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.
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?
I will never be able to fully rationalise that decision, but old fears of abandonment, of disapproval and of struggle after my last pregnancy resurfaced with devastating consequences. In hindsight, another significant factor was that I was frighteningly and incomprehensibly ignorant of the reality of abortion and its aftermath.
I was going through a very difficult time and was trying to find happiness in my life. I had only come out of a long term relationship and the breakup left me feeling very unloved. I had low self esteem and was vulnerable after breaking up with someone who I thought had loved me and was going to for the rest of our lives. Time passed and I began to go out socialising with some old friends who I became distant from during my relationship. I ended up falling pregnant for one of them, I was devastated.
It was a hasty decision. I think like many other women I went into ‘panic mode’ and believed the lie if I get rid of this ‘uncomfortable problem’ then all my problems would be solved. My head was all over the place, due to pregnancy hormones and the aftermath of an extremely violent relationship.
I was supposed to be 9 weeks but when I was in the counselling session before surgery they said it looked closer to 11. When we first found out I was probably 3 or 4 weeks. I just didn’t want to go through with an abortion. I kept putting it off hoping my boyfriend would make the decision. Hoping I would wake up one morning and it would be a bad dream. In the end we made a list of pros and cons. It didn’t change how I felt. It was horrible. I remember telling him I didn’t want to kill my baby.