’I just wish that people had more of an open dialogue about what pregnancy really means to you as a woman’
Dear Senator Bernardi,
There has been a lot of talk in the media about your recent comments about abortions. I thought I would share my story with you.
Being in a toxic relationship and discovering you are pregnant is one of the most intense pressure cooker situations a woman can be in. My pregnancy was unplanned – I was taking the pill YAZ and it failed. I am university educated, 32 years old, middle income earner, lived in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, my parents are still married and I have a harmonious family life.
When the two pink lines appeared I was told in no uncertain terms I would be having an abortion- and I was to understand my partner was only looking after himself and I’d “better not try to screw him over”, I was then kicked out of the house in the rain and had to walk home.
He then disappeared into nights of drinking with his best friend under the banner that his best friend needed “support” while his pregnant girlfriend sat on the couch at her house freaking out- oh of course I got the 11pm “ How are you? You will be getting an abortion its nothing, it’s just a process stop looking for attention” message. Great father material wouldn’t you say?
It was a terrifying future would my measly salary cover the cost of a child? Would I be able to maintain my apartment? I’ve never been inside a centrelink office in my life I wouldn’t have a clue where to begin. Would I be able to cope with the stigma narrow minded people – such as you- place on single mothers? It was clear this would be my only option. Would I be able to form another relationship? How would I go about getting external help?
And was it indeed my fault? My ex certainly seemed to think so. Did I make this happen? Should I have done something differently?
If I had an abortion how would I cope? Was I going to be ok? It was more than obvious my sham of a hetero sexual relationship was completely loveless – was it right to bring a child into the world with no father? It may well be my right to choose – how was I to make this life defining choice? Could I cope with the very real very scary physical and psychological side effects of a termination? All the literature told me it was no big deal- but it felt like a big deal and the consequences were enormous.
All this and my hormones were out of control.
You know who supported me? My gay best friend. He was on call with listening to me agonize over what to do, running through all the options offering total unconditional love- as were my parents.
I had my scan – my “partner” refused to attend, my mother held my hand -I decided to keep my son. I take no moral high ground here I made the choice that I felt was right for me.
The terror remained and it was only going to get worse. I lost my son in extremely traumatic circumstances.
Oh the guy? Ran away but not before he abused me one last time advising I was disgusting and deserved what happened to me. But nothing is more sacred than the love between a man and a woman right?
Here’s the true tragedy- my story is not uncommon.
Your remarks show you can’t possibly comprehend what a woman is thinking when there is an ambiguous pregnancy, nor does it offer empathy to my hetero sexual abusive relationship situation.
When I was a little girl I didn’t say “when I grow up I want to have an unplanned child to an abusive manipulative man and terminate it because I feel trapped by the stigma of society, the belief and social assurances that I can’t do it on my own.”
To trivialise abortion as used for “birth control” undermines the difficulty of the decision. I have spent a lot of time with women who have had abortions all, not one or two but all, found it to be an agonizing decision. Your statement shows you haven’t researched correctly and lacks empathy.
I wouldn’t change decision to keep my baby, it was the right one for me. Do I wish things had been different? Absolutely – the loss of my son has been the hardest, most cruel and shocking experience of my life. I actually didn’t know pain like this existed. Even now the shock of it all still affects me, especially coming up to one year since he grew his angel wings.
I just wish that people had more of an open dialogue about what pregnancy really means to you as a woman- and extended empathy rather than sitting in judgement.
Pro life, Pro choice, I’m actually Pro woman.
‘ When I was pregnant at 15 I needed support’
[This to Victorian MP Bernie Finn following a vitriolic debate on one of my Facebook pages which I have been forced to shut down]
Dear Mr Finn,
I am a pro life woman. I believe mothers and babies should be embraced and supported by our community. I believe laws should protect life before and after birth. Please enact the following:
- Illegal to pressure girlfriend or wife to have an abortion.
- Illegal to harass pregnant mother to the point of physical and mental health breakdown, with stronger penalties applied. (FYI, Maternal stress is linked with future health problems in the unborn child as well as the mother).
- Stronger restraining order laws. I was afraid to apply for child support and wrote “father unknown” on the birth certificate to avoid being compelled to do this.
- Illegal for mentally ill, depraved and criminal father to come back into child’s life 12 years later, using Legal Aid and the family court (successfully) to harass and intimidate mother, to undermine child’s education, to harass and threaten teachers, to cause depression/anxiety/trauma for mother, to escalate and encourage child to rebel against mother and society, cause mental health issues in child, resulting in psychiatrist paid for by mother. All of this allowed by the court with no penalties.
- Illegal to lie to the child support agency about paternity.
- Illegal for father to pose as a teenage girl to stalk child on facebook and actively encourage him to defy his mother with this fake female personality.
- Illegal for father to then claim child support off mother after successfully encouraging child to run away from home and live with him, even though she was afraid to claim child support for 12 years.
- Illegal for father to give child weapons.
- Illegal for father to give child drugs, alcohol and pornography.
I could go on and on sadly. The legal correspondence goes on for miles. I became used to my lawyer advising me that the court would do nothing about his behaviour, despite his violent criminal history, prison sentence, numerous stays in mental institutions and his then current mental health forensic order. I visited the police station almost weekly with new information and became used to them literally shrugging their shoulders at me.
I don’t share my story often because I’m afraid it will make girls afraid to have their babies. Who would want to be forever tied to an abuser in this way? When I was 15 and pregnant, the legality of abortion didn’t enter my mind, I had never thought about it. But I did need the law to protect me and my child from the child’s father. Existing laws were and still are, woefully inadequate.
When I was 15 and pregnant, what I needed was genuine support, someone to walk alongside me, a true friend, a mentor. We need to funnel more resources into organisations who provide this support in order to help more women and girls.
I see that women’s stories of unexpected pregnancy have changed very little in the almost two decades since I had a baby. Please change the laws so that no woman or girl – or their child – has to endure what I have endured.
Anonymous for my safety