Susie's Story

I was 31 and raising 2 kids, alone. They were 6 and 5. I had an extremely hard and difficult relationship with their father. The breakup was no easier. It took a lot of work to get myself back together.

3 years after the breakup I met a really nice guy. We were dating for about a month. The first time we had sex, I realised I was mid-cycle so I took the morning after pill.

My period was late. I did a test and nearly passed out when it was positive. I was 100% sure I needed and wanted an abortion. I used Google to find somewhere in Ireland that would support me and found a clinic in Dublin. I made an appointment for 3 days time. When I called the Dad, he totally agreed with me. Unfortunately he had no money to help with costs so I contacted a money lender. I rang my mother; she came down to my house and when I told her she called my sister. I received nothing but love and support from them.

I worked as a care assistant and continued to go to work even though I suffered with terrible morning sickness. The smells were torture. I was taking lots of anti-sickness medication to try help.

Crisis Counseling in Dublin

My sister came with me to my appointment in the clinic in Dublin. As we were parking outside the clinic, my sister got out to put money in the parking meter. A man and a woman approached her and started talking to her. She came back to the car and said that this couple had a clinic up the road and would do my scan for free. “Do you not realise they are pro-life people?” I asked her. I had read about them confronting women before but my sister had no idea.

As we crossed the road towards the door of the clinic, they began to walk towards us. The woman put her hand on me as I rang the bell. I turned and looked her straight in the eyes and said “I wouldn’t if I was you.” She backed off straight away.

The staff in the clinic couldn’t have been nicer. I got my scan and was advised to have a surgical abortion. They gave me all the information I needed and off I went.

Trying to co-ordinate my flights, the clinic appointment as well as childcare was difficult. The only clinic I could attend was near Heathrow which meant that flights were super expensive. I had no option but to travel alone.

I went to my GP. He was so kind and gentle with me. He said he couldn’t lie on my sick cert but was able to say “uterus surgery”. I was able to make up a story that I needed surgery to fix my coil that had moved. He said to check-in when I got back and wished me luck, giving me a prescription for painkillers.

Traveling Alone

Aircoach bus driving along a quiet road in the early morning

By the time I was leaving for the UK, my morning sickness was so extreme it was hard to function. I bought a baggy tracksuit to travel in as I didn’t own one. The night before I had to travel, my mother took the kids on a sleepover. I got up at 3am to get the Aircoach. I was fasting so I was hungry and nauseous. I tried to hide with my hood up at the back of the bus and hold in my heaving stomach. The bus was packed with people laughing and joking as they set off on their holidays.

I got to the plane without puking. It was an early morning flight to Heathrow and was filled with business people having breakfast and coffee. I will never forget the smells of the food I couldn’t eat.

More Protesters

When I landed, there was a taxi man with my name on a sign. He was extremely nice and kind to me. He chatted away as we were stuck in rush hour traffic but he helped pass the time. As we approached the clinic, he warned me of the “crazy people” outside.

“They will shout at you, grab you and try scare you. They will run at the car when we pull up but don’t worry, you will be ok. I’m going to park directly outside the gate; just walk straight in and don’t look at them.”

As I stepped out of the car, two women came running at me. They grabbed me and tried to put rosary beads and leaflets into my hands. There was a man in a white robe shouting prayers at me and throwing holy water. I shoved past them and got inside the clinic’s door.

There was nothing but respect, kindness and compassion shown to me that day in the clinic. They were so gentle and sympathetic. The surgical staff were so comforting and reassuring.  When I woke, I felt relieved but I just wanted to be at home with my kids and that upset me.  There was 10 of us in the recovery ward afterwards. I was having a hard time coming around but the staff were incredible and so kind.

Coming Home

I was ready to go at 1pm but my flight wasn’t for another 6 hours. I was still nauseous so the staff told me to take a nap first. I felt much better when I woke up. My taxi collected me at 3pm and at the airport, I was able to change my flight home to an earlier time for free.  I sat in the airport in relief. Thankful that despite my traumatic experience, I had been shown kindness every step of the way. I thought of the women who don’t have that. My sister collected me at the airport with flowers. She took me home and put me to bed, minding me.

The pain and bleeding was not so bad. I got to see my kids the next morning which was amazing.

I have no regrets about terminating the pregnancy that wasn’t right for me. I made the choice for myself and my family.

Aircoach bus driving along a quiet road in the early morning

Artist: Jacob Stack.

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