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We're marking 26th Sept 2021 World Contraception Day and 28th Sept International Safe Abortion Day, critical for women's health. Do you have a personal story to share? Then do read below.
We’re marking 26th Sept 2021 World Contraception Day and 28th Sept International Safe Abortion Day, critical for women’s health. Do you have a personal story to share? Then do read below.
26th September is World Contraception Day, followed by International Safe Abortion Day on the 28th of September.
These landmark days come with the realisation that even in first world countries, women do not have autonomy over their bodies, in terms of preventive contraception, in terms of a right to decide for themselves when their bodies can go through a pregnancy, in terms of a right to abortion if they do not want a child – whether conceived of consensual sex or rape.
Let me share a personal story of mine first.
This happened a very long time ago – nearly 30 years ago. At that time I was a young undergraduate staying in hostel. It was the month long vacation between the previous year’s exams and the beginning of the next year, and from among my close friends, there were only two of us staying on – a classmate I was very good friends with and I.
One day, she came to me in tears. She had a long standing boyfriend and she had just realised that she was pregnant. The boyfriend was also an undergrad student at another college, and I knew him fairly well; a nice person by my reckoning. But now what?
Remember these were the early 90s, and we were not very aware of our rights and options. And she was desperate that her parents mustn’t come to know, as they would most certainly disown her, or at the least restrict her options ahead in life.
The three of us talked about it, and the only option the couple could think of was an abortion. And we went through with it, somewhere far away from our usual haunts, far away from our homes. I was with her through the entire ordeal, right from going with her to do whatever needed to be done, to holding her hand through the fallout after.
As we went through the weeks following, I realised how important it was that a child, no matter how old, should not fear parents. That your children should feel safe coming to you with absolutely anything. Later, as a mother myself, I have made sure to keep all channels of communication open with my child, and she knows she can come to me for anything, and that I will support her through whatever it is.
My friend later went on to do great things in her life, and I am glad I supported her through those terrible times.
It has been a secret all these years in my heart, and even now I keep her secret in terms of their identities. But as I now realise, it is important for me to share my story, because only by sharing our stories can we normalise conversations around women’s right over their own bodies.
We’re calling for your personal stories of any kind – whether you were at the centre of it, whether you were a supporting character like I was, whether outside or inside of a marriage, stories when you have spoken with your sisters and daughters and mothers and partners about contraception.
Stories of standing up for your right over your body, or of anyone else’s. Even stories of a partner standing with you through your decisions.
If you would prefer it, we can also publish them anonymously, and your secret will be safe with us. Just include a note to the editor at the foot of your piece.
Please submit your personal story (NOT fiction) on your author dashboard, with the hashtag #MyBodyMyDecision in the title.
If you are not yet registered as an author with us, or would like to have someone else send in their story, click on the button below to register/log in.
Deadline: Thursday, 16th September, 11.59 PM
Image source: KatarzynaBialasiewicz from Getty Images Free for Canva Pro
In her role as the Senior Editor & Community Manager at Women's Web, Sandhya Renukamba is fortunate to associate every day with a whole lot of smart and fabulous writers and readers. A doctor read more...
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