A choice for my children

by Anonymous

January 31, 2020

I have two beautiful children biologically, and two beautiful step-children.  I love my kids and really would welcome another child into the family.   But I suffer from Crohn’s disease and Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis.  I was due to have my colon removed in the next few months, as I had developed dangerous early stage cancer.  I have spent nearly all of my adult life sick,  When I am sick, I am very very sick, unable to take care of my four children.  We don’t have the money to hire a nanny or for me to quit my job either if I was having another.  I was going through a rare time of good health and finally able to take my kids out for fun things like a normal mom! We spent the summer camping and hiking and climbing and very active. Everyone was glad to see me well after so much sickness.  Well surprise! I was pregnant.  We were scared and excited,  knowing the huge sacrifices it would cost for us and for our living children.  I was against abortion for me, but understood that sometimes people have to.  My partner was so against abortion that he posted many graphic anti-abortion images. I was scared to bring up my feeling that I would not have this baby even though a big part of me wanted to.

I talked to my doctor, who said that he would do whatever he could to help me but as his job is to care for me first, he would not recommend going through with the pregnancy.  Having a serious abdominal  operation during pregnancy would be a risk to the baby and possibly to me.  And putting it off could mean that the cancer grows enough that it becomes inoperable.  So by keeping this baby, both of us could die at worst, and at best I would be seriously high risk and debilitated for many months, unable to care for a new baby and my other children.   The doctor told me it would be perfectly safe for me to have a baby after my operation and recovery, but very difficult right now.

I consulted my friends, some who were supportive of any choice, others who did everything they could to convince me to keep it.  I spoke to my partner and to my surprise, he said he would support whatever decision I made, because he loved me and wanted me alive. He had been so against abortion because he had already experienced a traumatic abortion by an ex girlfriend who had no access to care in his poor area in South America. His abortion story was horrific, and he knew nothing about the safe access and procedures we have here.  Once I explained the possibilities to him, and what the doctor said, we both agreed that abortion was the best route for us.

I told my parents, who are Christian like me and I assumed against it.  But they actually reassured me that there are many women in the world who have had to take the same route, and that was it!  I was shocked that I got no backlash.

I decided on surgical abortion, as I’d rather be supervised in a medical setting since I feel safe there having spent so much time in hospital.  They scheduled it for two weeks out.  During that time, I began to feel pregnant and remembered how hard it really is to carry a baby to term when you live with illnesses as I do.  I don’t think there’s a human in there that early on, but I admit that I really do not know.  And I cherished the chance to at least see what it would be like to carry his baby.  It was a hard two weeks, with some moments of emotion, but ultimately we became more certain during the wait. When I arrived, the room was somber.  I looked at my partner, with his baby in my belly, and there were moments I was so close to changing my mind and walking out.  But I remembered the consequences and my other children. I stayed.

The process was annoyingly slow getting in there, and you’re in an awkward waiting area with other women who’s stories you don’t know,  and for me it was painful during the actual procedure, probably because my body is very used to hospital drugs.

It was painful only for a moment.  When it was done, I felt huge relief!  I felt I had made the right very difficult choice, for the better life of myself and all of my loved ones.  I hope someday that I can have a baby with my partner, but I am okay if that never happens.

Today it’s been 9 months since my abortion, and sometimes I think how sick I’d probably be right now if I’d kept going with the pregnancy.  Because right now, instead of being in the hospital, my health has improved so much that I am in remission, and I still have my intact colon. I feel better than I ever have, and that has meant I can earn money and spend lots of time with my growing children who need me.  I would not go back and change the choice I made.  Im happy it was an option for me and covered by Canadian health care.

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