Monday, 8 December 2014

This is where we are

I wish I had answers for why Ireland is denying women control over their own bodies.

There will come a day, years from now, that we will look back in shame and disgrace at our inaction. Denying these women, who are just doing what is right for them.

I had a lot of people say to me that I was selfish for getting an abortion. That I had consenting sex with my partner at the time and I was irresponsible and fell pregnant. That I should have "coped on" and got on with my responsibility as a pregnant woman. I was told I could have been carrying the saviour for our world. That I have denied our society a great mind. That I just didn't want the party to end.

This is the big issue with getting abortion legalised in Ireland. We are not talking to women anymore about what they need or the support they require, we are talking at them. Slut-shaming their actions. Asking them to justify, to say that their only other option in life is suicide.

I just want to let that sink in for a moment......

In the "Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act 2013" we are giving women only three options to legally have abortions in Ireland.

"1) Risk of loss of life with physical illness

2) Risk of loss of life with a physical illness in emergency

3) Risk of loss of life from suicide."

Do the people of Ireland not realise what we are doing to women in this country with these restrictions? We are cornering them, telling them that we can only give them the support they so desperately need if they are on the edge of living. That for someone to step in and help a woman, she would need to be so close to killing herself ,hopeless and alone, that then and only then will we descend from our high horses and force her through multiple screenings of her psychological stability to then have a doctor , a perfect stranger to this woman, decides if she is suicidal enough for intervention.

We are telling women they need to be ready to die before we will support them.

How dare we be so high and mighty, to control and emotionally manipulate, to force drastic actions from women who are already fragile and in need of support.

I am not just talking about women who have similar stories to me, where it was consenting sex. What about the women we make jump through hoops who have been raped? Who are in abusive relationships? Or women like "Miss Y" who are seeking asylum in our country, who are already going through such turmoil only to then be forced to have a  caesarian section after pleading for help with termination. 

When is our control over women going to end? When are we going to say enough is enough and maybe just maybe women are competent enough to not abuse the system if abortion were legalised. That we would not all become uncontrollably  promiscuous and have abortion after abortion . Oh wait I also forgot that the government is in charge of our innocence in life too. Us women must stay sacred and pure!

I know that the world is full of injustices but this is something that is coming up for debate, for change through the Referendum Repealing the 8th and discussing this , no matter how uncomfortable it may be to you or how distant your life is from the struggles of these women, you have a voice and you have a vote.

I would ask people to read through the "Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act 2013", really try and see the hoops women must jump through before anyone will stand with them and support THEIR CHOICE.

I will continue to ask these questions, to search for change and I am hopeful that opinions can be listened to, ideas questioned and opinions changed. 

Personally Speaking.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

The silence I am breaking.

I am tired of there being stigma, judgement and misunderstanding surrounding something that is happening in our country, EVERYDAY. The majority turn a blind eye because it isn't happening to them, so yeah lets just let England deal with our "little problems" instead of offering support and safety to those who need it .

It was something I had never really thought much about, abortion. I assumed a lot about the people who had them but I never knew the statistics, I never really understood why it was illegal in Ireland and I certainly never thought I would be having one.

I thought I was immune from pregnancy, that it would never ever happen to me and well it did and my world crumbled. I used to hear my friends say from around 17 onwards " oh if I get pregnant I will just hop over to England and get the abortion tablet, sorted". Part of me always thought it would be a simple solution almost like a safety net, a back up plan. I was wrong.

I sat in the doctor's office and made her do 5 tests, all dipping in clear and coming out positive. I always laughed at those scenes in movies, you know the ones where the main character gets bad news and everything goes muffled and slows down and fades away and its like a spinning camera sensation, well that is honestly what I felt in that moment staring at those 5 tests.

I think it was clear from my face that it was not planned, so my amazing doctor gave me some advice and talked through all my options, have the baby, give it up for adoption, or travel to England and have an abortion. I knew the first two would be impossible for me to do. I was innocent to the world and I was not set up in life to have a child. I did not want to fall into the system and be trapped in life. So I made the best decision I could with the options I had.

I didn't tell anyone at first, just my boyfriend at the time. He was supportive and rallied around me and travelled with me to England. The clinic I went to was small and discreet and the people who worked in there were some of the sweetest, most understanding people I could have hoped to meet in this situation. Coming from Ireland where you feel like you are carrying a dirty secret, to this clinic where everyone else was in your shoes or knew the feeling, it calmed me.

I was under 8 weeks pregnant and so was given a simple procedure of a tablet orally, followed 6 hours later by suppositories in my cervix as the final dose of the drugs required. Going to England was a struggle as we had to scrape the money together and borrow from a friend of mine to help us and we just managed to gather enough to stay one night. Now in normal scenarios from the abortion procedure under 8 weeks the oral tablet is taken on the first day and you are to come back the following day and receive the suppositories. I was leaving the following morning so the clinic were kind enough to accommodate my travel arrangements and a nurse stayed late to administer the second dose.

I have heard from other women that the pain level is different for everyone, for me it was excruciating. But in that budget hotel room, right by the airport my abortion was complete. I was exhausted and travelling back took a toll on me. I slept for about three days in and out of pain, bleeding for about two weeks after. Coming back to Ireland was heartbreaking and one thing that stung me the most was the morning we arrived back my boyfriend went off to work, leaving me lying in bed, crying alone. Realising that as much as he was a part of what my body went through, he could never know the pain, the sadness. He got to step out of the apartment and go off to his life, leaving all the worry and sadness with me in that room. I was so jealous of him for that, for being able to leave me and join the world again, no one the wiser. For me, I felt like I had blood trailing after me when I went out in public, like everyone knew what I had done.

This stigma, this stain on my conscious followed me for a very long time after the abortion. My boyfriend got over it outwardly and quickly went back to his life before the pregnancy. I on the other hand was stuck, unable to feel what I needed to feel for fear of judgement and scrutiny in this country. I slowly opened up to close friends and I can now say three years on that I am no longer ashamed of my decision. Quite the contrary, I am proud, proud of every single woman who has travelled the same journey I have. Proud of their decision , their courage, their resilience. I am a part of a secret club in Ireland, a club hidden in the shadow of a over bearing government and a "ignorance is bliss" mentality, with a religion that has women grasped firmly by the ovaries.

This secret club, these women warriors, they took a stand on the 27th of September. We walked out of the shadows and into the sun, quite literally that day. I felt such pride marching with 5,000 other people, men and women, young and old, who care about women's health, not just physically but mentally too. They marched and waved banner and made noise for all the days I stayed silent, for the days all of us travelled in silence and came home to silence.

I don't want to be silent anymore. I am standing up to repeal the 8th amendment in Ireland.

Thank you for reading my story and I hope it has broadened your view on what all these women go through, silently and by themselves.

Personally Speaking.
( Elsa Crowley )

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

There came a moment....

I don't know if my opinion is worth much in life. I am just one person, in a world filled with opinions and ideas and notions. I have experienced different aspects in life but so has each person out there. All viewed through their eyes which makes each experience that should be similar, well rather unique.

I can only give my two cents and hope that in doing so I am maybe hitting home to some people, challenging others and sparking a discussion perhaps???

What is it that my internal mutterings will be about ? Well honestly a smattering of everything because I am a human and I could never define that with just one subject. I will write about the things that inspire me, that make me curious, that I know about and things I know little of and want to understand better.

I have only recently realised that the most wonderful part of this rather topsy turvey life we are all involved in is our voice. How we choose to use that, through a lyric in a song, or  a stroke of a brush on a canvas, shouting out in a crowd or a whisper in an ear and now that we have become creatures of the internet, through the blogosphere ha.

Some of the things I will want to say will be uncomfortable to read, confusing and challenging views some people may have grown up with. I don't mean to offend or hurt anyone in life and words can do just that sometimes, they hurt. What I do say is my opinion, my choice and my voice. If you have a different opinion or idea about anything I am writing then I urge you to discuss that with me or a friend or two friends or strangers , like I am.

I have been dubious for a long time about whether it is worth while, whether anyone will care about my voice but I am looking at this as a cathartic experience. Almost like a journal of what is happening in my mind on an average day. It will be personal, how could it not and it seems only too easy to "tip tap" on this keyboard my secrets and truths. I wont be right all the time, who can be and I await the lessons I will learn.

I hope you will enjoy reading my blog,

Until then.....

Personally Speaking.