I'm a midwife who works in abortion care. AMA(565 Posts)
MNHQ have commented on this thread.
Go ahead. I'll try and answer everything the best way I can. Sorry if this is boring (I love my job and can go on about it a bit.)!
No one goes through an abortion for the shits and giggles.
I am sure many bad women exist who have abortions because they are lazy about contraception. I know of many who are drug users whos haphazard lifestyle means they have had multiple abortions.
Knowing they are women out there doing this does not change my opinion that abortion at any stage is the womans choice.
I'm definitely sure that women have lied to me in the past about their reasons for abortion. But honestly, to me, "I don't want a baby" is reason enough. So if they want to come up with a big story about your they wouldn't cope etc etc I don't mind. I'll document that. I can only go with what women tell me and no more.
I still don't judge them. I'm not saying nobody will judge her, and she might judge herself but I won't, and nor will many of my colleagues.
I will never understand why another person's choice gets people so riled up. Pro choice should be renamed "Pro choice for whoever is in this particular circumstance" for those people that can't understand, that a woman should have a choice what happens to her body, because the alternative is forcing them give up their body for someone elses idea of "what is right" and thats not a road i would like to go down.
For me i dont think i would have an abortion, and certainly not a late term one. But its a personal choice, that has absolutely nothing to do with me.
OP, you are exactly the sort of person for the job, you come across as non judgemental, kind and understanding at what is probably a woman's toughest decision.
It is good input because it sums it up. No one goes through everything an abortion entails for a day out or because they love pain. Not everyone is emotional about their decision, no. But the reasons are valid. Would you rather the woman you know have 7 children she can ill afford or want or house just so the likes of you don't sneer at her?
Another one here to say thank you x
I never, ever thought I'd have an abortion. Then I did, in 2017. I thought the staff were going to be judgemental and treat me awfully, but they were the complete opposite. I could even have a laugh and a joke with them. I nearly cried during my scan. I looked at the wall so I didn't see anything, but they didn't turn the screen around anyway. I hope it wasn't twins. I wasn't told.
I didn't think I'd stay with my partner after the abortion. He was quite upset about it although did support my decision. We hadn't been together long at the time. However, we're still together, now married and living together in a lovely house, and have a baby on the way in 12 weeks. None of this would have happened if I'd kept our first one. We'll never forget that baby but I don't regret the abortion.
I paid nearly £800 as I wanted it to be done ASAP.
I'm so glad we have the option in this country. There was a lady on the same day as me who'd travelled from Ireland.
Hi @BirthdayKake congrats! That's so good to hear. I know lots of women who feel the same way. I'm glad you were treated kindly and everything has worked out.
I'm so sorry everybody that the thread has been a bit derailed. I feel like there are some really really interesting questions and comments from loads of people and I thank you. Also, all the people thanking me and my colleagues are so kind. We do it because we love it. And we love women.
I think someone up thread asked about staff who struggle with it, they mostly leave quite quickly. If you're not OK with it, it's a really really tough job. I know someone who worked in my clinic but she had to leave ( not sacked but encouraged to leave) because she kept trying to convince women not to have abortions (even when they were sure of their decision).
I think you and your colleagues are amazing. I've never had an abortion, but considered it with both my DC. Both of them were conceived due to failed contraception. One was the pill and one with the coil. I am now on the depo but will have to come off that shortly as I have various medical conditions which mean almost all contraceptions are unsuitable for me. This is a scary thought as I couldn't financially or physically cope with another child at the moment. I hope I don't fall pregnant but it is reassuring to know there are wonderful midwives like yourself that would be there if I ever needed to access an abortion.
I have a blood clotting disorder and inject with heparin. Would that affect what options would be available to me?
Everyone judges everyone 🤷. It's like having an opinion on wether morbidly obese people should have treatment on the NHS to health them lose weight. Everyone has an opinion on that.
It depends on the condition. I'd probably get our drs to liase with your Dr to discuss. I'd hope that they'd just tell you to stop taking it prior to treatment. If it wouldn't be safe we'd refer you back to the NHS so you're in a hospital site. Sorry to hear about your contraceptive problems! Nightmare.
Ok then, thanks for enlightening me.
I have reported the poster who kept on at our lovely OP further up the thread. If Drogoswife keeps on she will be reported also.
Also. When I had an abortion my partner was treated like an abuser, infact every male in the clinic did that day. All the girls ahead of me (just two, for anyone who is professionally offended) were forced to go through it alone.
I had my abortion because I didn’t want to have a baby, and I hadn’t used contraception. That might shock some people, but as none of you pay my bills or live my life - I couldn’t really give a shit.
Reported for what exactly?
No it doesn't surprise me at all.
Thank you OP. I'm glad there are people like you
As far as I am aware I have broken no talk guidelines, I have given my point of view based on experience.
What an amazing thread. Thank you to the op. You are amazing. I agree with everything you have said.
I find it interesting that pro choice was the majority opinion actually. I’ve had two abortions and I never mention them. Despite them being pivotal moments in my life, and moments which I think of often. I think I assumed most people would disagree with my choice. Refreshing to see that is not in fact the case x x
Weight gain on certain contraceptions is definitely a thing. It's no coincidence that woman all report of weight gain whilst on certain contraception despite not changing their diet at all. Some alter your metabolism so you end up gaining weight. I can't take hormonal contraception because it makes me gain weight and turns me into crazy bitch lady..
I have reported the poster who kept on at our lovely OP further up the thread. If Drogoswife keeps on she will be reported also
Oh hello thread police.
I’m telling! Someone said something that I didn’t agree with - it’s not fair!
@Hemlock2013 I've had two, also. One in my 20s, one very recently. Both for very different reasons. A maximum of three people know because I couldn't face the levels of judgement in the real world. This thread is very heartening but I will still clutch mine to my chest I think.
@dwaynedibbly me too. One at 19 and one last year. Both affected me greatly. X x
I don't blame you to be honest. Most people are lush about it but actually, I often tell people I work in sexual health because sometimes I can't face the judgement either!
Thank you for the necessary job you do with such compassion.
I had an 11 week termination many years ago before scans were used and afterwards the nurse told me the baby was very big. I wasn't in any place to ask for any further explanation at the time.
My dates were spot on but its always left me feeling a bit confused. Might you know what she meant?
I am booked in next week for an appointment with BPAS, it's my first appointment and I'll be about 8 weeks. I have a medical condition and was told on the phone I would be referred to the specialist team. Can you tell me what this means exactly ?
I'm also not entirely sure this is what I want, DH has said he wouldn't cope with another DC as we have 3 already. I'm not sure what to expect around the 'discussion' will it help me decide as such?
I am very angry at myself for being in this position, I am 38 and had 6 MC and fertility issues before I had DC2 &3 so feeling so guilty about not knowing what I want exactly.
Also thank you for the job you do, you sound so lovely.
Is it true that sometimes the babies can be born alive, even cry, if it's tOwards the later end of the cut off?
Pm me if you like, it's hard to know without knowing the medical condition. But basically you'll have a conversation around "have you made a decision? What are your thoughts? Can we offer any information to help?". They'll go through your medical history form and scan you. Then if it's a condition which means they can't treat you, they refer you to their specialist placement team. They're experts and will find you treatment within the NHS as soon as possible.
@ComeTheFuck0nBridget I bloody love your user name! If the pregnancy is past 23 weeks we offer what's known as feticide. I can talk more about it if people are interested, might be a step too far though.
In the interests of 'informed consent', I'd be interested to hear more, Glittery.
I'd also be interested to hear.
Also is it true that in some abortions they pierce the babies heart.
I've been following this thread since it started but haven't posted til now. I have been lucky enough to have never needed a termination but I am eternally grateful that we have a system in place where women can access one of its needed. I've found this thread very interesting, I come from a nursing background but I felt very naive of the physical side when I had medical management for a mmc last year and was glad of another thread here on mn for information. I personally feel the more information out there the better and hopefully those in need of info can see this.
Thank you for what you do OP. I had a termination last year and the nurse I saw was wonderful.
I think there was an earlier question about antenatal anxiety and depression and whether this is something you see very often? This was the reason for my decision, and I'd never even heard of antenatal depression at the time. Is there much awareness around it? I struggled to get any help or support and didn't know what was happening to me.
I was someone who always said I would never choose to terminate, but until you've been in a situation like that you really don't know.
As I said earlier a relative had a TFMR some years ago after tests revealed major abnormalities. An awful decision that most of us will never have to face. We will always be grateful for the compassion of the medical staff.
You do know what infanticide is right? I think it perfectly ok for someone to say they think that's horrendous and doesn't make them any less a feminist.
I had an abortion when I was 12, I’m 46 now with 4 beautiful children.
I didn’t have a choice to not go through with it but that’s another story.
My question is would it have caused it pain? It probably sounds like a naive question but it’s something that has always weighed on my mind all these years. I was 13 weeks pg.
Thanks in advance
Feticide is something which is done prior to later abortions (for medical reasons or not) in order to make sure that the baby isn't born alive. Effectively we stop the baby's heart by injecting it. I first saw it done as a student for a woman who's baby had seriously horrendous abnormalities and who may have survived the birth but it would have not been at all gentle or pleasant. So they stopped his heart before labour to make sure he wouldn't suffer.
Oh yes i forgot I was going to reply about antenatal depression. I think it's hugely ignored or underestimated by lots of health professionals. When I was a midwife in the usual setting I definitely saw a lot of it and women just thought they were going crazy with no explanation. Post natal depression is often poo pooed as baby blues, antenatal depression isn't even acknowledged sometimes. It's something which I feel very very strongly about and I'm so sorry you went through it @Wheretoturnnext.
Motheroffeminists I'm not sure who that was directed at.
A heartfelt thank you. And thank you also for this thread - I think it helps for these things to be open.
@Drogosnextwife I do indeed know what the term means. I found it offensive used in this context. And I expressed disbelief that someone who professes to be a feminist can espouse those views.
How does it work when nurses/midwives working in termination care are pregnant themselves. Could potentially be distressing for the woman, are you moved to a more clerical role or continue as normal?
@GlitteryPoopooplop I have phenomenal amounts of respect for you, and just want to thank you so much for this thread.
@Ooof at 13 weeks, no. The nervous system is not developed at that stage. So i your baby wouldn't have felt pain, or have any knowledge of itself or that anything bad was happening to it. That's such a good question, lots of people ask the same. They're a huge amount of debate about when the pain receptors start working but it would be as early as 13 weeks.
*wouldn't be as early as 13 weeks (sorry, what a horrible typo). X
Thank you for what you do. Do you feel privileged to be able to help women who may be going through a really difficult time?
I think I understand your belief that there shouldn't be any stage of pregnancy when an abortion couldn't be carried out (hope all those negatives make sense). Did you always feel like this, before you worked in this field? Or did it evolve from a realisation that drawing a line was arbitrary? Do you think there would be pressure to shorten the 24 week limit if medical advances meant that a significant proportion of babies born at 23 weeks survived?
Brilliant thread and well done op so being so calm and patient under a lot of provocation and confrontational posts.
For a long time I was very against the idea of late abortions and for a long time felt the limit should be reduced but I watched a documentary with the lady from the weakest link (mind blank can't remember her name) about abortion with a pro choice campaigner who had been involved in the campaigns of the 60s and they talked about how if you put any limits on abortion- time, reasons, sex selection etc it is reducing the choice and then it has a knock on to all the other reasons and it totally changed my views
Also to the question about abortions at full term I would argue what about all the concealed pregnancies when the birth is in a door way or similar and the baby is born alive but then hidden away and often dies and the mother hasn't had any medical care or treatment
*Thank you for what you do. Do you feel privileged to be able to help women who may be going through a really difficult time?
I think I understand your belief that there shouldn't be any stage of pregnancy when an abortion couldn't be carried out (hope all those negatives make sense). Did you always feel like this, before you worked in this field? Or did it evolve from a realisation that drawing a line was arbitrary? Do you think there would be pressure to shorten the 24 week limit if medical advances meant that a significant proportion of babies born at 23 weeks survived?*
Yes yes yes so privileged! It's just the best and I love that I can help women.
I've always thought that abortion is the right choice for certain people. I don't remember that I'd had any thoughts about gestation if reasons or anything like that but I definitely wasn't as Liberal as I am now. I read a book called "the moral case for abortion" and it really helped me see that, like you say, limits are arbitrary and so so so hard to draw a line in.
There is always pressure to reduce the limits and I can absolutely understand why, it's such an emotive subject (as we've seen in this thread). To be honest, I'd like to see abortion removed from criminal law and regulated by health care professionals.
@nevertol - I had a TOP in 1998. I was 16. I too had my pregnancy "dated" by the doctor shoving her hand inside me with no chaperone. I'd had sex once. It was the most traumatic part of it, and I've always wondered if it was a standard thing.
Have you ever had anyone take the first treatment/pill and it not work or they then change their mind? Would they have to then continue with second part of treatment or is there still a possibility they could continue with pregnancy?
You don't believe someone can be a feminist and have the belief that it is not ok to end a child's life AFTER it has been born?
@Moonriver83 the first pill increases your risk of miscarriage but shouldn't cause anything else. So we'd warn women of that. I have had people where the treatment doesn't work at all and they've continued the pregnancy. Again, we do recommend that they don't continue the pregnancy because misoprostol can sometimes cause birth defects.
Drogo stop trying to turn the thread into something it isn't.
Got to be honest I hate the thought of any reason any gestation, I am pro-choice within the confines of the law. So any gestation for medical, any reason up to viability makes sense.
A 36 week foetus being terminated maybe because the husband has changed his mind or they found out it’s a girl - just doesn’t sit right.
Also have to say I don’t see the moral difference between stopping the heart of a healthy baby 5 mins before birth or 5 mins after.
Does feticide always work, and does it always work the first time?
In the interests of honesty I’m another who has had a stillbirth and prob not the best person to be in this thread, she died 7 years ago today.
I don't think that's what the post said @Drogosnextwife. Perhaps you've misconstrued?
@Sagradafamiliar It seems @Drogosnextwife is on a mission to antagonise. They will no doubt deny that.
I don't think I have. Your post was Deleted, the other posters wasn't. I wonder why.
Actually @Drogosnextwife the post I responded to was also deleted. Do keep up.
How am I doing that? I had questions for the OP based on statements they made. There will always be debate with such an emotive subject. I only posted my post to DwayneDibbly because I wondered if they actually knew what infanticide was, considering they think someone can't be a feminist if they don't agree with it.
@Innernutshell sorry I've only just seen your message about your TOP. I can't imagine what the nurse meant. Might be worth requesting the notes to see if you could work out why if you're interested or worried? Strange comment to make. X
@Drogosnextwife The post I replied to implied that the thread was repulsive and promoted infanticide. I fully understand the term. I found it difficult to understand that someone who professed to be a feminist, and therefore presumably supportive of women's rights, could conflate abortion with that. My post in response was deleted, I presume, because I used expletives in it.
I fully appreciate that you may not agree with what the OP does or a woman's right to choose.
I hope you have a pleasant evening. :-)
This has been very interesting to read. I would have stated at the start that I was a feminist and pro-choice. Apparently I am not. I can't see "aborting" a full term healthy baby as anything but murder. I don't see women as merely incubators but I also can't believe that a baby is only a person once it has taken an independent breath, and just some kind of random medical tissue before that. Lots to think about.
What an interesting and honest thread. Thank you OP for your care and kindness to women, the work you do is so very important.
My question is, do you get along well with your colleagues and do you always work in the same team? I imagine you’d get quite close.
I can only assume you didn't rtft or you missed the poster that said that they believed that ending a child's life after they are born (even a few months after) because of disability or the mother deciding she can't cope was perfectly acceptable. I think that is what the poster was referring to.
I do agree with a woman's right to choose, but I feel it's a very grey area and I don't believe in ANY reason at ANY time.
I have the utmost of respect for you, OP. Your job is one worthy of the strongest admiration. Thank you for doing what you do.
This has been absolutely fascinating, and well done @GlitteryPoopooplop for your immense calm and grace under pressure of such an emotive subject.
I had a medical abortion a decade ago and the nurse/midwife who administered the first pill told me, after looking at my notes, that the fetus was a 'tiddler' and I'd have probably miscarried anyway. I think this was meant to be reassuring and I appreciated the gesture but it upset me more, weirdly, to think the choice might have been taken away from me had I chosen to continue the pregnancy (which I wanted to do, but couldn't for a number of reasons). I then passed the fetus after taking the first pill (I'm fairly sure as I felt something come away and it was like a large glob - I couldnt bring myself to look closer). Is the likelihood of miscarriage that easy to spot at the approx 7/8 weeks I'd have been? And does the fact I did then miscarry after the first pill mean it probably wasn't going to be a viable pregnancy? It's always been on my mind, I know it's trivial as far as things go!
Luckily my baby is pro choice and so she agreed with their decisions too.
Why is there no eye-roll icon on MN, the hmm icon just doesn't cut it for this.
Women are more than just our bodies.
Women are not just incubators.
Babies are more than just leaches.
Babies also have a choice, to live.
It is the womans choice as it is her body.
You clearly dont agree and thats fine.
Hello glittery, I had a termination at 10 weeks. Could the surgeon see the sex at that point? Also are babies cremated? I read somewhere they are treated with respect and not just thrown away. Mine was 8 years ago but breaks my heart every day 😔
Thank you for what you do op.
I have had two abortions. I had these abortions to save another child having my ex as a father.
Any hormonal contraceptive wreak havoc on my periods. Mostly completely stop them. Even after it runs out or is removed. So it was very obvious if I was trying to prevent a pregnancy.
Ex wanted another child badly. I got out eventually but I do not and will not regret having a termination.
I am thankful for the kindness people at the clinic showed me.
I had a termination at a Marie Stopes clinic 11 years ago. The nurses and MW were lovely - the actual counsellors were not. I felt they just wanted my £ and at no time was I actually counselled as to whether I really wanted it.
It turns out I was coerced into it by my now ex but I was in so deep I didn't recognise that - he made me believe it was the right thing. It wasn't.
@HumberElla yes we mostly work in small teams. I absolutely love my colleagues. Obviously some more than others. Mostly, it's an absolute pleasure to work there.
@snarfblatt it's hard to know really without seeing the scan. Sometimes peoples dates are slightly different to what shows on the scan. Normally if someone is due they should be 7 or 8 weeks and there isn't an obvious fetal pole I'd let them know. It might have just been that you ovulated a bit later than you thought. About 5% of women will miscarry just from the first pill, so it might not have been a miscarriage in waiting. But its always a possibility.
@Hopingforpixiedust definitely could not have seen the sex. Even at about 15 weeks it can be really difficult to see (from my experience looking after women who had lost those babies and wanted to know). And yes they're cremated. I'm so sorry you want through that. Xxxx
@Oswin I'm sorry you went through that but I'm really glad you shared your experiences. There are so many complicated things to consider in cases like yours, it's not always straightforward.
Thanks @GlitteryPoopooplop. At the time I had no idea when I'd ovulated, I was on the pill. I worked out how far along I was by using the EDD they gave me and working backwards. She just said it was a 'tiddler' so yes, maybe she just meant it was measuring small for that gestation. Thanks for replying!
GlitteryPoopooplop, my DF is a long retired doctor. He's told me about working on a Gynae ward before the 1967 Abortion Act. Thought you might be interested.
Apparently every few weeks there'd be a little flurry of women admitted who staff were sure had had backstreet abortions that hadn't gone smoothly. They assumed there were a lot of other women who hadn't had any ill effects so they didn't see them. From the rhythm to the admissions it seemed an abortionist would tip up locally every little while. Presumably they traveled around.
The police sometimes turned up hoping to charge someone, but they didn't get far. DF and the rest of the staff always pointed out that miscarriage wasn't illegal, that they couldn't prove any cause for the miscarriage, and they refused to breach medical confidentiality.
DF was and is passionately pro-choice.
Thank you for your AMA and for the vital work you do with such compassion.
I am immensely proud of him. Post 1967 he always referred for abortion on request. He said "I'm a doctor of medicine, not theology."
Glittery, the work you do is so valuable! Could you tell me what qualifications you’d require to work in it? Is it midwives and RGNs or can RMNs work there as well? I’m currently training as an RMN and think the work you do would be so rewarding to support women on what can be one of the most difficult and distressing days of their life.
The discussion for pro life or pro choice isn’t on this thread where women have shared personal stories of their own pregnancies, whether they have ended by choice or no and for whatever reason that may be.
I am staunchly pro choice and understand how emotive the subject may be but it isn’t fair to pass judgement on others. Whichever stance you may hold!
I have had to make the decision at 16 years old whether or not to have a termination and chose not to. I would NEVER judge another woman for making a different choice to myself! Women should support one another, not tear each other down! God knows it’s hard enough for women without us not supporting one another regardless of if we would make that same choice for ourself!
@Ownerofasmellydog I absolutely completely and utterly agree! I can totally understand why some think that my views are barbaric, and murderous. I literally do kill babies for my job. For that reason I would never ever try to change someone's mind. I'll put my point across and if it helps them see an alternative, fine. If not, that's up to them. But I stand by my views.
I'm a registered midwife (direct entry), other practitioners are registered nurses with a variety of backgrounds.
Hi OP, thank you for a fascinating thread. The stories are both heartbreaking at times but also heartening, to hear of women standing together.
Someone asked early on about if there are any charities or organisations that could be supported by those of us who share your views?
Does it or could it hurt the baby?
Does feticide always work first time?
Warmest, let me look into it. There's some big ones like MSI and bpas, obviously, but I'm sure there are some tiny ones which would really benefit!
Slithy sorry, I thought I'd answered the pain one a couple of times but maybe it got lost somewhere. The short answer is no, the nerve receptors aren't developed so early.
I've only ever seen feticide performed a couple of times and both have been successful. It's done under scan so we'd know if it hadn't worked.
Hi OP, thanks for the amazing thread.
I come from a country where assisting or going through an abortion can get you in jail, so I'm always amazed at first world countries and the choices women have there. There's nothing that makes you feel more than a second class citzen than being "punished" for getting accidentally pregnant by being forced to raise a child until they're grown (sure, there's adoption, but it seems SS here wants families to stay together more than anything, even when the families don't want to).
I do have a question, and if regards very late term abortions so feel free to answer by PM if you don't want this topic to appear again: do you think the problem of women wanting abortions post 24 weeks and not being able to get them could be solved, at least in part, by providing them with elective C-sections to get the baby out and to adoption?
Sorry if it sounds confusing, it's way too late/early for me to remember proper grammar in English.
OP my question is, if a women wasn't sure whether to choose medical or surgical option, which would you recommend? I've heard the medical option can be extremely painful and has a higher failure rate.
What are the main reasons women have in making their choice between the two?
@HoHoFuck no i don't think that would help. Good thinking though. The risks of an elective cs are very very very high compared to an abortion. Also, there are a lot of risks for babies who are born prematurely. People often think of viability starting at 24 weeks but a baby born at 24 weeks has a mega high risk of mortality/morbidity (i do see the irony here in that abortion has a 100% mortality rate for the baby).
@Butteredghost I'd normally sit and have a mega chat with them about it. They're are risks to both, obviously, and benefits to both. Here I'm talking about women under 10 weeks...
Benefits of the pills... You can normally have them on the day that you come in to be assessed, you get to be in the comfort of your own home. Down sides of it, it can go on for hours, you cannot be sure that it's worked, it often gives horrible dogs effects like vomiting and diarrhoea.
The good thing with surgery is, it's over very quickly (about 5 or 10 minutes), you leave the building knowing you're not pregnant, if you want a coil, you can have it fitted at the same time, you tend to have less bleeding afterwards. Bad things, someone is doing an actual procedure on you, so it's not for everyone, it's intense and painful (if you have it under local anesthetic). technically we could perforate your uterus (though that's very very unlikely).
I'd normally chat about their circumstances, so if they've got small children and nobody to take them, I'd suggest surgery. If they hate the sight of blood, surgery. If they're very very early, pills.if they're anxious about smear tests etc, pills.
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