Baby Orchid has been ex utero for nine months, which is a milestone in my book.
Nine months ago I was enjoying newborn snuggles and the sunrise making the bricks outside my window a glorious colour and the painkillers post c section.
I’ve lost most of the baby weight, mental and physical. It was a difficult pregnancy for myriad reasons. It was worth it.
It is amazing. What’s also amazing is that since Baby Orchid made his entrance into the world abortion has become a normal part of antenatal health care.
Knowing that women who face what we might have faced had the worst happened now have options makes me happy. Every single day.
Our family is complete.
I am a parent who works outside the home. So is my husband. We both grew up in households with parents who worked outside the home. I realised after I went back to work when my first child was 11 months old that I felt no guilt whatsoever. And I never have, not for a moment. I’m quite certain my husband doesn’t feel guilty either.
I am lucky and privileged that working outside the home is a choice I have made freely. It gives us more options as a family and I feel better as a woman, wife and parent for making this choice. I enjoy my work, I don’t feel a great passion for it, but I like having a part of my life that’s all about me.
The Constitution of Ireland has a clause which infers that my rightful place is within the home and that I contribute to the common good by my life within this home, where I sit writing this. I do not agree. My rightful place is within wherever I choose to do the most good. Sometimes that’s at home, on the days when I don’t leave this home to go to work. Sometimes that’s volunteering in my children’s school. Sometimes that’s on a march with my husband and children. Sometimes that’s my place of employment.
I don’t know if other women who work outside the home or who choose to stay at home to parent fulltime also feel no guilt. But I hope they don’t. And it is perfectly normal not to. Thankfully we’ll be having a referendum on the ‘women in the home’ clause, not as soon as I’d like. I’ll be voting to repeal it, and voting for political parties who want to ensure that every woman, be she a parent or not, or working or not, is able to make the right choices for herself, free of guilt.
[A quote from one of my favourite books, Anne of the Island, by LM Montgomery.]
Today is International Women’s Day.
Today we finally have a Bill which proposes to repeal the eighth amendment.
Today I really started to hope this will happen.
Today felt like progress.
Today has been a long time coming.
Tomorrow the debate in Parliament will begin.
I am looking forward to a tomorrow when these kinds of posts will be obsolete.
It is five years since the death of Savita.
It is five years since I woke up to the reality of what the eighth amendment has done.
It is five years since me and my husband went on our very first march together.
Thousands of people have travelled since then for medical care abroad.
I look back at ‘the before’ and I wonder why I was asleep for so long. I was not a socially conscious college student. I had never protested anything in an active way. I was privileged, and while I knew I was privileged I didn’t appreciate or understand that privilege.
I’ve never had a slowly growing fear inside me because my period was late. I’ve never had to get information on medical services from the back of a toilet door. I’ve never had to send a message to a person I don’t know and hope against hope that he or she would turn up with pills that could land me in prison for 14 years.
I could have done more. A lot more. But I didn’t, and I am deeply ashamed of that. I am deeply ashamed of the antichoice views I held, and the fact I held them without really analysing why. I could have marched, and donated time and money, and been more invested in a movement I feel I’ve piggybacked onto.
I repeat ‘Better Late Than Never’ and I try to do more and to do better. I mourn Savita, a woman who died because of our laws. I mourn for the thousands we’ve forced abroad. I mourn for the people who are right now hoping against hope that the pills will turn up because otherwise they are out of options.
My mourning broke five years ago, when it slowly dawned on me what we had done, and putting the pieces back together has done me a world of good. Never again will I be so blind.