Bryony’s Story

I had my first abortion when I was 19. I was living alone, not very happy, but had a place confirmed for university and looking forward to a new life. Then I began to get sick. At first I blamed it on hangovers and had a light period so pushed all thought of pregnancy out of my mind. The sickness got worse along with the standard cramps and sore breasts, I got a free pregnancy test done at my college. That was awkward because they didn’t have any toilets on the sexual health floor. So I had to carefully carry a cup of own pee down two flights of stairs. When the member of staff told me I was pregnant, I felt my stomach hit the floor. I used condoms. Made a huge point of using condoms. Some of my friends thought it was slutty but I always carried condoms in my purse just in case. I decided to tell the father which was horrible, he was a casual friend with benefits who I’d been in love with since I was 17. Or what my 17 year old self thought was love. He was supportive and agreed to come with me to the clinic, but didn’t really talk much in the week or so leading up to it. I made an appointment at my local clinic. I spent a lot of time crying, a few nights drinking. A lot of nights drinking/crying.

When it came to the day, the father came with me. I spent a lot of it in the waiting room. I was 12 weeks gone so had a surgical procedure. I don’t remember much except that I got a sandwich and a can of Coke and Chris de Burgh was on some TV program I watched in the recovery room. This was a UK clinic, so it was a free procedure. However due to a mix up with my records I had to spend about half an hour arguing with staff about how I wasn’t able to pay £650 for the operation and that I was on the NHS. This got resolved quickly though as was probably the only ‘traumatic’ thing about the day that I can think of.

The father stopped talking to me after that day. I think that probably upset me the most. He wasn’t anti choice, just a bit of a prick.

My second abortion happened about 10 months ago. I had made it to university and had found myself in a loving relationship, with someone I plan to share my future with. It was Christmas Eve last year when we got a bit too amorous and forgot to use a condom. Ironically, I think one of us may have said “I want to have children with you” that night. What with it being Christmas the next day the pharmacy was closed so I couldn’t get the morning after pill. Boxing Day’s a bank holiday in the UK so again, pharmacy closed. By the time I managed to get hold of the pill, it was just within the 72 hour time frame. Of course it didn’t work. I told my partner and he was convinced we weren’t pregnant. We made a bet. He owes me £150. I was wary at making this decision at first, I hadn’t had the best time with my first abortion. I didn’t want to be making the choice again. There is such a stigma that comes with girls who opt for abortion. I sat awake at night thinking that people would think I’m a slag, a whore, rather than someone who has faced a difficult decision and dealt with the consequences. I mean, really, I’m a 21 year old student, my partner is on minimum wage. When I have a child, I want it to have the best possible life. It was fairly obvious that wasn’t going to be the case today. We went to the clinic. I was 8 weeks gone. It was an NHS clinic as opposed to the previous place- that was a private clinic that also treated NHS patients. My partner and I were scared and nervous but they made us feel at ease. I really commend the NHS here, the nurse who spoke to me was kind, caring and straight forward, she even reeled off a list of nice cafes for my partner to wait at while I went through the procedure. I was nervous as hell because it was another operation, but as I was wheeled into the theatre the surgeon made me feel comfortable, even managed to get a laugh from me as I passed out from the anesthetic. Afterwards I was offered counselling, which I declined, discussed forms of protection, immediately put on the pill, offered counselling again (just in case) and sent on my way. I couldn’t have asked for better treatment at that clinic.

I sometimes think about what life would be like if I had decided against abortion. I guess if I hadn’t had the first on I wouldn’t be at university, wouldn’t have met my partner, which in turn means I wouldn’t have had my second abortion. If I could turn back time, however, I would do nothing. I’m not sorry I had my abortions. I made the right choice for myself, my partner and my future. I’m not sorry to live in a country that has excellent clinics and doesn’t hinder my right to choose. I’m not sorry at all.