How do you know you're really ready to be a parent? Is there a point in life where it clicks in your head and says "Yes, now you've ticked all the boxes so here you go, one child coming up!"? Or are we ever really ready for all the different things that come with being pregnant, giving birth and raising a child?
We see women who have become pregnant not long after giving birth, not realising how quickly fertility returned, or after misinformation about the protection breastfeeding provides against pregnancy. Sadly we also see women who simply haven't been able to negotiate contraceptive use with a reluctant partner, as well as women for whom a much wanted pregnancy is no longer possible after a dramatic change in personal circumstances. A recently conducted audit of all women contacting bpas for advice in 2011 found nearly two thirds were using contraception, including condoms, pills, patches and coils, when they became pregnant.
I work for BPAS, the UK's largest abortion provider, talking to women about and performing abortions up to the legal limit every day. Someone has written that a woman wants an abortion like an animal stuck in a trap wants to chew its leg off. While the imagery is melodramatic, it conveys the panic and stress an unplanned pregnancy can impose. It also communicates something of the relief experienced by women after their abortion; this is one of the things that make being an abortion provider so very rewarding.