I had an abortion seven years ago. I had spent a week making the decision with my husband. We agonised over it, because we thought we were supposed to.
In the end, it was the easiest decision in the world.
We had a 2.5 year old and a 1 year old. Our full-time jobs barely paid the mortgage and creche fees, and I was struggling to find the €44 a month for my anti-depressants.

We couldn’t tell anyone, because we didn’t know who we could trust. Would the people who helped us through our miscarriage four years earlier judge us now? Abandon us?

So, with the cost of flights and the procedure taking my credit card up to its maximum, I travelled alone. To keep the weekend ‘normal’ for the kids, my husband would need the car. I took a bus from our small village to Dublin, then a plane, then a lovely man in a black taxi picked me up at the airport. He chatted to me, ensured I was at ease, told me my kids’ names were lovely and showed me a picture of his granddaughter. When we arrived, he opened my door, took my bag and acted as a human shield to hide the protestors from my sight.

There were three other Irish women in the clinic. I wasn’t the only one who travelled alone. I hope I was the only one who lied about staying in a hotel that night. Against medical advice, I flew home that night, I couldn’t afford a hotel as the last of my money was spent on having an IUD inserted at the same time as the abortion procedure took place. Our birth control had failed us and we needed extra reassurance. I arrived home, bleeding and in pain shortly after midnight.

I do not regret it. My kids needed their mother, my husband needed his wife. I needed time to come through my post-natal depression and enjoy the family we already had.

We have two more kids now. One was unplanned, but not a crisis. I think it’s important to recognise the distinction.

Those two amazing kids would not be here if I hadn’t had an abortion.  Frankly, I might not be here if I hadn’t had an abortion. Certainly, the strain it would have put on our marriage would have been immense and it’s entirely possible our children would have lost the security of family and home.

We made the right decision, the only decision, for us and for our family. And still we keep our mouths shut. Because this country doesn’t trust us or our judgement and we don’t know who to trust in return.

Artist: Aoife Anna Mullan

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