Watching the news this weekend has put me in a reflective mood. To consider if I had been born in a different place, another time, my life may have been very different. That, by the throw of a life-dice, my Irish grandparents relocated to the UK and I grew up in England.
Lucky is never a word I have associated with my baby loss before. That, on 16th June 2010, we were told the fate of our son, that we had a choice. That I had autonomy over my body. We could decide when and where to say goodbye. You can read my story here.
I am so sad to hear the stories of the generations of women, and families, that had no choice but to take their overseas journey to end their pregnancy. A painful and traumatic time, made worse by a law that makes no sense to me.
It could have been so different…
A new life. A new baby. We are so, so excited. For this twenty-week scan, we had made sure we had enough change, so I stocked up on the picture tokens, I want as many as I can. I wonder, if a get a friendly sonographer if I can sweet talk them to bunging us a few more.
In we go. The gel is so cold. Surely, in an age where can send probes to Mars, they can work out how to warm up the gel. We all giggle. Despite my nerves, I am still quite the comedian.
“Let’s see our baby, “I think. But, what is wrong. What is all this static? I’m so confused. Incompatible with life. The baby is too poorly to live? I don’t understand.
The Doctor looks at me with sympathy and slowly repeats herself.
Your baby is missing vital organs, and there is nothing you can do.
We will look after you as well as we can, but you are just going to have to wait.
Wait for what? I don’t understand.
She spells it out for me
To give birth. You may go full-term. Baby may be born breathing. But there is nothing we do.
So, I wait. Nearly four-months till our little bundle of joy, the one we wanted so desperately, silently makes his way into the world.
I did look at the other option. To fly over to England, where mothers like me have a choice. But it would mean spending money we don’t have. Having no support, no aftercare, no one to check in on us. Then, to leave our little boy in another country. No funeral. No mourning.
No, I couldn’t do it.
I had no choice. No choice but to carry on with the pregnancy, try and carry on with my life; knowing what was coming. And struggling with the knowledge there is nothing I can do to make it easier for any of us.
Instead, my whole life is left to the decisions of others. Strangers, who don’t know me. Because my well-being, and the well-being of my son, is not as important as their beliefs. Their values.
But this is not my story.
I was able, with the full support of the medical profession, to deliver my little boy early, to reduce any pain and suffering he may have; but to also reduce the pain and suffering that we experienced as a family.
Hearing the news that the vote was to repeal the 8th Amendment fills me with hope. Finally, Irish women will have a choice. The choice to own their own body. To have open conversations about fertility. To choose when you become a parent – through prevention. Abortion is not contraception.
Those that are using that as a pro-life argument just need to come and spend a little time with me.
I am pro-choice. I am a mother.