‘The week of my 20th birthday I found out I was pregnant’

Flights were too expensive so we bought abortion pills online. We were terrified

‘Last-minute flights were too expensive. We came across a site where you can purchase abortion pills online. We were terrified.’

‘Last-minute flights were too expensive. We came across a site where you can purchase abortion pills online. We were terrified.’

 

In advance of the referendum on whether to retain or repeal the Eighth Amendment on May 25th, The Irish Times has asked readers to share their personal experiences. This is one of the stories we received.

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The week of my 20th birthday I found out I was pregnant. My boyfriend and I spent the following weeks staying up late, crying and trying to figure out what to do.

My partner was still in college and I was taking a year out and planning to go back the following year. He was unemployed and I was working a minimum wage job. There was no way we were physically or mentally able to raise a child.

I had always said that I was pro-choice, but never knew what I would do if I was put in that situation, and hoped it would never happen. Your mindset changes completely when something like this happens, and having an abortion was the only realistic option for us.

We started looking into options. Last-minute flights were too expensive. We came across a site where you can purchase abortion pills online. We were terrified about doing this.

What if we got caught?

What if they didn’t work?

We didn’t know what we were getting. My partner went up North to collect them in a post office.

I took the first pill that evening and the rest the next day. It was the worst pain I have ever felt and I have never seen so much blood. The pills made me vomit and gave me diarrhea. I was miserable.

My partner and I made the decision to go into hospital that night and say I was miscarrying. As I got the scan I was hoping that it had worked, hoping my pregnancy had been terminated. I tried to be sad when the doctor told me I wasn’t pregnant.

I stayed in hospital for another few nights and ended up having a D&C to remove the tissue that was left. The nurses and midwives were so nice and compassionate. I felt bad being in a ward with all the other women who were having complications during their pregnancy. I felt like I was being selfish. I wondered if the hospital staff knew what had actually happened.

They encouraged me to speak to a councellor about the miscarriage. But how could I go speak to someone, when I couldn’t tell them the truth?

The Eighth Amendment didn’t stop me from having an abortion, but it did restrict the help I was able to get. I had to lie to medical staff, and I could not get any mental help after.

Having an abortion is not something that is taken lightly. It is not an easy decision. I am now back in college doing what I love. My boyfriend and I are very happy together. I know I made the right choice.

- The identity of the author is known to The Irish Times.