I still remember the doctor pointing at the ultrasound and saying ‘there’s the heart beat.’

“I couldn’t help but look away,” she tells me, her voice cracking.

As Michelle lay on a bed, waiting for the medicine to take effect, she looked around the clinic room. It was packed with women of all ages, some looked younger than her, others seemed in their thirties. The nurse told Michelle to prepare for something like diarrhoea, which would come in the next couple of hours.

“The blood was three times what I get on my normal period. I had to change the pad three times in two hours,” she recalls.

“After drinking a lot of water, I felt like I needed the bathroom. But when I got to the toilet, I knew that wasn’t it. I felt something come out, not from where pee comes.

“At that point, I told myself. ‘This is it.”

Michelle didn’t want to look in to the toilet, she didn’t want to see what she knew had just left her body.

“I knew if I looked, that image would have stayed with me for the rest of my life. I wanted to stop blaming myself, and I knew with that sight in my memory wouldn’t be able to.’”

After a check-up from the nurse, who confirmed the procedure had worked, Michelle left the clinic.

“I was lucky enough to have the medical procedure; I can never imagine myself going through the surgical procedure. Imagining the sound of the suction machine makes me really sick.”

Her pregnancy was terminated, but for Michelle, the horror of going through an abortion never went away. She’s now at Uni, she still looks back to that day.

“I’m still guilt-tripping myself, especially when I see my friends getting married or having kids,” she says.

In spite of this, she doesn’t regret her decision:

“I still believe I made the right choice. I wouldn’t want to raise a child, without being able to provide properly for him or her.”

And now, Michelle is passionate about steering her friends away from the situation she found herself in.

“Whenever I speak to my friends about them having unprotected sex, I get quite stern and judgemental. They normally think I’m being rude, but if they knew the pain I’ve suffered from having to go through an abortion, they’d understand I’m only thinking of their well-being.”


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