• "I held the test up to the light, shook it vigorously and stared at it, willing it to change. I couldn’t be pregnant. It was the last thing I wanted." (Moment RF/Getty)
"A piece of my heart was taken away that day. I will live with my decision forever, and will forever wonder if I could have made it work. In my eyes, I’m serving a life sentence."
By
Katie Brose*

18 May 2017 - 4:27 PM  UPDATED 18 May 2017 - 4:27 PM

Sitting on the bathroom floor I waited impatiently for two minutes to pass. My head on the door and fate held in my hands, I felt my adrenaline surge.  Like watching a pot boil, the time dragged.

Seeing the two pink lines on the stick appear, I felt sick. I held the test up to the light, shook it vigorously and stared at it, willing it to change. I couldn’t be pregnant. It was the last thing I wanted. The irony of it all seemed so unfair.

Seven years prior, holding up a positive pregnancy test would have been a dream. Back then, test after test proved negative. Despite shaking, re-taking and positive thinking, month after month the result was the same.

I spent hundreds of dollars on tests and cried thousands of tears. I watched in despair and envy as multiple friends announced their pregnancies online. I attended baby showers with a lump in my throat and a forced smile.

It wasn’t my time yet, but thankfully it was to come. 

Abortion to remain a crime in NSW after reform bill fails
The majority of the state's upper house has voted down a Greens bill that would have decriminalised abortion in NSW.

Three years later, thanks to IVF, I became a mum. Holding my bundle of warm, pink joy for the first time, I forgot the heartache, the hundreds of negative tests, and the long journey to get there.

Five years on, it was the same when I held my second son. Again, with IVF, the journey had been rough, but it was worth the ride. I left the hospital knowing my family was complete.

My second son was two-months-old when I started to feel sick. Mornings were the worse and I carb loaded to survive the day. I walked around in an emotional fog, attributing it to sleep deprivation and having a newborn.  

Over a wine with a friend, I joked, ‘If I didn’t know better, I’d think I was pregnant’. Four weeks later, I took the test.

The fact that this was such a gift and miracle only added to my heartbreak. Maybe this was meant to be?

It’s impossible to explain in words the difficulty of the decision I had to make. I spent a week to'ing and fro'ing between the reality of having two children so close and the dream of making it work.

The fact that this was such a gift and miracle only added to my heartbreak. Maybe this was meant to be?

However, for a lot of women who fall pregnant unexpectedly, it’s not meant to be. While there’s no official data collected on unplanned pregnancy and abortion in Australia [as it is not included in Medicare data], it’s estimated that half of all pregnancies are unplanned and that half of those are terminated.

“I don’t regret my abortion, so don’t expect me to feel bad about it”
“I’m not a cold-blooded monster but I also didn’t want to be pregnant. Why is it so controversial that I made a decision about what I want inside my own body?”
 

It’s also estimated that between one quarter and one third of Australian women will experience an abortion in their lifetime. 

Yet, it’s an experience that can shatter. When I made the call to book my termination I was a wreck. It was nothing compared to how I was at the clinic on the day. 

I filled out forms like a zombie and reconfirmed my decision to three different nurses.  The doctor scanned me.  ‘You’re 10 weeks along’, he said.  I nodded through my sobs and returned to the waiting room.

It’s sad and archaic that this is still the case. In a time when women should rightfully decide what happens to their own bodies, the law still objects.

I sat amongst a group of four other women, all of us suffocating under the weight of our unspoken bond. To me, we were women making the right choice for ourselves. To the NSW Government we were criminals.

It’s sad and archaic that this is still the case. In a time when women should rightfully decide what happens to their own bodies, the law still objects.

Earlier this year Greens MP, Mehreen Faruqi, contested the 100 year law to have abortion removed from the Crimes Act to align NSW with other jurisdictions, with the exception of Queensland.

The Abortion Law Reform Bill was defeated 25 to 14 in the state parliament's upper house, meaning that for now things won’t change.

As for me, things have changed. A piece of my heart was taken away that day. I will live with my decision forever, and will forever wonder if I could have made it work.

In my eyes, I’m serving a life sentence. It’s just sad that the Government doesn’t see, for me and women like me, that’s punishment enough.

*Not the author's real name.

The burden of financing an abortion: Study
A new study reveals that Aussie women’s abortion choices are being restricted by high cost, long distance and lack of knowledge.
Helping women to recover post-abortion made me more of a feminist
Camila*, a Sydney-based nurse, describes what it's really like to work at an abortion clinic. She also asks Australians to look beyond the hype to understand the diversity of women who access termination services.
Two Irish women have just live-tweeted an abortion
The tweets about their 48 hour journey attracted more than 26,000 followers and some high profile supporters.