Thirty five years ago, my mother entered her childbearing years; Thirty five years later, they wind down, and mine begin. In thirty five years' time, my childbearing years too will come to an end. The Eighth Amendment referendum, to me, demarcates a new public and personal epoch for the childbearers of past and present.
At five years old, I wanted to be a princess
At ten years old, I wanted to be an actress
At fifteen years old, I wanted to be a writer
Today, at 20 years old, I can't wait to be a mother.
I don't know when or how I developed this wish, but to me, after spending much of life so far being hard on myself and steadfast on doing big things, it signifies something more wholesome and stable. That might seem like a very anti-feminist thing to say, and rather anti-me if you know me personally in fact, but nowadays if I see myself as happy in the future, I see myself with children. Maybe that aspiration will change in five years' time again; I can't say, but for now, I love that idea.
So much happens in between every one of those five year gaps, not just for me, but for everyone; Normal things, unexpected things, fantastic things, and unfortunately abhorrent things. Multiply that gap by seven, and you'll get the number of years since the last legislative change to the Eighth Amendment. Looking forward, it's also the rough number of years myself and many other young adults have before we go through menopause. The next chapter of where women stand in this country will be the height of my generation's childbearing years.
I can remember being in a religion class in secondary school, and being surprised by how many classmates were against abortion. I have always looked at it as something that I would never need, just distancing myself from it and accepting it as a necessary health service to other women. However, when I look at the Eighth Amendment in terms of this 35-year slot, I truly realise how definitive this vote could be to myself and many other peoples' futures. One can acknowledge that much will happen in a five-year gap, but can never foresee or prepare for what thirty-five years on this earth could bring.
I will always hope that the next thirty-five years will grant me my own family and piece of the world to share with them, but neither I, nor can anyone account for a tragedy that could bring with it a need for abortion. No one plans it; No one wants it; No one wishes it.
If you are on-the-fence about introducing legislation for free, safe and legal abortions, I urge you to look at yourself and your future with the child-bearers around you. Consider your own life and how much can happen and change, as well as how much can happen and change for them too in five, ten, twenty years. Thirty-five years.