I want to tell you something about my story today. It’s not often that people talk about such things, but I feel it’s important.
I was around 27 years old, a single parent of a 4-year old boy. I had been struggling for four years with post-natal depression. I was also about to start university. It was a big dream because it was about ten years later than average. I was devastated, absolutely devastated, to discover that I was pregnant. I had no partner and the pregnancy was the result of a drunken accident. I feel that, possibly, on the scale that people use to justify abortions, maybe some people wouldn’t have seen mine as justifiable. But it really was to me, because I didn’t think I could cope. But unfortunately, in Northern Ireland, access to abortion is highly restricted. But thankfully, a friend was able to loan me the money to have the procedure done in England. It was very difficult organizing everything. I also had to lie to my family and friends. Not having a support system through this experience made me feel like a criminal. The time between when I decided to get an abortion and when I actually got one was four weeks. And those four weeks were hell. They felt like four years. In the end, I had the procedure in England. I flew over at 7 o’clock in the morning and I came home at 5 o’clock. Other than having to pay for the procedure, I was given a wonderful service. The people were fantastic, I was in and out. I wasn’t upset, I wasn’t regretting it, I wasn’t in tears. It was a necessary thing that had to be done and it was OK. After a few days, I was able to rebuild my life again. My son and I have a reasonably better quality of life than we would have if I had had to go through with that pregnancy. I still have not shared my experience with most of my friends and family. I want to be able to stand up and tell women that having an abortion, which one in three women do, is not such a big deal. I would like to be able to talk about it because it is a normal thing.
And now to you, how would it feel to be in my shoes?
This story was drawn from The Abortion Diary. To listen to Rosa’s story in full, visit http://theabortiondiary.com/felt-like…. Access to abortion in Northern Ireland is highly restricted. Because of this, more than 1,000 women each year travel from Northern Ireland to other parts of the United Kingdom in order to have an abortion, for which they would have to pay privately for the procedure.