• Break the Taboo Malta

Story 16 – 19.04.2019




"Let me start this by saying that I am a 30-year-old woman with a professional career with the government. I had 3 stable long-term relationships in my life, and this was during my first ever relationship. I was 18 and I had been in this committed relationship for at least 3 years. As you may imagine he was my first sexual partner ever. If it makes a difference, he was an educated guy reading for his masters at the time.

I am not an outspoken person who spoke about sex with my girlfriends, and keep in mind that this was in 2008 – looking up information online on sexual relationships was not as popular as nowadays. In our relationship we normally used condoms, but every now and again my partner used to ask to start without protection and then put a condom on later on. At times he used to finish before managing to put one on, but he would assure me that he ejaculated out and away from my body. Please keep in mind that I had known this person for over 3 years and, call me naïve, but I trusted that he would not risk my body and my life. I was at university at the time in the middle of a bachelor’s course. To make things more complicated my period was irregular, so it was normal for it to be late from time to time.

I remember not being worried that my period was late – in my mind it was normal, plus we were safe. This could not possibly happen to me. I took a pregnancy test due to his insistence and found out I was pregnant. I have no idea how far along I was, but I guess it was a few weeks. I showed him the test and with tears in my eyes asked him how this could have happened, and he said that there were times where he risked and did not pull out in time. He had never mentioned this before. Those words hurt much more than everything else I had to experience from that moment on. How could a person I trusted for so long take a risk with something this important and with my future? As if unfazed by the situation, he promptly phoned his family doctor. I remember it was a Sunday and we met with him in the street in his car. Although I wanted to do the abortion as much as him, I never recall him asking me what I wanted to do. The doctor asked him to leave the car and asked me what I wanted, assuring me that whatever I decide it will be ok, but this is what I wanted. For me at that moment it was like a parasite that was going to grow and destroy my life, and the person I trusted the most put it in me. The doctor said that since I was 18, I could go abroad to carry out the procedure and that he would arrange everything for us. We were to leave for Sicily in a week or two. I don’t know what would have happened if I was still 17…

Having to carry out the procedure abroad meant that I had to wait more weeks to be able to do it, that I had no pre-visits, and that the procedure or my options were not explained to me. I had to go to Sicily for a day and come back in the evening. Keep in mind also that staying there any longer would also be a detriment to my studies as this was in April. This was my first time abroad. I was never fluent in Italian and being in a clinic where everyone was speaking to me in broken English or just plain Italian to my then boyfriend who understood the language was annoying and scary to say the least. I had no idea what was going to happen and how the procedure was to be carried out, and still did not know after it was done. I remember that I waited for much longer than the time it took to carry out the procedure and I remember waking up to severe period pains. They gave us a few moments and we were out.

I have no regrets about going through with it. My deepest regret is that I trusted the wrong person and that I was not informed enough about my body and what I could have done to prevent this. Although it is much easier for a man to be responsible in these situations, the burden often falls on the woman, as she is the one who will be left with the consequences. I wish that birth control is discussed more openly, and is more accessible and easy to purchase. Buying the contraceptive pill at a pharmacy is like asking for drugs, let alone the times I have to ask the pharmacist for a packet of condoms as they are behind the counter. I envy foreign pharmacies where you can go in to the family planning section and have a look at all your options, and then ask if you need help. It is sad that in Malta sex is still the work of the devil and not a normal part of a healthy relationship."

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Break the Taboo Malta is an initiative to end abortion stigma in Malta by sharing real abortion stories and experiences.