Photo by author.

I Couldn't Get an Abortion in Asia. Here's What I Learned (and What You Should Know if You Get Pregnant While Traveling).

by Alice Teacake Jan 29, 2016

I found out I could be pregnant over a bowl of noodles.

I was eating with a French chick I’d met earlier that day and eagerly tucking into my second helping. As I shoved the long threads into my mouth she exclaimed, ‘Are you eating for two or something?’ When I got back to my hostel that night, I realised I was late.

At the time, I was soaring through the north of Thailand on a motorbike. I wasn’t too concerned and told myself that travelling was just throwing my womb off and not to worry. A couple of days later I went to eat noodles again in another town. This time, for some reason, no one would serve me. I was the only white person there, my Thai was pretty much non-existent and people just looked right through me. I got upset. Really upset. I just cried and cried on the pavement until a local man saw me and demanded a seller feed me the noodles. What was always easy whilst travelling was suddenly getting harder.

I drove through the north for rest of the week. My back hurt. I kept switching between telling myself that it was period cramps and then that I was pregnant. I was a volatile yo-yo and began driving faster out of pure frustration and fear. I went to temples a lot. I prayed and begged like a broken record that I would be okay. Me and Buddha were good friends that week.

I finally got close to a place where I could buy a pregnancy test. I took it and the cold truth was revealed. I can’t really say how I felt. In fact, I felt nothing. I just instantly went into robot mode. I have never wanted children, I tell people that I’m too selfish to have children. I want to be travelling until I pop my clogs. It’s hard enough trying to travel with a boyfriend (if I ever meet him), let alone a child. It sounds crazy to say it but it pained me that I couldn’t take my planned flight to Myanmar: No abortion services there.

Instead, I told the father, researched my options and booked a flight to Cambodia, Siem Reap. I made an appointment with Marie Stopes and holed myself up in a hotel feeling horribly sorry. I had to have an ultrasound and hear the nurse ‘congratulate’ me. I opted for a medical abortion as I was luckily only 3 weeks pregnant. I swallowed those pills and just waited. I had heard horror stories of the process being extremely painful but it wasn’t.

The worst part was that I just kept on going. I toured all the temples, carried on around the country for a month on a motorbike, headed to Vietnam for 3 months. I didn’t regret my decision, I was absolutely relieved but it was incredibly hard nonetheless. I would wake up and realise that I could be pregnant but wasn’t. It really hit me in Vietnam about 2 months later what had actually happened. It was eventually after a year that I couldn’t do it any more and had to go back to England for some respite.

When I did tell people what had happened, the response was unfortunately quite negative. People assumed my pregnancy was the result of a one-night stand, but that was not the case. This guy and I had been seeing each other for about six weeks. When it happened we were both shocked; we were using protection. Part of me gets it. It’s a difficult thing to respond to when someone tells you they were pregnant but decided to have an abortion. But if you find yourself in a similar situation, do what it right for you and use the information I gathered to make the most of the support that is available.

Chart for abortion in Asia

See the full chart by visiting Teacake Travels.

This article was originally published on Teacake Travels and is reposted here with permission.

Discover Matador

Save Bookmark

We use cookies for analytics tracking and advertising from our partners.

For more information read our privacy policy.