It’s not often that we celebrate the sight of blood but ask a 22 year old cowering in a bathroom cubicle in UCD of a Thursday morning after a sleepless night and panicked purchase of a pregnancy test and she’ll tell you there’s no sweeter visual.
Ask anyone who’s had a pregnancy scare and they’ll tell you the same thing. They’ll recount a similar tale of how mild panic turned to joy when they realised they weren’t staring down the barrel of 9 months, or a lifetime, of motherhood.
But, in my experience at least, it’s not the thought of motherhood that makes a pregnancy scare so terrifying – it’s the thought of what you might find yourself doing if you’re just not ready for it.
I was in my final year of university, in a steady relationship, but suffering with crippling anxiety when I found myself bleary eyed and about to burst on an early morning 46a to UCD, having hastily nipped to Tesco with my mother after a night of tearful torture. The little box stashed in the back pocket of my bag felt like a ticking timebomb.
And yet while the thought of being pregnant terrified me – because I wasn’t ready, my boyfriend at the time wasn’t ready, and neither of us had the mental or physical means to become parents – it was actually the thought of what I might want or have to do about it that scared me the most.
The thought that I might have to pack a bag and go to England for an abortion utterly rocked me to my core. I had always been Pro Choice on principle, but could I actually go through with the procedure myself?
That question plagued me long after I discovered that I thankfully wasn’t with child. In fact, it turned me celibate for years because, to this day, I honestly amn’t sure I could go through what so many Irish women have gone through for their own reasons, the validity of which I don’t deem myself in a position to judge.
There is one thing I’m sure of though and it’s that the choice should be theirs to make. When I sat crying in that cubicle, tears of relief streaming down my face, it was because I wouldn’t have to pac my bags and ‘get the boat’. I wouldn’t have to do that ‘walk of shame’ or endure the silent pain so many Irish women have gone through.
I was more scared of finding myself in the position where I had to consider an abortion than I was of falling pregnant, and that fear made me more vehemently Pro Choice than I had ever been before.
And that’s why I believe we need to repeal the 8th – so that if, one day, I have a child who just so happens to be a daughter, and she finds herself in an impossible position, she doesn’t end up cowering in a bathroom at university wondering what on earth might happen to her.
So that she doesn’t have to board a boat or a plane with the weight of the world on her shoulders.
So that, while I’m not sure I could or would go through with it myself, she has the most important thing any women should have when it comes to her body and her future – the right to choose for herself.