This is what it's like to have a medical abortion.

i had an abortion


Two years ago, I had an abortion. And I’ve struggled with the internal dilemma and ‘what if’ scenarios ever since.

One of my best friends recently confided in me that she’d suffered a miscarriage two weeks prior. Among the tears and heartbreak, she expressed her anger towards women who have abortions and said she couldn’t comprehend how someone could give up a baby so easily when others want one so badly.

Another friend confided similar feelings after telling me about her frustrations in trying to get pregnant for the last 18 months. My heart broke for both of them, and also for myself – because sometimes I think they are right.

For many women, the impending arrival of a baby is one of joy and excitement – but I took four pills, suffered severe cramps for a couple of hours, and flushed it down the toilet. It makes me feel sick even thinking about it.

Two years ago, my husband and I got married, spent a month in the USA, and then I found out I was pregnant. I was on the pill, but with our travels and the time difference and the disruption of our normal routines, I didn’t take it every day on the hour as I should have.

While my initial reaction to my positive pregnancy test was tears and thumping my fist against the bathroom cabinet yelling ‘fuck!’, I did not automatically make my decision. I spent the next week reading everything I could about pregnancy and the cost of raising a child, while also reading about abortion options, costs and the effect on future pregnancies.

I considered what our goals and aspirations were, which did not align with nappies and day care. After much dilemma, tears, pros and cons lists and discussions with my husband, I called a local clinic and confirmed I wanted an appointment for that Friday. I spent the next few days changing my mind back and forth, but overall I felt it was the right thing to do.

In terms of the actual procedure, you can either opt for a medical or surgical abortion. Medical abortions can be done during the first 9 weeks and I was 7 weeks, and it was my preference over surgical. I still have the notes on my iPhone about the process.


12pm: Took 2 x pills at the clinic
11.30am: Took 2 x painkillers
12pm: Took 2 x pills
12.45pm: Took 1 x painkiller due to cramping commencing. Watched TV for distraction.
1pm: Felt very dizzy and nauseous. Very severe abdominal cramping. Couldn’t concentrate on TV. Husband helped me down the hallway to the bathroom.
1.15pm: Vomiting commenced. Felt very dizzy.
1.20pm: Vomiting, diarrhoea, squirting blood.
1.45pm: Felt a large chunk come out. Vomiting, diarrhoea, and squirting blood eased.
2pm: Still cramping but dizziness gone. Husband assisted with abdominal massaging.
2.30pm: Took 1 x painkiller
3pm: Husband assisted with abdominal massaging. Pad change.
Remainder of afternoon: Minor cramping, hourly abdominal massages, pad changes every 2 hours.

Apart from my husband, I only told my manager, as we were in a very busy period at work and I needed 2 Fridays in a row off for my appointments. She was very supportive and understanding, and even confided in me that she had one in her 30s.

Research shows that abortions are fairly common, but I rarely hear anyone even utter the words. I can see why. Phrases like ‘decision of convenience’ and ‘easy way out’ are thrown around. I don’t feel comfortable telling my own mother, or my friends, let alone publishing this article under my name.

This is what it’s like to have a medical abortion.

Overall, I don’t regret it – but I do occasionally have a ‘what if’ moment and feel sick about it. A girl I knew at school is on Facebook and was due 2 weeks before I would have been.

In her photos, I watched her belly grow, and I’ve watched her little boy grow, and I’ve wondered what our little boy or girl would have been like.

In the last two years, we’ve bought another house, travelled for a month in South East Asia, been promoted at work, and I am now approaching the stage where I do feel like I am ready emotionally and financially for a child.

I will be able to have time off work with my child and not stress about house payments and bills. I will be able to tell he or she stories about our travels instead of pining for an adventure. I will scream ‘yes’ and thump my fist in excitement over a positive pregnancy test. But it still doesn’t change the ‘what if’.

I realise that many mothers or women who wish to be mothers will never understand my decision. My friend who had a miscarriage wouldn’t. My friend who can’t get pregnant wouldn’t. Even I don’t sometimes.

Was my abortion a decision of convenience? Yes, it was. But was it the easy way out? Definitely not.