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I’m hoping we can normalize the conversation enough so we can feel brave.

by cc

March 13, 2018

Content Warning: suicide

I was with my partner for a year. We had just gone on a glorious Euro-trip and when we would arrive home, we’d be opening the door to our first home living together. After a week of unexplainable weight gain and nausea, I visited my doctor to find out I was pregnant. I was shocked; I was on birth control and never missed a pill… then my doctor explained that it was probably the time difference in Europe. I felt so irresponsible. I was devastated because I knew we couldn’t keep it. I cried from the moment she told me and during the bus ride home. I cried as I walked up to my doorway, and I cried as I stood in front of my partner. He knew.

My partner asked me what I wanted to do, and my instant reaction was, “we can’t keep it.” We both knew this was the right decision. We didn’t have any money, we were both in debt, we were both still finding our footing in the world. We had just moved in together, and we hadn’t even had the chance to enjoy it. He held me as I cried for almost three hours… the saddest day of my life.

In the days leading up to the procedure, we grew attached to what was growing inside me. We had a “family outing” at our local arena, we ate at our favourite restaurant where we’d pretend it was someone’s birthday just to get a free cake, my partner rubbed my stomach when we went to sleep, sometimes he’d lay his head on me and I’d imagine us laying in bed with a real baby, and I talked to my belly any chance I could get. We even dealt with all the physical symptoms. My partner held my hand during every cramp and we went and indulged many of my cravings. It was like we were on our way to keep it, even though we knew we weren’t.

In retrospect, that probably wasn’t a good idea. In retrospect, I believe we wanted that baby, we just wouldn’t have been able to give it the quality of life that we knew it deserved given our place in life. One thing I know for sure, is that baby would have been loved. We would have been poor, but we would have had so much love in our lives.

The day of the procedure, I went alone because my partner had to work. It was the scariest day of my life – still was/is. He picked me up after it was over, and I was devoid of any emotion. I tried to take my own life one night, because I couldn’t handle the way I was feeling. I had never felt so useless, vacant, empty… and my partner was there to witness it all. To this day, I haven’t forgiven myself for doing that not only to myself, but to him. I know it wasn’t intentional, but I wish I had been stronger for both of us.

The next 4 years after that was a whirlwind. I never learned how to deal with the grief and loss I felt. I never even knew it was grief that I felt. It took me forever to seek counselling. The whole experience took a toll on my partner and I, our relationship… everything. I still don’t know how deeply it affected him. We’re no longer together and everyday I think, “What if we kept it?”

4 years later I’m looking back and I wish I had dealt with my grief better. I wish I had seen a counsellor sooner and sought support. I wish post-procedure care wasn’t just focused on the physical but the emotional things. I know now why I was so sad. I missed that baby. I miss that baby right now. I really wanted that kid…

I’ve always been pro-choice and I believe abortion is the most individual choice that a woman can make. For the women who make this decision, go through the physical and emotional pain, I would say, we do it for the quality of life and the standard of family that we want to uphold. I used to look at my decision and feel shame, but now (after lots of counselling) I feel bravery. I was making a decision that I believed was the best for my future family – and that was not an easy decision.

1 in 3 women in Canada have abortions every year. The nurses who took care of me told me they see 7-8 women a day of all ages. I believe the best way to extinguish the stigma of abortion, and bring some solace to the women and partners who have experienced its effects is to talk about it. I hope we begin to normalize it – not minimize the difficulty of the experience, but normalize the conversation so we don’t have to feel shame anymore. I’m hoping we can normalize the conversation enough so we can feel brave.

Remember that our stories are ours to tell. We’d love to hear your story too!