Some Angels wear cerulean
I mean it would be the day that I need to access the most stigmatized section of healthcare available to women in Great Britain, that there would be angry protesters standing outside reminding me how this one choice, this delicate blemish on my womanhood would ruin the way the world viewed me forever. I also had to note that in all the years I’d lived on this hill, I had never seen (or perhaps not noticed) the ‘protestors’ it was as if they were a part of the South London urban legend which had chosen today to reveal itself to be very true.
Now, of course, I’d had moments of imagining my future, leaning on the examples of young women who had gone before me and found a way to make it work. The difference was, In really didn’t want too. As much as I loved him, I’d seen far too many moments that revealed his true character, a character that I would call manipulative but many others would call predatory and at a stretch paedophilic.
So, on I marched, not making eye contact and swaying left and right like an untrained early day Ali, so to avoid their extended arms and hands which held leaflets which I’m sure were filled with images which would really stop me in my tracks.
Thankfully they were not allowed on the property and before I could reach the door of the premises a woman dressed in a cerulean coloured uniform scooped me up and apologized for their antagonistic approach. Immediately I felt the mood change. I let my shoulders relax and tried not to think too much about the steps ahead. The cerulean angel showed me to the waiting room and I fell into one of the few empty seats.
For some reason, I expected silence, with maybe the slight hum of a radio playing a generic radio station. But the area was abuzz with chatter. One woman dressed in surgery garments, sitting in awheelchair was loudly enquiring when a friend would be there to collect her. There were a couple in their early twenties idly flicking through a magazine and over in the corner there seemed to be an entire family talking in a language I couldn’t quite place. Everyone and everything felt so normal.
While I can’t claim to be an expert I know for sure that everyone has an idea of what their version of normal is and this was it for me. A room filled with both men and women of all nationalities supporting women in a choice which felt correct for them. Although what happened next and the process that followed needs a larger word count, for the sake of this post, I just want to concentrate on the fact that many women still aren’t able to easily access abortion services. Many of Great Britain’s closest neighbors have laws in place which force women to travel miles pre and most worryingly post surgery, pay travel and service costs and in some cases even face arrest if they are caught. There are no expletives yet invented which are strong enough to describe how much the injustices nailed against a woman’s body, angers me. But I was once told that anger is a useless emotion. So where I can, I try to find ways that I can support and encourage change.
In what was seen as a bold move, I shared part of my abortion story as part of the launch week over on the Make Motherhood Diverse Instagram page. I’m not the most confident person at the best of times, so it was no surprise I was a bag of shivering rocks before the post went live. But I need not have worried. The response was supportive and very cathartic for both myself and many women who decided to also share their tales of choice on a very public platform. That for me was a truly punch my fist in the air moment. As it’s my belief that nothing will silence people faster than stigma. If it means I must spend mere moments shaking in my boots before speaking my truth in order for other women to feel safe in sharing theirs, then I will always take the short-lived route of uneasiness.
The beauty about platforms such as Instagram is how many charities, communities, and people you can find supporting similar causes. Not too long ago I came across the brilliant Black and Beech who produces the incredible t-shirts pictured. With Five pounds from every single t-shirt sold going directly to The Abortion Support Network ( a UK-based charity which provides financial assistance and accommodation to women from the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and The Isle of Man ) it really is a piece of mama merchandise worth investing in. No matter your personal standpoint on abortion, I hope that one day we get far enough out of our own asses to understand that even if it opposes our own, the choices of women and what they do with their bodies, should always be respected.