This is a story about a friend (yes, it is actually about a friend). Just like any good story, it starts with a nice (by British standards anyway) spring day with my best friend telling me that she’s pregnant.
“So what?” you ask. “People get pregnant all the time!” While that may be true, she is not a 30 year-old married woman. She’s not even in a stable relationship. In fact she is just like me, a fresher. I don’t know about you but I just didn’t see it coming, despite her having been in a happy relationship with her boyfriend for quite a while.
How can you fall so hard for someone that safety goes out the window? How does a smart girl get talked into not using condoms? How can anyone even be with a prick who “doesn’t like condoms”? And then when the shit eventually hits the fan, how can someone be so unprepared to deal with the aftermath?
I don’t have the answer to these questions. Heck, I hadn’t even considered them in the first place, which is why I was probably even more surprised at finding out than she was. Or maybe because she had already had a day or two to process all that information – yes, she did tell her boyfriend before she told me. And yes, if you’re wondering, the fucking bastard immediately ran away. He eventually reappeared, but a bit too late to be of any help. Alas, I digress. Back to my friend.
She is a bit broken, but with a sense of fatalism she’s come to accept it. No, she didn’t keep it – that was never really a choice for her. That’s not to say it was an easy decision to make. The stress alone that came with keeping it from her parents, or from anyone for that matter, having to find a clinic to get the abortion before going back home, and even dealing with exams was crippling.
It’s shit and I do feel bad for her, really. But at the same time I’m upset with her because I still can’t fathom how she could’ve have been so naive. I hate badmouthing my friends, but the only thing I know about heterosexual relationships is that pulling out never works. If I know that, how can someone who actually sleeps with men not apply this in their life?
Throughout this ordeal, I’ve had no right to express anything but empathy for her and I’ve tried to be on her side and help her in any way I can. Yet, I’ve had such mixed feelings about the knock-up. I’ve never been in danger of getting pregnant myself, so I’ve never thought too much about my feelings on abortion and contraception, but this single event has made me think more than I thought I was capable of.
And this is the point when this becomes about me. I know that I shouldn’t make it all about my feelings when she obviously felt so much more – and was certainly more entitled to do so – but fuck it, we need to talk about this. This three-week-long drama made me think a lot more about my opinions on reproductive rights. Although I knew that this was an issue that people experienced, I’ve always seen both sides of the argument for and against abortion, without ever forming an opinion because I’ve simply never had to.
Through my friend’s unwanted pregnancy I made unexpected discoveries about myself. Now, when I feel the urge to blame people for their mistakes, I know it’s really just pointless. Who knows how many times they had sex with or without a condom; it doesn’t really matter either way. It could have been an isolated incident or it could have been a regular occurrence. The end result ultimately is the same.
Mistakes happen, but we should be responsible for doing all that we can to prevent them.
I don’t think she’ll compromise her safety again. Probably. Hopefully. And no one should (you know who you are). Seriously, consider me a slightly less creepy version of the weird PE teacher who’s tasked with doing sex ed. It’s your business if you want a child and you are capable of raising it alongside your studies, or if you want to drop uni to be a parent, but still play safe. There are more dramatic things besides an unwanted pregnancy. Did you know that you can lose your nose because of syphilis? Google it, and you will stack condoms in your house forever.