The stories below are some of the many testimonies of Irish women about their abortion experiences. We will continue to post new testimonies.
I was going out with my boyfriend for over a year when I discovered that I was pregnant. Back then, abortion was just a word to me and I didn’t really know what it entailed. I was told abortion would solve my problems, but it only gave me new ones.
In my late teens I emigrated to England, hoping to experience a less restrictive world. When I found out that I was pregnant, I felt that I could not tell my family back in Ireland so I took what appeared to me at that time to be the only choice I had. My doctor told me that the procedure would be simple, effective, with no after-effects. But abortion changed my whole life.
I was a single mum when I fell pregnant in 2009. I gave no thought to the possibility of having another child because I believed that to have another child would deprive my daughter of a life of material and parental quality. After the abortion, I found myself in a semi-abusive relationship with a controlling man. I have found help through post-abortive recovery programmes but personal relationships are still a difficult issue for me.
I was 13 when I was raped by an 18 year old man. I was feeling sick every morning and realised that I was pregnant. I told my mother and before I knew it I was on a boat to Liverpool. My abortion impacted my life for the next 37 years with drug and alcohol abuse, destructive relationships with men, loneliness, isolation, suicidal thoughts.
I had my first abortion when I was 25. Less than 5 years later, I found myself in an abortion facility for a second time. For years I tried all types of drugs, alcohol, travelling, relationships, career to fill the gap left in my life by my abortions. I began my healing journey 3 years ago. I wish someone had warned me of the horrific emotional and spiritual pain I would suffer as a result of my abortions, sparing me years of suffering.
30 years ago, I had an abortion. Alone, I made the arrangements to travel to England. My now husband was the father. After the abortion, I buried the whole event deep in my subconscious, and we never spoke of that day in England for almost 30 years. I recently attended an abortion recovery weekend and have found great healing.
One day, I was sitting at home working on an assignment, and then all of a sudden I was overwhelmed by feelings of guilt and immense sorrow. How could I have abandoned my baby just because he was not “perfect”? I missed feeling him in my body; I cried myself to sleep many nights. The pain and grief was almost unbearable. For a while I couldn’t really function.
I understand and believe we all have personal choices in our lives. If I were to speak to a woman considering abortion, I would share my experience, the deep pain and at times despair having the abortion and the subsequent years. I would share this experience in the hope that she might learn that this act, for me, has never been forgotten and the subsequent issues that arose in my life, I thought having the abortion was the end of the pain, it was only the beginning.
It’s difficult to describe how my abortion affected me in the short-term. I buried it. It’s not that I didn’t tell people, I did tell close friends and they were sympathetic. I certainly buried feelings of guilt. I was (and still am) affected by the presence of babies and young children. But I would try to shrug it off.
Nothing could have prepared me for that life-long grief, it’s hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t experienced it, but it’s like a part of you is missing, like there is a gaping hole in my heart that nothing can ever fill. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.
I made a hasty decision to seek a termination. I could not contemplate any other option and felt if I do this quickly it will be like it never happened. There was no counselling given to help me look at other options just a token few minutes to mark off a check-list. I was unable to confide in my family as I feared rejection.
Everything would be over in one weekend. My sister, my friend and I tried to pass the time that evening by going to the cinema and pretending that everything was normal. My sister did keep asking me was I sure that I was doing the right thing but I had shut my mind and heart off to all emotions and was determined in my head that this was the right thing to do. Sure what could I offer a child?