They warn you when you book with an abortion clinic that you may encounter protesters at the clinic. They don’t warn you that there will be a teenager in the waiting room waiting to terminate her third pregnancy. They don’t warn you that there will be a woman with a child in that same waiting room.
I look back on this experience and I feel anger surrounding the process. There are laws in certain areas that outlaw abortion but these achieve nothing. What angers me is that there are no laws enforcing the research process that I put myself through and no laws to enforce a single counselling session. The only moment that a professional speaks to you about how you became pregnant and why you want a termination is the gynaecologist almost immediately prior to being prepared for abortion surgery. It made me wonder about the teenage girl, had she ever actually had any proper counselling around her pregnancies. It made me wonder if the mother waiting for her own procedure had been offered all of the advice she may have needed. As a teen and before my own experience I always said that abortion was only for rape victims but having been through the experience myself, I am now pro-choice but I am pro-educated-choice. The gynaecologist who women speak to is not a counsellor, not a psychologist, cannot give qualified financial advice and is essentially only qualified to perform surgery on and treat the reproductive system. I am not attempting to disrespect the doctors working in abortion clinics, I am simply saying that they should not be burdened with a responsibility for which they are not trained.
I was in a ‘nice’ private clinic, the front of house staff were kind and empathetic. The gynaecologist herself was kind and respectful whilst performing an ultrasound prior to the procedure. However, it was not a pleasant experience, I was made to get myself on to the table prior to being given anaesthetic, I’ve had several surgeries in my life and never before had this happened. I then woke up in recovery hearing the crying of the teenage girl, she had nobody there with her, it had seemed she was on her own, that upset me more than anything at that time.
Mum was there once I came out of recovery, she had been incredibly supportive throughout the entire process from the moment I was standing in her kitchen after receiving the positive pregnancy test.
Driving home from the clinic I felt empty, no emotions just emptiness. I also felt really gassy and uncomfortable. They give you a suppository…my butthole was stinging so much. This is graphic, but this experience was my reality. We were on a highway and I literally sharted, luckily I was wearing a fairly large sanitary pad, we pulled in to a roadhouse a few minutes later and I rushed inside. It felt like I was pooping for half an hour. Mum came in to check I was ok, I washed my hands, we grabbed some food and hot drinks and continued the journey home.
I was occasionally teary, but I was numb. This month marks five years since this experience. I feel much the same today. Numb.