‘It was March last year…. I found out I was pregnant...it was just at the start of lockdown’.
To begin with, 'I just wanted it to go away. I couldn’t comprehend what was happening . . . the initial thoughts of both of us [her and the child’s father] were that we weren’t going to keep the child, but as time went on I felt this attachment and love for my child that I didn’t even know.’
‘In the 3 consultations I was never told of the risks, emotionally or physically,’ she said. ‘I was never offered a scan. They never knew how far along I was. It’s crazy now I look back on it that I was even able to take those tablets home.’
Natalia couldn’t bring herself to take the pills for a further 3 weeks by which time she was over the 10 week legal limit.
‘I remember somehow getting to the toilet, it was unbearable, the pain, and that’s when I passed my baby. I looked down and saw him, it wasn’t like a heavy period, it was like a baby. I must have flushed it down the toilet and I remember just falling to my knees,’ Natalia continued. ‘I just lay in my bed and I was bleeding through the mattress, and I laid there for about three days on my own’ – her mother still unaware of what was going on.
Eventually Natalia’s mother found out about her daughter’s abortion: ‘She’d gone into my room and seen the pools of blood. She’s mortified she hadn’t come to me before and asked if I was alright, she thought I was going through relationship stuff.’
Despite the emotional and physical trauma of the abortion, Natalia states: ‘I was never given any support or aftercare.’
Natalia is currently receiving 'professional healing' with Rachel’s Vineyard.
Kirsty ‘shocked, but happy’ when she found out she was pregnant. However her boyfriend was manipulative and controlling: ‘I knew how he felt about children.’
Kirsty had no face-to-face consultation at all with either a doctor, nurse or any kind of counsellor. Instead, ‘it was a very brief [telephone] conversation. More of a case of where they were going to send the medication.’
Fighting back tears, Kirsty describes the initial call. Her voice was shaking at the time: ‘anybody could have told [me], not that I was unsure, but that I didn’t want to do it.’
Kirsty wanted to come into the clinic, but the person on the phone told her 'no, it has to be done this way at home.'
Kirsty was already just over the 10 week legal limit for DIY abortions when she received the pills yet she didn’t take them immediately. ‘I did look at the box for a couple of days thinking I couldn’t do this,’ she said, ‘but I couldn’t speak to anybody. There was nobody I could phone.’
Eventually Kirsty took the pills without pain killers and drifted into a light sleep amidst painful cramps.
‘I woke up and I didn’t feel anything so I didn’t think it had worked. I just remember lifting up my blanket and it was like a scene out of a horror movie.'
Kirsty then explained why she so regrets the abortion: ‘Not just because of the heartache but because it’s dawned on me it was a dangerous procedure. I was left bleeding really heavily for months. To the extent I couldn’t even take a walk without the risk of making a mess of myself.’
‘The at home abortion is being made to make you think you are doing it in the comfort of your own home without travelling to a clinic or hospital. But then you’ve got the memory of the loss of your child in your own home forever. So now, to me my home is no longer my home, my happy safe place. it’s the place that took away my child.'
Kirsty is currently receiving 'professional help' from Rachel's Vineyard
‘My situation is that this was not a planned pregnancy. I felt overwhelmed with fear and panic and very quickly (too quickly) made the decision that having another baby would not be the best idea for my family.’
Rose lived near to the clinic so, in May, she was allowed to collect the pills in person in May, ‘but on the basis they were taken away to administer due to Covid.’
‘I did not have a dating scan and it all seemed very rushed to me due to the pandemic.
‘The young girl at the clinic that sent me on my way with the pill didn’t even question if I was sure and when I started to cry no red flag was raised there either.
‘For me personally the experience, without going into detail was just like a normal monthly cycle ,as my pregnancy was very early due to my own calculations, still mentally it has taken a huge toll on me.
‘I can’t believe I made that choice. I have struggled to sleep, eat and function. Taken sick leave from work and everyday activities are a struggle. The problem is that everything I thought I was protecting I am now in fact damaging because it has had such a huge effect on me.
‘I have that horrible “knowing” that another little person will never experience that life because I ended it with those ghastly pills before it even began.
‘I wish someone had asked me some further probing questions if I had still gone ahead maybe I wouldn’t be so bereft with the decision.
‘I have seen so many forums of the pain and suffering women find themselves in after. It’s so incredibly sad to think how many women are amongst us going through that and also all the missing babies due to our actions.
‘In a society that praises “our body our choice” I don’t think it helps or empowers women.
Rose is currently being supported by Post Abortive Support for Everyone (PASE)
*Name has been changed to preserve anonymity
‘I think I Googled ‘abortion in the UK’ after I found out. It’s all a blur now.’
Distressed and confused, Sophie called Marie Stopes International (now MSI Reproductive Choices) to find out the process of getting an abortion. ‘The whole conversation is a blur to me, as I was in and out of crying. I didn’t know what I was doing, I was completely alone.’
Sofie attended a clinic and was given both pills to take at home.
‘You’re told that the first pill is a high-level hormone, that will stop the embryo growing and that the second tablet will just remove it. You’re basically told that it’s just a stronger version of the morning after pill and that it’ll feel just like a heavy period.’
This was far from Sophie’s experience:
‘It was the most excruciating pain of my life. It felt like something was wrong, because on top of the bleeding, I was having contractions every 10 to 20 seconds...I couldn’t move. I lay on the floor, crouched up and crying in pain.
‘The next day I started bleeding again – it was coming in waves, pouring out of me. I couldn’t do anything. Every time I moved, I started cramping and bleeding.’
This continued for 20 days before she was given a follow up appointment and told she was still pregnant. The next day she had a big bleed:
“There were big chunks coming out of me. I would break down sobbing in the shower because chunks were coming out of me – it was absolutely horrifying. Imagine what it would be like for a woman that was further along than me – a fetus doubles in size every week.”
On returning to the clinic it was advised she undergo a surgical Dilation and Curettage. She has had to take three months off work purely due to the physical and emotional trauma.
‘There are 100% other women out there like me’
Sophie’ remains vehemently pro-choice but said:
‘The thing is, from my experience, we’re not giving women a choice. Choice is when you give a woman all the facts, you treat her like an intelligent human being and respect her, so that she can make an informed decision.
‘[I]t worries me that we’ve opened up this floodgate now with DIY abortion. It was scary enough for me, I can’t imagine what it might be like for a teenage girl who might have to go through this, how scary and isolating that might be for her.’
*Name has been changed to preserve anonymity