I can’t not trust another woman to know her own mind, her own body and her own life.

They ask me am I coming on the Women’s March and I say I can’t. I make an excuse, something about work that will do the job, and they say ‘grand, meet after for dinner maybe?’

‘Definitely,’ I say. What I don’t tell any of them is how differently I feel since I had the children. In case they think I’m letting the side down, that I might even be a bit of a traitor.

We all believed in this since we met in college, so many years ago. It was one of the things we made a point of, because it separated us from the kinds of people we didn’t want to be. In between studying and meeting guys and getting drunk in the bar, we marched and protested, and we did it with conviction.

Abortion, we declared, is an integral right of women.

You know everything so completely when you’re young. With oh-so-much certainty. Everything was black and white for me then, so much so that I laugh now when I think about it: people were good or bad. Clever or stupid. Things were wrong or right and that’s the way it was every time. I love how I was so convinced back then. I can see myself, arguing the case again and again, with my parents, girls from school who didn’t think like I did, men I met at parties and in pubs.

The way I argued then, it was as if the Lord himself had given me tablets of stone with the rules written out on them, clear as print. No wonder I chose to do law.

When do the shades of grey start creeping in, I wonder? Is it just an age thing or is it a life-experience thing? Many things changed me. The people I stood up in court for, who had done terrible things, but who sometimes had terrible stories. The ones who had done terrible things and didn’t have terrible stories.

More than anything, having my children changed me. And changed the way I thought about things that seemed simple, like divorce. Like single mothers. Like abortion.

It isn’t simple at all. Maybe it’s the most complicated question there is.

But even though I know that now, I don’t say anything to my friends. It’s not really that I’m scared of what they’ll say, it’s that I understand it doesn’t matter what I think. I may have changed my mind, but I can’t make that choice for someone else. I can’t not trust another woman to know her own mind, her own body and her own life. I can’t say ‘no’ to her.

Because we were right all those years ago, and even though I feel a lot less certain about many things, I feel more certain than ever about women.





‘We had wanted children together. We had had children together.’

Sandra’s story

‘The nights and the bottles and the feeding and changing. I did it too.’

Denis’s story

‘I used to know exactly how I felt and now I don’t?’

Bríd’s story

‘Of all the ways I ever thought I’d feel about us having a child, it was never this.’

Seán’s story

‘I chose to do something that you didn’t have any choice about’

Jennifer’s story