michel

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i'm irish, i had an abortion while living in the netherlands.

2004 Netherlands (born in Ireland)

i had pretty much all those feelings and more. when i found out i was pregnant i was scared, i felt trapped, confused. after i'd been to the doctor and decided and set the date for the abortion i had to wait 10 days before i could get it. these 10 days were a very strange time. i went from feeling like everything was normal and the same but i just had to get this little thing over with to feeling overwhelmed with guilt to feeling all warm and fuzzy thinking about a baby. i also had these very strong 'nesting' feelings- like i just wanted to lie down and cuddle and be in love with my boyfriend. sometimes i felt giddy, like i was on a high. i think in retrospect that my body liked being pregnant. like all through this time if you asked me if i was sure about my choice i would have answered yes but i kind of felt elated or something. pregnancy hormones i suppose. it made it weirder that no one knew, that i carried on as normal the whole time. after the abortion i felt relieved. very relieved. i felt a strange sense of emptiness but i knew i'd made the right decision. for about a year afterwards i dealt with different emotions that arose from my abortion - but i never regretted it. i felt like i needed to grieve but didn't feel entitled to or something. i think there is a perception that because you had an abortion that you didn't care about the life or life force that you had inside of you but the reality is a lot more complex than that. its not something that i can still totally make sense of 3 years later but i still know that i made the right choice for me at that time and am grateful that i lived in a place that respected my choices concerning my body.

my abortion was over quickly. even though it was what i wanted and have never regretted it i cried throughout the whole procedure. i was awake and aware throughout. it was also more painful physically than i thought it would be..there was an amazing nurse who stayed with the whole time and was incredibly comforting. afterwards the nurse and doctor asked if i wasted to see the foetus. at first i said no and was a bit appalled...they told me i should try, if i could, as it would help. i'm so so glad they did this as i think this really helped me come to terms with the whole experience- strange as that might sound. seeing it in front of me made me make peace with it. it was an early stage abortion about 5 or 6 weeks.

i had been with my boyfriend for one month! not exactly a stable relationship. we were living hand to mouth, had no idea where we going etc etc. it just wasn't the right time. we split up about a year later. we weren't ready to be parents.

Did the illegality of your abortion affect your feelings?

thankfully, i was living in the netherlands at the time of my abortion and received excellent care while there. my experience, though personally traumatic at the time, would have been far, far worse had i been living in ireland -where i am from.

How did other people react to your abortion?

those who knew were supportive, but i kept it very private. my two best friends were out of the country at the time so it was me and my boyfriend, i think i told one person at work. i've never told any of my family members.

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