Health and Wellbeing, that time of the month

It’s time to talk about abortion

June 21, 2016

it's time to talk about abortionI was walking past an abortion clinic the other day and there was a woman picketing out the front.

Her dyed hair had grown out giving her a thick, grey streak down the middle of her head like a skunk, while the ends were wiry and lank in the morning sun.

Her cheeks were sunken, and chin was resolutely jutting in defiance. She gazed straight ahead, not looking at anything in particular, just standing like a sentinel at the doorway.

She had a homemade billboard hanging from her shoulders with pictures of happy, fat babies playing with their toes next to images of embryos, and bloodied fetuses. I don’t remember what the placard in her hand read. I don’t know if I even read it.

When I walked past her the first time a man was telling her she shouldn’t be there, that it was wrong. I noticed his sandals and socks, a usually unforgivable fashion faux pas but it’s winter so I forgave him… also, he said what I wasn’t brave enough to.

She didn’t even look at him, just continued to stand, her chin was firm as an oak, her gaze like a laser into the distance.

Two policemen walked up and asked the duo what was going on. I walked past and continued to my meeting presuming they would have been moved along but they weren’t. An hour later she was still there in her grotesque protest.

I would like to stand outside hairdressers and picket against mullets. I would picket against adults giving them to themselves, and I would suggest it is cruel to give one to a child. I would add rat tails too. Just for good measure.

But I keep that opinion to myself because we live in a world where we have choices pertaining to our own bodies and we must respect each other’s choices even in the face of vehement disagreeance.

The abortion clinic is not sign posted, but I know it is a clinic because one day in the year just gone I walked through that door with a heart that was heavy to carry in order to terminate an accidental pregnancy.

I know how babies are made, and I generally try not to make them but sometimes shit doesn’t go as planned. It was a cock-up (literally), and I wasn’t proud of it but thankfully I live in an era where I have choices.

Although I am 100% without a doubt certain that I made the right choice for myself, and my children, it was not a light decision to come to. The pros and cons were weighed and weighed again, and the discussions with my lover went well into the night. There were tears.

Having had two children I know the value of that little embryo and all of the marvelous possibilities of what it may become but I also knew that right then in that moment of my life, another child was not what I really wanted.

I don’t need approval of this choice that I made, but I also will not be ashamed for making a decision pertaining not only to my body, but also my mental and physical wellbeing, and that of my children. A baby creates a rather massive disruption and I’ve only just got this boat floating right again.

There was no space in our lives for a baby. It was that simple.

51% of women have had an unplanned pregnancy in Australia. A whoops-a-baby can come as a quite a shock but sometimes that shock can turn to joy. Not always. Up to one in three women in this country will have an abortion in her lifetime but you wouldn’t really know that because no one talks about it.

Is it because it’s still against the law in Queensland and New South Wales? Although it is legal for a doctor to perform an abortion if they feel the health, and wellbeing of the mother may be in jeopardy it is for all intents and purposes a crime to make this choice about yourself and your embryo’s future.

Is it because we are conditioned to be ashamed of being in control of our lives or bodies?

Well, I will not be ashamed. And I encourage anyone else who has made this choice because it was the right choice for them, not to be ashamed either because nobody else should get to choose, or judge, what is right for you.

I’m supremely relieved that this protesting woman was not standing there the day my shadow crossed the threshold because on that day my emotions were running high enough without the judgement of some stranger with graphic billboards.

It would not have changed my decision, and I may just have kicked her in the shins.

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7 Comments

  • Reply Jules June 21, 2016 at 9:17 am

    <3 to you. For making the decision that was right for you. xx

  • Reply Katie June 21, 2016 at 10:08 am

    I just came across your blog entry on abortion. I wasn’t going to read it and scrolled right by. But then I thought….no, I must be open to all opinions. There is absolutely no judgement from me when asking this question. I respect your choice. In your discussions with the father, did adoption cross your mind as an option? I ask because both of my children are adopted. I can’t imagine having a family any other way. Although I have never met their birth others, I cherish them. It is because of them that I have a family. I often wonder why a woman would chose abortion over placing for adoption. Nine months seems like such a glimpse in time, especially when there are so many families who desire to grow their family. I pray you read my tone as a nice, sincere, loving one as I intend.

    Another thought occurred to me as I read your post. There really is no way of knowing, but as you walked by her and had these thoughts/judgements…..she has a story too. Maybe she once had an abortion. Maybe she knows someone who has. Maybe she doesn’t want to be judged just like you. Maybe she really did just have an opinion. I pray people can come together in a kind, loving way to talk about such issues. Having a conversation can go a lot further than a back handed comment from a passer by. Life is so short to sit back and throw stones.

    Thank you for reading my comment in love!

    • Reply Danielle June 21, 2016 at 10:23 am

      I absolutely do read it in love and you are completely right that frank, honest and caring discussion is the only way we can move forward as a species.

      We didn’t consider adoption. It never even occurred to us because it’s not really high on Australian’s radar due to our really strict adoption policies. Regardless of those, I wouldn’t have done it anyway. It is not the right choice for me.

      She may have had her own story, regrets, sorrows and hardships, but the point is it is not for her to cast judgment on others who are doing what is right for them.Especially at a time when people are already coping with enough.

      Thank you for taking the time to write a considered and thought provoking response. Discussion is always welcomed x

  • Reply knockedupandabroad1 June 21, 2016 at 10:27 am

    I am not ashamed. The day I met with this clinic there were protesters jumping around in our faces, shouting words which I blocked out for fear of them infecting me. I remember being so shocked by their presence. I was 21 and did not know the world could be so cruel. My partner protected me against them. He was all emotional and firey at them which I was somewhat grateful for but I was too fragile to really feel the compliment. It was the right choice for us. Most woman know that when they go to such places and I am grateful that I had the choice. Thank you, for such a brave post. It’s one I have not been able to bring myself to write xx

  • Reply Kooky Chic June 21, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Wow I can’t imagine the turmoil you went through making that decision. It must have been heartbreaking. I have supported friends, who have been in difficult situations and where they, out of necessity opted for abortion and it was the right decision for them. That in itself was hard to do as being catholic, even though non practicing the guilt is ingrained. I am so thankful I have never had to even think about abortion but who knows the day may come.

  • Reply Michele McDonald June 21, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    I also am not ashamed of my decision at age 35 to not proceed with a pregnancy. We made the right choice for us.

    Thank you for your frank and fearless posts!

  • Reply susievenkat June 27, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    I heartily agree with you, D. And Trump, that jokester, wants to jail women who go for an abortion. Protesters have no idea of the patients’ back-story. There’s all sorts of reasons and most of them beat the ‘your killing an embryo’ argument.

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