Break the Taboo Malta
Story 49 - 28.02.2021
This is the 6th story of abortion during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My period is always late. No matter how old I am, no matter if I were sexually active or not, no matter if I am chilling like a villain or stressing out over whatever is going on in my life, it just always knocks at my door whenever it pleases. However, once my friend decided not to knock, and I must admit that even though I’m not really fond of this friendship, I got a tiny bit worried.
I went to buy a test. Normally, when I have a pregnancy scare, I always buy the digital pregnancy test, but I was so sure that I had nothing to worry about that I just got one of the normal ones. I got home, did the usual business, and as soon as I lifted the test from underneath me, I saw the plus sign. My first reaction was to laugh, it being my cursed defence mechanism in almost any kind of scenario. I kept thinking to myself, “It can’t be, it doesn’t make sense.”
To give you a little bit of context about myself - I’m that friend in the group who always preaches how she doesn’t want kids, and I will have a discussion about it as to why it’s not in the cards for me. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing or why the hell would anyone want to have kids. I have a nephew who I love to Saturn and back, and I do believe that women who have children are badass and super courageous.
I instantly came to the conclusion that this pregnancy test was 100% faulty. I went to buy a second test. This time a digital pregnancy test was used, and again, another positive sign.
At first, I literally had no idea what to do. Telling my family was not even in the deck of cards. I grew up in a Christian family whose idea of sex education was scaring the bejesus out of me for even thinking about sex. No need to give you the details about what their ideas about sex/children before marriage are. Also, I still live with my parents and there is no chance that raising a child in the same household is even possible.
But besides external factors, what was most important were internal factors. How is all of this going to affect me? As stated before, having children isn’t something that I want, therefore the very idea of keeping it would actually be me forcing myself to go through with it. I don’t think it is highlighted enough how much the notion of “I HAVE to go along with this pregnancy” is so emotionally and mentally damaging to women. So the fact that I wasn’t even in a mental situation where I wanted to become a mother was already a problem. To me, a child isn’t a thing or a toy and one fine day on a whim you say, “You know what? Yeah I want one of those” or “Oh no, I didn’t want this to happen, but I’ll get used to it 'cause I have no other option.”
What troubled me next was, "What am I going to do?" My thought process consisted of: I have to book flights, and also, how am I going to explain it to my parents that I need to go abroad in the middle of a pandemic?
I told a friend of mine what had happened, and she suggested the abortion pill, which I had known about, but given the events of everything, it had completely slipped my mind. We started off our search of trying to find legit organisations and we came across two. I ordered from both organisations just in case, maybe one arrives before the other. Had I not thought about this I would have been too late for the procedure as one of the packages arrived in my 12th week. Due to covid-19, shipping was at a longer delay and I was already 6 weeks in. In order to still be able to do the procedure you’d only have until 12 weeks, after that you’d have to opt for a surgical procedure which is only safe to do abroad.
The waiting period for the pills was a nightmare to say the least. For 3 weeks I could not sleep, I could not think of anything other than that at any point I’m going to get caught and sent to prison. I could not think of anything other than, “What if none of the pills arrive on time?” I could not think of anything other than, “What if when I’m actually having the abortion, something goes wrong and I need to be taken to the hospital and then I’m caught?” The emotional and mental exhaustion that I felt during those 3 weeks are truly unexplainable.
When you live in a family and society which constantly bombard your brain from the tender age of a child that abortion is bad, it’s a sin, you’d be a murderer for even thinking of going through it, but you inherently know that it’s a bunch of gibberish, it still leaves a mark on you. To some degree, the voices which have bombarded me for so long still got to me and affected me.
I noticed that for those 3 weeks it felt like two people were in my head. There was the voice which called me shameful for doing what I’m going to do, therefore I felt disgusted with myself and almost hated myself for not being “normal” like other women who want to become mothers. The other voice, which was the rational real me, said “What you’re doing is for you, and it’s right because you know what’s best and no one else.”
It’s quite a scary thing what poor misconceptions of abortion can do to a mind which perfectly knows that abortion isn’t what a lot of people make it out to be. It is in moments like these that you realise what a mentally abusive society we live in.
The day had come, and honestly, I was not ready for it. For the simple reason that I was mentally and physically sick and worried that it was not going to work, or that something wrong was going to happen and I would end up needing to go to hospital, or even that the police had been monitoring me and were going to bust through the doors at any given moment. And for what? For an act which is my fundamental right to exercise.
As the instructions said, pain is the worst in the first 4 hours. The pain I felt in the first hour I hope and wish for no one to ever feel. It was not a pleasant experience, but I was lucky enough to not go through with it alone, as I had my partner with me.
The abortion was successful, which I had confirmed through ultrasound. I was lucky enough that through all of this I was surrounded by people who were ready to support me, and for that I am truly thankful, because unfortunately not everyone is met with the same fate.
As explained and said before, what was most painful for me was the waiting time. Wouldn’t it have been so much easier if from the minute I knew I was pregnant, I could just cross the road to my pharmacy and purchase the abortion pills? Instead of waiting for weeks for them to arrive, and for weeks increasing the levels of anxiety of being caught? For weeks ingraining a self-loathing pattern which was harboured by unfounded notions from the society which I live in?
How much longer does it have to take for the government to lift the ban and recognise that abortion is in fact healthcare? How many more women enduring pregnancies they do not want and which cost them their mental health is it going to take? How many more women thinking that their only option for aborting the pregnancy is to use a clothing hanger or to put themselves in worse circumstances to get rid of their unwanted pregnancy does it need to take?
As one of my favourite philosophers states, as human beings we are not objects which come with blueprints, our lives are not defined by our essence, but by our existence. In fact, the notion that existence precedes essence in very simple terms means that we choose who we are, we choose who we want to be, and we choose what we want to do with ourselves.
Women are not objects, such as a lamp, with our only essential purpose being to emit light. And with the same reasoning - because yes, I do identify myself as a woman, but I am not defined by my biology - my sole purpose in life is not to reproduce; I am so much more than an incubator to society.
My advice to governments and organisations which deny women reproductive rights, because abortion is a reproductive and health right: I did not come into this world with a blueprint, not with one purpose; stop trying to shove it down my throat that I did. Stop dictating, with your hate speech, what I can and cannot do with my body. Women should not be in fear of wanting to make their own choices.”