I had an abortion
2008 United Kingdom (born in United States)
What were your feelings about doing the abortion/s?
I know that for many women abortion can be a very emotional, traumatic experience. However it just was not like that for me. I never felt regret or sadness. In fact if anything I was happy. Happy to be taking charge of my body, of doing what I had to to prevent myself from having a child. Frustrated that this oppressive society makes it so difficult to do that. But more than anything I felt confident, because I knew I was doing the right thing for me. And I will spend the rest of my life demanding that right!
How did you do the abortion?
I actually tried to induce an herbal miscarriage for a few weeks before I made the apointment to go to Birmingham, but it didn't work. There were no herbalists for me to talk to in Ireland, so I did all my own research online. I bought vitamin C, black cohosh, dong quai, and rutin pills from the local healthfood store, and a couple times I tried these same herbs in premade tinctures. I advise anyone who can to try an herbal miscarriage before medical or surgical, if you have the time and the herbs are available to you. Indigenous people from all over the world have controlled their populations naturally (without icky hormones or latex) for thousands of years, so there is a plethora of herbs and natural remedies for this purpose, it is only a matter of availability. It is also impossible to know just how reliable this method is, because of its private nature. However it didn't work for me, so if you are attempting an herbal abortion you should still make plans should it not work. And I really think if I had known more about it, had more herbs available, or been able to talk to an herbalist, it would have worked. The surgery went fine. I don't remember the actual procedure, they put me under general anesthetic, but I know it took no more than 5 minutes. I arrived early in the morning, talked to a docter, got an ultrasound (something almost made me ask to see it, but I thought better of it), had the surgery, and I was out of there by mid-afternoon. There are a lot of steps, a lot of moving from one room to another, sitting in waiting rooms. This was frustrating, because I would have much preferred to take care of it myself, in my own home. But everyone who worked at the clinic was very nice, and did their best to make me feel comfortable. One particularly chatty nurse in the operating room was like 'oh you came all the way from the states?' and as i am breathing the gas that is making me sleepy, she is like 'oh so are you excited about Osama?' I knew she meant Obama, but feeling like I probably shouldn't correct her on top of feeling sleepy, I think I just half smiled and shook my head.
What was your situation at this time?
I never even considered carrying out my pregnancy. Not only am I only 20 years old, but I don't ever want to have children. Some people can't morally justify having an abortion but for me, I can't morally justify having a child. There is too much else that I want to do with my life, and parenting is not on that list. And I am not attached to the idea of biological children, so even if I were to change my mind some day and choose to particpate in raising a child, it will not be one I gave birth to!
Did the illegality of your abortion affect your feelings?
I am lucky enough to have had the resources to travel to a country where abortion is legal. I went to Birmingham, England by myself for a weekend. It was relatively easy, though I couldn't help but feel the stigma attached to it. Even as sure as I was with my decision, just the fact of having to travel to another country, slipping away in secret, telling people I was sick, made it seem like I was doing something wrong. I can't imagine how much it affects Irish women who have been inundated with The Catholic Guilt their entire lives, and may be less confident that they are not doing anything wrong. Abortion being illegal in Ireland did not change my feelings or cause hesitation, it only made me conscious of just how oppressive it is not to have abortion readily available.
How did other people react to your abortion?
The friends I told have been very supportive. I had just moved to Ireland when I realized I was pregant, so I did not have many close friends around me. However I sought out the support of a couple people I trusted, and they were very helpful, even if just to talk to. My only regret was telling a friend from back home through email. I didn't realize that for some crazy reason she is anti-choice, and though she is a good friend, she is probably the worst one I could have confided in about this. We ended up getting into a heated argument, sending long emails back and forth. Women's agency over their bodies has long been something I am passionate about, even before it became a personal issue. Or you could say it always was a personal issue, since I am a woman. So I was not about to let her get away with some of her anti-choice comments. But in the end, abortion is an issue that most people will not change their minds about. And when you are in the middle of such a huge decision, I don't think it is advisable to bother with people who won't support you 100%. But beware of the other end as well. In radical circles some people are so vehemently pro-choice, they forget that it is often an emotional experience, not just a political experience. While you are pregant I think its best to seek out people you trust, people who will listen to you. And then after the abortion as you get more comfortable with your decision, shout it from the rooftops! There is nothing shameful about abortion, and the more people who wear it proudly the better.