Three years later and I’m still wondering when my nightmares and flashbacks will ever stop.
Was it really the right thing to do?
That’s the price you pay for abortion – a lifetime of guilt.
It’s a subject no woman ever wants to talk about, for fear of being judged or shamed – being labelled as irresponsible or stupid.
If I hear another story where a man has casually said “just get rid of it” to a woman he’s accidentally impregnated, I’ll fucking scream.
You see, it’s just not that fucking easy.
On the 29th July, 2013 at 10:30am, I was sat in a waiting room with another 7 women, all waiting to have an abortion.
For the “pro-lifers”, yes, I murdered my baby.
Did I want to? No. But it was the right thing to do.
I was a single, working mum of a one year old and I was at a good point in my life. I had a nice home, I paid my bills, I had good friends and I’d just begun to socialise again properly.
To cut a long story short, I had been seeing somebody for a few months. I really fell for him and things were going well between us.
Until I fell pregnant.
Yes, I fell pregnant. I had been taking the pill and I fell in to the 0.01% category of it failing to work.
You see, I always said I would and never could abort a baby.
I was that person who didn’t understand how somebody could make that kind of decision.
How stupid and narrow minded was I to say that?
I’d never been in that position, until now.
My head was screaming “You can’t have another baby!”, but my heart was pleading for me to keep it.
But I couldn’t.
I already had a baby who I loved so dearly and I brought him in to the world without a father, I couldn’t do it again, it would be so unfair.
I went to my doctor the following day and booked the consultation at the clinic for the following week.
It was a three-stage process;
- You have a consultation (without your partner) to make sure this is genuinely the right decision you (not him) want to make.
- You have an undignified, internal ultrasound with a 10 inch probe to confirm your “unwanted” pregnancy. (This is a technique they use to try and gently persuade you to keep your baby)
- You get a second consultation to confirm how you’d like the abortion performed, if you’d like a contraceptive inserted and when you’d like the procedure to take place.
I chose to look away from the screen whilst being internally examined, so I couldn’t see my viable pregnancy – all I knew was that I was 6 weeks pregnant.
I asked if I could have a general anaesthetic for my abortion and to have the mirena coil fitted at the same time for my next contraceptive, which lasts up to 5 years.
I didn’t ever want to have to face this again.
And I chose the soonest available date to have my termination.
Monday 29th July 2013
It was raining.
How could I forget?
It was the most emotional, depressing morning of my life.
I was getting my one year old dressed to stay with his Grandma, whilst I was about to leave to have another baby taken away from me.
I wasn’t allowed to eat before the operation, which just happened to be the only thing that made sense that morning, because I felt sick to my stomach.
My “partner” picked me up at 9:00am and we set off for Bournemouth to be there for 10:30am.
The drive was fairly awkward. I knew that after this, there’d be no “us” and that today it was the end for not one, but two important things to me.
I remember zoning out on the motorway and trying to tune in to the music on the radio, but all I could tune in to was the dread of what was about to happen.
Time seemed to fly by and we finally arrived at the clinic.
I began to question if we were really in the right place, because it didn’t look like a hospital. It was just a big house.
Maybe they’ve got it wrong and I don’t have to go through with this after all.
But I soon spotted the clinic’s logo on a plaque, firmly nailed next to a call bell.
We definitely got it right.
I took a deep breath and I pressed it.
“Hello, can you confirm who you are please?” answered the receptionist.
I proceeded to answer, followed by “I’m here for an abortion.”
What the fuck just came out of my mouth?
Yeah, I was there for an abortion; one of the few things I swore I’d never do, but now I’m actually here.
I ‘checked in’ with my “partner” at the front desk. I was politely asked to take a seat “with the rest of them” and told I’d be called through when they were ready.
I don’t remember how I felt during that waiting period, but it was nothing less than shitting myself I doubt.
“Nicole Williams please.”
This was it. Gulp.
We stood up and walked towards the consultant, who then asked for my “partner” to basically fuck off for a few hours.
“We’ll call you when she’s finished.”
Well, fuck. I did not expect that.
I was far too emotionally exhausted to argue or question it. I just wanted this to be over.
I followed her in to a room where she took my obs and just confirmed once again if this is what I wanted.
No, not really. But it was the lesser of two evils.
Out I went in to a waiting room of girls, all sat there silently, staring at the floor.
Some had been crying because they’d wanted their partners there, others were scared of being put to sleep and some were just devastated by it all.
Me? I did my usual thing. I covered my hurting by having a laugh about it.
I sat down, I assessed everything around me and I did what I do best.
“So, what are you all in here for?”
A few looked up and smiled, a couple of them even giggled.
Of course, I knew why they were all here. They were here for the same reason as I was.
Never before had the saying “we’re all in the same boat” applied as much as it did on this day.
I felt comfortable with these women, because we were all ultimately there for one reason.
I introduced myself and gave “my story”.
I didn’t get to know all of their stories, but the ones I did hear were all so different; one woman had a child with her partner already and she wasn’t ready for another, a married woman with grown up children was there because it was a genuine mistake after her husband had just had “the snip” and there was me, who’d had been taking precautions by taking the pill and still got pregnant anyway.
We all had one thing in common; they were all unplanned and we’d been trying to prevent pregnancy, yet still ended up in this situation.
We must have been waiting for an hour before anything more happened…
A cheery nurse appeared in a doorway after what felt like hours of waiting, then one by one, she would call a girl from the waiting room we all shared.
It was like waiting to be gassed or taken to a slaughterhouse.
Every time a girl left to go with the nurse, we would wish her luck, tell her it was going to be okay and assure her we’d see her soon.
This wasn’t okay though. It wasn’t how I’d imagined.
Next up was me.
There were two girls I left in the waiting room, crying because they knew their time was coming.
I wish I could take their pain away.
I followed the nurse in to another waiting room, where I found all of the previous girls I’d been sat with that morning.
They were all wearing hospital gowns, with their hair tied up, bare finger and toe nails, no make up and clearly shitting themselves.
Before I could actually piece together what was going on in my head, the nurse abruptly pointed to a small cubicle in the corner of the waiting room and instructed for me draw the curtain, to take off my clothes and put my gown on.
I had to put any valuables I had in my handbag and bring it out with me when I was finished.
I had only five minutes to do this.
I sheepishly walked out of the cubicle and back I was, with these women who had not yet been put out of their misery; it felt like we were on death row.
We’d already wished eachother luck and we’d cried so much, we couldn’t cry anymore.
It was painfully silent. Deafening, actually. We knew what was coming next.
Minutes felt like hours and then the same happened again, with a different nurse.
One by one, it was their “turn”.
This nurse was different; she was hard-faced and insensitive.
She was an old fashioned nurse – she had her hair tied up in to a tight chignon, she was incredibly slim, she wore an elasticated cinch belt and she didn’t mince her words either.
To put it nicely, she was a cunt and I wanted to rip her throat out.
It wasn’t long before she appeared in the doorway, looked above me and called out “Nicole” in a monotonal voice.
I stood up and followed her through to a “side room”, where she told me to lay on a bed and put my belongings underneath.
The only time she spoke to me was when she told me she was inserting my cannula, that was it.
She scooted off to get the anaesthetic to insert in to my cannula, and I just laid there looking up at the light above me, with tears streaming down my face and in to my ears.
Please, please let this be the end.
She soon returned with a trolley of syringes and told me that she would be inserting them in to my cannula and I would go off to sleep.
After all of the drugs had been administered, she began to wheel me off down to theatre and I was told to count to ten.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5…
Who are all of these people?
I’m still not asleep. I should be asleep.
Why are they walking towards me?
Why is he opening my legs whilst I’m still awake?
I was awake and all I could hear was crying.
They’d woken up too, in exactly the same place I’d woken up.
We were in hell.
I looked up at the clock and it was 14:15. It had only taken 15 minutes to rip my baby away.
But it wasn’t over yet.
I was bleeding between my legs and I had what felt like a nappy stuck under my bum.
I felt bruised, tired and completely violated.
But the worst pain was knowing that I had no baby anymore.
I was heartbroken.
I was told to get dressed and get my things up together, so I did.
After half an hour, I was sent down to the lounge area for a cup of tea and a biscuit.
Yeah, just like that. Because a fucking digestive biscuit makes it all better.
I told them I felt fine to leave, so they called my “partner” and he came to collect me.
I walked down the corridor and I cried.
I’m not sure if I cried because I was sad or because leaving that place was like escaping from a prison camp.
And after it all happened?
All I knew was that I never wanted to be there again and I had the biggest respect for any woman who has undergone a termination.
I’ve woken up sobbing because I’ve had nightmares which include seeing my dead baby, having my baby snatched away or murdered in my sleep, I’ve been robbed of being a parent in so many ways.
It’s not just “getting rid”, it’s emotional baggage you carry with you forever; so before you judge a woman for terminating her unborn child, please keep in mind that it wasn’t fucking easy.
If your partner needs support before or after her termination, please, be there for her.
I wasn’t so lucky and it’s only now, three years later, I’ve finally spoken out about it.
Don’t suffer in silence.