A 30-year-old Irish woman writes about her personal experience of making the tough decision to travel to England for an abortion. She first wrote about it on Broadsheet.ie.
“I am a 30-year-old Irish woman and two and a half years ago I travelled to England to have an abortion.
My ex-boyfriend and I had been together seven years when it happened. We hadn’t been stupid, just very unlucky.We were both from a small village. A couple, most of the neighbours had written us off for marriage, and a happy ever after.
Both of us had been to university, together in Dublin, and found good jobs almost immediately afterwards. For a while it looked like we were destined for great things. However, after the economic crash, we found ourselves unemployed and living at home.
I had a much more staunch Catholic upbringing than him…His parents were the local “hippies”. Though I consider myself intelligent, well versed, and liberal, I have certain fundamentals ingrained in me, since I was a child…The nuns will do that to you. So, when I found out I was pregnant, there was a certain responsibility that fell on my shoulders.
I have been pro choice since I was old enough to think properly (16), but I felt that we were in a loving relationship and owed it to the child to keep it…He was of another train of thought. With a cold stoicism, I never knew he had, he explained to me that it was a financial burden that in reality we could not take on. So we went for “a little break” and “had it seen to”.
In England I mentally couldn’t get around the idea of having a physical abortion so I took the tablets that induce a miscarriage. It was difficult and painful, but, I was fine. The problems only began when we got home. Firstly, the depression was unexpected and extensive. I came home stigmatized. There was no one to talk to, I had no idea where I could get counselling. I had never felt so alone in my life.
I was bottling my emotions inside while putting on a brave face and acting like nothing had happened. However, I’ve seen the posters that say ‘abortion shatters her life’ and I would like to state that this is not true, though having one is most definitely an unforgettable event in a woman’s life.
It’s a hard decision for anyone to make. As your body returns to a pre-pregnant state, your hormones are everywhere and it is paramount, that the woman has someone who is trained to help her deal with the aftermath from this decision.
Those who say that if abortion is legalized it will ‘open the floodgates’ to abortion on demand, obviously has never had one. Trust me, no woman could possibly see this as a form of contraception. It is a difficult choice to make and a draining traumatic experience that necessitates firm resolve, courage and mental strength.
Secondly It was the infection I got. The one that made me collapse in my home. He [my partner] didn’t know what to do. The local doctor would probably have tried to have me arrested instead of helping me, so he did nothing. The next day I drove myself to the family planning clinic in the closest big town and they got me the help I needed.
There they told me it was caused by too much physical strain after the procedure. But I had been unaware that I was meant to be taking it easy for six weeks after the abortion. I had been helping on the farm because I didn’t know any better. Again this could have been avoided if I had been able to speak to a trained medical professional about my condition,
You see taking the abortion pill isn’t at all like a surgical abortion. If you take the pill you go through an induced miscarriage. After a ‘normal’ abortion a woman usually bleeds for about a week or so, as much of the lining of the womb is cleared during the procedure.
However, if a woman uses the pill, all the lining, including the actual pregnancy, has to pass naturally, and in my case, I still had very heavy bleeding a month after our trip to England. My infection was very easily avoidable, but I didn’t listen to my body and spent all my energy acting like nothing was wayward with me. Instead of taking it easy, I was out doing strenuous exercise every day. That, coupled with such a heavy flow allowed for the perfect environment for bacteria.
When I saw the doctor at the woman’s health clinic, she had never even heard of the abortion pill, and before she examined me, she insisted on me taking a pregnancy test, to make sure I wasn’t still with child.