A woman has revealed why she’s proud she had an abortion and wishes more women and girls could feel this way
Abigail Sheldon was just 19-years-old when she discovered she was three months pregnant – despite being on the contraceptive pill.
A student at Manchester University at the time, Abigail knew that she and her long-term boyfriend weren’t ready to be parents, so she decided to terminate the pregnancy.
But before she headed down to an abortion clinic, she wanted some advice on what the procedure would be like, reports Manchester Evening News.
Too afraid to confide in her parents and friends, she turned to the internet hoping to find stories from other women who had found themselves in her shoes.
“I didn’t want doctors giving me medical advice,” explained Abigail, who lives in Withington.
“I wanted another woman telling me exactly what will happen, how she felt about it and how it really worked.”
But her search came up short.
“If you were going for any other surgery you would be able to talk about it freely or look it up on the Internet – but in this case, there was nothing.”
Abigail, now 23, was just a week under the limit of a ‘medical abortion’ when she decided to end her pregnancy.
According to the NHS, a medical abortion involves taking two pills 24 to 48 hours apart to induce a miscarriage.
However this medication was unsuccessful in Abigail’s case, which meant she also had to undergo a surgical abortion, which is described as a “minor” procedure to remove the pregnancy.
To make matters worse, the young woman then discovered she had been carrying an infection in her womb for three months, that could cause problems if she decided to have children in the future.
Despite the potential long-term complications, Abigail doesn’t regret her decision to have an abortion, in fact she says she’s “proud” of herself for going through with it.
She told Manchester Evening News: “I’m proud of my abortion – and I’m trying to make it so more women and girls feel able to say that.
“Most people’s auto response when I mention my abortion is a look of sympathy or a look of dread.
Why do we try and hide this huge thing that has happened to us?”
In order to encourage more “common talk” around abortions, Abigail has created a website where women can share their experiences and give advice to others.
The site includes a number of posts from other women on topics ranging from telling their parents about their abortion to explaining what the entire process is really like.
“I want to make abortions so much more common to talk about so if something does go wrong women aren’t afraid or ashamed to talk about it,” says Abigail.
“A lot of medical professionals won’t have ever had an abortion or know what it’s like. You can give all the advice about how it’s going to feel but you can’t really say until you’ve had one yourself.
“That’s why I created the website. I wanted to share more about what it is actually like to have an abortion.”
But while she’s keen to talk to all who will listen about her abortion, she accepts that not everyone will feel the same way.
She added: “I can understand why women don’t want to share their abortions. I’m sure for a lot of people it is tough and emotional. It’s a difficult choice to do so.
“I don’t want to make people feel bad for not shouting about their abortions – which is why I want to shout louder about mine and make people feel comfortable about them.
“I talk about it, I joke about it, I still sometimes get upset about it, but I had an abortion, and I’d do it again.”
For more information and advice on abortion the following helplines are available:
British Pregnancy Advisory Service – Tel: 03457 30 40 30 – bpas.org
Marie Stopes – tel: 0345 300 8090 – mariestopes.org.uk
Brook – Helpline: 0808 802 1234 – brook.org.uk
Family Planning Association – Helpline 0345 122 8687 – fpa.org.uk
Abortion Rights UK – abortionrights.org.uk
Netmums – netmums.com
NHS Choices – Abortion – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/abortion/