Teresa's story is collected especially for the SHHH project. All informants and stories in this project have been anonymised. All names are changed.
Five years ago, I was admitted to the hospital due to severe pain in my belly. They made me wait for hours, because my urgency, still undiagnosed, was attended to in the same area as other women giving birth.
Some weeks before, I had experienced persistent and intense pain, accompanied by heavy bleeding. I foolishly believed that my period had been extended.
After more than 6 hours of waiting, with nothing in my stomach and difficulties in communicating with my family, I was finally attended to. They did an ultrasound and detected a pregnancy outside the uterus. When the doctor said "pregnancy", everything around me collapsed and I entered a kind of dissociation where my body was far from that reality. Minutes later, my mother arrived. They gave her the news, and with her on my side I began such an outburst that is today difficult to imagine.
They prepared me. I was sent to a room where there were about 10 women waiting to go into labour. All that atmosphere put me in a terrible tension, I did not know what was happening. All I knew was that my body was at risk. I remember it was Thursday, because the next day we had a presentation at the university with the group of ballroom dancers for an important fair at the institute.
With very little information, lack of clarity, and discussions between doctors, because for some my case was not urgent enough given the number of deliveries they were attending at that time, I entered the operating room.
To me abortion means many things. It means opportunity, it means that there are alternatives. At the time of my own experience it meant a lot of pain and ignorance of what was happening in my body. Still, I believe it means vitality and new cycles, self-care and self-love.
At that time it became clear to me that I did not know anything; emergency pills had been a recurring option due to the little care I had been taking previously in my relationships. I had little awareness of what self-love meant and how self-care could manifest itself. Neither at that time nor now am I ready to raise a baby.
After I was discharged, two practitioners from the family planning area visited me. Their speech was simple and convincing: "You have to take care of yourself because from now on your body is at much greater risk of having an ectopic pregnancy again. Your life was in danger."
And although this is somewhat true, with little information about the available methods, effects, consequences, and changes in the body, I agreed to have a subdermal implant, which I continue to use today. The processes of information, accompaniment and education on sexual health issues are not options that resolve immediacy, and what about pleasure, which are topics that are still little talked about in the public sphere?
The first few months after recovery when I restarted my sex life, I was very scared. I feared that the scar could open and the wound become infected. I feared seeing my body marked by a huge scar, and that the method would not be accepted by my body and would not work and that I would get pregnant again. I feared that I would have to have a surgical intervention again.
I still live in fear, but with much more recognition of my body now. Because the marks that this necessary abortion left on it, reveal much of my vulnerability, but also of the strength I have to recover and continue. And despite the fact that health personnel still do not have neither sensitivity nor a gender or human rights' perspective to tell you about the important things that happen in your body, I feel firm in my convictions, with the ability to make informed decisions.
I think that abortion resulting from an ectopic pregnancy is something that is rarely talked about in the field of sex education, so I felt completely free to open and talk about my experience. As far as I understand there is not enough scientific evidence to know what the specific reasons are of such a pregnancy. What I do know is that, after one surgical intervention, the body runs a high risk of carrying out a healthy pregnancy in better conditions. Working as a couple with my case is essential for what comes next. My partner and I were forced to study a lot about the subdermal implant, since before that I had not used any hormonal method. And even though we talked very little about it, there was a lot of solidarity on his part towards me in the management of affects, emotions, ups and downs. Now, years have passed since this and our relationship is different, we speak with much more maturity and empathy on these issues, always from love for the other.