I was 19 and had become pregnant after a one night stand on a holiday I was taking with my best friend. I flew home the next day and took the morning after pill and thought no more about it, assuming I was ok.
Two weeks later I flew out to Central America to meet up with a friend and travel for the remaining summer months. I had been having awful headaches and was very tired with pelvic pain for the last fortnight, but didn’t think I was pregnant. I had been to the doctors before I flew to ask them to give me a check-up as I felt so strange. They were dismissive and told me I was just worried about the trip and to go and have a nice time.
Whilst in Central America my symptoms continued. My period was 2 weeks late and I jokingly said to my friend that if it was any later I would be pregnant,
My period didn’t come, so I worked out how to ask for a pregnancy test in Spanish and bought one. To my complete shock it came back positive. We were in a fairly remote jungle in Costa Rica at the time and when we found a doctor I asked him what I could do. I wanted an abortion, but I was in such shock that it didn’t even cross my mind that it would of course not be even near possible out there. He just gave me my due date and offered me prenatal vitamins and said I had a kidney infection. My pelvic pain worsened and I thought that I might be having a miscarriage daily. I made the decision to go home to the UK to have an abortion, leaving my friend on her own in Nicaragua.
I went to the hospital as soon as I returned and it turned out I had an infection in my womb as well as the foetus. I was put on medication and told to wait 2 weeks until I finished it. I didn’t enjoy being pregnant as I was sick every day so when it came to having the abortion I was so relieved that the nausea and tiredness would be stopping. I had a surgical abortion at 8 weeks, which I was able to get free on the NHS and it was very quick and well managed.
I have not once regretted or felt ashamed about having my abortion. I always knew that it was the right decision and I had so much loving support from my friends and family that I felt very safe and held throughout the process (The man I slept with knew but was out of the country so I never saw him again). The hardest physical part was travelling around and back from Central America whilst being very unwell.
I did not, however, take into account how I would feel emotionally after the termination. I woke up feeling relieved, but also heartbroken, which surprised me. It took a year for me to come to terms with the fact that I wanted the abortion but also allowing myself to feel a loss and sadness for the pregnancy and child I could have had. I am a very maternal person and although I would consider having another abortion it does affects me in a big way emotionally.
6 years on there is no pain or sadness, just occasional reminders. Sometimes I think about how old the child would be if I had kept it but I always feel extremely grateful that I got to have a choice over my own reproduction where as women in so many countries do not.