Despite using birth control, I discovered I was pregnant at the age of 20. There was no thinking in my decision, my automatic response was to terminate.

I have been dealing with mental illness for the majority of my life and have decided that if I ever do want children (at this time I do not) I will adopt – I am not comfortable with the risk of passing on my mental illness to a child, and watching them suffer as my parents watched me, and the medication combination I’m currently using has finally helped me achieve a higher quality of life. These medications would not be able to be continued into a pregnancy due to a risk to the fetus.

I learned that I was pregnant about a week after the highly unstable relationship with the father ended. At this time in my life my mental health was not optimal, we were still working on finding what worked best for me. I knew there was no way I would be able to continue a pregnancy, and frankly did not want to. It was struggle enough, day to day, to keep from falling apart as I moved away for University – the dramatic life changes had negatively affected my mental health and exacerbated the situation.

Both surgical and medication abortions are options in Canada. I opted for a medical abortion after talking with my Doctor as it was still very early in the pregnancy (3 weeks) and as I live in a very rural area, I would have had to travel several hours away for a surgical abortion, which would have meant an extended stay in a city approximately 8 hours away from home to undergo the procedure and receive follow up care. This means instead of a surgical procedure I took what is called an “abortifacient” medication which I could take in my home and end the pregnancy. So after confiding in my mother, I had the prescriptions filled, and went home to my parents to take the medication and ride it out while having a Netflix marathon with my mom.

I put on some comfy pjs, curled up with my cat and took the first medication. I was prescribed two different medications to ensure that the abortion was complete. I took the first medication, and was instructed to take the second 24 hours later.

Within 5 hours of taking the first medication I began experiencing some cramping and light bleeding. This was a huge relief to me. Keep in mind that was only two days after the home pregnancy test dropped its bomb. I was truly desperate to have this out of me, as crude as that may be. All in all, within 48 hours of taking the first medication, it was over. The pain was no more than menstrual cramps although I did bleed quite a bit more than during my period – I have always had very light periods though, so take that as you will. I continued to spot lightly about a week after, and my follow up appointment confirmed that it had been a success. I couldn’t have felt more relieved.

Being able to make this choice I’m sure saved my life – If I had had to go 9 months without my medication, while dealing with a situation I wanted nothing to do with, I’m not sure that I would have made it through. I have never regretted my decision, and had so much support from family, friends and the medical staff that helped me. If I were to find myself in a similar situation, I would not hesitate to do the same. I have the right and responsibility to do what’s best for me. I’m now 23, my mental health the best it’s ever been, I completed my education and got my bachelor of Pharmacy, and am in a long term relationship with a wonderful man. I most likely would have none of that had I not had access to a safe, legal abortion.