As women in Poland protest against a plan to ban abortions, I am thankful that I live in a country that supports a woman's right to choose.
Eight and a half years ago I had an abortion. I was 25, very healthy, not addicted to any illicit drugs, had a good job, and an amazing well-off supportive family. On paper, I probably ticked all the boxes for candidate least likely to royally fuck up a child.
I found out I was pregnant at 6 weeks and I was given two weeks to make my decision. Two weeks to decide what course my life was going to take and I was overcome with fear and dread and had never felt so alone.
I cried, I researched, I cried again; I talked, wrote lists, probably lucky dipped it and had a vodka. All in all it was probably the worst 2 weeks of my life.
Everyone wanted to help me. I was drowning in unwanted advice and opinions. In one ear I had my mum saying “oh I’ve had one, you'll be fine” in the other an incredibly condescending counsellor treating me like I was an irresponsible idiot.
As much as everyone wanted to help, it was futile because though I tried to will myself to look at all the options, I’d made my decision to terminate the minute I found out I was pregnant. My relationship with the man I fell pregnant to was dying and that meant the embryo was too.
You see I come from what I like to call a functional dysfunctional family. My mum and dad split up when I was 3, I was raised by a step father who I didn’t get along with and it would hurt when I’d see a child with their dad because mine was largely MIA. We’re functional because everyone still gets a long and luckily you won’t find any of us debuting on Jerry Springer (is that show even still on?)
But having a dad who doesn’t seem to care that much about you, well it kinda sucks, not just when you’re three but when you’re 13 and 23 and 33, which I am now (well I’ve actually just turned 34 but let’s just keep it at 33, k?)
So I fell pregnant to a man I knew was not going to be around in a month, let alone in a year or five. Suddenly I was faced with a future that looked very much like my past and it wasn’t ok.
I always knew I would feel that way and that a termination was the only option for me at that point in my life. I’m not so much an idealist as I am a realist. I know that there is no controlling the future; there is nothing to say that even if you are in the strongest of relationships now that it won’t all crumble. But given my past I have always sworn that I would give my child the best start I could and I believe that just as strongly now as I did when I was younger.
I’ve well and truly moved on now. I met an amazing man with whom I have a spirited, rebellious and adorable 3 and a half-year-old. Looking back, the termination was horrible. It was clinical and sad and they didn’t even offer any decent biscuits. For a long time I would be hit at random moments with bites of grief but what I’ve never felt is regret because I made a choice, it was my choice, and it was the right one for me.