My story: It is fifteen years ago and it still stings. We had to make a difficult choice. Both of us were struggling with mental illness and a baby would put all three of us in danger. It was a difficult choice, but the right one. One which saved lives. We are no longer together, but we are managing. Together we have the energy to do the best we can for our son. And he is doing okay. The decision was hard, but isn’t what stings.
What stung at the time was how difficult it was to have to go to Halifax for the procedure. My partner couldn’t drive, but we were lucky enough to have someone we could call on. At least we had a car. And the money for the procedure and hotel was going to be an added expense, but at least we had a credit card. And at least I had a job where I could take sick days without any questions. We were lucky, at least.
But I wanted to wake up in my own bed on that difficult day. I wanted a hug from my spouse. I didn’t want to be navigating unfamiliar Halifax streets with a full bladder. I wanted to be sad at home. It was difficult and stung at the time, but what really stung came later because later I started to wonder: what if we hadn’t had a friend we could ask, a car, money for the procedure and hotel, a job where I could book time off? What if – one day – the Morgentaler Clinic in Halifax closed?
What stung – what stings – is thinking about Island women with less. I want to live in a country where policy protects the weakest among us, and the irony is that I do. Canada says I have rights over my own body, the right to make difficult decisions on my own. And Canada says that provinces need to make their best efforts to provide for those in need. It stings that the province I love and call home is the only one in the dark ages when it comes to protecting women’s health and well being. My province seems only interested in the ‘least’ it can do. Fifteen years ago I thought that all would have changed by now. And that stings.
Anonymous – Charlottetown PEI