I’m trying to think which details might be worth noting. Which details might make you think I’m still a good person, that I did the right thing.
I work with our local Pro Choice group and there’s only so many times you can be called a Murderer without it getting it on your head.

I was 24. He was 40. The age difference never mattered because I loved him and I stupidly thought he loved me to. It turns out I love you can outlast anything except for an Unplanned Pregnancy. I was on the pill and shocked when I did the test but I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I was in shock and wanted to talk to him about our options.

I told him and everything about him changed. I didn’t know what to do with the pregnancy but I thought we could explore our options together. He can down to talk one day at 4pm by 6pm we were in our local pub because “he wanted a drink to settle his nevers” I sat in the smoking area of the dead of winter frezzing running to the bathroom to be sick and watching him talk to our friends as if nothing was wrong. Spending money we didn’t have and laughing as if I wasn’t sitting there pregnant and trying not to cry. I wanted to scream for someone to help me. He stayed until closing time and left for a session. That night in the middle of winter I walked around trying to find him. Eventually I walked home, crying, and awear I was very very alone.

I made my decision that night.

I was broke and I was in a relationship with a man who was verbally and emotional and just the once physically abusive. I made the decision I could not bring a child into a world that would be tied to him or would know the cruel tang of poverty. I grew up in the 2000s in Ireland and there was no Pro Lifers when St Vincents De Paul ran out of vouchers the day before Christmas Eve so we simply didn’t eat that Christmas. I knew I only wanted to bring a child into this world if I could support it in every way it needed and deserved. I knew that there wasn’t much help for mental illness or poverty or abuse in Ireland, I know there wasn’t because I grew up in a Ireland where there wasn’t any help or support.

He came with me but I would have been better going alone. He was silent or cruel the whole way. When we got on the bus, I started crying and he put his headphones in. He didn’t touch me once not to hold my hand or hug me or anything. I remember crying my heart out on the plane wondering why the whole country wasn’t screaming to make this stop. I was terrified. I thought I would die. I was suddenly praying to a God I wasn’t sure I believed to get me home safe. The clinic was packed with so many Irish accents it was easy to pretend I was at home. I puked when I gave myself the chlamydia test. I fainted when they took my blood. But I fell apart when they did a scan. I cried so much I got sick. I screamed. I knew I was making the right choice but it was the hardest thing I ever did. The nurses were so kind and even kinder when they heard my Irish accent. She calmed me down.

When I woke up I cried with relief. I was exhausted from traveling, from fasting, from the choice, from the procedure. A nurse held my hand and handed me a tissue and told me I was ok. It was the worst day of my life and I kept thinking how much easier it would be if I was at home and could go straight to bed instead of facing a journey home bleeding and in silence and in agony.

While waiting there were loads of women in the waiting room. We got chatting to each other because I guess the silence was too loud. One woman had the abortion because her last child was a stillborn and she couldn’t go through pregnancy again. Another because she was studying to be a doctor. Another because she had five children and couldn’t feed them. Another because she was a grandmother and made the mistake of trying to find love again. Another because her arm was in a cast from her husband and she didn’t feel there was a way out. Another because she was raped. A group of strangers shared our stories and never saw each other again. I waited hours because the flight was delayed. Waited for a bus home at the airport for hours. I limped the whole way home. I left the clinic at 2pm and didn’t get home until 5.30 in the morning.

He woke me the following afternoon and suggested we go for a walk because it would do me good to get out, he wanted a drink. The day after I had abortion I stood in a pub and begged him to go home with me. He told me he was staying to watch the match and turned his back on me back to his pint. So I went home alone.

Only it wasn’t my home. You can’t be proud of a country that doesn’t want you. The silence was agony. Pretending like nothing happened was agony. The journey was horrific beyond words but the aftermath was horrific too. I didn’t know who too talk to. I know I made the right choice but it was a hard one and I needed help and I didn’t know where to go. I was scared and alone and terrified. I had nightmares and felt so ashamed.    Three years later and I still don’t feel like this home. I feel like I’m not wanted here.

But I feel less alone because so many women are coming forward with their stories.

Please Ireland, Repeal The 8th and let me come home finally.

Artist: Carol Treacy.

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