I am woman who has a baby.
She was wanted, she is loved, but it has been such hard work. There have been times that I have spiralled into despair over how much my life has changed, how tired I am. I spent a lot of time preparing and planning to have her, and even then it’s been tough. She’s wonderful, but no-one should be forced to do something this hard if they don’t want to. If you are not financially, emotionally or mentally prepared, even a little bit, to have a baby, you shouldn’t be forced to have one. The most common age for those who have an abortion is women in their thirties, who already have one or more children. Who know what is at stake, and know whether or not they are capable of having another. Having a baby has made me even more certain that a woman should always have the right to an abortion.
I am a woman who has had an abortion.
My story is not one of a troubled teen. Accidents happen at all ages. I was in my early thirties. I switched from one contraception method to another and got pregnant in between. I had only been with the father for three months. Even if I hadn’t, it wasn’t the right time. I was just about to move, was choosing to advance my career path. It was a hard decision, but I knew the time wasn’t right. I thought a had a light period, so I didn’t even know I was pregnant until I was ten weeks. The ‘six week’ law is absurd. A woman might not even have a missed period by then. Only a man could have come up with this sort of legislation. We need to get away from the idea that a woman is just a ‘mum-in-waiting.’ Not all people that have a uterus are meant to be mothers.
I am a woman who has had two miscarriages.
Getting pregnant and having a baby is not always as straightforward as you might think. When the pregnancy is wanted, losing it is awful. When it isn’t, it’s a relief. And that’s ok. Statistically, the best parents in the world are lesbian and gay couples. Their children report the least mental and physical abuse of any other children in the world. I suspect this is because they have to make a definite choice in order to have a child. Those without a choice, who feel forced into it, are far likely to be bad parents. We need to stop pretending that these archaic ideas and laws are in the best interests of children. They aren’t. The sooner we start seeing accidental pregnancy as an unwanted by-product of heterosexual relationships the better. Improving education and availability of contraception would have a much bigger impact than telling people what they’re doing is wrong.
Children are precious. But let’s be realistic. If every single conception was left to grow into a baby, the world would collapse. Making abortion illegal doesn’t mean it stops happening. It just puts the lives of the women who don’t want to be mothers at risk. If you make abortion illegal, then you have to provide free childcare and mental health care for those parents who didn’t want a baby. Give money to the women you are forcing to have a baby so they can afford to feed them. Or was it ever really about the ‘child’ in the first place?
I am a woman who believes every woman’s body belongs to her.
Let’s make our voices heard, and let the women in Northern Ireland, Georgia, and all over the world who have to fight for the right to an abortion. Let’s not forget, even in this country, two doctors have to sign a form to say that a serious and long-term risk to mental or physical health is ‘probable’ if the pregnancy continues.
My body, my life, my choice.
You can donate to Planned Parenthood in the USA here.