The Glasgow light is weary, tentative. Govan subway is shrouded in fog and the only way I see feasible to distract myself from a feeling of impending doom is to stare at a man staring at his dog taking a shit on the side of the road. My hands are clammy and my stomach is raw, churning beneath my skin as if my choices were a disease. The most hilarious thing is that I’m craving a hefty slab of chips and cheese, a classic I know, but one that I’d inevitably throw up. And Govan subway is hardly in need of any more unsavoury activity.
I’m pregnant, about seven weeks. I keep imagining what it would look like all cooped up in there, if it understands the world that crashes around me. Of course it doesn’t, but my mind wanders to places and sometimes it’s hard to find my way back. I’m sweating as I make my way towards the taxi, something I haven’t really done in full swing since I was a fourteen-year-old emo and forced to do the bleep test. It’s funny the memories that resurface when you think of what you once were and who you are now.
The hospital room is cold. I feel bad for the nurse because I threw up an apple into the sink when I was suppose to throw up into one of those cardboard bowl things. The nurses are incredibly attentive and kind, I couldn’t fault the way they dealt with me bleeding all over the floor. Doctors, on the other hand, not so much. My GP once asked me condescendingly if I was using condoms correctly, as if I was going to plunge one over my head instead of the nearest dick.
Having an abortion was painful. I was vomiting while simultaneously gushing blood out of my vagina like I was emptying a kettle. The cramps lasted for around 7 hours before I expelled the fetus. That’s what they call it, ‘expelling the fetus’. It sounds so formal like I’m a king who’s ordering the exile of one of my subjects, ‘be gone! Expel the fetus! The moment it happened I felt instant relief, I no longer felt nauseous, I felt like myself again. In fact, my friend Sarah will tell you that I forced her to do a sun salutation with me afterwards in the hospital room, because I felt that good. I should write a ‘how to’ on post-abortion yoga.
These memories announce themselves rather abruptly when I’m scrolling through my news feed and read about the anti-abortion executive order signed by Donald Trump. Not only is it hilarious that we act like our society cares about the sanctity of life (dead Syrian refugee children, anyone?) but it’s disheartening that women’s bodies are still not considered our own (notice how the below photo epitomizes the patriarchy). Some women feel that their choices are so limited that they drink themselves to death or resort to extremely unsafe methods in an attempt to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.
— Sharon Kann (@sharonkann) January 23, 2017
If a woman chooses to have an abortion it’s because she’s not ready to bring up a child, she’s not in a financial situation that would allow support for a child, she’s in a precarious relationship, she doesn’t want children or she’s been raped. I find it hard to fathom that having the baby would be the better choice if the case would be that he or she would grow up in poverty, or be resented by a parent who didn’t want them. But if a woman chooses to keep her baby despite less than desirable circumstances then that is her choice and her right. Yet, it’s likely that she’d be labeled ‘irresponsible’ or ‘a slut’. Women can’t win.
In my case, I wasn’t financially or emotionally ready to have a child, my boyfriend and I had only been together for three months. We are now engaged and hope to have a child someday, but not before we’re ready. Having an abortion isn’t a decision women make lightly; contrary to the horseshit the media spews into our subconscious. It was my choice, and I’m privileged enough to live in a part of the world where I was allowed to make that choice. It didn’t deny the fact that it was a difficult and harrowing experience, or that I didn’t feel a sense of loss.
I want to destroy the taboo around abortion and I want women to speak loudly about their decisions and their right for choice over their own bodies and lives. The recent women’s march proved that all over the world we will no longer accept the policing of our bodies, and the misogyny that plagues our political climate. I do not regret my abortion, I found it one of the most empowering experiences of my life as it allowed me reproductive rights and a chance to decide when or if I wanted to have children.
I came out of the hospital room that day with a sense of freedom. I am hopeful for a day when women’s bodies are no longer reduced to being sexual objects or simply baby making machines. I am hopeful for a day when women’s choices are respected. We must stand together and say it’s okay to talk about abortion; it’s okay to talk about our bodies. And the most important thing is: we shouldn’t be ashamed of our decisions when they are ours and only ours to make. As the great Margaret Sanger said: ‘no woman can call herself free who does not control her own body’. I am hopeful for a day when our cunts can be our own.