I Had An Abortion And – Guess What! – I Feel Totally Fine About It

So, yeah, I had an abortion. No biggie, right? Right! And yet, despite feeling totally dandy about my choice, an air lingers over it. Sadness. Weirdness. People not quite knowing what to say or how to act. Should they comfort you? Should they commend you? Should they buy you a card? (Answer: No. But I will accept chocolate.)

Peak weirdness, I’ve found, arrives when you find yourself surrounded by buns in ovens. Only the other day I had to stop myself chiming in with an exclamatory remark regarding the ferocity of my morning sickness as a friend was discussing hers. Was it weird to talk about my morning sickness, when I so clearly had no child? Would it make the conversation awkward? Would my friends feel obliged to throw me a sad and meaningful look? Would they believe that I was entirely A-OK with my child-free status (especially so after the wretchedness of the aforementioned doesn’t-just-happen-in-the-morning sickness)? I decided not to pipe up – even though I had a marginally funny anecdote that involved getting off at every stop on the Central Line to throw up into Elle magazine – and spare everyone the awkwardness. Because that’s what these things are shrouded in: awkwardness. And, often, shame. But I feel no shame, and no awkwardness of my own, and I am at liberty to be as uncensored and vocal about my experience as I damn well please.

Here’s what happened: I peed on a stick to discover, horrifyingly, that I was pregnant. The decision was relatively easy: Did I want a baby? No. I had no plans to have a child, no money with which to raise a child and, most importantly, no desire to have a child. I did not want a baby! Simples. I briefly toiled with the idea, debating whether this unexpected turn in events meant that this was a path I should follow; maybe I should have a child, maybe this was some sort of divine intervention and, whilst I’d been driving myself insane scrambling to find my purpose in life (an ongoing quest that appears to lack any finality), my purpose had fallen into my lap. Or into my womb. Whatever works for you. I was (/am) notoriously bad with other peoples children, but had always suspected that my own child would not cry exhaustedly and scream for their mother when I would hold them; for I would be mother and my baby would be an angel. But this farfetched scenario, in which I was not made to feel like a totally useless and unwanted extra by a being that is smaller than my Charlotte Simone Bon Bon Bag, was not for me. No. Ultimately I decided that I had too much to do, too much to personally achieve, too much frivolity and freedom to experience before I wanted the responsibility of a child. So I called the heaven-sent Marie Stopes and, within a week of finding out I was pregnant, I wasn’t pregnant anymore. Done. Chapter closed. Sort of. Would the thought of what could’ve been linger in my mind, intermittently appearing at points when I, yet again, debated my purpose? Yes. Would that thought be entertained? Mildly. But it’s all too easy to entertain the comparative thoughts of an unfulfilled mind; you can literally wile away your life debating whether you chose the wrong path: “Should I have ever gone to Uni? Should I have been with him? Should I have changed course? Should I have taken that job? Should I have eaten that week-old fish?” We are wired to produce ‘what if’s’. Am I sad or regretful over having had an abortion? Absolutely not. I’m happy with my choice. Because it is, when all is said and done, my choice. My body, my looming motherhood, my life spent providing for another human, my vagina, my choice.

#ShoutYourAbortion has taken social media by storm, as most mildly ‘controversial’ topics tend to do. (Note: It shouldn’t be controversial that a woman chooses not to pursue a pregnancy, but sadly it is.) One in three women has an abortion and, despite the numbers, the conversation encompassing it is relatively muted and the accessibility to legal abortion is limited (see the world’s abortion map here). The purpose of #ShoutYourAbortion is to bring abortion to the forefront of conversation, prompted by the voting – by the US House of Representatives – in favour of defunding Planned Parenthood. A step so incredibly backwards I CAN’T EVEN DEAL. As a hashtag, it has unified women and gone some way to de-stigmatising abortions. As feminist activist, Amelia Bonow, so eloquently words it: “Plenty of people still believe that on some level – if you are a good woman – abortion is a choice which should be accompanied by some level of sadness, shame, or regret. But you know what? Having an abortion made me happy in a totally unqualified way. Why wouldn’t I be happy that I was not forced to become a mother?” To that I say: HELL YEAH. But where there’s a topic, there’s a troll, and it’s these 140 character-count bites of idiocy that had me itching to pen this post…

In summary: I’m a murdering mother of a dead child, as well as a woman has not only failed to keep her legs closed, but has also failed to recognise the blessing of new life. Cool. It’s because of the above comments (and literally so many more) that this hashtag exists. #ShoutYourAbortion is not a celebration; it’s a shedding of shame and silence. It’s a tool with which to empower women to speak openly and freely, without fear of reprisal (an outlandish thing to wish for on Twitter, I realise…), about their abortions. It is not a hashtag built for you to project your feelings onto women who have experienced abortion. Who are we to say how a person vocalises their experiences? I find comfort in being an over-sharer (however personal and unpalatable the topic), and I realise and respect that that’s not the case for everyone; different strokes for different folk! But the unwillingness of others to be vocal about their experience shouldn’t be a permissible reason for people to shame others about their own vocality. The absence of sadness surrounding an abortion does not determine the compassion of a person. To some, abortion weighs heavily. To others, abortion is a means to an end; a child-free end. We are all different. But we needn’t feel shame. With that in mind, I’ll leave you with some sense-filled tweets…

https://twitter.com/Harptweet_xx/status/646589816382070784

And here’s a link to the Marie Stopes website for anyone wanting more info on abortion.

14 Comments

  1. 22nd September 2015 / 7:55 pm

    Amazing piece of writing my dearest. Perfectly written and so god damn true!!! So much love for you!! xxxx

    • pieandfash
      22nd September 2015 / 9:05 pm

      Thank you beautiful flemma xxxxxx

  2. Some guy
    22nd September 2015 / 8:41 pm

    This is amazing, be very proud of this, it’s one of my favourites.

    • pieandfash
      22nd September 2015 / 9:06 pm

      Thank you so much!! I love your comments – they always brighten up my eve – and I’m so happy you liked this post x

  3. 22nd September 2015 / 8:42 pm

    Incredibly honest and touching post. Pro choice is something woman have been fighting for for generations, it’s a shame that the struggle is very much still real. Thank you for sharing ❤️ Xxx

    • pieandfash
      22nd September 2015 / 9:24 pm

      Thank you, Betty! Some of the diatribe attached to the hashtag was UNBELIEVABLE (although most of what is said on Twitter is unbelievable) and it saddens me deeply that someone who may have had an abortion, or may be considering an abortion, would read that bullshit and feel shameful about their choice. The world is a crazy place. Thank *you* for reading! xxx

  4. Jack
    23rd September 2015 / 12:56 am

    I fully agree with everything you’ve just written. Its sad that this is such a ballsy piece.
    V proud.

  5. Joe Goldman
    23rd September 2015 / 8:15 am

    Good for you, Dais. You may be interested in Peter Singer, he’s an ethicist in the school of utilitarianism. He has very interesting arguments on all kinds of moral questions, including abortion.

    • pieandfash
      28th October 2015 / 8:19 am

      Thank you, gorgeous Goldman! I’ll have a search of Peter Singer RIGHT NOW! x

  6. Jess
    23rd September 2015 / 8:40 am

    Better not to bring a child into the world than to bring one into a world that isn’t ready for it. X

  7. 28th October 2015 / 5:10 am

    Fighting sleep to read every last word. What a bloody brilliant ballsy post (that really shouldn’t be seen as ballsy at all). X

    • pieandfash
      28th October 2015 / 8:22 am

      Thank you so much, Lizzie!! That’s so wonderful of you to say. And yes I totally agree: shouldn’t be deemed ballsy at all. I hope you finally caught some Z’s after reading ? xxx

  8. 15th April 2016 / 1:41 pm

    Such a great read! Personally I don’t see a problem when women choose to have an abortion. If the timing isn’t right, then it isn’t right. If you’re scared of being a lone parent and don’t think you would cope etc. do what YOU need to do. Not what anyone else says. It’s your life and this is something that would change your life forever! We all know someone who has had an abortion and if anything people need to give them support. Nobody prepares anyone for the aftermath and the what if’s. Always make sure you’re there as a shoulder to cry on or if it’s yourself feel comfortable in speaking about it with people whether it be your friends, family or maybe even someone you may not see again. Don’t put yourself through hell if it has made you sad or you are struggling. It’s such an emotional process and it shouldn’t be frowned upon what so ever! xxx

    http://www.chanellejade.co.uk

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