I got pregnant at 27. I wasn’t too young, I wasn’t single, I had a stable job, I had a stable relationship, a supportive family, I wasn’t raped, but I wasn’t ready to become a mother.

I took multiple pregnancy tests, you’re in complete denial at first. The feeling of utter shock, sickness, sadness and grief is something I hope I never feel again.

During work one day I went into a room and made the call to Marie Stopes, they told me they couldn’t take any more appointments from Irish women as they were at capacity. This was a horrible thing to hear when you are already in a very vulnerable and scared state. She told me to call another organisation, luckily they could fit me in. The only appointment they had was for 2.5 weeks time, on Valentine’s Day.

I had to get a scan in Ireland so I went to Reproductive Choices. Women approached me as I was arriving and told me they do scans for free down the road, I later found out these were Pro Life groups that tell you you are much further along than you are. There were a few other women in the waiting room who looked around my age too.

The two week wait was horrible, you are trying to ignore your symptoms and constantly thinking am I doing the right thing. You go to work every day and try to act as normal as possible.

I told work I was sick the day of my appointment. We got up at 4am and got a flight to Manchester. When we got off the flight we had to wait for the taxi driver to come and find us, I think he had a code word. The whole thing just felt so strange. I did feel like a criminal.

In the clinic I was surrounded by women of all ages and circumstances. There were so many Irish women there. At one stage I was in a waiting room waiting for the surgery and it was me and 5 other Irish women.

The nurses were fantastic, they make sure the Irish women get seen first and order them depending on your flight time. One nurse told me she had an abortion herself.

It’s crazy being in the clinic all for the same reason where everyone can talk about their situation so openly. Some women had children at home, some were very young, some looked very afraid. The partners have to wait in a separate waiting room all day. I said goodbye to by boyfriend at reception around 8am and saw him again around 6pm once it was all over. When I left the clinic I didn’t want to speak about it much again. I often wonder if I will bump into any of the Irish girls I saw in there.

We traveled home exhausted and I was back in work the next day.

I went to the Well Womens clinic for a free post abortion check up, it’s amazing services like this are around.

This decision was not taken lightly, I think about it every day. I don’t regret my decision but it still makes me sad every day. I wish I never had to make the decision. But, it happened to me and it will happen to many others.

I wish I could have gotten the support I needed at home, I wish I didnt have to wait 2 .5 full weeks, I wish I didnt have to get on a plane, I wish I could have spoken through my options with my GP, I wish I didn’t have to think of excuses to tell work so I could get the day off. I wish I didn’t have to feel ashamed for a decision I felt was right for me and my partner at the time.

I hope to have children some day when the time is right for us.

Artist: Carol Treacy.

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