When a doctor announced my possible pregnancy, for the first time I didn’t feel frozen by dread

Like many women in their 20s, I have a complex relationship with contraception. In other words, even though the thought of an unplanned pregnancy fills me with great anxiety, I sometimes forget to take the pill. That fear has been further fuelled by shows like MTV’s Teen Mums. I realise having a baby in my 20s wouldn’t make me a teen mum, but when it comes to having babies, I still feel about as prepared as a teenager.

Still, considering my struggles to find contraception that works for me, pregnancy has always been a real possibility.

When a doctor announced that she thought perhaps a pregnancy might explain the hormonal symptoms I’d been having, those big fears stared me right in the face. But strangely, I didn’t feel entirely frozen by dread. It almost seemed like a good thing. Emphasis on the word almost.

Any real pregnancy joy was firmly eclipsed by the terrible timing. I’d been seeing my boyfriend for a short few months. He was only recently out of an almost decade-long relationship.

We didn’t live together. Neither of us had our careers or lives worked out, and honestly, I didn’t even have a good credit history. (I’d recently been banned from AfterPay for failing to make repayments).

But when the doctor at my local bulk-billed medical centre dropped the p-word, I didn’t think, “oh no”; I felt more, “oh”.

I’m a woman of the swipe-and-match generation, and dating is almost like a hobby, where the men all seem slightly interchangeable. Particularly those that post photos holding fish and describe themselves as “outdoorsy”.

When I met my boyfriend, our relationship felt immediately different, partly because it felt more like a friendship and partly because the stuff that felt hard with everyone else suddenly seemed easier.

Mary Rose Madigan with her boyfriend. “He had become a part of my life, not just my love life.”
Mary Rose Madigan with her boyfriend. “He had become a part of my life, not just my love life.” Photograph: Mary Rose Madigan

He didn’t get squirmy over conversations about my period, or feel awkward attending Drag Queen Bingo. He had become a part of my life, not just my love life. What was meant to be a few casual Hinge dates had turned into something serious and comforting.

But I didn’t really comprehend the gravity of my feelings until I was in that doctor’s office, contemplating impending motherhood.

After a blood test and a stressful few days of waiting, I discovered I wasn’t pregnant. I can’t say I felt disappointed with the results, but I didn’t feel the usual, incandescent sense of relief.

Because if it had gone the other way, at least it would have been with him. With someone I trusted. Someone that made me laugh even when life felt mundane. I also knew that if I decided not to go through with the pregnancy, he’d be by my side for that process.

That scare was the catalyst to realising how I really felt about my boyfriend: I loved him.

Perhaps that’s the true measure of love. Would I trust this man to help me through an abortion?

If the answer is no, I’d suggest you keep swiping.

source: theguardian.com