I self-managed my abortion in the spring. It was the fourth abortion that I’ve had. I’ve had surgical abortions in clinics before. This time around, I decided to self-manage because I feel pretty uncomfortable in medical spaces in general. Normally when I’m at doctor’s offices I feel a little nervous and out of place, and that is how I felt in the clinics that I went to in the past. Even though they were really nice, I was just uncomfortable.
The weekend was coming up and I was like, ‘I don’t want this to be in the back of my head the whole weekend.’ So, I took a pregnancy test the day before my period [was supposed to start] and it was positive, so I ended up taking the pills four-and-some-change weeks pregnant, which I knew had the possibility of not working as well, since there are some opinions that it doesn’t work as well pre-five weeks. But I gave it a shot.
I was super prepared to be on the couch, and then it ended up being so anticlimactic because I was early. Things were able to go extremely smoothly because I had access to pills, had access to pregnancy tests, already had heat patches and pads at my house. Everything was already in place. I was super prepared, but then I ended up feeling fine. I was running errands. I worked one day. Just because my bleeding wasn’t heavy; I’m sure if I was farther along it would have been different. But, honestly, I continued my life as normal.
I did call the M+A [Miscarriage + Abortion] hotline when I was self-managing. I was trying to decide whether or not I needed to take a second dose of miso. Even though I know a lot about it, it was super nice to just talk to someone about, like, ‘Have I bled enough? Do I think I bled enough? Is there any harm in taking more miso? Not really.’ Stuff like that. It was nice to have someone to call.
Before, whenever I had surgical abortions, I lived in a rural area of Texas, and the wait times were really long to access clinical abortions. Each time, I had to wait two or three weeks for an appointment, and I lived about two hours from the clinic. So I had to go there twice because there were mandatory waiting periods. I was in college, so it was a huge strain on me, logistically and financially. I knew that experiencing unwanted pregnancy was stressful for me, in the past, and I think a lot of it was having to access it when it was really hard. I didn’t have the money, I ended up having to take out a loan for my surgical abortions. Things like that made it just a huge strain and felt like a big life event.
When I self-managed, I had access to the pills, so it wasn’t a strain financially. My care didn’t feel like it was in somebody else’s hands. I knew that I had control over what I wanted to happen and I had no stress about it at all. I told my partner about it, and they were like, ‘Sounds good.’ That was it. There was no stress about when my appointment is or how far out in advance these clinics are booked up or anything like that. I didn’t realize what the source of my stress was prior because each time, I knew that I didn’t want to continue the pregnancy, but this time it was completely stress-free, and that really surprised me.
I want people to know that there is a way to access abortion in the first trimester that’s safe and effective without them having to move their life around and travel across the country and find child care and ask off from work — all of these crazy logistical barriers that people are having to face in order to access care. I wish that they knew that this was an option. I think if a lot of people knew it was an option, then they would consider it.