Anxiety Before Having an Abortion
Please Note: Views expressed by patients of Early Options and their companions are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Early Options. This transcript has been edited for clarity and readability.
Explaining Anxiety and Fear
Doctor Joan Fleischman: So you finished your procedure maybe 20 minutes ago?
Early Options Patient: Yeah.
D: I wanted to interview you because you were extremely anxious coming in today. You had come in for a visit a few days ago and were somewhat undecided at that point. Then today when you came in you were really emotional but I would say even more than emotional you were really, really anxious and scared.
P: Definitely. I just got anxious and scared about a lot of things but I definitely felt overwhelmed when I came in today. It was almost like too much but I think it subsided a little bit.
D: Can you put words to what you were anxious about?
P: I was just anxious about the procedure itself. I don’t like going into things that I don’t know exactly how I am going to feel. I wasn’t sure if it was really going to hurt a lot or if something bad was going to happen and just the whole procedure was sad emotionally for me. I think the procedure itself wasn’t bad at all. It was not even remotely what I expected. I expected it to be so much worse, so much more scary but it wasn’t.
D: So how would you describe it to somebody who’s never [been through this]?
P: It was super quick. It was like five minutes. I get bad period cramps and that’s all it felt like. I think they were like moments, like little bursts where it felt more intense than others but it was over so quick that… I don’t know (chuckles)
D: And how soon afterward did you start to feel better?
P: Right after it was done. I still have a little bit of cramping but it’s not nearly as intense as I expected it to be. During the procedure it got intense at moments but they only lasted about two minutes. Then it was over and then there was a little bit of cramping for a couple of minutes after and then it subsides. And you feel better.
D: Okay, great. Anything you would want to say to somebody? Probably anxiety is absolutely the most common emotion women feel coming into my office.
P: Yeah. I mean if you build it up in your head that it’s going to be super painful and it’s going to be awful and scary then that’s what you’re going to think. But it’s really not that bad at all. I definitely feel a lot more comfortable. It wasn’t that scary. It hurt a couple of seconds but that’s pretty much it.
D: It’s emotional to go through this. To go through the decision a lot of women lose sleep. I don’t know if you did.
P: Yeah definitely.
D: The hormones are raging and there’s just a lot of build-up coming in here and then there’s a procedure, a medical procedure, that you don’t know what it is. You don’t know…You said you read the reviews of my practice but until you come in and you meet somebody there’s a lot of anxiety with the unknown.
P: Yeah. I didn’t even know this procedure existed until I read about this place. I thought it was only the pill and then the actual surgical [procedure] but I’m really happy that this was an option because I kind of thought bleeding at home for almost two weeks was just too much and too drawn out. I didn’t think that would be something that I wanted to do and then obviously the surgery, I just thought that would also be a little bit intense so to have this as an option was nice.
I mean I think maybe doing the pill at home maybe would’ve been less cramping but that also was just so much longer and drawn out. Then there’s no guarantee that that was going to be something that would’ve definitely worked.
D: The pill is usually much much more cramping.
D: Oh yes. There’s no comparison. It’s usually hours of cramps rather than minutes but there’s also a lot of anxiety with that because you’re at home. You’re not in a doctor’s office, so there’s a different kind of anxiety going through that, you don’t know how that’s going to go. I think sometimes when you’re anxious it’s better to be in an environment where you know you’re safe and everything is taken care of.
P: Yeah. I definitely felt safe and everyone here was super friendly and I think everyone made me feel a little bit better. I mean sometimes there’s no way to get over those anxieties and you just kind of have to face it but like everyone made it a better environment.
D: Okay, great. Well, thank you. I know this is going to help women who are really anxious before coming here.
D: All right, thanks so much
P: No problem.