Recently I was stunned by the realisation that it had been 6 weeks since my last period. Ironically, I always had an inkling that I would be infertile but I think that many girls my age reflect on their fertility, perhaps with the dual mentality of wanting the option of children one day but an intense aversion to any responsibility at the tender age of 22. Anyway, I have not been on the pill for about 4 years, I hated the hormone spikes it gave me and to be frank, I was not having regular enough sex to justify the emotional roller coaster that hormonal birth controls tend to create. I am not going to lie and say it was the one unlucky time that I didn’t use a condom that I got pregnant, I am not the most cautious girl and the crude “pull out” method seemed to have served many a girl well many a time and, on this occasion, I was too drunk to realise if the boy in question had done this. I am still not 100% sure whether he did and it was a case of pre-cum (which can still impregnate you) or if he just assumed I was on the pill. This is the crux of this post.
When did it become acceptable for boys to assume we’re on the pill?
When did boys stop bothering to ask if we wanted their cum inside of us?
Why is it only our responsibility to prevent pregnancy?
To illustrate my point, I am writing here an honest account of one of the worst days of my life; the day I underwent my abortion. I write this to hopefully encourage girls to no longer stand for boys who cum wherever the fuck they want. Perhaps any boys who read it will understand what our bodies and minds go through if they fail to ask if they are allowed to finish inside us and emergency contraception isn’t accessible the next day.
My first reaction when I took the pregnancy test and saw the two lines was complete refusal to believe it. I did a second one straight away which showed the exact same result. Thus ensued the shock. My body started shaking violently as my brain tried to process the information that residing inside of my body was the potential for another human body. I will never quite be able to describe this realisation. All I can say is that my brain tried to literally reject the information, to dislocate myself from my own reality so that I could comprehend it as if it were someone else’s problem, not my own. After about an hour of sitting on my bed in stunned silence the tears came. I wasn’t even sure what i was crying about, just that I knew I felt in that instance terrified and angry at myself. I know now that this anger was unjustified, that the boy who had impregnated me had never even taken the time to consider that I may, for personal reasons, not be on birth control, but in that moment all I could think about was how on earth could I have put myself in this position.
I can’t stress enough that not once did it cross my mind to see out this pregnancy. I am 22. I love my degree. I plan on doing so much and seeing so much before I even consider settling down in one country and I can’t honestly say that I will ever want to commit 18 years of my life to raising another. That doesn’t make this process any less daunting or scary. Every single possibility goes through your mind: what if this is my only chance to have a baby and I throw it away? What if the termination fails and I have to have it surgically removed? What if everyone finds out and I am forever known as that girl who was pregnant and this stops me ever finding a long term relationship? These may seem like preposterous ramblings of a crazy person but I can honestly say my fear of how others would perceive this news made me make a decision in that instance not to tell anyone. It was a Saturday when I found out so I couldn’t call the doctors till Monday so I just went about my day. I went to work. I got drunk with my friends. I went to the library on Sunday. I kept what felt like my dirty little secret from everyone around me out of shame and fear of being judged. This burden made me hysterical, it kept me up at night and it tainted every good time I had. Everyone deals with things in their own way and this is not me telling anyone in the same position to do it differently and shout it from the rooftops but know that an unplanned pregnancy has mental repercussions as well as just physical ones.
The actual termination itself was long, painful and dark. The process started with a 3 hour trip to the sexual health clinic where they take your blood, swab you for chlamydia, measure you, weigh you, counsel you and get you to sign numerous consent forms to ensure that you are making the right decision for yourself and your body. They will then explain the procedure. It takes place over 2 days; the first is just one pill that blocks your progesterone hormone (the hormone that tells your body its pregnant). 24 hours late, you insert 4 more pills up your vagina and they induce the expulsion of the fertilised egg. They warn you it will be 12 hours of pain and the following 12 hours you will need to be monitored as you are at risk of haemorrhaging which can be fatal. The nurse offered me two options: tell someone or undergo the procedure in hospital where medical professionals would watch me for haemorrhage. I confided in my wonderful, kind, thoughtful sister who, when I look back at it now, I don’t know what I would have done without. My thoughts go to anyone who has to do this alone in a hospital with nurses, I can’t imagine how lonely that must have felt.
The bleeding started around 30 minutes after the insertion of the pills. I can’t describe the pain only to say I have never felt anything like it. It was like someone was trying to rip my womb out of my body whilst simultaneously punching me in the stomach. I threw up my first dose of painkillers and continued to be violently sick for about 2 hours. I just wished I would pass out so the pain would go away. I was burning my skin by shoving too hot hot water bottled into my stomach. I was crying and shaking and screaming at my sister to take me to hospital so that they could make the pain stop. It came in waves as my womb cramped and relaxed, each wave being accompanied by the knowledge that this would continue for many more hours. It was horrible. My wonderful sister brought me drugs every 4 hours and fresh hot water bottles but the experience will stay with me forever. Know that this is nothing like taking the morning after pill. You are putting your body through so much for 24 hours and you will then bleed for another 2 weeks. You are not allowed to use tampons and you will bleed through up to 3 pads an hour. To put it bluntly, it’s shit.
I could write for days about the importance of taboo busting, of supporting women through this (1 in 3 will have an abortion in their lives) but instead I say this: whether or not you cum inside a woman without a condom on is her choice and her choice alone. It’s bad enough we are the only ones who can take preventative measures before the sex begins (the pill, the coil, the implant) despite how crap they make us feel. For anyone to assume that a girl is on the pill is ignorant and disrespectful. To cum inside us without our permission is unforgivable. And yet it happens to all girls, all the time. One friend of mine said, of the last 6 boys she has slept with since breaking up with her long term boyfriend, all of them have cum inside of her and only 2 asked (afterwards) if she was on the pill. Only one boy has ever offered to pay for my morning after pill despite it being their lack of foresight. Most of my friends say no-one has ever offered. It’s £27 in the UK if you didn’t know, £27 to not put your body through the ordeal of a termination.
Please take from this the importance of standing up for yourself: your body is yours. No-one gets to put anything in it that you don’t want. If you don’t want to take the pill that’s fine! If you want to, then amazing. But whatever the situation, there are two people responsible for making sure that sex doesn’t end with pregnancy. And yet only one of you will bear the consequences if it does.