Nigerian Lives: 4 Women Narrate Their Abortion Experiences

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Every week, Culture Custodian talks to Nigerians who share tidbits about their lives. This time, we have four women open up about what it was like to have an abortion:

Felicia, 28

I didn’t know I was pregnant until I woke up one day feeling heavy. I had just finished my period. It’s actually wild to think I was 15 and had only been with a senior in my school. When I told him, he said he would take care of it. Later that night, he invited me to the senior dormitory. There, some girls told me to lie down, I did. They dipped a hanger in my vagina. It was so painful, but I knew it was that or I was going to have the baby and get expelled. My mother could never find out. The process was rather excruciating. They said they could use the hanger to pull out the foetus. I was bleeding so much that the senior females kept packing and cleaning up my blood. They gave me dry gin to drink. It would help with the pain, they said. I was only 15 years old, and I didn’t know what to do. I woke up the next day in severe pain that I had to be rushed to the hospital. My parents found out after that incident. They decided that I had to switch schools.

        Hannah, 33

I had just given birth to my second child about 6 months before I found out I was pregnant again. We also found out it was a set of twins. My husband had just lost his job, and we were struggling to make ends meet, so we had to get rid of it. We started the process with a doctor that wasn’t my family doctor because we didn’t want anyone else to know. He treated my mom and dad. On the morning of the procedure, I packed my children’s bags and took them to my mother’s. I told her I was going on an impromptu official trip, that I would call her from time to time. She kept asking if I was okay; I assured her I was fine. We got to the hospital in the heart of Abuja. It took at least six hours to complete the process. My husband was in the waiting room throughout. After the procedure, they asked me to stay home and avoid some types of food. I regret it because if my husband was financially okay, I wouldn’t have had to take those lives.

                  Michelle, 25

 My boyfriend and I had been seeing each other for five years and had just gotten engaged a month before I got pregnant. Our wedding was supposed to happen in the summer of 2019. When we started preparing, the church required us to do some tests in the hospital. That was when we found out that I was pregnant. The rule of the church was to not engage in extra-marital affairs. They also wouldn’t let us wed in the church because of this, so we moved the wedding. It took us three weeks to conclude on what to do. The process was a hard one because, all things equal, we were going to be married, anyway. Someone advised that we did it in Cuba. We told our parents we wanted to go on one last holiday before our marriage. We left for Cuba on a Sunday and went to the hospital the next day. The entire process was seamless and you could tell my fiancé was stressed from the whole thing. I was okay to go back home until three days later when I passed out and woke up in the hospital. I bled non-stop for close to a week. It was a very horrible experience. I regret it.

Lola, 26

Making certain decisions comes easy and often a time I try to make decisions that make me happy. I was in my last year in uni’ when I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t know the father, this made it harder; I called my friend; I was just 23 we went to the clinic, and I asked for all my options and they told me taking a pill was my best bet, I paid for the pills and they asked me to take it within a time frame. I had cramps that lasted for almost 4hrs and the bleeding was uncontrollable at a point I thought I was in labour. I also wish they had just done a procedure without me awake, even after the monthly check-up they asked me to have my body flushed. i regret living reckless and having to go through all on my own.

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