Women's reproductive health is a complex and largely dismissed topic. There is a lot of stigma around periods, menopause, abortion and miscarriage. Women are discouraged to talk about these things, and men are conditioned not to be more curious and concerned about them. Which is why we need more conversation around the topic. Especially around how miscarriages and abortions affect women's bodies.
So, we've compiled a list of confessions and helpful insights on abortions and miscarriages. What to expect and how women can support themselves better during such a time.
1. Buy adult diapers for around the house. Pads are not thick enough (at least for me) and it’s way less mess.
2. I had a medical abortion. Not gonna lie. It was painful. I took all the advice from the doctor and here’s what they recommended. I took a tylenol/ibuprofen combo, I inserted the 2nd dose of pills inter-vaginally to absorb them instead of taking them orally in order to avoid potential nausea. I also had a hot water bottle and tried to stay as comfy as possible. Someone was with me during the process to get me water or a snack if I was in the middle of a crampy time.
3. My medical abortion was bad, I passed out in a lot of pain. I thought I wasn’t going to wake up. I was so cold, I couldn’t stop shaking. Pads definitely weren’t enough, I wish I had had diapers. They were a godsend after my c-section.
4. I had a surgical abortion. They vacuumed my baby out of my uterus, and the emotional labour afterward was a lot, but the actual procedure went swimmingly. Most of the day was spent waiting in a room with 6 other girls, not talking. They gave me some numbing drugs right before the procedure, literally, as I was on the table, the drugs kicked in and lasted like 2 hours. I didn’t feel a thing. There was heavy bleeding, but it was completely painless. After reading everyone’s responses, I'm actually glad I had to do it that way.
5. All I can say is you need help. Even if you think you don’t - you do. It might not be a therapist but you need someone outside of your relationship to talk to. I’m not advising you not to communicate with and support your partner but they are also grieving and trying to find a way to cope.
6. Also, for the love of God do not use a menstrual cup. For some reason, this is not specified by a lot of doctors yet, but it can definitely increase the risk of infection like a tampon. I know a lot of sources say to wait 2 weeks for a tampon, but I wouldn't use a cup until the next cycle entirely. The last abortion I had was via the pill & after the bleeding had ebbed almost entirely at nearly the 2-week mark, I thought it might be safe to use my cup... Absolutely not. Bleeding started right back up again & I had major clotting. Scared me to death. That was stupid on my part, but I think the cup just puts too much pressure on your cervix while it's healing.
7. During my miscarriages, I started with overnight pads throughout the day for the first few days, changing them pretty often. Then when the bleeding slowed down, I switched to period underwear. Also, don't hesitate to ask for pain meds if OTC meds aren't cutting it.
8. I just feel the need to chime in and share another perspective. I got the medical (abortion), and beforehand I prepared for the worst: giant pads, so much Tylenol, laid out a bunch of towels over my couch and bed cause I thought I’d be bleeding uncontrollably. All I had heard was to expect a crime scene and tons of pain. I experienced none of that! The bleeding was the same as an average period and I had mild cramps. The huge pads were too overcompensating, to the point that I had to give the rest of them away. I was lazy and laying around for 2 days but by day 3, I was out and about with my friends! I was scheduled to see the doctor for a follow-up a week later so they could confirm it was successful and I was honestly nervous they’d say it didn’t work because I felt the process was too good to be true.
9. I won’t sugarcoat it because I wish someone had warned me, I chose the pill and it was so bad. I blacked out. I was alone at the clinic because my husband was working a 24-hour shift. So, ask if they prescribe pain meds, I think I got 6 Percocet maybe? I was on the bathroom floor in a fetal position for a while. But I’d do it again, I know I made the right decision. I was also one of the few whose bleeding didn’t stop for months and doctors didn’t know why. Basically, prepare for a few hours of pain, ask for pain meds, have someone with you (seriously), and get diapers.
10. The doctor explained that my pregnancy had stopped developing at seven weeks, but my body, for whatever reason, hadn't caught up until now. It was pretty heartbreaking. I drove home alone and just cried and hurt. I didn't know what to do with myself. I'd completely re-positioned my life to become a mother. I had baby clothes at home and pregnancy books strewn about. Luckily, when I got home, my mom had put the clothes away.I bled a lot. It was the worst pain I've ever been in, physically. Emotionally, it took a while, but I'm fine now. It was difficult to get used to being pregnant and then really fucking horrible to have that ripped away from you.
11. I've had 5 miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy. Each miscarriage was before the 7th week. We had been trying to get pregnant with the help of fertility treatments due to my PCOS for about 3.5 years and so knew about each pregnancy very early on (sometimes days after conception because I could feel the changes in my body etc).During my last pregnancy, I saw blood again at around the 7 week mark and again at about 8 weeks and just felt 'Uh...here we go again.' But, that pregnancy stuck, and we now have a happy and healthy 5 month old boy. I don't know if I would go through it all again, and thanks to a difficult pregnancy that wound up with me having pre-eclampsia, having to be induced and an emergency C-section, I don't know if my body could handle it again.
12. Physically it hurt a lot and there was a lot of blood (I did go to the hospital) but emotionally and mentally, I found it to be a relief. I didn't want a child then and I sure as hell didn't want one with my ex-husband.
13. I've had two miscarriages. For both, I was between 6 and 8 weeks along. The first time, I had been dumb and not used any protection with the guy I was seeing. I have PCOS and endometriosis, and I'd been led to believe I was practically sterile. The second time, I was with my current SO, and I'd been having trouble with NuvaRing and excess bleeding. Apparently, it didn't work.I didn't go to the hospital either time. I knew what had happened, and I didn't feel the need to do anything else for it. Honestly, other than a few days of spotting, there was nothing after the initial expulsion.
14. I had a missed miscarriage. I went in for a routine ultrasound and they found out that the baby had no heartbeat since around 8 weeks (I was supposed to be 12 weeks along), I had to have a D&C. I was incredibly sad for a short while but my husband and I were getting married in 2 months so that helped take our minds off of it. I was able to have a successful pregnancy 6 months later and she's now 3.
15. I had one in the beginning of this year. We weren't trying at that point, but an accident happened and I started suspecting I was pregnant. Missed my period, my breasts started to hurt and everything smelled weird. Couldn't get a positive test until a week later, then started bleeding heavily the same day. I was about 6 weeks along. I was emotionally prepared for it - I'm 34, I have PCOS, and I know that my statistical likelihood of making it past the first trimester is pretty slim. I still spent that evening crying in my SOs arms and the next two days utterly depressed. There's a silver lining, however, in that I know now that I can conceive. I tried with my ex-husband and was never able to. Now at least I know I can.
Clearly, pregnancy terminations can be extremely straining for women's bodies. Which is why it's never fair to pressure women into motherhood.