Break the Taboo Malta
Story 50 - 23.05.2021
"I would firstly like to tell you how thankful I am that this organisation exists and how much we have needed one here in Malta for years, and still do, to tell people's stories.
I would like to share my story with you as I see you post a lot of people's stories on social media and believe it is important you are given all kinds of stories, not just from people who have had abortions, but also those who are trying desperately to avoid needing one in the first place.
My story does not involve an abortion, and I have never had one. However, I am a woman in my 20s who has never wanted kids for as long as I can remember. I have never wanted kids, and the thought of having them just completely freaked me out, both physically and mentally. Just thinking about it makes me nauseous.
I suffer with an anxiety disorder as well as depression. I have been to therapy and it has helped me greatly, but I cannot but emphasize how this law affects my life. I have always been a very cautious person in everything I do and highly disagree with this antiquated, total ban on abortion in Malta.
A lot of the time it seems that rape cases and foetal deformity are emphasized for the campaign favouring being pro-choice, and I can understand why.
However, I would like to speak as someone with anxiety, and with a great NON-want for kids, how this has affected me since I became sexually active. The sheer idea of possibly being pregnant brings such anxious feelings, that whenever I have suspected I might be (thankfully, I never have been till now), I've always had to get someone else to buy me a pregnancy test, because I just can't stand the anxiety. I've never been able to take a test alone without someone waiting for me outside of the bathroom, just in case it all goes south.
Other than this, it greatly affects me because I suffer from cysts. I try to get a check-up every year or so, as gynaes suggest, however I also find this extremely terrifying because an ultrasound is involved. I'm always so terrified that if they find out I'm pregnant when I didn't know, that then it will be in the system, and then I will not be able to get rid of it secretly. This is what the ban on abortions has got us thinking.
Whenever I've been to the hospital and needed an immediate X-ray, as I'm sure you know, they do a pregnancy test before. Again, this has been so extremely terrifying for me every time, because again, if there is a pregnancy – Mater Dei would be the last place I would want to know about it.
I've read a lot of the abortion stories on your page and I think it is great to emphasize how it is negatively impacting women's lives – however, it is not just pregnant women's lives it is affecting.
Till now, I have never been pregnant, thankfully. However, I feel like I am constantly in fear (to some extent) that a doctor will find out I'm pregnant – every urine test I had to take for UTIs, every pre X-ray process, every ultrasound I've had to take. Absolutely terrified.
I personally do not want kids. To me, this is as valid as any other reason to need to have an abortion, if one found themselves pregnant even after the necessary precautions. Besides rape stories and unfortunate foetal abnormalities of course, there also lies the argument that some women just don't want kids (at their own decision), not because they are lesser than anyone, but because they KNOW that they are not mentally capable to handle it. That it would completely change what they expect of their lives forever, that it would send them on a most likely post-natal depression that lasts...forever. I would like to bring to your attention how real of an issue this is, as I'm sure you're aware. But I wanted to share my story so that you too can share it to make a point.
Of course, the travel bans related to COVID-19 absolutely do not help. It would already be expensive and difficult enough to even try to come up with a lie as to why I'm suddenly travelling abroad for a few days in the midst of COVID, let alone having to use such a chunk of my savings, which was supposed to go to my future, towards travelling abroad on a very much unwanted 'holiday'. This abortion ban is completely inhumane and disturbing. The people who do not let this law pass should be accused of murder or manslaughter, not the opposite. I have no doubt in my mind that if pregnancy did happen, suicidal thoughts would follow if I did not manage to get pills – this is the reality of many girls, not just mine, who suffer with anxiety and/or other mental illnesses, even before having a pregnancy.
We do not all want kids, and that's ok. I will never be forced into a life I do not want – by anyone. Be it my boyfriend's child, be it a rapist's child. No one has the right to force upon me a life which I do not want.
Also, I would like to clarify that when compared to how bad anxiety can get, I do not have severe anxiety. So, I can only imagine how bad it can get for other women who have severe anxiety and also do not want kids. I have no doubt in my mind the symptoms are much worse than this. My anxiety does not affect my life much otherwise, but this law really affects my anxiety.
I think this goes without saying but I would like to remain anonymous, if you decide to share the story. I realize this is not the usual story you share but I think it is also equally relevant – an abortion ban doesn't just affect pregnant girls. It affects all girls.