It was the right decision, but I grieve what it could have been

by Marieke

June 30, 2021

It started when I noticed that my boobs were swollen, which isn’t that strange for me as it usually happened the week before my period. But this time it was strange, because my period wouldn’t be in another 3 weeks. A thought came to mind “What if I was pregnant”? I even googled it, but I waved the idea away.

In the end it was a ridiculous thought even right?! I had the IUD and I had recently checked with my gynecologist. A few weeks prior I had felt that it might not be in the right place. Upon first check it was a bit low, but upon second check the doctor assured me several times that it was fine, and sent me away for 3 months. This feeling of safety had led me in the first place to the decision that it was okay to have sex without a condom. A conscious decision, because we both didn’t have diseases, and I had the IUD to protect us from an unwanted pregnancy.

That month my boobs continued to hurt, up to the point I had trouble sleeping. Overall I was also feeling a bit sad and unstable, and really tired. I even thought I needed to tell the guy I am seeing (who was away for a few weeks visiting family), that we should probably start using condoms again, because I get too panicky thinking I would be pregnant. My period was late, but that wasn’t an immediate panic. My period comes late at times, caused by stress and lack of sleeping. But after a few days, I decided to take a pregnancy test regardless. It didn’t even take the full testing time, it came out positive very quickly.

That moment felt like the floor was swept from underneath me, I felt total panic, stress, sadness…it felt like the world fell apart. How the hell had this happened? Me, who had always kept the IUD while being single, because I lacked trust in condoms alone. Me, who had my IUD checked when I felt it wasn’t in the right place. Us, who maybe had sex 5x without condoms. Me, who wasn’t even supposed to be ovulating that week. Me, being 33, who now needed to make the decision whether to have a child or not. The hardest decision in my life, because it was clear that I somehow was in the right age to have a child, that I don’t have financial problems or mental health problems. Yet again, I have never been sure I wanted children, but the only thing I was always sure about was that I never wanted to raise a child alone… Plus the guy I am seeing, it was so early on, I certainly did not want to be forced into a relationship because of this pregnancy.

Plus it just didn’t feel the right time for me. I am just enjoying my life in Berlin. Having fun with friends, seeing this cute guy, doing really well in my job. The decision was clear, I wasn’t gonna go through with this pregnancy. I called a few friends for support, who immediately came over and I went in full organisation mode. That whole weekend was dominated on googling how to approach the abortion, how it could have happened, and what steps to take. I live in Germany, and that means a woman needs to do mandatory counseling, after which you need  to take three days of waiting. I googled where I needed to go for the check-up, the counselling and  the abortion.

On Monday I went to the gynecologist, who indeed confirmed I was about 5 weeks pregnant, and also informed me  that the IUD was nowhere to be found. She gave me the right information on where to do counseling and where I could do the abortion. I called the places, arranged for counseling the same day and the medical abortion process to start on Thursday. I also called the guy I was seeing to inform him, something I was really scared of as I was afraid it would change his view of me. I enjoyed the carefree dating we had so far, and this was something really scary and painful. He was very supportive, and provided with a listening ear.

From that day the “Reflection period” started. One of the worst weeks of my life. I had already known since Saturday I was pregnant and not wanted to keep it, why make me wait 3 more days. That week felt like my body wasn’t mine anymore, these strange big boobs, this pain. In this week I also realised though I was sure of my decision, I felt somehow a connection to this clump of cells, a respect and somehow love. I sent it love in my thoughts and told it that I loved it even though it wasn’t the right time. At the same time I was really looking forward to Thursday to start the abortion process, and the Saturday after where I knew I would end my pregnancy. This feeling was hard, because somehow it felt like I wasn’t allowed to feel that relief. Feelings of shame, guilt, grief and sadness, as well as relief alternated.

The day of the abortion was relatively easy, I had cramps but it wasn’t very painful nor traumatic. When it ended I just felt sadness and grief. I buried the fruit in my plant, I somehow felt it deserved that respect and love from me and it made me feel better to keep it with me.

And now a few weeks later, I feel relatively good. I stand by my decision, I feel relief and feel ready to pick up my life again. I made the right decision for me, and this decision I made out of love for myself, but also out of love for what could have been, because I wasn’t ready for it. We weren’t ready for it. I feel so lucky and grateful for all the support from my friends and the guy I am seeing. My friends have been great, a listening ear, a hug and a lot of understanding for what I have been going through. And the guy I am seeing has been great, he has made me feel like I am not alone and has been really supportive, warm and giving me a lot of space to talk about it.

Yet at the same time, I also still feel a lot of grief and sadness. Grief, because even though I didn’t want this, I somehow still feel love and respect for what could have been. What would it have looked like? Would it have been a girl or a boy? Would it be the same things I do? What interests, hobbies would it have had?

Overall I also feel sadness and compassion for myself that I had to go through this, but feel an even greater sadness for women who have to go through this alone. I can’t even imagine how scary it is, if you are alone in this situation, or you feel that there is no one you can talk to. All women deserve support, support, warmth, compassion and love in this situation. Therefore I wanted to write down my story, I hope that it helps you somehow. If you are someone that is going through this, I hope you have someone that supports you and gives you love and warmth, but otherwise know that I am sending that to you wherever you are in the world. Know that you are allowed to make this decision, no matter what your reason is. Whether you are 14 or 45. You are allowed to feel relieved, but at the same time feel grief for what could have been. All your feelings are valid. You are loved.


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