All September, we are publishing abortion stories. If you are an Irish person who had an abortion, or a person who found themselves pregnant in Ireland and in search of one, and would like to share your experience, email email@example.com. There is no editorial guideline – a line or a paragraph or a chapter. Your voice counts. Correspondence will be entered into in strictest confidence.
It was the age-old tale: young girl meets older, manipulative man who distances her from her family and friends, knocks her up and tells her, “You’ve got to get rid of it”.
Then he throws an almighty house party while she’s away, can’t come to the phone when she rings in desperation from the clinic to ask “It’s twins, what will I do?” because he’s hanging out with his ex-girlfriend and collects her from the airport the next day and says, “I hope you’re ok, but I don’t want to hear anything about it”.
“Oh, and it would be best for you not to tell a doctor or counsellor about this, ‘cos you know, this is a small town and my family know everybody. And the house is wrecked, but you’ve got today off, yeah? So I’ll just drop you off to tidy up…”
Cut to a year later, when enough was more than enough and the girl’s friend came to get her out of their home, passing belongings through a downstairs window because he had locked her in.
I had an abortion at 23, not because of rape or FFA, but because *my* life mattered more than a clump of cells in my uterus that may or may not have developed into a baby.
I regret terribly the situation I found myself in, but not a day goes by where I second guess or doubt myself for the decision to terminate that pregnancy.
It galls me when I remember the secrecy, the fright (I had never been on a plane alone before) and the panic of, “If I get hit by a car, or something happens to me, who will know where I am?”
The feeling of being totally abandoned. I stared at rats crawling around the tube station and wanted to be anywhere else.
I yearned for my family that night, alone in a foreign B’n’B, afraid to go out, stomach cramping, riding out the night until my 6am taxi ride to the airport. I wished more than anything that I could be at home, in my own bed, bleeding in my own bathroom, clutching my hot water bottle.
When I told my father years later, he looked at me and cocked his head to the side and simply asked, “Alone?” – and when he came to me with outstretched arms and waves of love and consolation, I kicked myself for allowing myself to feel like a shameful, dirty demon who nobody would love if they learned My Secret.
Nobody lives a charmed life. Accidents happen. Mistakes are made. And sometimes the most responsible thing to isn’t the most pleasant.
And it’s not your choice. It’s my choice. And if you lack the compassion to see both sides of a story, I’d question if you’re truly ‘pro-life’ at all.