I have a history of clinical depression, my partner has chronic pain, mobility and health issues, and he already has two children from a previous relationship. We live in a small flat that barely fits us let alone has enough room to fit his children when they come to visit. My family has abuse/mental illness/physical illness issues and I know first hand what it is like for a child to grow up in that environment and inherit those genes. I never want to inflict that on another person so I’ve been clear for some time that I do not ever want children of my own. I cannot give them the right environment to grow up in and I cannot justify knowingly passing on genetic predispositions to mental illness, physical illness and substance abuse.
I can’t use hormonal contraception because it triggers depressive episodes, condoms break, I tried IUDs but they were incredibly painful (I’d cry from the pain during sex, that’s not fun!) and because of recurrent UTIs I was advised against a diaphragm. Also, apparently the positioning of my cervix makes it near impossible for me to use a cervical cap.
I’d asked to be sterilised but was told that because I was in my 30s and hadn’t had any children that this wasn’t an option for me on the NHS.
So I wasn’t using contraception when I got pregnant. There’s no real excuse, we could have used condoms, but we’d both had a fair bit to drink, we only had unprotected sex once and I took the morning after pill. I’d taken the morning after pill a number of times previously when condoms had broken so I thought that would be OK. It wasn’t.
The Marie Stopes centre where I had my abortion was incredible. The staff were so supportive, the environment felt safe and the process was as non-traumatic as it could have been under the circumstances.
A year after my abortion I asked the NHS again if I could be sterilised. Because I’d had an abortion they agreed that I could get it done. However I still had to be interviewed beforehand and have a separate chat with the surgeon on the day – I was bumped from second procedure to final procedure because there was still a concern that I was too young, didn’t have children, and wasn’t sure of my decision.
I can tell you now, being sterilised is one of the best things that has happened to me. I no longer have to battle with contraception that makes me ill or doesn’t work reliably, I no longer have to panic that I’ll accidentally get pregnant. It’s such a relief.