The third story of abortion during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On 13th January 2020 I was waiting for my period, but this time it was late and usually I always get it 2/3 days before. This time I was going through a very stressful time due to sickness in the family so I assumed that was the reason my period was late. After 10 days I decided to buy 2 pregnancy tests and they came back positive. I cried and cried out of despair and horror and the first thing I remember feeling was being trapped. I did not want children and the idea that I have an unwanted “baby” in me was scary. I immediately knew I will have an abortion. According to a pregnancy calculator online I was 6 weeks already.
I have been dating my boyfriend for 11 years, we have a stable relationship with two full-time jobs that pay well and with loving families that for sure would have loved and welcomed our baby. I did not want a baby so for me it was a very easy decision to make. I was scared that I would not love this child if I continued with an unwanted pregnancy. Placing the baby for adoption was never an option as 1) my boyfriend wanted this baby so for sure he wouldn’t let me give it away and 2) not every child placed for adoption is actually adopted and they also live a sad life feeling abandoned. For me it was not difficult to decide, I always agreed with abortion and I always knew that if I got pregnant, abortion would be my solution. Only my boyfriend knew about the pregnancy and my decision. I knew that no-one else would understand me and I did not want to tell my family that I am pregnant and not keeping it as I knew they would be heartbroken at the loss of a grandchild.
That day I went on Abortion Support Network on Facebook (I was already following them) and I checked from where I can safely buy abortion pills. The next day I went on Women on Web, took the questionnaire and sent the donation of €75, and the pills where mailed 2 days later. 4 days after I found out I was pregnant I started to have a lot of physical pregnancy side-effects that were making my life difficult – I was throwing up every day (there were 2 days where I threw up 30 times), my boobs were killing me and I also had dysgeusia (metal taste in my mouth 24/7), I could not eat or drink as everything tasted like metal and I threw up everything. It was horrible, no one knew I was pregnant so I had to lie why I was throwing up and why I was carrying a basin everywhere I went.
It took 9 days for the pills to reach me. The medical abortion is done in 2 days so I took Friday off and took the first pill. Since I was already throwing up, they suggest taking an anti-emetic pill (like Motilium). I took the Motilium and the pill, but after 45mins I threw them up both. Unfortunately they only send you 1 pill for the first set. The next day I took the next set of pills and waited. The side effects of this were more vomiting and diarrhoea. After around 4 hours I started bleeding and cramping (mild period pains). The next day I did not throw up and felt good, I thought it was successful. I waited till Tuesday to go to the hospital to get checked and pretended I was miscarrying. I had to go the next day for an ultrasound and to my horror the “baby” was still there. The nurse was telling me off because I did not start to take my vitamins. I could not break down in front of her as I knew she was not pro-choice by the way she treated me. The next day I started looking for options abroad and called Marie Stopes clinic in UK. They were very friendly and suggested the Ealing clinic since it was closer to Heathrow airport. I booked the first telephone appointment and paid around €60. In this appointment they ask a bunch of health related questions and how far along you are so that they can help you choose what option is best for you. They also ask you if you want anaesthesia or not for around €30 more. I opted for no anaesthesia since usually I throw up and it takes me long to get over it, and I knew the procedure was less than 15 minutes. They also gave me an appointment for the actual termination – Valentine’s day. I booked the flight and the hotel and patiently waited for another week. Only my boyfriend knew that I was going abroad.
I flew a day before, took the train from Heathrow to Ealing (around 25mins), walked for another 20mins to the hotel and checked in the hotel which was 5mins away from the clinic. The much awaited day came and I went in. My appointments were at 9.30am for the check-ups and ultrasound before the actual procedure, and 10.30am the actual procedure. Unfortunately that day they were packed so I actually went in at 1pm and 2.50pm. I was not allowed to go back to the hotel in the morning so I stayed there. The atmosphere was very pleasant – the clinic was like a cottage with a surrounding garden and there were a lot of women for the same reason. Everyone was relax – no-one was being judged – I was sad that here we will never have the same thing.
At 2.50pm I was wheeled in the room and was presented the whole staff – everyone was super nice! I was placed on the stretcher while the doctor performed the procedure. It was painful and the nurses kept talking to me – 10 minutes later I was ready – the relief I felt was surreal. I was given an anal medicine to help with the pain and was taken to an adjacent room to recover. I was in a lot of pain until the medicine worked and I threw up, but after few minutes it was over. I was given tea and biscuits and antibiotics. Around 4.00pm I was discharged with medications that I had to take for the next 2 days. I was feeling great, so I went for a walk in the park nearby, then I went back to the hotel. Some women experience cramping and bleeding, but I only bled a little and had slight cramping. The next day the morning sickness had already passed and I had my flight back booked for that day. The flights + hotel + train + procedure came to around €1500. It was very expensive and my boyfriend paid half. I was only afraid of the physical pain of the abortion but not about the procedure itself. Those 10 minutes saved my life – my mental health was suffering and so was my physical health. It was the best gift I could give myself for Valentine’s Day. I felt great knowing that I am no longer carrying an unwanted child.
I took the decision on my own. My boyfriend did want his baby but he knew it was not his decision to make since it was growing inside of me. To this day, he still doesn’t accept what I did, but he supported me financially even though I went abroad by myself. But we are still together.
The only fear I had when I came back was that the termination wasn’t 100% successful. It is listed as one of the side effects amongst other things. Also, covid19 cases were starting to show in the UK so if the abortion was not successful I couldn’t afford to go back. Also, I had to do the mandatory quarantine.
The only regret I have is that I did not do it before (I thought the pills would work and were very cheap compared to the surgical abortion costs).
To date, 5 months later, I am still going through the stress of being pregnant. My hormone levels are still sky high due to the stress I went through and I still did not get a period. Sometimes sex is difficult mentally as I am scared I might get pregnant again even though we use precautions. I’m taking pills and blood tests, and thankfully I have found a pro-choice gynae who I can be honest with about my abortion so that she can understand what is wrong with me and why my body isn’t back to normal. I am sure that if abortion was available here, my stress levels would have been much better.
Many people don’t agree with abortion as they think it is killing, but no-one cares about the other effects a pregnancy has. Even if the baby is wanted, sometimes abortion is the only answer because of complications. We are ignorant and brainwashed from an early age that abortion is wrong and not accepted. We are not educated about sex and all the aspects of pregnancies. Not all pregnancies end well and not all children are born healthy and normal. We don’t have enough knowledge of the general physical and mental health of women with unwanted or not healthy pregnancies. Politicians and doctors will always have a hidden agenda as votes are more important. More knowledge and awareness about sex and contraception should be increased and talked about in the open from an early start regardless of religion and sex.
Here, women always face judgement and we cannot decide what we do with our bodies. When a man wants a vasectomy, no one questions his decision, but a woman does not have control over her body when it comes to contraception and abortion. A woman cannot get a tubal ligation unless she is over 40 with children, and even then sometimes it is difficult to get. Still, abortion is and only should be a woman’s decision, regardless of what her boyfriend/husband thinks.
We have to accept that abortions are still being done by Maltese women and people cannot impose on other people. I agree and respect that some people are against abortion, however, it is not fair for these people to decide and impose on other women’s decisions.”
- 34 year old