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Nadia Heisler Walpole – I Did It For Love

Forbidden Love was an oral storytelling project dedicated to love in all its forms.

Nadia Heisler Walpole moved to Australia ten years ago. In that time she worked extremely hard to make a life for herself. And then she met a boy.

Please note this story has a content warning for themes of abortion.

 

[TRANSCRIPT]

So ten years ago when I first came to Australia I had no money, no friends, no family, pretty much no English. I came here with many dreams but only one goal: to succeed. So I promised myself that no matter what I wouldn’t fail. One thing I did have though, I had a boyfriend because on my very first night in Perth I met a guy from New Zealand. And he wasn’t really a great guy, and he wasn’t handsome, and he wasn’t funny, but we start talking and very quickly we became boyfriend and girlfriend. And in my mind back then he was all I had so that would have to do.

A lot of people actually asked me why I came to Australia and I think my answer has changed along the years. Of course I came here to learn English, because I really wanted to succeed in my career as a journalist back in Brazil, but I wouldn’t have chosen the country that was so far away from Brazil just to learn English. I actually came here because I really wanted to have new experiences and I knew they would be good experiences and also bad ones. And to be honest I didn’t care because I wanted to live my life fully and maybe, if I was lucky, I would find love too.

So my first years in Australia were actually quite tough because as an international student I had to actually work really hard to pay for my extremely expensive studies. And because I had no English I had to accept any type of job I could. So I did so many things here – from selling sweets on the streets, so going door to door selling the sweets that I made (and they were actually quite terrible), to serving drinks in a bikini or sexy lingerie for old men – I crossed many palms in WA. But it was actually in this job that I learnt how to speak English and that’s why my English is so broken, full of slang and bad words, so I do apologise if I throw a few ‘fucks’ here and there.

So I wanted to succeed in this country so bad that I actually went back to uni, this time to study HR. And I studied like a crazy woman – like ten hours a day – surviving on a diet of cheese and crackers and sometimes cheap cookies on payday. But thankfully all my hard work paid off because on my fifth year here in Australia I managed to get a job that I really wanted: a job in an office doing HR. And that was my biggest, like my first, accomplishment here in the country and I knew that my life was about to get better and I was right because a few weeks into this job I met this beautiful guy. And this guy, he was tall and he wore these thick-framed glasses that made him look really smart and he dressed really professionally and he was really polite and he had this hair, like this head full of strawberry-blonde curls, so he looked like an angel. And I remember looking at him and I was like, “Woah, what type of girls this guy would date?” And then I looked at myself and I was like,  “Definitely not me.”

But I was really surprised when a few weeks later this beautiful boy invited me out to watch a Fringe show in Fremantle. And this was close to…it was January 2016, and I wasn’t sure if this was a date or not because I was still with that not-so-great guy from New Zealand. We were still living together, really like in a terrible relationship, we were not even sleeping in the same room anymore, but really I was still with him. But of course I went to whatever ‘date’ it was, this Fringe thing. And once we were there, after the Fringe show finished, we went for a walk and this beautiful boy kissed me. And in that kiss I actually thought that I was ready to die because I was so happy and I thought that my mission in Australia was accomplished because I finally had a good job and I had just met a really special person. But, of course, I didn’t die and a few weeks after we kissed and we started dating I found out that I was pregnant with this beautiful boy’s baby and that’s when my life stopped.

And, of course, this came as a huge shock to me because I still had no money, I had no support, I had no Medicare, I had nothing. And this beautiful boy was actually four years younger then me and he was still living with his parents and he had just bought a house – he was building this house – and it was just too much for me. And he was actually also working towards his career and, speaking about career, the week I found out that I was pregnant I actually got offered a promotion at work, a promotion for a position that I really, really wanted to have. And to top it off, my visa was still attached to my ex-partner’s visa – the guy from New Zealand – and this alone would put everything at risk and I wasn’t, I really wasn’t, ready to go back to Brazil, not like that and I couldn’t fail like this.

So I decided to tell the beautiful boy that I was pregnant. I drove to his parents’ house and I told him straight away and his reaction was just to stare at me, probably thinking, like, what I was talking about. And in that moment I had to make a quick decision and I told him that he didn’t have to worry at all, that I would sort it out all by myself, that I didn’t want anything from him, I didn’t want him to be a part of this because this beautiful boy had the most perfect life. I used to call him “Little Prince” and I wouldn’t be the one that would destroy his life like this. I knew that one day this beautiful boy would meet a very special woman and they would get married and eventually they would have babies together and they would be going to their ultrasound appointments and I didn’t want him to have those bad memories of our time together to be impacting on his future as a father, I just couldn’t do that.

So that night I drove out of his house and I knew that I was by myself and because of that I needed to act really fast. So the following days I did everything for the abortion to happen. So this means leaving in my ex-partner’s house, so I finally left him and I went to live with a Brazilian girl, a friend of mine, in a house full of other international students. I went a lot of doctor appointments and I also came up with a plan to save 1500 dollars to pay for the abortion and I did this all by myself and all within a week and all while still going to work every single day, pretending that my life was perfect.

I also called my dad because I felt that someone that really knew me needed to know what was going on. And his reaction was just to actually get very excited because he was about to be a grandad so I had to tell him that he wouldn’t be a grandad. And I didn’t know that my dad is very against abortion so we had a very difficult conversation because he was really disappointed and this made me very sad.

So less than two weeks after I found out I was pregnant I was given a pill by the doctor and the doctor told me to take this pill in a safe space and my safe space was the house full of international students. So that night I locked myself in the bathroom and I stayed there for almost one hour. I took the pill and I had the most painful experience of my entire life. And I’m talking about, of course, a lot physical pain and psychological pain as well. Once I was ready I left the bathroom and my friend, the one that I was living with, she invited me to lay down in bed with her and she put a movie on with Will Smith, a movie called Focus, and I really don’t remember much about the movie but I know it did the job because I felt so much better by being there with her. And when the movie finished she actually looked at me and she said, “Nadia, you did all of this for love.” And I knew then that those words would be enough to keep me going to where I am right now.

So fast forward five years, here I am now trying to have a baby with my husband. So of course all of those memories started to come back to me because I was still hurting from my past. I hadn’t quite closed that cycle, so I wasn’t ready to move forward. And the reason why I was hurting so much was because here I was so eager to welcome this new baby into our lives when I hadn’t even said goodbye to the other baby that was trying to grow inside of me. And this made me feel like I was a really bad person, but I had to understand that back then my life was completely different. I was by myself, I was in this brand new relationship, I had no money, and so many things were at risk. But now I’m in a completely different place.

Now I’m here, I actually have a really good job, I’m married to this amazing man, and we live in a good house, and we even have a sausage dog, and not only that, we also have two cats. So it was only five years after my abortion that I finally was able to take time to breathe and I’m really glad I did so because I’m actually proud of my journey and of how far I’ve come and now I can say that I am ready. So when I look at my husband, I think we will have this baby together just like we would have had five years ago, because my husband is that beautiful boy that got me pregnant a few weeks into our relationship and I was his wife-to-be this whole time I just didn’t know it. And yes he may have lost his beautiful strawberry-blond curls, but he’s still the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to me.

Copyright © 2021 Nadia Heisler Walpole

This story and corresponding images have been licensed to the Centre for Stories by the Storyteller. For reproduction and distribution of this story/image please contact the Centre for Stories.


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