Stories that matter
The power of personal testimony
These women wanted to share their stories with you, so you can know what to expect, know you are not alone and hopefully feel reassured.
Farah, Birmingham: I genuinely felt looked after
My newborn was not even 4 months old when I found out I was almost 9 weeks pregnant again. Although having a child is a blessing as many would argue, I just knew how hard it would be to have another baby so soon. I needed to recover from the first pregnancy and enjoy time with my newborn as well as be ready both mentally and physically before having another one- so I decided to give Marie stopes a call after a quick google search.
I didn't quite know what to expect but honestly from the word go I couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised. I'm not one to write reviews etc. but felt I had to share my experience so other ladies out there don't feel the pressures of the stigma attached to abortions. We all have our reasons.
Firstly, the woman on the phone was ever so polite and caring, as if it was more than just a job to her and I genuinely felt looked after. The consultation over the phone not only saved me time from going in but also made me realise I won't be judged by the staff there, something I was afraid of.
I was given an appointment for the following week and was greeted in a warm manner yet so professional in the way it was organised, from going into reception one person at a time for privacy issues to getting changed, wrist bands with my name on it and observing the pretty decor, it didn't feel like a gloomy hospital.
Everything felt smooth and calm therefore I felt smooth and calm at ease a bit more if that makes sense. After being told about the procedures, I was swiftly seen too and got changed. I had the procedure, relaxed for a bit with a coffee and biscuits and even got called a taxi home by the lovely receptionist. I was home within a few hours of entering Marie Stopes. I wasn't feeling anything how I initially thought I would've felt, but instead I was happy and normal, and I genuinely believe it's due to the friendly and professionalism of the staff and atmosphere.
All I can say is thank you very much, because you guys really did make life a whole lot easier just by doing the little things in providing an excellent service. Keep it up!
Charlie, Bristol: I have two children, and am happily married
I had a really positive experience at the Bristol Marie Stopes clinic yesterday, and I'd really like to share this with others, who may be going through a difficult time.
I have two children, aged 5 and 2, and a settled, happy marriage. I'd toyed with the idea about having a third child after my second was born, but my husband was fairly adamant that we were done, and as my son reached 18 months, I was beginning to see life beyond nappies and sleepless nights again.
One night is all it took to result in an unplanned pregnancy. We were careful, but we stupidly never thought we'd get pregnant without actively 'trying' (as we tried for a while to conceive both our children). Anyway, I had a hunch that I was pregnant a few days before my period (having been through two pregnancies I knew what the signs were, and they were prominent immediately). I waited until I was a day late though, and I didn't tell anyone that I thought I was pregnant, until after I took a few (three..) tests. I was devastated, and shocked (despite 'knowing') - seeing those two blue lines was a metaphorical slap round the face. I told my husband that afternoon, and he was as gutted as me. No-one else knew. I didn't want the judgement, or any 'advice' from others.
We spent a day umming and ahhing - and I made the final decision. He said he would deal with the situation, and get on with life either way, but it was clear that he was struggling with the idea of becoming a dad again, as I was struggling with even being pregnant.
Some of our issues that we couldn't resolve were: 'How can be compromise our children's lives?' We both work full time, and work hard to provide a good quality of life for our kids. They would lose out on so much, if we had another child. They would lose out on time with us one:one, they would not be able to have opportunities I'd want them to have, we wouldn't be able to put three through university - and you can't deny one if he/she wanted to go. Also, my husband is an older parent. I won't go into the detail, but he came to fatherhood in his forties, and has really embraced it. He's a fantastic father and does his share of childcare, while I'm at work. But - it's not fair to expect someone in their mid-sixties to manage a stroppy teenager, or to continue working because we have an extra mouth to feed.
Anyway (I'm sorry I digress), so I called the Marie Stopes call centre line, and they gave me a telephone appointment a couple of hours later, to discuss my medical history and options for termination (I was only 5 weeks gone). Once we went through my options, I chose to have a Surgical Abortion. This was because I couldn't face passing the products at home, with my children in the vicinity. I knew a surgical abortion would be quicker, and I would be able to get home, and return to my normal life sooner. The lady on the phone who booked my abortion (Kim) was lovely, and she discussed the options for sedation, anaesthesia etc.
The appointment on the day was very efficient. My initial consultation with the nurse involved a scan, a quick iron blood test, and blood pressure. The nurse was lovely, he did make me chuckle - he made me feel at ease! We discussed pain relief/sedation. He encouraged me to have some, but after some more indecision, I stuck to my guns and decided on nothing (except some ibuprofen that I brought with me), no sedation, definitely no general anaesthesia.
I then went to another waiting room to await my turn for treatment.
My name was called, and I had to undress from the waist down in a private changing room(they give you a sheet to protect your modesty). Two nurses then collected me and brought me to the theatre and helped me onto the stirrups and bed, and once I was in the correct position, the consultant (a lady) did the necessary procedure. Straight into it, no messing about. I have to say - it wasn't a nice experience, but it wasn't horrendous. It was over really quickly - within 5 minutes, and throughout, the two nurses were squeezing my hand, they made lots of small talk, and I breathed through the worst of the pressure. Mind over Matter - it was important that I didn't think about what was happening and I just focussed on the conversation with the nurses. It wasn't so much painful, just very uncomfortable. I have been through two labours without pain relief though, so perhaps I just have a high pain threshold. The doctor was brilliant, she was so gentle, and the nurses were a godsend keeping me occupied.
Once it was over, I walked (with a little help from one of the nurses) to the recuperation area and laid on a recliner, partaking in a cuppa, some paracetamol and some (quite a lot of) biscuits. I did get a bit light headed once sat down, but there are fans by each recliner so I turned that on for ten minutes.
I'm so glad I wasn't sedated - the ladies after me clearly were sedated.... they were wheeled in, and had to be helped into the recliner... one of them was nauseous. I was up and out within 30 minutes (I could have stayed longer, but I felt much better, mentally and physically, and I was ready to depart). They, I suspect, would have been groggy for the rest of the day. That said, if I felt I couldn't have coped mentally with what was happening, I would have opted for the sedation. Each to their own :)
I spent the rest of the relaxing with my children and husband, and being thankful that I had the option to give myself, husband and my children a choice for a better life.
The team at Bristol were fantastic, it must be a very difficult job to do at times, but they were extremely caring, professional and non-judgemental.
Anon, Galway: I travelled to Manchester for a medical abortion
I am 20 years old and three weeks ago today I went to Manchester from Ireland to have a medical abortion.
I really wanted to share my story as the experience was as positive as it could be given the circumstances, but the stories online are truly horrific and I was so frightened that I didn't even have the time to take in what was happening.
I want other people who look up a medical abortion online to have another positive story like mine to refer to and hopefully make them feel a little calmer about their decision.
Amy, London: I was scared, but the staff were so supportive
Hello, I just wanted to share my story because before I came in for an abortion I was so so scared. Terrified, in fact.
I had just made the very scary decision to come out to my then boyfriend that I was a lesbian, and weeks later, realised I was pregnant.
The treatment I received from, the clinic was brilliant and as scared as I was, the staff were so supportive that it really made a difference to the way I look back on the whole experience.
Anon, Middle East: I have a great career, I’m not ready for children
In 2012 I discovered that I had become pregnant. I was living in the middle East at the time as a working professional and had a fantastic job, lovely long term boyfriend but wasn't ready for children or to have to leave the country (relations outside of marriage, regardless I was British, is not allowed).
I booked my appointment with Marie Stopes over the phone and flew back to London for the procedure. My boyfriend came with me and despite some discouragement at the door (protestors) I was unwavering in the decision. I just wanted to send a note, as I'm now 31 and still unsure of starting a family due to my career.
A termination was never something I wanted, of course, I never thought I would have found myself in the situation but, I wanted to thank the staff at Marie Stopes for their professionalism, kind advice and treatment and non-judgemental attitude at every moment. It's not an easy process to go through but I don't regret a thing.
I had a sedation and felt some cramping after the procedure for a few minutes but I walked out of the clinic feeling better and better with every minute.
It's important for people reading this to understand how supportive and kind the staff there are. And to all the lovely staff, THANK YOU. I never felt encouraged to go ahead with the termination but equally was never discouraged. You did all the right things and said all the right things and for that I'm forever grateful. I have a good life and perhaps one day I’ll have a family but for now, me and my now husband are really happy as we are. X
Anon, Kent: I was finishing my A-Levels
I am now 19 but was 17 when I found out I was 9 weeks pregnant, I was in my final years of A levels. I had just been through a breakup and it was the scariest experience of my life, but I feel I am able to talk about it now because I shouldn't feel ashamed or guilty.
My school was a very elitist grammar school who were incredibly unsympathetic for the most part. It was Marie Stopes who helped me through the whole thing and it was completely my choice to have the abortion at 13 weeks.
I am now in a very good place after battling with a lot of bad thoughts and am happy to talk about it in a positive light, it is not something to be ashamed of and should most definitely have more awareness.
Becca, Bath: I talked things through with a counsellor
I had a surgical abortion at 7 weeks at the Bristol clinic. I didn't tell many people and I attended on my own. I'm late 30s. I haven't any children and am not with the father, who has kids of his own.
I found the whole procedure very positive and supportive. I had my reasons for not keeping the baby. I spoke to a counsellor beforehand. It is important that you take your time to make a decision and do not rush into it, as you need to be sure. Talking to a counsellor can be easier than talking to family and friends if you don't want them to influence you. I think that it does help people to read about what happens from someone who has been through it because the clinic was extremely good and the whole procedure was the least scary and stressful they could make it.
Everything was well explained. I had the sedation and I was out like a light. I did not feel a thing, not a thing, not even when I woke up. It was like nothing had been done. The nurses were very kind, everyone was very discreet. I think it would help others if I can share this experience.
Anon, Bristol: I had a surgical abortion, with general anaesthetic
I found out unexpectedly that I was pregnant. I thought I was 5 weeks, however during my consultation I found out I was 9 and a half weeks pregnant. The consultant was very lovely and helpful at calming me down.
The whole service was amazing and I opted for a surgical termination, I was put to sleep woke up and everything had been done for me, I experienced minimal cramping and bleeding of a normal period.
I want to let people know of my experience so that other women in this position are not as scared about the surgical route, and because of the other stories I had read online, they calmed me down and helped me decide the best option.
Feli, Manchester: I was taking the pill, I didn’t know I was 20 weeks pregnant
Hi everyone. I'm writing my experience because I think that every woman in the World needs to know that abortion is a difficult choice, it makes you feel a lot of mixed emotions, but if you decide to go through, you will not feel alone at Marie Stopes.
I will start from the beginning: I went to my GP because I wanted to start the pill, because of course I am 19 and I didn't want to get pregnant and, so I started my first tablet of Microgynon, but I was not on my period so I waited for 7 days as my GP told me. At the end of the tablet I didn't have my period so I went to my medical centre again and they told me to continue, because probably was the pill and that this can occur in the first 3 months of taking it.
I finished my second tablet and no period again, so I did a pregnancy test from the doctor and it was negative, so I continued with the pill because I didn't have any symptoms of pregnancy. I was feeling a little bit pumped up, but this can happen with the pill. The test was negative so I was okay.
I finished the third tablet and no period again. I changed my pill (Millinette) and no period again. At the end I was feeling so pumped up and I started to know that there was something wrong. I did two pregnancy tests and both were positive! I was absolutely shocked, nothing that made me think about that!
I went to my doctor and it confirmed the pregnancy, so I decided for the abortion because I cannot keep the baby and they send me to Marie Stopes.
On my first appointment I found out that I was 20 weeks pregnant! And I didn't know anything, no symptoms, no vomit, nothing and when I did the first test I was something like 2 months and it was negative and I don't know why. It all seemed to me like a nightmare. I was careful in everything, but this can happen and you can analyse and think about everything but you will never know, apart from when you are having sex without protection.
All the process took 2 weeks in total, between my first appointment and my second one (when I did the abortion). I went to the Manchester centre and they were all absolutely beautiful with me, all the staff were lovely and kind with all the women that had to do this difficult choice that day.
Because I was far with the pregnancy, the process needed to be longer, because they first wanted to prepare my cervix. At the beginning I was sent to a waiting area then I was called and they did a second scan for me. They took my blood pressure and tested for chlamydia and they gave me a form to sign with all the risks and the process. Then I was send to the waiting area again, they called me after a couple of minutes and gave me a blue bucket where I put all my lower clothes, and I wore a blue big towel. I was called and I met the doctor and the anaesthetist, they were all lovely and kind and very professional. I think that this was the worst part because when they put the tablets into my vagina, it's without aesthetic and it's very fastidious, but they put 6 tablets and they do a vaginal control, at the same time the anaesthetist prepares your hand for the drugs. Then I had to wait for my cervix to dilate in the recovery area.
I waited for 4 1/2 hours and was very bad, not for the staff, they were all lovely and they always came to ask you if you were okay etc., but because you can experience pain like a heavy period. The nurse will give you painkillers, but you can feel it a little bit anyway. I had a temperature and they told me that this is for the tablets that they put inside my vagina. Finally, after almost 5 hours I was called and I was so scared about being put to sleep, but I needed to go through.
I went to the theatre and the doctor put the drugs into my hand, it's so strange because you can feel it in your veins like a cold liquid and you can feel also the flavour in your mouth, but then I didn't see anything, completely dark, like a long sleep. You can't remember anything, but some people dream, and then when I woke up I was on my recliner and my first thought was 'it's all over, all done, it was just a couple of minutes'. I was inside the theatre for 20 minutes, it seemed like 1 second. I was feeling woozy, but that's normal and I had a little bit of a headache, but that's normal too. Then you start to feel better and the staff will give you painkillers, water, coffee or tea and you can start to eat some lovely biscuits (I ate something like 10 biscuits, omg they were delicious!)
When you are okay you can go to change yourself, then you can relax a bit more and they will give you antibiotics to avoid infections. When you feel better they will bring you back to the reception they will give you the aftercare book, and here you can meet the person that came with you (especially after general aesthetic, you must go back home with someone), and that's my experience.
It was a hard choice. I was taking the pill to avoid this kind of thing, because I don't like them, but sometimes this can happen and you need to make a choice, black or white, inside or outside. I was thinking about continuing the pregnancy, because it was too big also, but the circumstances were not good. I was only going out with the 'dad', and in any case he didn't want to keep the baby and he was very bad with me. He was not with me during the procedure, my best friend was with me, not him, and we are talking about humanity and a little bit of love. I asked him only to be with me for not being alone, because we did this mess together, but he was completely selfish and bad. I am too young to have a baby now and I need to find myself before, because I want to be happy when I will search for a baby in the future and my pregnancy tests will be positive, I don't want to see this as a problem.
I am really sorry about everything, but I learnt a lot from this experience and Marie Stopes was very helpful, they take care of every single woman inside, from the start to the finish and they don't make you feel alone. The only thing that I know is that my children will be loved and cherished, and they will have everything that they need to, especially a dad that will love them, and a dad that will always be there for them.
Anon, Belfast: I had a medical abortion in Belfast
I read a lot of reviews when deciding if a termination was the decision I wanted to take, so I thought that it was only right that I wrote one too, sharing my experience.
I’m 30 years old have two children a girl 4 and a boy 2, my husband and I hadn’t planned on having any other family and had planned on my husband being sterilized and well you can guess we had an accident.
I Have kidney disease and was very ill throughout my last pregnancy, sick all nine months, getting repeat urine infections and passing out due to low blood pressure. I was only 5 weeks when I found out I was pregnant this time and already I was vomiting and feeling very lightheaded this lead me to taking a test which confirmed my suspicions that I was pregnant.
I knew straight away that I was not physically or mentally strong enough to have another baby. If I was to be as ill as I was with my last pregnancy I wouldn’t be fit and able to look after my two small children. I don’t have a big support network and I knew I couldn’t continue with this pregnancy. So I made the very difficult decision to have a Medical termination.
So I went to the Marie Stopes Clinic and had a consultation costing £35.00, you met a nurse who takes your medical history, blood pressure, and checks your blood type then scans you to confirm how many weeks you are.
Once that’s done you when decided if you want to have the termination if so you are booked to return.
I returned to the Clinic on Friday morning at 9am paid £390.00, I was met by a nurse who again took my blood pressure checked over my medical history then asked if I was sure this was what I wanted to do, I was so she then proceeded to give me 4 antibiotic tablets, a sickness tablet and then the first abortion tablet. Then I was free to go and return to the clinic at 3pm that afternoon.
After taking the first tablet I didn’t really feel anything no pain or bleeding and was able to go about normally.
I returned to the clinic at 3pm to have the second set of abortion tablets, the same nurse met me showed me and my husband to a booth with two seats and a TV. She then gave me a further 4 more antibiotics and left me for about 5 mins returning with a hot drink (tasted like hot Ribena) this is to soften the gums and make it easier for the next set of abortion tablets to dissolve.
Once I had drunk the hot drink she then gave me 4 quite large tablets which I had to place between my gum and lip, after about ten minutes the nurse then asked me to rub the tablet in a little. After another ten minutes the nurse returned and asked it the tablets had dissolved yet I said that they had and she said I was free to go home, at this point I was feeling fine I got up and went to the exit and waited on the lift.
As soon as I pressed the lift button I started to feel sick, the lift arrived and I got in then I knew I was going to be sick. I vomited three times and felt awful. Lucky my husband had been able to get a parking space right outside the building and I quickly made my way to the car. A was then sick another couple of times.
We began to make our way home and after about 5 mins I started to shake uncontrollably, this was not pleasant but only last about 15 mins then we got home and I got out of the car and I had sudden gush of water much like when your waters break in labour I went into the house got a shower and into jammies and went to bed by this time the sickness was starting to pass and I was on longer shaking, it was at this point a started to bleed heavily this continued overnight and by mid-morning the next day it had lessened to that of a heavy period, this was accompanied by mild to moderated cramp like pains which I used a hot water bottle to soothe. The bleed continued for about a week but lessened each day until it stopped.
This is my experience of how the medical abortion made me feel but from what I have read it varies a lot from person to person. It’s not something that I ever wish to repeat but it’s not as horrific as some of the accounts I read online, at least it wasn’t for me anyway it’s by no means nice or comfortable it's very unpleasant and moderately sore but after 24hrs you feel almost back to normal and are able to go about normal life as if you would with a heavy period.
H, Kent: They checked I was 100% sure of my decision
I kind of knew I was pregnant out of gut instinct, however, I took a test in the company of my boyfriend.
We decided together that we would come to Marie Stopes. I was petrified of what might happen and riddled with guilt, not just because of what I was about to do, but because of other ladies.
But after my consultation, i turned up to my appointment and was treated like a normal person who knew what I was doing. They give you opportunities to ask questions, speak to you about what's going to happen and give you advice, they also ask you if you are 100% that you want to do it before going ahead so you don't feel forced once there.
Also, they don't mind if you get upset as this is probably normal and you're given a moment to get yourself together before you have to go back out into the waiting room.
I was treated well by each nurse through out my experience and everything was relaxed.
Luckily, i was accompanied by my boyfriend the whole time, even though he wasn't allowed to come into the treatment rooms for privacy purposes, i still felt comforted by nurses.
Anon, Bristol: I opted for surgical without anaesthetic
These websites helped me out tonnes when deciding, so I have decided to share my story to help out some people making what is probably the most heart breaking decision you could make.
After finding out I was pregnant my boyfriend and I decided an abortion was the only option (we were living at his mother’s house, I was unemployed and depressed – just an all-round bad situation to bring a child into). At first I thought the medical abortion would be the best route, but after talking to a friend and reading stories online, it sounded pretty horrendous, so I opted for a surgical abortion without any sedation (Maries Stopes UK).
OK I’m not going to lie the procedure is painful (more painful than a iud insertion and smear test). BUT it is bearable, it takes about 2/3minutes and it’s over. It was uncomfortable after, but within 5 min I felt back to normal. I got cramps after for the day (like mild period pains) and through the night but co-codamol/ibuprofen helped.
Take deep breaths before and after, squeeze the nurses hand and try to think about being somewhere else. It’s over before you know it. Immediately after my nausea disappeared, although my breasts are still tender (they say that can take a few weeks).
Anyway good luck with your decision, I’m glad I chose the surgical abortion, it’s the next day now and I feel fine.
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