That day will stay with us forever

“We fell in love, we got a house, we got married, we started to plan a family, and we got pregnant. I didn’t believe a bad thing could happen to us until the day we went for the scan. On the way to the hospital we were looking at crèches and schools; choosing which one would be the closest and the best for us, but after the visit, everything changed. They told us that our baby had a condition that would inevitably end its life before it even had a chance to begin. They told us that the brain and the skull of our unborn child simply didn’t form.

The doctor told us there was nothing he could do in this jurisdiction, besides support us through the pregnancy. He did not give any other options or information. At that time there was no Google and it was very hard to find information on the internet, but we found a geneticist in Northern Ireland who we could talk to. He referred us to the nearest hospital where a doctor agreed to take care of us.

That day will stay with us forever. It was still dark when we arrived at the border, and an army checkpoint stopped us asking where we were going and why. The procedure was illegal in Ireland and although it was legal in England, we still felt like criminals. The whole situation made us feel unsupported and very alone. We didn’t know who was safe to talk to. We couldn’t bring our son’s body back home, so we had to cremate him there and send it back by courier. We couldn’t have a funeral or a proper grieving process. We couldn’t talk to people around us. All of this made the whole situation even more difficult to deal with. Worst of all is that this happened 15 years ago and the legal framework here is still the same today and even more restrictive in Northern Ireland. There has been no change at all here. We would like to reach out to people with similar experiences, and tell them that they are not alone and that they need to stand up and speak publicly about their experiences in order to make a change.”

‘Humans of the Election’ is a collaboration with the Newstalk 106-108 FM, highlighting the real people behind the issues we face in Ireland today (1/7).

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