Full disclosure here. Mothering Me is for all women, whether they are mothers yet or not. Many of the topics covered will be more relevant to mothers, however I am passionate about supporting and lifting all women. This includes women who have had an unplanned pregnancy and are considering or have already been through the process of adoption or abortion. I am saying this up front now so that anyone who is not happy can leave, particularly around the subject of abortion.
I will never enter into a debate about whether abortion is good or bad. I am in absolutely no way interested in the arguments for or against it. My interests lie in the mental health and well-being of women who will go or have already been through it.
So, with that disclaimer out of the way. If you are still reading, welcome. I want to talk about abortion. I want to talk about it because there is so much stigma and guilt surrounding it. It is still so incredibly hard for us to talk about it freely and as a result there is a huge hole in support and care for women going through this.
My goal long term, is to provide counselling services to women considering abortion, both during the decision process and, if they proceed with the abortion, afterwards. I hope to become what is known as an abortion doula. This is someone professionally trained to support a woman before, during and after an abortion. This, in my opinion is vital. When you consider what this woman will go through, whether it was a choice she made confidently or if she felt she had no other option, the feelings, emotions and short and long term effects on her mental health can be devastating.
Chances are, the woman sitting next to you on the bus or at the desk across from you at work or serving you in a store has had at least one abortion in her lifetime. Statistics tell us that one in three Australian women have had an abortion. Those are huge numbers. It’s not all the stereotypical, irresponsible teenagers either. According to Marie Stopes Australia, data shows that women in their late 20’s and 30’s are far more likely to have abortions than teenagers. Data from South Australia shows that the highest rate of abortion is in women aged 25 to 29, and women over 35 made up 18.4 per cent in 2016.
Maria Stopes data also states that nearly 60% of of the women who have an abortion through their service, already have one child. This is important to share. I genuinely believe that the women most impacted emotionally and mentally, are those who have abortions when they already have one or more children. These women have carried a child to term, they know what could be and they love their children and most likely already love and feel connected to the unborn child they are carrying. This is also why they may have chosen to have an abortion. If you already have children, you understand the massive financial, emotional, physical and mental impact children can place on a family. These women know exactly what is involved in having a child and so they have every right to make a decision to ensure the very best future for herself and her family.
I have heard women say that they think abortion is the easier way out or that it’s a way to avoid a hard time. They have described it as selfish or cruel. These are women talking about themselves I might add, not commenting on others. I think differently. If you are a woman who has had an abortion, whether you have children or not, you are BRAVE.
It takes incredibly courage and selflessness to realise that it would not be right to bring a child into the world. There are so many reasons a woman may have an abortion and each woman is 100 per cent within her rights to make that decision for herself without any guilt. To the women who chose to have an abortion and already have children, you are incredibly brave. You have chosen the children you have and the life they deserve and need over the child that may have been. There is no way of knowing what your pregnancy would have been like or whether it would have progressed or if there would be issues or complications. You understand that you can give the family you have everything it needs, even though that may mean making a very difficult choice and taking on a great deal of pain for yourself.
I have no desire to become a spokesperson for a woman’s right to safe and judgement free abortions but I do want anyone who needs to hear it know that they are not their abortion. We are not defined by the decisions we make. There is so much more to you than this. You are brave, you are strong and you are going to be okay.