my story

Mary’s Story: “She was the making of me”

On the 1st of April 2013, I found out that I was going to be a mother, and I couldn’t have been more distraught. I was 19, in my second year of college at UL, and had a part time job in Dunnes Stores. I was very happy with how things were in my life. At the time, I thought nothing would change that, not even this pregnancy. When I saw the two pink lines appear on what I was sure would be a negative test, the rug was pulled from under me and I honestly felt like my life was over. For so many nights, I cried myself to sleep, not wanting to touch my stomach, because it’s easier to pretend there isn’t a baby growing inside you when don’t want to keep it.

My first thought was abortion. Anyone who knew me at the time was well aware that I never wanted children. I was not what you would call a maternal young woman and the thoughts of a child crashing into my life in 9 months was something I wasn’t going to allow, and it’s my body my choice right?

Soon after I found out I was pregnant, I looked up the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, what is more commonly known as BPAS, and decided that I would travel to England to end the life of my small baby. Soon after this, I realised my passport had expired and I became frantic. I ordered abortion pills from a not so secure website online, but they never arrived. By this stage, my family and some friends knew I was pregnant, and most took it well. I thought to myself, “That’s easy for you to say, nobody will put a baby in your arms in 9 months and expect you to give up your life”.

And then, something incredible happened. I was on work placement in college while this was going on, and one day in panic I broke down in tears to my colleague, I told her how I had been feeling. I told her of my plans to travel, of the hopelessness I’d been feeling, that nothing had worked out, and I felt my life was over. Straight away, she came away from her desk and took me for a long lunch. What she told me I will never forget. She told me that although she has a family, all of her children are adopted because she was unable to become pregnant naturally. She told me that so many women would give their right arm for what I had growing inside of me right now and that I could do this. She reminded me of the strong young woman I was and that this would not ruin me. At that time, those words of encouragement were all I needed to hear.

Soon after this, I had my first ultrasound scan. When I saw the clear picture of my beautiful baby on the screen, the phrase ‘my body my choice’ was well and truly thrown out the window. On that screen, I saw a fully formed little human kicking and thriving at 12 weeks gestation, thirsty for life! I touched the screen and tears ran down my cheeks, she was just as much my baby then as she is now.

Her body was not my body, but for 9 beautiful months, I was her home and on the 19th of November 2013, Hollie was born. As I looked at her, I couldn’t stand the thought that this was the child that I thought would ruin me, instead she was the making of me.

I continued with college and after I had completed my degree, I went on to complete my Masters where I received a first class honours. Becoming a young mother didn’t take my dreams from me, it gave me new ones and it made me more ambitious than ever before. Every day with my beautiful Hollie is an adventure and she lights up my life in a way that nobody else ever will. Being a young mother means we met a little early, but it also means that I get to love her a little longer. I never knew on the 19th of November that I would meet my best friend, someone that I would give my right arm to keep now, and it is all because the 8th Amendment gave me time to think.

Our 8th Amendment is precious, and so is life, we ought to fight for this right to life amendment and celebrate it before it’s too late.

Emma’s Story: “You don’t need to end the life of your baby to get past the darkness and back towards the light.”

I always expected that the day I would find out that I was pregnant would be the happiest day of my life, but in reality it was the exact opposite. I was single, fresh out of college and still living in my family home. As I stared down at my positive pregnancy test it felt like I was semi-conscious in a nightmare, everything I had worked so hard to achieve was now seemed worthless, I couldn’t breathe.

I often think if I had local access to an abortion during that time, I could have easily made a decision that I would have regretted later.

My pregnancy was extremely difficult emotionally, I had so many worries about what the future would bring and how I’d cope as a single mother. I cried myself to sleep most nights because I felt I wasn’t ready to be a mother. I’m so thankful that the 8th Amendment was there to stop me making a quick and wrong decision when I was feeling my worst.

On the 27th of October at 6.20pm my gorgeous baby boy Rossa was born (all 9 pounds 2 ounces of him), people describe the whoosh of love you’re supposed to feel when your baby is born, I did not feel this love until the middle of that night when my mam had gone home and the nurses went away, it was just me and Rossa… I looked down at him and all my fear was gone.

Rossa has transformed my life, I am a better person because of the love I feel for him. He has brought such wonderful healing and happiness to my heart. So many doors and opportunities have opened because of his life, I’m exploring career opportunities that I’d never thought of before him and I’ve made so many good friends and lost touch with the bad ones.

It’s surprised me how much joy Rossa has brought my family too. Without the 8th amendment not only might the life of my child have been ended but the life of someone’s nephew, grandchild and even great grandchild.

I am the sole carer and provider for Rossa and although being a lone parent has its difficulties it is extremely rewarding, my life has a total new meaning and I’m a happier person now than I was before my unplanned pregnancy.

Like any journey into motherhood mine has its up and downs, I can’t sugar coat it because it’s tough at many times but I know it is worth it and I can get through anything life throws in my way because nothing is harder than dealing with an unplanned pregnancy.

I know so many loan parents didn’t have the family support I did. We need to work together to ensure every parent has a support system. We need to change our attitudes towards crisis pregnancies. When I told most of my friends I was pregnant not one said congratulations, instead they said things like “what are you going to do?” No one should be made feel ashamed for their pregnancy.

I want women who may be in a similar situation to know that you don’t have to end the life of your baby in order to get through the darkness and back towards the light.

Irene’s Story: “I love her to the moon and back.”

I’m originally from South Africa. I have been living here in Ireland for the past eleven years. Six years ago I got pregnant. At the time I didn’t want the baby, I really wanted an abortion. But because I was not living in South Africa I couldn’t have one.
It was a tough pregnancy because it was unwanted, but I went on with it anyway.

Nine months later I gave birth to a healthy, beautiful baby girl. I thank God every day for being in Ireland because if I hadn’t been here when I got pregnant I would have gone through with my ‘plan’ to get rid of the baby, my daughter. She is now seven years old and I cannot imagine my life without her. I love her to the moon and back. If I had been in South Africa, my daughter would not exist in this world. I hope that Ireland can stay free from abortion.

Victoria’s Story: “I was almost aborted. I’m some-one, not some-one’s choice.”

I was almost aborted after my mother came under tremendous pressure to end my
life. But she stayed strong and gave me the precious gift of life. I am so thankful to her for giving me the dignity everyone should have. I feel grateful to live in Ireland where the right to life of unborn babies is still protected.

In France, where I grew up, one in every five pregnancies ends in abortion. Once abortion is legalised, there is no going back. It is sad to hear all the calls for
repeal of the 8th Amendment. Because of my personal circumstances, I’ve come to understand that each of us is unique and irreplaceable.

Con’s Story: “She never came home.”

While volunteering at a church-gate collection, a very elderly Gentleman approached me and emptied his wallet into my collection box. I protested at what was a very sizeable donation. He said to me, ‘Money is no use to me anymore’.

He went on to tell me that some years before, his only child – his daughter – had returned home from college pregnant. He had demanded she get rid of the pregnancy to avoid disgracing the family. She travelled to England with his wife for the abortion.

He then said ‘She never came home’. I asked did he mean his daughter had stayed in England? He said she had returned to Ireland but the abortion left her with a deep depression. She returned to college some time later but her depression worsened and in the end she took her own life.

This had a terrible effect on his wife and she died shortly afterwards of a broken heart. His words were; ‘I am on my own now. I have lost my wife, my daughter and my only granddaughter. My selfishness has killed all three’.

This man’s story has had a lasting effect on me. Every time I think of his words it reminds me of the pain and sorrow which I believe he truly felt. Abortion effects women, but it effects families too. It’s so important that we vote No on May 25th.