Grief, heartbreak and newfound determination to be the mother I want to be.

by Anonymous

May 11, 2020

The pain and grief is immense, I’m hoping sharing my story will help both myself and anyone looking for a story that feels most similar to theirs. I’ve spent hours reading SYA stories before and after my abortion, hoping to find more voices like mine, some comfort.

I’ve always been pro-choice but never did I think it’d be me making the choice. I had come to believe I was most likely infertile, I have endometriosis and despite a long-term relationship where no precaution was taken (had we conceived at the time we would have happily welcomed a baby), I never even had a pregnancy scare. So when that little pink + appeared on the test I was certain was unnecessary for me to take (my period was two weeks late but I had been dealing with an obvious hormone imbalance for several months, I did not believe pregnancy was to blame for my missed period but decided it was best to rule it out), only a month after dating this new man I was excited about but was only beginning to get to know, I was stunned. I said “holy shit” aloud while alone in my parent’s bathroom, I had driven the 10 hours to stay with them during quarantine, miles away from what had been my reality before covid. After the initial shock, I immediately felt an enormous sense of purpose and joy along with the undeniable anxious thought, “how am I going to do this?”

I’m 30 and badly want to be a mother, but I was coming out of what had easily been the most challenging year of my adult life. I had just started my own business that despite doing well was still in its early stages of sustaining itself and me (and was now forced to close due to covid), my mental health issues (anxiety and hypochondria) had reached an all-time high, my dysfunctional coping mechanisms (a very real online shopping addiction leading to thousands of dollars in debt and zero savings) was out of control, I had ended a three-year relationship with a man I was sure I’d marry and have a family with and dated a series of men who were all wrong for me and caused deep pain and confusion after having been genuinely loved by someone I had amicably parted ways with. The year had knocked me on my ass and I was barely functioning, having panic attacks at work and making unnecessary trips to the ER convinced I was dying. I had the thought, this is it. Time to rise to the occasion and be the best mother I can possibly be. My higher calling. Time to turn this all around.

I didn’t know how but I knew I was going to do it. Then I called the father to tell him the news.

His initial reaction was better than I imagined it might be and gave me a sense of hope that we’d be good parents together. We had only known each other a couple of months and hadn’t yet had a serious conversation about anything and suddenly here we were discussing a life growing inside of me and what that meant for us and our future. He calmly suggested we take this one step at a time and encouraged me to make an appointment at Planned Parenthood to confirm the pregnancy. He apologized for not being able to go with me and hated the idea of me being miles from home. “Hey, everything is going to be okay, okay?” He said.

I  made my appointment the next day. Yes, I was pregnant. 6 weeks 5 days. They asked if I wanted to see the ultrasound photo and I said yes. I sat on the table in my gown, looking down at the little bean growing inside me and cried. The nurse asked if I knew what I’d like to do and I said I wasn’t sure. She assured me that was normal and encouraged me to take some time, allow it to sink in.

We talked on the phone for two hours that night, again he calmly showed his support and said the decision was mine, that he agreed I should take some time to think about it, that he knows life sometimes hits you with unexpected things and you just have to adapt. I felt comforted knowing I had his support. He was consistent and kind for the next couple of days as I tried to make a decision. I was painfully aware I had three lives and futures to think about, it wasn’t just mine I had to consider. Also 30, he had recently gone back to school and had a few years to go before graduating and starting his career, was working a job he didn’t love and didn’t produce the kind of income necessary to comfortably raise a child, and had had a rough couple of years. He was finally finding some stability and trajectory for the rest of his life. He was just getting started. Nevertheless, I was leaning toward becoming a mother, even thinking about the alternative made me cry like I’ve never cried before. I started taking prenatal vitamins, eliminated coffee and alcohol, and started googling things I was uncertain about- determined to make sure I wasn’t harming the little life inside of me.

I told him I was thinking about keeping it, that I couldn’t even consider any other option without falling apart, and everything changed. His support I realized was only there when he assumed I’d likely decide to get an abortion, the “it’s your choice” being a performance. I imagine he was simply regurgitating what he had been taught was the “right” thing to say, but he didn’t mean it. He became terrified, was adamant he did NOT want to be a father, did not have the means to raise a child, was getting a vasectomy asap, couldn’t believe this was happening, couldn’t understand “who would bring a baby into the world right now, with the president, climate change, a global pandemic”, who only imagined a future of struggle and difficulty, was certain he’d have to drop out of school and work a job he hated for the rest of his life, and apparently had friends who had unplanned children that negatively affected the rest of their lives. He said he had no attachment whatsoever to the pregnancy, saw it only as a problem needing to be dealt with, he was certain carrying this baby to term was the wrong choice.

I was devastated. I cried for days and agonized over my decision, the idea of forcing fatherhood on someone who so desperately didn’t want it, of having a child who’s already so unwanted by one of their parents. I imagined co-parenting with this person for the rest of my life, or preparing to be a single mother. I told him he could just forget about me, that I’d move back home and raise the baby with the support of my mother who has stood by me during this whole process, ready to support whatever decision I made. He said absolutely not, he would never allow for a child of his to exist in the world without being involved, he couldn’t live with himself or his conscience, which is why he resisted the idea of me having a baby so much. He saw it as a death sentence, like the rest of his life was over.

I thought about my financial troubles, years of paying off debt, no savings, mental health issues, a father I couldn’t rely on, a baby he didn’t want. I wanted so much more for my child, so much more. They deserved more, I thought. I wanted so badly to be the best mother I could be and felt I didn’t have the resources necessary to make that possible. I wasn’t lacking the love and commitment to be a good mother but the more I thought about the logistics, it just didn’t seem fair. I knew what I wanted but I kept thinking about the father and this future baby. I didn’t want my child to grow up with so much uncertainty and struggle, with parents who couldn’t agree or cooperate. I started to feel like it was time for me to let it go, if I waited any longer I wouldn’t be able to do it.

I wrote a letter to what would be my child, apologizing for not being ready for them, asking them to please come back to me one day, telling them how much I feel they deserve, how much I want to be able to offer them, promising them I won’t let their existence be in vain, that I’ll do better. I want to start working toward the mom I want to be one day, the mom I’d be proud to be. I want to save money, I want to pay off my debt, I want to work hard at my mental health and self care, I want to be stable, I only want to date people who respect and love me, I want to demand more for myself, accept better. When I learn I’m pregnant, I want it to only be joyous news shared between me and my partner. I don’t want there to be a shred of doubt that the timing and circumstance is right, or abortion to even be a topic of discussion. I want my child to have parents who love and accept them from the very beginning, who can co-parent well. I’m so sorry, little one. You deserve everything and I hope to be the one to give it to you.

I went to my appointment two days ago, he insisted on coming with me and despite the pain and resentment I was feeling I was happy to have him there. He promised he’d buy all my favorite snacks and we’d spend the day together in bed watching whatever I wanted. He was told to wait in his car due to covid. The procedure itself was traumatizing and painful, but it was because the doctor had trouble finding my vein to administer the pain and anxiety medication. He said he’d give me the shot in my cervix instead but that it’d take a little longer to kick in. I didn’t start to feel them working until after the procedure was finished. The nurse held my hand and reminded me to breathe and I am so thankful she was there, I’m not sure I could have made it through without her. For anyone considering a surgical abortion, I don’t mean to scare you. My suggestion would be to take the anxiety/pain medication they offer you, from what I hear most women find a lot of relief from the meds and have a relatively easy experience. And despite the pain I felt, it was over in a few minutes. Everyone in the room was supportive, gentle, and kind. The nurse held my hand. I was terrified, emotional, and heartbroken but I did it. If I can do it, you can do it. They escorted me to the recovery area while I began to feel the effects of the medication and sipped some ginger ale they gave me. They came in at some point and asked me to go to the bathroom to check my bleeding. I had none. They said I was good to go. We indeed spent the rest of the day in bed eating snacks and watching Netflix. He rubbed my back, adjusted my heating pad for the cramps, took my temperature, and was very kind. I was high, somewhat dissociated and in relatively good spirits all day which surprised me. Today however has been different.

I was afraid for him to leave this morning, knowing his presence had been both comforting and distracting. I was afraid to be alone to face my grief. I spent the entire day in bed, wailing. I don’t think I’ve ever been so heartbroken. I’m trying to remind myself to just allow the feelings to come, don’t fight them, just feel it. I want to give myself permission to feel anything that comes up. As much as I wish I could be sedated again today because the emotional pain feels almost unbearable, I don’t want to delay the inevitable. I know I’m bound to feel these things whether it’s today or months from now. Despite it being right, despite my decision to choose a better future for my child I hope to one day have, the grief is real. I feel angry. I feel sad. I feel certain I made the right choice, and then I don’t. I might always wonder what you would’ve looked like, or been like, but I don’t think the what-ifs are fair. I have to believe my day will come, my baby will come, and I’ll be a great mother when I’m ready. I have to believe there will come a moment, maybe not today, when all of this makes sense. A moment when I DO know for certain that I made the right choice for me and my future family. I do believe that. That day will come. For today, I grieve and I cry and I remember why I did this. No matter what, I’ve been changed forever and I refuse to go back to how things were, I want to be better for me and my future children.

As for the dad, he was completely MIA today. He had assured me he’d be by my side through all of this, that he’d be here for me. It’s only been a day and already he’s nowhere to be found. His life immediately went back to normal, he spent the afternoon with friends while I laid in bed sobbing. I eventually reached out and said I was having a difficult time and needed some support, he stopped by with a bottle of wine, stayed for maybe 2 minutes and said he was running late for a dinner date and couldn’t stay. He stood above me as I cried and said “I hate to see you like this, hope the wine helps” and left. When I later texted and said I was hurt and needed his support, he didn’t respond. My best friend brought me dinner and sat with me in bed while I cried. We agreed his behavior today should only affirm my decision, that someone who lacks compassion is not someone I want to be raising children with.

I hope this story helps someone. Sharing is cathartic. I know when I was looking for stories, I was hoping for one like mine. I read so many written by people who were certain abortion was the right choice as soon as they found out they were pregnant, but that wasn’t true for me. I read one story written by someone also in their 30’s who had a well paying job and a supportive partner, who loved children deeply, who chose to have an abortion because she knew her child would inevitably have to endure unnecessary and unfair pain and hardship. Her decision was deeply painful and difficult but she wrote “abortion, for me, was the first and last decision I made as a mother” and that has resonated with me. She wanted more for her children, and so do I.

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