• Break the Taboo Malta

Story 11 - 07.03.2019




“My Abortion Procedure

I had my abortion after my Mirena fell out and I got pregnant at 44. Yes, of course I didn’t want to be pregnant. I was doing my best not to for a variety of private reasons none of which are anybody’s business.

I am writing to you because there seem to be a load of misconceptions about the procedure. By the time I realised I was pregnant I was already 12 weeks. Due to my age my local gynae was very helpful and he guided me towards hospitals in the UK where I could get tests to check about the health of the baby. These tests, at the time, did not exist in Malta. I thought about this and decided that if I was ready to abort a ‘baby’ with potential health problems then I was ready to abort, and I felt no love towards this baby. So, I checked online about abortions in the UK and wrote to Marie Stopes. They were really helpful and very good. They answered all my questions and gave me an appointment.

The worst thing about the abortion were the insensitive, ignorant pro-life people standing outside the London clinic with baby leaflets and sounding like some mad people who escaped from an asylum mumbling nonsensical stuff. The rest of the morning proceeded with kindness and understanding and was less traumatic than going to the dentist.

For those of you who never spoke to a friend, sister, cousin who has had an abortion I can assure you it is pain free and quick. So, the clinic was extremely busy, full of people of all ages, some women alone, others with their partners or other family members. You all wait together in a large waiting room, it’s a bubbly chatty place where people are just hanging around. There’s no doom and gloom; imagine waiting at ARMS (to pay your electricity bill), yes, it’s that sort of waiting room.

When it’s your turn, you first go for an ultrasound and the nurse explains how many weeks pregnant you are and chats to you to ensure you know what you are doing and that you are there from your own free will and that you can change your mind at any time, and how the procedure will work. She is matter of fact and it feels just like routine. She explains that she will show the ultrasound and the signed confirmed paper work that I signed – saying I understood and wanting to go ahead with the procedure – to the doctors, because 2 doctors need to confirm that the procedure can go ahead.

What she explained was that I was 14 weeks pregnant and that I would need a surgical abortion, and that I would be heavily sedated and that I would not feel anything. I would be given 2 pills, one before the procedure and one after, and some to take home with me to prevent infection and to take that night after the procedure and the next 2 days. I was then told to wait, and I would be called shortly.

When it was my turn I was taken to another big airy room, nothing like a hospital ward, this was more like a big room with what looked more like sunbed/deckchairs, not bedroom beds. Here we changed into hospital type gowns. There must have been about 20 of us in all. I was given a deckchair and told to wait and that a nurse would shortly take me for the procedure.

Whilst waiting I met Amanda, she was feeling very sad because she didn’t want to have her abortion. She felt bad because she wished she didn’t have cancer (I didn’t ask her where and what type) and she wished she could also raise this baby with her other 2 boys at home, but she didn’t know how she would manage after her treatment, and she needed to be there for her 2 young children. If I remember well she said 6 and 4 years old they were.

It was soon my turn and I walked with the nurse who was a really sweet nanna type with kind eyes and she asked me where I was from till we arrived to the white medical room with an operating type bed and a machine, and where there were 2 doctors and 2 nurses. I was told to lie down and that I would be heavily sedated. The doctors were really nice and asked me where I was from and when I told them I was from Malta they reassured me not to be worried, nobody will know I’ve had an abortion and if anyone ever asks to say I had a miscarriage. The nurse held my hand and asked me if I was alone or if I had anyone with me. I said there was my partner waiting for me outside and that he was very supportive.

The sedation was strange – I felt asleep and awake at the same time. I remember the doctors doing something down there and hearing a vacuum type noise, and the nurses holding my hand, no pain at all, nothing. It was over really quickly, and I was back on my deckchair type bed in what felt like minutes. Amanda was not back yet. I felt no pain, no regret, no remorse, no guilt. The nanna type nurse was back near me to see how I was feeling and told me I would have to rest and lie down for around 20 minutes to half an hour, and that the doctors would like for me to have another ultrasound. Since I’m from Malta, they wanted to be sure everything was perfect. I was very grateful about this.

After half an hour I went for the ultrasound and waited a couple of minutes in the ultrasound room while the nurse showed the results to the doctors. All was fine, and I was told I could leave. I was reminded to take the pills they gave me that night and to call them if I had any concerns or questions. That was it.

We stayed in the hotel that evening watching films and ordering room service. The next day was normal – if I was in Malta I would have gone to work. I felt nothing, I felt perfectly normal like any other day, not even a period pain or anything like that. We went shopping – it was a Sunday, and Monday we were back in Malta.

I never regretted it and never told anyone, only my partner and I know this. I wish one day to be able to speak about this openly in Malta. Thank you for your understanding and helping women in my situation.”

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Break the Taboo Malta is an initiative to end abortion stigma in Malta by sharing real abortion stories and experiences.