Before the Appointment

By OBOS Abortion Contributors | March 25, 2014

It’s natural to feel anxiety and anticipation before your appointment, as you might before any medical procedure. Try to go about your normal activities, and avoid excessive alcohol, street drugs, and strong sleeping pills before the abortion.

Most abortions performed in the clinic are done while you are awake, with drugs that help you relax and ease the pain of cramping. If you are having heavier intravenous (IV) sedation or general anesthesia, you will probably be advised to avoid food after midnight, though clear liquids may be allowed.

Prepare for variable temperatures in the clinic rooms by dressing in layers. You can bring music, and you may even be able to listen to it during the procedure.

Be sure you have documentation that the clinic requires, such as identification and your insurance card or some other means of paying for the abortion.

Think about whether you would like someone to accompany you to the abortion procedure. Some clinics will allow a companion to stay in the room with you during the abortion. If having someone with you is important to you, ask the clinic staff beforehand if it is allowed.

Even when abortion feels like the right decision, it may still be difficult. You may feel a wide range of feelings, from sadness and grief to anticipation and relief. It can be confusing when even though you have decided that having an abortion is best for you, you still feel bad.

Find a way to acknowledge your feelings — journal writing can be helpful, as can talking with a friend, honoring your decision, and having self-compassion. Here are some recommended hotlines and websites that offer support.

A young woman writes:

I knew from the moment I found out that I didn’t want to carry the pregnancy to term, but I was overwhelmed by images everywhere telling me that it was “wrong” to consider abortion.

When I searched for information on the Internet, I was bombarded by religious websites with brutal pictures of aborted fetuses. When I tried to go to my friends for help, I was told they were “so excited” and couldn’t wait for me to have a baby.

My boyfriend kept saying how much he wanted a son. No one asked me what I wanted. I felt robbed of choice, like my body was being controlled by everyone but me.

My dreams of going to college and moving out were over because of one mistake. Finally, some kind of switch went off in my head. I couldn’t afford to care what other people thought. I wanted my life back. If that is selfish, then I was willing to be selfish. What kind of mother would I be, anyway?

The next day I made an appointment, but it was hard. I cried a lot. But that was two years ago, and I will be graduating from college in a few months. Most importantly, I tell myself every day that I made the right choice, and I know in my heart that I did.