Clients Share Their Stories
Anon, Glasgow: I want you to know no one can judge you
I hadn't been with my partner long when I fell pregnant, and both of us were...shocked to say the least. There wasn't really any question of continuing with the pregnancy, since we currently live at pretty much opposite ends of the country, we weren't ready to have a baby and, most importantly, had absolutely no desire to have one. It's quite a common narrative, but I just want women to know they don't have to feel guilty or ashamed. You know what's right for you, and literally no one can judge you for making this decision.
Anon, Galway: I travelled to Manchester for a medical abortion
I am 20 years old and three weeks ago today I went to Manchester from Ireland to have a medical abortion. I really wanted to share my story as the experience was as positive as it could be given the circumstances, but the stories online are truly horrific and I was so frightened that I didn't even have the time to take in what was happening. I want other people who look up a medical abortion online to have another positive story like mine to refer to and hopefully make them feel a little calmer about their decision.
Anon, Dublin: I know 8 other women who’ve had an abortion
When I found out I was pregnant, I was 34 or 35 at the time, and a married woman. I went to the doctors, but their hands are tied In Ireland. They gave me details of a counsellor, but there was a 3 week wait. So I went online and researched my options, and I found Marie Stopes UK. I chose Marie Stopes Manchester Centre because it worked out cheaper for me in terms of flights and accommodation. I couldn’t have faced a flight home. I paid for a friend’s flights and hotel in Manchester to come with me. I was so glad that my friend was there as I was in an unfamiliar city and it was a difficult time. But it ended up costing so much money. I know eight women who have gone to England for their abortions, but it’s not widely spoken about, it’s only when I mention that it’s what I did that people start opening up about their own experience. For me it was the right choice, but it was made so much harder than it should have been. I put the whole thing on a credit card, but at least I could pay for it. There are women with no way of paying. I want women in Northern Ireland and Ireland to know that there is help.
Charlie, Bristol: I have two children, and am happily married
I had a really positive experience at the Bristol Marie Stopes clinic yesterday, and I'd really like to share this with others, who may be going through a difficult time. I have two children, aged 5 and 2, and a settled, happy marriage. I'd toyed with the idea about having a third child after my second was born, but my husband was fairly adamant that we were done, and as my son reached 18 months, I was beginning to see life beyond nappies and sleepless nights again. One night is all it took to result in an unplanned pregnancy. We were careful, but we stupidly never thought we'd get pregnant without actively 'trying' (as we tried for a while to conceive both our children). Anyway, I had a hunch that I was pregnant a few days before my period (having been through two pregnancies I knew what the signs were, and they were prominent immediately). I waited until I was a day late though, and I didn't tell anyone that I thought I was pregnant, until after I took a few (three..) tests. I was devastated, and shocked (despite 'knowing') - seeing those two blue lines was a metaphorical slap round the face. I told my husband that afternoon, and he was as gutted as me. No-one else knew. I didn't want the judgement, or any 'advice' from others. We spent a day umming and ahhing - and I made the final decision. He said he would deal with the situation, and get on with life either way, but it was clear that he was struggling with the idea of becoming a dad again, as I was struggling with even being pregnant. Some of our issues that we couldn't resolve were: 'How can be compromise our children's lives?' We both work full time, and work hard to provide a good quality of life for our kids. They would lose out on so much, if we had another child. They would lose out on time with us one:one, they would not be able to have opportunities I'd want them to have, we wouldn't be able to put three through university - and you can't deny one if he/she wanted to go. Also, my husband is an older parent. I won't go into the detail, but he came to fatherhood in his forties, and has really embraced it. He's a fantastic father and does his share of childcare, while I'm at work. But - it's not fair to expect someone in their mid-sixties to manage a stroppy teenager, or to continue working because we have an extra mouth to feed. Anyway (I'm sorry I digress), so I called the Marie Stopes call centre line, and they gave me a telephone appointment a couple of hours later, to discuss my medical history and options for termination (I was only 5 weeks gone). Once we went through my options, I chose to have a Surgical Abortion. This was because I couldn't face passing the products at home, with my children in the vicinity. I knew a surgical abortion would be quicker, and I would be able to get home, and return to my normal life sooner. The lady on the phone who booked my abortion (Kim) was lovely, and she discussed the options for sedation, anaesthesia etc. The appointment on the day was very efficient. My initial consultation with the nurse involved a scan, a quick iron blood test, and blood pressure. The nurse was lovely, he did make me chuckle - he made me feel at ease! We discussed pain relief/sedation. He encouraged me to have some, but after some more indecision, I stuck to my guns and decided on nothing (except some ibuprofen that I brought with me), no sedation, definitely no general anaesthesia. I then went to another waiting room to await my turn for treatment. My name was called, and I had to undress from the waist down in a private changing room(they give you a sheet to protect your modesty). Two nurses then collected me and brought me to the theatre and helped me onto the stirrups and bed, and once I was in the correct position, the consultant (a lady) did the necessary procedure. Straight into it, no messing about. I have to say - it wasn't a nice experience, but it wasn't horrendous. It was over really quickly - within 5 minutes, and throughout, the two nurses were squeezing my hand, they made lots of small talk, and I breathed through the worst of the pressure. Mind over Matter - it was important that I didn't think about what was happening and I just focussed on the conversation with the nurses. It wasn't so much painful, just very uncomfortable. I have been through two labours without pain relief though, so perhaps I just have a high pain threshold. The doctor was brilliant, she was so gentle, and the nurses were a godsend keeping me occupied. Once it was over, I walked (with a little help from one of the nurses) to the recuperation area and laid on a recliner, partaking in a cuppa, some paracetamol and some (quite a lot of) biscuits. I did get a bit light headed once sat down, but there are fans by each recliner so I turned that on for ten minutes. I'm so glad I wasn't sedated - the ladies after me clearly were sedated.... they were wheeled in, and had to be helped into the recliner... one of them was nauseous. I was up and out within 30 minutes (I could have stayed longer, but I felt much better, mentally and physically, and I was ready to depart). They, I suspect, would have been groggy for the rest of the day. That said, if I felt I couldn't have coped mentally with what was happening, I would have opted for the sedation. Each to their own :) I spent the rest of the relaxing with my children and husband, and being thankful that I had the option to give myself, husband and my children a choice for a better life. The team at Bristol were fantastic, it must be a very difficult job to do at times, but they were extremely caring, professional and non-judgemental.
Anon, Middle East: I have a great career, I’m not ready for children
In 2012 I discovered that I had become pregnant. I was living in the middle East at the time as a working professional and had a fantastic job, lovely long term boyfriend but wasn't ready for children or to have to leave the country (relations outside of marriage, regardless I was British, is not allowed). I booked my appointment with Marie Stopes over the phone and flew back to London for the procedure. My boyfriend came with me and despite some discouragement at the door (protestors) I was unwavering in the decision. I just wanted to send a note, as I'm now 31 and still unsure of starting a family due to my career. A termination was never something I wanted, of course, I never thought I would have found myself in the situation but, I wanted to thank the staff at Marie Stopes for their professionalism, kind advice and treatment and non-judgemental attitude at every moment. It's not an easy process to go through but I don't regret a thing. I had a sedation and felt some cramping after the procedure for a few minutes but I walked out of the clinic feeling better and better with every minute. It's important for people reading this to understand how supportive and kind the staff there are. And to all the lovely staff, THANK YOU. I never felt encouraged to go ahead with the termination but equally was never discouraged. You did all the right things and said all the right things and for that I'm forever grateful. I have a good life and perhaps one day I’ll have a family but for now, me and my now husband are really happy as we are. X
Amy, London: I was scared, but the staff were so supportive
Hello, I just wanted to share my story because before I came in for an abortion I was so so scared. Terrified, in fact. I had just made the very scary decision to come out to my then boyfriend that I was a lesbian, and weeks later, realised I was pregnant. The treatment I received from, the clinic was brilliant and as scared as I was, the staff were so supportive that it really made a difference to the way I look back on the whole experience.
Anon, Kent: I was finishing my A-Levels
I am now 19 but was 17 when I found out I was 9 weeks pregnant, I was in my final years of A levels. I had just been through a break up and it was the scariest experience of my life, but I feel I am able to talk about it now because I shouldn't feel ashamed or guilty. My school was a very elitist grammar school who were incredibly unsympathetic for the most part. It was Marie Stopes who helped me through the whole thing and it was completely my choice to have the abortion at 13 weeks. I am now in a very good place after battling with a lot of bad thoughts and am happy to talk about it in a positive light, it is not something to be ashamed of and should most definitely have more awareness.
Anon, Bristol: I had a surgical abortion, with general anaesthetic
I found out unexpectedly that I was pregnant. I thought I was 5 weeks, however during my consultation I found out I was 9 and a half weeks pregnant. The consultant was very lovely and helpful a calming me down. The whole service was amazing and I opted for a surgical termination, I was put to sleep woke up and everything had been done for me, I experienced minimal cramping and bleeding of a normal period. I want to let people know of my experience so that other women in this position are not as scared about the surgical route, and because of the other stories I had read online, they calmed me down and helped me decide the best option.
Becca, Bath: I talked things through with a counsellor
I had a surgical abortion at 7 weeks at the Bristol clinic. I didn't tell many people and I attended on my own. I'm late 30s. I haven't any children and am not with the father, who has kids of his own. I found the whole procedure very positive and supportive. I had my reasons for not keeping the baby. I spoke to a counsellor beforehand. It is important that you take your time to make a decision and do not rush into it, as you need to be sure. Talking to a counsellor can be easier than talking to family and friends if you don't want them to influence you. I think that it does help people to read about what happens from someone who has been through it because the clinic was extremely good and the whole procedure was the least scary and stressful they could make it. Everything was well explained. I had the sedation and I was out like a light. I did not feel a thing, not a thing, not even when I woke up. It was like nothing had been done. The nurses were very kind, everyone was very discreet. I think it would help others if I can share this experience.
Feli, Manchester: I was taking the pill, I didn’t know I was 20 weeks pregnant
Hi everyone. I'm writing my experience because I think that every woman in the World needs to know that abortion is a difficult choice, it makes you feel a lot of mixed emotions, but if you decide to go through, you will not feel alone at Marie Stopes. I will start from the beginning: I went to my GP because I wanted to start the pill, because of course I am 19 and I didn't want to get pregnant and, so I started my first tablet of Microgynon, but I was not on my period so I waited for 7 days as my GP told me. At the end of the tablet I didn't have my period so I went to my medical centre again and they told me to continue, because probably was the pill and that this can occur on the first 3 months of taking it. I finished my second tablet and no period again, so I did a pregnancy test from the doctor and it was negative, so I continued with the pill because I didn't have any symptoms of pregnancy. I was feeling a little bit pumped up, but this can happen with the pill. The test was negative so I was okay. I finished the third tablet and no period again. I changed my pill (Millinette) and no period again. At the end I was feeling so pumped up and I started to know that there was something wrong. I did two pregnancy tests and both were positive! I was absolutely shocked, nothing that made me think about that! I went to my doctor and it confirmed the pregnancy, so I decided for the abortion because I cannot keep the baby and they send me to Marie Stopes. On my first appointment I found out that I was 20 weeks pregnant! And I didn't know anything, no symptoms, no vomit, nothing and when I did the first test I was something like 2 months and it was negative and I don't know why. It all seemed to me like a nightmare. I was careful in everything, but this can happen and you can analyse and think about everything but you will never know, apart from when you are having sex without protection. All the process took 2 weeks in total, between my first appointment and my second one (when I did the abortion). I went to the Manchester centre and they were all absolutely beautiful with me, all the staff were lovely and kind with all the women that had to do this difficult choice that day. Because I was far with the pregnancy, the process needed to be longer, because they first wanted to prepare my cervix. At the beginning I was sent to a waiting area then I was called and they did a second scan for me. They took my blood pressure and tested for chlamydia and they gave me a form to sign with all the risks and the process. Then I was send to the waiting area again, they called me after a couple of minutes and gave me a blue bucket where I put all my lower clothes, and I wore a blue big towel. I was called and I met the doctor and the anaesthetist, they were all lovely and kind and very professional. I think that this was the worst part because when they put the tablets into my vagina, it's without aesthetic and it's very fastidious, but they put 6 tablets and they do a vaginal control, at the same time the anaesthetist prepares your hand for the drugs. Then I had to wait for my cervix to dilate in the recovery area. I waited for 4 1/2 hours and was very bad, not for the staff, they were all lovely and they always came to ask you if you were okay etc., but because you can experience pain like a heavy period. The nurse will give you painkillers, but you can fell it a little bit anyway. I had a temperature and they told me that this is for the tablets that they put inside my vagina. Finally, after almost 5 hours I was called and I was so scared about being put to sleep, but I needed to go through. I went to the theatre and the doctor put the drugs into my hand, it's so strange because you can feel it in your veins like a cold liquid and you can feel also the flavour in your mouth, but then I didn't see anything, completely dark, like a long sleep. You can't remember anything, but some people dream, and then when I woke up I was on my recliner and my first thought was 'it's all over, all done, it was just a couple of minutes'. I was inside the theatre for 20 minutes, it seemed like 1 second. I was feeling woozy, but that's normal and I had a little bit of headache, but that's normal too. Then you start to feel better and the staff will give you painkillers, water, coffee or tea and you can start to eat some lovely biscuits (I ate something like 10 biscuits, omg they were delicious!) When you are okay you can go to change yourself, then you can relax a bit more and they will give you antibiotics to avoid infections. When you feel better they will bring you back to the reception they will give you the aftercare book, and here you can met the person that came with you (especially after general aesthetic, you must go back home with someone), and that's my experience. It was a hard choice. I was taking the pill to avoid this kind of thing, because I don't like them, but sometimes this can happen and you need to make a choice, black or white, inside or outside. I was thinking about continuing the pregnancy, because it was too big also, but the circumstances were not good. I was only going out with the 'dad', and in any cases he didn't want to keep the baby and he was very bad with me. He was not with me during the procedure, my best friend was with me, not him, and we are talking about humanity and a little bit of love. I asked him only to be with me for not being alone, because we did this mess together, but he was completely selfish and bad. I am too young to have a baby now and I need to find myself before, because I want to be happy when I will search for a baby in the future and my pregnancy tests will be positive, I don't want to see this as a problem. I am really sorry about everything, but I learnt a lot from this experience and Marie Stopes was very helpful, they take care of every single woman inside, from the start to the finish and they don't make you feel alone. The only thing that I know is that my children will be loved and cherished, and they will have everything that they need to, especially a dad that will love them, and a dad that will always be there for them.
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