Abigail, 22, is a production assistant and lives in Manchester
Three years ago, when I was 19 and in my second year of university, I got pregnant. I’d only been with my boyfriend for a few months and, for me, the decision to have an abortion was relatively straightforward.
I had a medical abortion [using drugs rather than surgery], but it didn’t work properly.
I was bleeding a lot for three months afterwards. I kept going back to the doctors but they brushed me off– they didn’t realise that, although the foetus had come out, the lining of my uterus was so thick my body still thought I was pregnant.
Finally, a nurse arranged another scan and blood tests, which is when they realised the procedure had been incomplete. So then I had to have another abortion – a surgical one.
Throughout all of this, I didn’t really want to have sex and my relationship wasn’t in a great place. My boyfriend cheated on me and, when I found out, we broke up.
I’m not upset about the fact that I had an abortion. I don’t feel shame around that – but it has had a huge effect on my sex life. My sex drive has never gone back to how it was before.
My current boyfriend, who I’ve been with for seven months, is really understanding. It’s hard to say how often we have sex. If I’m going through a period when I don’t want to do it, we don’t have sex at all. But then, when I feel like it, we have sex every other day. It really flips.
We last had sex around a week ago. I’d been on holiday and he came and met me at the airport. Afterwards, we went back to his house and were sitting around having a cup of tea when we started kissing. We ended up having sex in his kitchen. I’d been away for three weeks, the urge had really kicked in – and it was fun.
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So there will be weeks when I think I’ve got a pretty normal, or even high, sex drive – and then there will be two weeks or more when I just don’t want to have sex. I think it’s psychological. I just can’t get there, I put too much thought into what’s about to happen. I get into my own head too much.
Really, I’m frightened of getting pregnant again: I was on the Pill when I conceived. I was supposed to take it at the exact same time every day and I think – I don’t know – that maybe I was late taking it one day. So now I don’t trust the Pill, or I don’t trust myself. I had the contraceptive implant put in, but it messed with my periods, so now I have the coil.
Even so, I always have pregnancy tests in the house. In the first year after the abortion, I was terrified I’d get pregnant again. I’d take a test almost every time I had sex, on the day my period was due, just to check and make sure – because when I was pregnant, I hadn’t realised for weeks, which really surprised me.
I am hopeful that once I put my trust in the coil, I’ll feel better. Perhaps, when I’ve been on it for six months and nothing has happened, I’ll feel more relaxed and my mind will finally stop focusing on pregnancy.