Why I’m Marching: No-one should be forced to be pregnant

As we do every year, we’ve been asking you to tell us why you are marching in this year’s March for Choice. Thanks to all who have sent us your thoughts. In this post, Mel tells us about her current pregnancy, the choice she freely made, and how being pregnant has made her even more firmly pro-choice.
If you would like to tell us why you’re marching this year, please email hello@meathforchoice.ie

 

“The only person who can make that choice is the woman herself. Only she knows what is best for her and we as a society need to trust women and respect their right to choose what happens to their lives and bodies. To continue with my pregnancy was the right choice for ME, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for every woman.”

In June of this year, two little pink lines turned my entire world upside down. I was 23, I was on the pill and pregnancy/babies were NOT part of the current plan.

An unplanned or ‘crisis’ pregnancy is one of the hardest things a person can go through and it can happen to ANYONE. I can honestly say the week I found out I was pregnant was one of the most emotional and vulnerable times of my life. I was scared, I cried, I didn’t know what to do but I knew I had a choice to make.

After a lot of thinking and plenty of tears, it became clear that the right choice for me was to continue with my pregnancy. My boyfriend Niall is the best, he’s so supportive and strong and was an absolute rock when I needed him most. There is no way I could do this without him We also have the best circle of friends and family who we knew would support us and we knew that our parents would adore their first grandchild and would help us out in any way they could.

I have absolutely no doubts that I made the right choice. I haven’t met the little squidgy in my tummy yet but I love them more than anything in the world. I’m so excited to finally meet them in March, I’m excited to see my boyfriend become an amazing dad and I’m excited for all the happy memories and adventures we are going to create with this new little human.

Each pregnancy is different, each woman’s circumstances are different, contraception can fail no matter how careful you are. Some pregnancies result in healthy babies whilst others end in heartbreak for those diagnosed with fatal fetal abnormalities and other complications. For some women, the choice is very clear, for some women the choice is harder. I can say from experience that deciding whether to continue or end a pregnancy is not a choice that anyone takes lightly or makes on a whim, it is one of the hardest decisions you will ever have to make and whatever choice you make will change your life forever.

The only person who can make that choice is the woman herself. Only she knows what is best for her and we as a society need to trust women and respect their right to choose what happens to their lives and bodies. Not everyone agrees with abortion, not everyone would personally choose to have an abortion and that’s perfectly ok, but you cannot force another person to live according to your personal convictions. To continue with my pregnancy was the right choice for ME, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for every woman.

Nobody gets pregnant for the LOLs or for shits and giggles!  Morning sickness feels like a terrible hangover that lasts all day, every day for weeks on end. None of my clothes fit anymore, I have more pimples than a teenage boy, I’m absolutely dying with heartburn and I can’t have my favourite foods/drink anymore. I know all these temporary discomforts will be more than worth it when baby arrives, but pregnancy is as amazing as it is hard! It is not something any woman should be forced into.

I want my little bump to grow up in an Ireland that respects women, an Ireland where they will be treated with kindness and compassion rather than exiled on a boat or a plane to a foreign country, an Ireland where they will never have to take pills alone in their bedroom and face 14 years in jail, an Ireland where they can access the healthcare they need freely, safely and without shame. I’m marching for Choice so my little bump will never have to.

Please join the March for Choice on September 30th 2017 and trust women.

– Mel, Cork

 

Image: March for Choice 2016. Credit: Renee Summers