by Neha

March 13, 2020

I feel like I lost something today.


I made the decision to terminate my pregnancy at a low point. I was succumbing to the symptoms one feels in the first trimester and I was starving of emotional support. I didn’t want to do this alone.


I went with the rational choice but it took a while for my heart to catch up. I think it’s still working to get there. I made a powerful decision to embrace the life track I was on. To look after myself before I look after anyone else.


I will not let myself down. This is the promise I will keep. I will do everything I can to exercise my freedom and be true to myself. I will practice more self-care. I will practice better boundaries. I will not bend to my surroundings. My decisions are my own to live with. I won’t ever let anyone decide what I want for me.


When I first found out I was pregnant, I was excited. I wanted to keep my baby. I loved the father but I wasn’t sure he loved me. We both are busy and don’t live in the same city but he drives out to see me whenever he can. Working as a medical resident, he often has weeks of sleepless nights and long days where I won’t hear from him much. When we meet, it is always special. I’m glad he was there for me today.


I took my time deciding before I was ready to terminate. His absence for much of the days I was pregnant made me realize I would be doing this on my own. I realized then that I wanted a partner much more than I wanted a child. When you live a full life as a single woman committed to friends, family, career and personal time, you don’t fuss about your partner’s whereabouts much. Things are different when you’re alone in your room for days thinking of the man you might be tying yourself to for life by having his child, whether or not you stay together. His absence was a red flag for me.


My family doctor asked if it was a planned or unplanned pregnancy. When I told him it was unplanned, he asked me how well I knew the guy. I said I know him well enough but he doesn’t live here. He then urged me to rush to the women’s clinic as it closed in the next hour. They had all the info I would need to know where and how I could terminate the pregnancy. I asked him, what if I want to keep it? He began listing all the appointments and all the work ahead of me, almost as if to intimidate me or make a point of what I would be up against if I decided to have this baby on my own.


All I wanted was to listen to my own voice. Not the fear of my partner, friends, family or society. I did have two friends and my sister support my decision to keep the baby. The father said he wasn’t there yet but he would support me as best as he could. Over the next two weeks of my pregnancy I didn’t feel supported. As much as I knew single moms with a stable income could thrive, I had to come to terms with the fact that it doesn’t need to be this way. I wanted my baby but I didn’t want it like this. I wanted my whole heart in it, not part of it. I had to give myself permission to be selfish. Whether that meant keeping the child or giving it up, it is ultimately our own choice to decide what is best for our life and the baby.


I realized how isolating pregnancy can be. I was alone in how I felt. Struggling to do what was best for me when I wasn’t entirely sure of myself, I rushed to the pharmacy to buy prenatal vitamins and then I rushed to the women’s clinic as my doctor instructed, to get info on abortion. Anytime anyone would talk about termination I would get sad. It felt wrong. I am pro-choice but I do see the loss of a viable pregnancy as something worth grieving. Abortion should remain legal and I am so thankful to live in a country where it is safe, accessible and free. Abortion also doesn’t need to be dehumanized or taken lightly for us to accept it as a reality many people face.


I remember having my legs up right before they put me to sleep. I was 9.5 weeks, scheduled for my D&C a whole week after I had made up my mind. I felt every minute of that week. The wait was draining. After the procedure, I woke up crying, teeth chattering, bleeding into the blue sheets atop the hospital bed in the recovery room. Other women were sobbing, some asleep, others in a daze. I felt the loss immediately and it felt cold.


I knew I made the right decision but it was taking time for my heart to catch up to my head. Pregnancy felt like a daze, I was sick all the time and dissociating from the baby I initially thought I’d keep. I wanted it to be over so desperately and when it was I felt myself missing the child I could have had. I knew that being a parent wasn’t something you choose to do on your good days; you have to choose to be a parent everyday, even the bad days when you’re not yourself. My decision to terminate ultimately stemmed from how alone I felt, how weak I was beginning to feel, how my job and relationships started to suffer and the bond initially felt with the baby was fleeting. I deserved to have my child born into better circumstances, to welcome my baby to a life that could support us both. Parenting will always be a shitstorm but you get to choose when that shitstorm hits.


Babies don’t come with guarantees. Being a parent can’t be undone. Wishing I didn’t have to make the decision was as best as removing the option from the situation altogether. While you don’t go back to life as if nothing happened, I now have a renewed sense of self and gratitude for the life I’ve built so far. I recognize where my values are, and in time I hope to build a future I feel more confident bringing a new life into. Any child I have deserves to have a happy mother that can give with her whole heart.


Today I did lose something but it’s not what I had initially thought. I lost the woman that bent to her surroundings; the woman who I used to be. Today, I became a woman that listened to all parts of herself and chose

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