Her Bad Mother recently posted about abortion and that set the stage for my own thoughts to wander back to “that day” as I call it. I decided to open up, a bit more than normal, and tell you my story as well.
When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I was ecstatic. Overjoyed. I woke my mother up at 5AM to call her and tell her she was going to be a grandmother. She mumbled something like, “That’s nice dear. Call me back later,” and hung up the phone. I sat there, with my EPT test, giddy with excitement, and nobody to tell. Funny that I called my mother before I told my husband, but that’s another story for another day. That was in 1988. I was 21 years old and I couldn’t wait to be a mother.
Her father and I divorced in 1991 and I moved to Richmond, Virginia. It was not easy being a single parent, but I loved her so completely, that I would have done anything to provide for her. Anything.
Then I met The Man Thing. We’ve been together ever since my move to Richmond. Over the course of the years, several times I had gotten pregnant but those pregnancies always ended in miscarriages for whatever reason. I did not think I could get pregnant and carry a child to term any longer.
My last miscarriage when I was 30 was the hardest. I had to have a D&C procedure (again) as I had miscarried another child. I was two months pregnant and already that little person had taken a hold of my heart. I was completely distraught and slipped into a deep depression for a few weeks after the procedure and gave up on ever being able to have another child.
My daughter was to be my one and only child so I resigned myself to that fact and lavished all the love and attention and praise I had to give on her.
Due to the complications and not being able to have a pregnancy go to term, I did not plan on having any other children. Imagine my surprise then when, at the age of 32, I discovered I was pregnant again.
I had resigned myself to the fact that I could not have any additional children. Therefore, I did not want to go back to diapers and bottles and late night feedings. To diaper rash and ear infections. I enjoyed having a child that was fairly self-sufficient and could get things for herself. Who didn’t need my assistance and care 24/7. What on earth was I going to do with a newborn to uproot my entire world?
While the thought of an abortion crossed my mind, I knew it was not something I would follow through with. The emotions and feelings I experienced just from that final D&C procedure told me that I was not strong enough to follow through. TMT and I were having problems at the time, and I thought that perhaps this little one would be the thing to bring us closer together.
So Jonathan was born and became a part of our little family. Having a child with TMT was a totally different experience. Since April was not his biological child, he did not push when he disagreed with my parenting. He would tell me what he thought I should do, but the ultimate decision was always mine. With Jonathan, however, things were different. He was extremely overprotective, judgmental, nothing I did as a mother for “his” son was ever good enough.
Problems in our relationship progressed and on August 24, 2001 I left with my two children on a bus headed to New Hampshire.
While that was a terrifying and troubling period in my life, it is for another post, another day. I had a job as a paralegal in New Hampshire, friends, my family, and I was trying to rebuild my life again. He would not allow it and, in the end, I eventually returned back to Virginia with his son or face a few years in jail.
Promises were made, emotions were played upon and, eventually, I moved back in with him in 2002. I was bound and determined to not have any more children with him, however, and religiously made sure I had birth control in place.
Late July of 2002 I started having bouts of nausea. I was working for an extremely demanding attorney at the time and just thought I was burning the candle at both ends too much and that was the reason for my sickness. I dealt with it as best I could and just ignored the symptoms. I’d had my monthly visitor so I couldn’t be pregnant.
August came and the nausea got worse and my visitor was late. So I took a home pregnancy test and realized I was pregnant. I did not want another child. Not with him. Life had been a living hell and I was not going to add to that hell and make my life worse.
I called our local clinic and found out I could only have an abortion up to my 12th week. After that, the clinic would not perform the abortion unless it was a medical emergency and my life was in danger. I made an appointment with my OB/GYN, the same lady who delivered Jonathan, to confirm the pregnancy and find out how far along I was.
I was 10 weeks pregnant. I had 2 weeks in which to make a decision or forever be tied to this man twice over. I remember going home from the doctor’s office feeling completely and totally alone and empty. I couldn’t do this. I had always leaned towards the pro-life side of abortions because, to me, a child is a child the minute that tiny egg is fertilized.
But how could I not have an abortion? We were struggling to make ends meet. We were behind on our rent, our lights were always in danger of being disconnected every month because we couldn’t pay the bills. How could I bring another mouth into this world and not be able to care for it?
I made list upon list as to why we should not have another child. I finally told him a few days after my doctor’s appointment and told him that I had made the decision to have an abortion. I also told him that, while he had a say in the matter as well, my decision was firm and it would take an act of God to change my mind.
So we scheduled an appointment to go to the clinic and get the paperwork done and schedule my abortion. I remember getting out of the car and walking to the building. I felt as though a heavy weight was tied to me, making it difficult to walk. That was the longest walk I have ever taken to go anywhere. I had trouble breathing, I started crying, and my palms were so sweaty. I hadn’t even entered the building yet and I was on the verge of a breakdown.
I filled out all of the paperwork and went to talk with the counselor who informed me that I only had about 7 days in which to take care of the pregnancy or they would be unable to help me. I had to pay for it in advance and then they would schedule the surgery. I tried to think of it as a medical procedure – not that I was killing my unborn child. My insurance would not cover the cost so I had to come up with $250 out of pocket within the next few days.
I went home, feeling, feeling, I don’t know how to explain what I was feeling. Sad, angry, depressed, scared shitless…everything all at once. Knowing that if I followed through with the procedure and I was able to come up with the money, my soul would be damned in hell for all eternity. Even that did not sway my decision. Now all I had to do was find the money.
Easier said then done. I seriously think that TMT undermined my abilities to shuffle some bills around and put things off so that I could have enough money to pay for the procedure. As it turned out, I was not able to come up with the money in the allotted amount of time and I was faced with having to go through with the pregnancy. The pregnancy that I did not want.
I don’t know when my mindset changed. I don’t know if it was the first flutterings I felt, that first kick, or the picture of a perfectly formed little person at 12 weeks that I almost exterminated, like a bug. But change it did.
I grew to love that little bug inside me. I talked to him, I tickled his feet when they pressed against my stomach to make him move and when I was alone, I would sing to him. (Trust me, you don’t want to hear me sing).
My love grew even more so for this little person because I knew that he would be the last little person I would ever have. I made the decision, shortly after realizing that I could not have the abortion, that I would not have any other children. I was going to have my tubes tied after he was born. No more unplanned pregnancies, no more heartbreaking miscarriages. Just. No. More.
Now don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against women who do feel the need to have an abortion. There are plenty of reasons why I can see a woman wanting to abort a child she cannot raise, and while I don’t agree with it, I do believe that it is every woman’s right to do what she wishes with her body. Yes, there are women out there who cannot conceive who would give anything in the world to adopt that child you do not want. There are women out there just aching to hold a child in their arms. I also understand where some women just could not do that either. I personally could not carry a child for nine months and then hand that child over to another woman. It would make me crazy. But I understand that every woman is different and every woman views the subject differently, and I don’t stand in judgment of anyone. I can only speak on how I feel about it.
I look at him today, 6 years later, and cannot imagine my life without him. I cry when I think of what his fate could have been. That I almost killed him. I never want him to know that I almost aborted him. It may come up one day in the future, when he is grown, and maybe then I can talk to him about it. But I will not be the one to bring up the subject. It will be my dirty little secret that I will carry to the grave if need be.
If not for the grace of God and the lack of money, he would not be here today. I am eternally grateful that he is though. There has to be a reason for that. He may be bound for greatness. He may be bound for fame. Whatever his future holds, however, I know it will be awesome and he will change lives with his sweet face and loving manner.
I carry that guilt with me. Even though he is alive and well, that “what if” of it all still haunts me. Perhaps that is why I unconsciously treat him just a little more special, give him just a little more candy or treats, just a little more love. My way of “making up” for what I almost did. For what I cannot ever forget.