Malta is the only European Union country with a total ban on abortion. Break The Taboo Malta seeks to stop the silence and shame of abortion by sharing information and stories of people’s experiences of abortion. This story is published on the Break The Taboo Malta’s FaceBook page. You can also find this story linked from Break The Taboo Malta on Twitter.
I was always against abortion, or so I thought. I still remember our teacher during Form 5 showing us ‘The Silent Scream’, brainwashing us into believing that a woman who has an abortion is a murderer. Well, if I could look into that teacher’s eyes today I would tell her: A woman who has abortion is a warrior, she knows what she wants, she knows what she does not want, and she fights for it.
My nightmare started during summer 2012. I remember that my body felt strange and I was so scared at the idea that I could be pregnant. So I told a friend about my worries and she told me to do a pregnancy test. I didn’t want to do it, because I could never accept the reality that I could be pregnant.
I lingered on, however when I was sure I had to be pregnant, I did the test. I still remember the test in my hands showing that I was pregnant. It is something that I can never and will never take off my mind. At that moment I felt like my life was over. I stood there, the pregnancy test in my hands, emotionless. A statue. I couldn’t believe that it was actually, truly happening.
The sexual intercourse hadn’t been with my consent. I had reported sexual abuse to the police…. However, they were so uncaring, so very insensible. I felt like I was an object of ridicule in front of them, and at the end nothing happened.
I come from a very religious family. In my family, I have always been taught that no matter what happens, we must face the consequences and be responsible for our mistakes. So I thought that if my mum had found out, she would have been very disappointed with me. So of course, I had to hide my situation, my emotions, my feelings, my fears from everybody around me, except one friend…
Thanks to her, today, I have my life back. She helped me to book an abortion in London and she promised she would never leave my side. She arranged the abortion herself – the hotel, the flight, the appointment with the clinic. It was not easy at all, having to look through my mum’s eyes, knowing I am lying to her. I felt I really wanted to share with her my fears, my emotions, but I could not because I knew I would disappoint her.
Setting up the procedure was not so straightforward, but at the end we managed. I had a surgical abortion privately, at a Marie Stopes clinic, when I was eight weeks pregnant. The procedure wasn't extremely painful. I had cramping for the following day and light bleeding afterwards. Still however, the pregnancy symptoms I was having were not completely gone.
I still remember the moment I opened my eyes after the procedure, I felt born again. So free, so happy… My nightmare was finally over. I couldn’t explain the extreme happiness I felt. It was the best thing I could have done for my own good, for my life. I never felt sad afterwards, I never regretted it. I just felt angry, angry at the stigma, at the brainwash of many. At how the judgment of others could have changed my life forever.
Today I look back and I am happy as I was courageous enough to follow what I wanted… To fight for what I did not want.
However, the story doesn’t end there.
After 5 years, my relationship with my boyfriend at that time was hitting rock bottom. Often, I was finding myself in a really emotional state. In the beginning, I had thought that it was the breakup. However, at the same time I started experiencing morning sickness again… I knew these feeling before!
I couldn’t believe it, I just couldn’t even think that I could be pregnant again. I couldn’t imagine myself having to go through the whole process over again, however once again the pregnancy test showed me I was pregnant. At that point, this time round I knew that abortion was the only option. My only thought was that this had to be over as soon as possible. I knew, I was sure that I was never going to regret it. I was in it before and I could still remember how free I felt walking out of Marie Stopes.
In fact, people make abortion seem much more terrible than it actually is. Many times, I had read articles saying “Oh, it was really terrible, I could never get over it, I was in a depression afterwards, I could never really be happy again" or, "Oh it’s very dangerous, I got an infection and now I can't have children." You know, you read these stories but to me it was really not the case.
Therefore, I knew that my nightmare was soon going to be over. It was just a matter of time, of money, of courage and determination. To make matter worst, my boyfriend made hell out of the situation. He threatened to tell my parents, to go to the police, to come to my working place if ever I did do the abortion, because he wanted the pregnancy to continue.
However, with the help of my close friend, I got over his threats, I found myself to be stronger than before, and nothing, nothing could stop me. This time round, I arranged everything myself. I booked the flights, the hotel, the procedure all by myself.
My only fear was that it was going to be my second abortion. Could I die? I had heard people say that after an abortion you cannot get pregnant again, that the second one is more dangerous, that you could ruin the uterus, that you could die. Bullshit!! Judgment! False ideas!
And this is why I am sharing my story with you, as I believe that sharing stories is the best way to end the stigma that too many women (like I was before) still feel and still fear when it comes to abortion. In fact, it is the stigma that makes you suffer more than the actual abortion procedure itself.
So, I had my second abortion done at Marie Stopes again. The lady on the phone and all the staff were so very helpful, understanding, practical. I remember that when I arrived there I was emotional, I felt embarrassed and frightened because this was going to be my second time. I felt like I did not learn the lesson – How could I possibly be going through this once again? I became pregnant in very unfortunate circumstances and I knew not everybody could have understood this.
I went to the UK with a friend again. For me, the whole thing was an absolute relief and I have never regretted my decision. The happiness I always felt after abortion is something that only a person in the same situation can be able to understand.
4 months ago, I had my 3rd abortion. There’s no need to go into the process of explaining it again, this time round it was very easy…. Easy because I no longer feel trapped by the stigma of it all, easier because I became aware that it is my life, my choice, my decision.
Unfortunately, we build a prison from the invisible bricks of other people's opinions. I am sure some people will be reading this, judging me, judging my choices... But now it does not bother me at all. Because I understood that I am the master of my own life. I am to decide what I want and what I don’t want, and if a person isn’t willing to trade places with me, then it's better if she/he keeps her/his opinion to herself/himself, because you have to be in the situation to be able to judge.
Till this very day I have decided to have 3 abortions, I had 3 abortions, and will have another if ever I find myself in the same situation. Abortion is a choice, it was a choice that gave me my life back! I am sure that it was the right thing for me to have done and I have never regretted it at any point.
The pregnancies were a moment when my life could have gone in one direction or another and I feel really happy with the decision I made, with the direction I took. It was a choice that saved my life. That’s why I believe it is really important for people to hear stories from women who have had abortions and who really feel fine, good, proud about it.
If my story can be of any help (because I know the mental, emotional and physical stress a woman goes through when she decides that she doesn’t want to go on with the pregnancy) to just one girl, to me that’s enough. It’s about helping those women who have been told that we are murders, who have been silenced by stigma to find our voice back, and to speak out.
Our personal experiences can be of extreme help to others. Abortion is not something that only ‘bad women’ do! It is something that courageous women do! Women who know what they want and who don’t get carried away by the stupid judgments of others.
I never thought I would have an abortion...but I had 3. I am sharing my story so people understand that there may come one day when they do the things that, maybe because of stigma and judgments, they too judged before. This is YOUR LIFE, this is YOUR story, so when you find yourself in a position where you have to make a life-changing decision, do not make the decision that you think is the best for everyone. Take the decision that is the best for YOU, and when you make that decision, you will never regret it.