Just like that. For the past four years of your life you’ve been in the 99%, and now, at 23 years of age, you are the 1%. Not in terms of politics, or economics – although both are related to what I’m talking about – but birth control. We forget that it isn’t 100% and we take it for granted that we’ll be okay, that we won’t get pregnant. But then our period’s due date arrives and… nothing. Days go by… nothing.
And you know. There’s something inside you that tells you that you’re pregnant. Your friends tell you everyone gets irregular periods, or you must be stressed… but you know. It’s just different this time.
But you take a home pregnancy test anyways because you hold on to a shred of hope that you’re wrong, that your body is wrong. It’s not. The results are shockingly quick, a little plus sign taunting you from inside its plastic cover, screaming your situation for the world to hear.
Today is a signal-boost. A friend of a friend has been blogging about her experiences travelling to the UK from Ireland for an abortion. For obvious reasons- it’s both stigmatised and personal- she’s blogging anonymously. It’s short- just three posts. It’s just one story of many.
had a fight with my partner on the last night. He was becoming excessively protective about men being in close proximity to me. I’m generally quite an independent person, I like to dance with my friends and I can handle myself with regards to unwanted attention, so this kind of behaviour grated off me like nails on a chalk board. It was embarrassing and he made a few scenes and eventually we left early. I was drunk. I was upset. I vaguely realized then that this was his way of reacting to the news. But not until the morning after did I fully come to understand it.
He’s been so supportive that I forget that he must feel in some way helpless. He’s supposed to be my hero when I’m in distress (as I am his, if he were in distress) and that’s frustrating for him because he has done all that he can for me.
The weekend ended with a pit in my stomach as my friends and their jovial dispositions drove away and I was left to my own devices. No distractions. Only the reality that I am in a liminal and tense space.
There’s no such thing as the abortion story. Every abortion story is different. Every person is different.
From the packing of our suitcases, to going through baggage check, to the waiting at our gate, my partner and I were fixated on one thing and one thing only – this was not a holiday.
My bag was light, packed with practical clothes – not my usual skirts, bikinis, dresses, heels, shorts… simply baggy comfortable clothing – along with medicine and sanitary pads. Baggage check was eerily quick as we were so prepared. Our time waiting was edgy, there were no “airport pints”, no pictures to remember the moment, no cheer. I realized dejectedly that my innocence was being stripped away from me – I always enjoyed the airport. I’ve always had this fantastic relationship with it, associating it with happy memories and good friends and freedom. But now I was here, everything was grey and serious. It wasn’t that place anymore. It was now a place full of lonely business people awkwardly posing and talking through ear pieces.
Irish abortion stories have that thing in common, though, don’t they? Not all of them. These days they’re as likely to be accessed over the internet as through our more traditional boats and flights out. But any time one of us needs an abortion we must become outlaws- either by breaking the law or travelling until we are, literally, outside it.
This story does have a happy ending, you know.
Returning home, I feel like me. The airport feels celebratory again, I have an omelette and a smoothie and am happy and hyper, even though it’s extremely early in the morning.
When I arrive home I clean my entire room. I bring my dog for a walk. I plan what I’ll do with my Easter break. I look forward to visiting a friend that’s living abroad. I even plan to bake. Something I always do when I’ve free time but simply haven’t had the energy or will to do it over the past few weeks while waiting for this procedure.
I’m back to normal, I can get on with my life, the cloud has lifted. On top of that, I’m no longer afraid of judgement. It can’t effect me anymore. This is my life. These are my choices. Your opinion of them is absolutely none of my concern. I am happy and confidant.
I highly recommend reading the rest.
- My Hardest Choice: I Had an Abortion & Am Not Ashamed (truthfultragedy.wordpress.com)
- Northern Ireland women risk jail after public admission they took abortion pills (irishcentral.com)
- Whose body is it anyway? Ireland and forced birth (considertheteacosy.wordpress.com)
- Termination for Medical Reasons personal stories (terminationformedicalreasons.com)