Rosie Waterland was twenty-one, couch surfing, and working at a cinema when she learned she was pregnant. A hot flush, then a wave of nausea, hit her on the toilet. ‘It was the kind of nausea that takes away any sense of dignity that a person has,’ she writes. She stripped off, lay down on the bathroom floor, and prayed for the feeling to pass.
Waterland had met a ‘skinny hipster’ at a Sydney bar. She didn’t know his surname; it was a random hook-up. She was on the pill; they’d used a condom and yet ... An abortion would cost $800 with a general anaesthetic, she was told, or $400 for a ‘twilight sedation’, which could cause ‘discomfort’ but no pain. She would need to wait four weeks for the procedure, to guarantee its success. She went to her alcoholic mother’s house and climbed into a ‘very sad and very, very grimy’ single bed. The next few weeks were spent ‘trying to sleep, waking up, puking, trying to eat, puking, trying to sleep again’.