Friday, July 07, 2006

When Choice Hurts

Posted by Anonymous (as always, no relation to previous Anonymous posters. )

If you'd like to use this space to vent or rant or tell the stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal (or paternal!) mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...


This is going to be the hardest thing I've ever done. I'm living with a secret that is slowly destroying me. I briefly commented about it on Blogging Baby, but even then I lied a little. I changed a very big detail about this secret on that comment. I'm writing as Paige, here and there, but that's not my name. I'm not even writing this from home, in the fear that someone might track me down somehow. I can't tell anyone else, so I'm coming here.

I am a married mother of two children, and I terminated my fourth pregnancy (the first ended in miscarriage). I told my family and friends, including my husband, that I miscarried and had to have a D&C because it was incomplete. My husband was out-of-town on business at the time and I told him not to come home because I could handle it, it was no big deal. The truth: I was planning an abortion.

I didn't want another child. I didn't want to be pregnant. I was happy with things the way they were. I was getting my life back (my youngest child was three) and I never planned on having three children. Being pregnant was incredibly difficult for me, both times (again, the first ended in miscarriage quite early). I was sick, all the time, and was hospitalized a lot with both pregnancies. I came close to death when I was pregnant with my second child. I just didn't want to be pregnant again. I was afraid.

When we found out we were pregnant with my son, we were shocked but ultimately happy. Our second child was planned. When I took the pregnancy test the last time, I cried. I cried and cried and I never was happy about it. I never got that feeling that everything would work out and that we were being blessed. It all felt wrong and horrible and I wanted no part of it, even though my husband was very supportive and was saying all the right things: it'll be fine, we'll get through it, we'll get the best medical care to make sure you're okay this time.

So when my husband went out-of-town, I invented some spotting. I made up a doctor's appointment where he didn't hear a heartbeat or see movement on the ultrasound. I pretended I was having a miscarriage and I went to a clinic and I terminated. I cried, not because I was sad about terminating, but because I wished I had never been put in that situation to begin with. I never, ever thought that I would be someone who had an abortion. I believed, and still believe, in a woman's right to choose, but when that woman was me...well, it sucked.

I still think I did the right thing. Another pregnancy, according to my obstetrician, would have been hell on me. There was no guarantee that I would have lived through it, since I barely lived through the last one. Besides that, I can barely mother the two children I have now. Every day is a struggle to make sure I don't damage them the way my father damaged me. Every day I have to consciously choose to be kind and supportive and to make sure that I don't destroy their souls. Things were bad in my childhood home, and it's hard to break the cycle. It's really, really hard. Add another child in the mix? It didn't seem like a good idea.

So even though I don't regret having the abortion, I have to live with this secret by myself. It's killing me. Things have gotten better as the years have gone by. I've forgotten what my due date would have been, I've even forgotten the date of the termination. Sometimes I go days without thinking about it. But keeping this secret has changed me. I never, ever kept anything from my husband before. I feel like I've built this wall but I can't ever tell him the truth. It would hurt him too deeply.

That's how I find myself here. I know I won't get a lot of support. I don't expect it, that's for sure. I just had to tell someone.


Anonymous said...

Hey, everyone has their secrets and everyone is entitled to make their own decisions. i think you did the right thing and are doing the right thing. It would be terrible to bring an unwanted child into the world.

CPA Mom said...

I know you said you didn't think you'd get a lot of support here. I myself am pro-life. But...I SUPPORT YOU! You were put in a terrible position, and are clearly suffering then and now. I cannot and will not judge you - that is the work of G_d, not of man. Know that you are a special person, and I APPLAUD you for your courage to speak of this ordeal. My prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

You did not go la-ti-da'ing into the clinic with a ho-hum "I think I'll terminate a pregnancy" attitude. You did not make an "immoral choice" nor did you make a bad decision. You did what was in the best interest of every single person's life. And it was the best decision anyone in your situation could have made. I think, and truly believe, that no one ever WANTS an abortion but it is a medical option we are all luckily enough (for now, until too many nutjob politicos get in power or on courts) to have.

Please, please, please stop feeling guilty. It's a fucking shame society lays this extra burden of guilt on people. Unburden yourself of the guilt and think of it as a literal survival move.

And, if you're interested, there are so many people like you out there (in similar situations with similar feelings) that you can read and contribute anonymously. It's probably very theraputic. I found it accidentally through Google, go figure ... I'm one of those whose wacky searches triggers bells on site meter, now! Anyway, here it is:

And to anyone who has the audacity to pass any type of judgmental comment on you or try and offer you some sort of wackadoo religion, fuck 'em. FUCK 'EM.

Anonymous said...

I'm with the other commenters here. You made a hard excruciating choice and it was the best one for you. I'm sorry you have to keep this secret and I'm sorry it is making you feel so guilty. I hope it is helpful to you to let it out here and that you gain a little bit of yourself back to know that there are people out there who don't judge you harshly.
Thank you for your post.

toyfoto said...

Count me among your supporters, too. There are no right and wrongs here. I'm sure there are people out there who think it's black and white, but that, I think, is the problem with our society right now. We are so intollerant of each other that we can only accept our own thoughts as being the only correct ones.

I'm sorry you are in pain, and I hope you will someday be able to forgive yourself for what has you conflicted. Choices like these are never easy, that's for sure. I also hope that from sharing this secret here helps take away some of your burden.

Christine said...

I truly believe you made the best choice. That whole time in your life was very traumatic, so it is not surprising that you are still living with the after affects. As with any traumatic experience, your life will never be the same (just ask anyone who's lost someone close to them), but you will slowly get used to how things are after the experience.

Just like you said, you can now go days without thinking about are slowly healing. May you continue to get stronger as the years go by.

Hold you're head high and know that you made a very unselfish decision, one that many would not be strong enough to make. You had to think of what was best for your two kids.

Thank you for sharing that.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry. I can hardly bear to imagine how difficult it must have been for you, and how difficult it still is, knowing that you kept this from your husband.

You did what you had to do, what you thought was best. End of story.

DD said...

I don't know if you plan on ever telling your husband, but I hope that if you do, you do it sooner rather than later.

I have very mixed feelings about this, but I have to admit that you chose what you thought your best option was under the circumstances. My only concern is that you have taken any necessary steps to insure that there are no future unplanned pregnancies. You didn't mention how long ago it was, so I apologize if my comment comes when you may already be beyond childbearing age.

I hope that with this post, you can lesson the grief and guilt you have been carrying and instead focus that energy back into something good for you and your family.

nonlineargirl said...

You did what was right. It was not easy, and it might not feel good, but from what you have written you know it was right. Your ability to parent your children trumped this potential child. You have a responsibility to the children you have now.

Your desire not to die trumped too, as well it should. Not only is it completely reasonable to want to live, you can't be a good parent if you don't survive pregnancy.

I am sure it was hard to make that decision, but I would never question your choice.

Anonymous said...

man. no woman faced with the decision to carry a pregnancy to term or not is dealing with a simple decision. I hate anyone who attempts to paint people who choose abortion as evil. it's so much bigger than that.

I had an abortion, many years ago. it was absolutely the correct thing to do; and I won't attempt to justify having done it in this comment. it's no one's business but mine. it's my body. I had to do it. I did it. I have never looked back. my partner was supportive; completely supportive; I'm still with him. I have a child with him. I have no regret for my choice; and if I hadn't informed him of my decision, I still wouldn't regret it. my body. my choice.

I just wish I could impart my sense of righteousness about the decision I made; because you made the right decision for you. no one else needs to know, including your partner. I understand vacillating about wanting to share everything with him, but you don't need to. you can self-validate with this, because you made the choice that was correct. if he could see inside your head, all the reasons that went into your decision, he'd agree.

a HUGE hug for you. you are understood.

Anonymous said...

I had an abortion. I think that baby would be about 7 years old now. I don't remember exactly, because the memory has faded.

It was not the wrong decision, as I had been taking medication that resulted in a high probability of neural tube defects. And i was on the birth control pill.

The father was my fiance at the time. He was supportive. It affected me more then I thought it would.

We didn't make it. I think this is part of the reason.

You made a decision that was best for you. I applaud you for having the strength.

thegoddessanna said...

I wish I could hug you, even though I don't know who you are. But it'll come from the bottom of my heart if you ever need one.

ewe are here said...

I'm so sorry you are carrying this secret alone. You have no reason to feel guilty.

You found yourself in an extremely difficult situation, one which could very well have killed you. Literally and/or emotionally. I believe that not only did you clearly do the right thing for your situation, but that you actually owed it to yourself and your two existing children and your husband to make the decision you did. Why? Because it means you will continue to be there for them. Had you chosen the other path, that clearly might not have been the case.

And I say all this as a mother of one and another on the way. Please stop torturing yourself. You did what was best for you and your family. I only wish you didn't have to be so alone in your decision.

May peace find you.

kittenpie said...

Honey, how could you not expect support for something that you had to do? I would hope that any Basement visitor, and friend of HBM's would be bigger than that.

As for me, I agree with someone above who said that abortion is never easy. I am passionate that it should be a choice. But I don't think it is or should be a really easy one. And it obvisouly wasn't. But the fact that it has plagued you so heavily doesn't mean it wasn't the right choice for you, just that you are a thinking and feeling person who had a really hard decision to make about a scary situation. I can't tell you to let go of the guilt, only you can let yourself do that, but I can tell you that I am one more person who doesn't think you were wrong.

At the risk of writing more than you, may I also take this moment to applaud and support you in your other struggle - breaking, as you say, a cycle. This can really only be achieved in a conscious fashion for, as the old adage says, children learn what they live. And so I stand up and say to you - good for you for being strong and mindful of this and teaching your children a different way.

SUEB0B said...

I found this story so compelling that I linked to it over at Linkateria:

Anonymous said...

Honey, I haven't read any of the other comments, I can only hope every one was supportive and loving, because you absolutely did the right thing for you, for your family, and even for that little unborn one - in my belief system which includes reincarnation, there will be another chance in hopefully better circumstances. Just now, wasn't the right time. And kudos to you (as well as to HBM for providing the forum) for having the courage to tell your story.

Anonymous said...

It's me, the author of this piece. I cannot thank all of you enough, through my tears, for being so wonderful and supportive. I haven't actually cried since the termination, but those words up there...thank you. Just, thank you. I didn't realize just how healing this would be.

(dd: I won't be telling him. I don't think I'll ever tell him. He had a vasectomy not long after.)

Anonymous said...

You did what felt you had to do to survive. You had two children already who needed you alive. No mother wants to risk leaving her children motherless.

I wish for your sake and his that you could have told your husband, but clearly you must have had very good reasons not to or you wouldn't have put yourself through living with this secret for so long.

I'm glad the comments of others have helped you feel better, and I hope you continue to heal over time.

Mel said...

I am with all above who said you made the right choice for you and for your family. Especially considering the fact that hospitalization or death could have been involved.
We live in a country that offers abortion as a viable option in cases just like yours.
I will not ever say that a woman's choice in any situation like this is wrong. That's not only not my place, it's not my business. But I will tell you this: I had an abortion when I was eighteen and scared, and I am not sorry.
Neither should you be.
You have my deepest support.

Anonymous said...

I have a very close friend that had 2 abortions. I am pro-choice all the way.

Neither of those children would have had supportive fathers, and she would not have had a college degree. She now has 1 very healthy child, and another on the way.

I am so happy for you that you have finally had an outlet like this. I hope that you will find even more peace in time to come.

If there is a time that you feel guilt about this... remember that your 2 children have a mommy every day. You are an extremely brave lady.

Anonymous said...

I had an abortion several years ago. Like you, I never thought I would have one even though I believed in them theoretically. Then again, I never predicted I would find myself in the terrible situation I was in at the time. At that time I was already the mother of two children, but nothing about that pregnancy was right and I just wanted it gone, out of my body, done and over with. I went to Planned Parenthood for the proceedure, then for a followup visit at my regular doctors where I started explaining, justifying myself to the nurse. She stopped me and said the kindest words I ever heard, "Honey, you don't ever have to explain yourself to anyone." And she was right! I knew that, before, but her words really brought it home. You don't have to explain. It is your body. And if it is not right, it is not right. Bravo to you for knowing yourself and your own limitations.

Stephanie said...

Despite a tubal ligation, I had a pregnancy scare just months after my son was born (I was very, very late). My husband's reaction was "Oh well, I guess we'll just have another one." My thought was, "I can't do this again." I was so happy I didn't have to make the same difficult decision you did. There are many, many of us out here who support you and your decision. :)

Miguelita said...

I just want to echo what cpa-mom said. I am also pro-life but I respect yhow very difficult a decision you had to make and want to offer you support and understanding. My heart aches for you and I wish I could give you a big hug and a nice strong margarita.

This may not be a popular view but I also understand and respect your decision not to tell your husband. I am usually all for full disclosure, especially in relationships, but as I have grown older and slightly wiser I have grown to respect that sometimes things are better left unsaid.
Except here in the basement of course.

Anonymous said...

Everyone has already said such wonderful things to you, I'm just adding my support, understanding and shared experience, been there (in different circumstances) feel that pain and hope it will heal for both of us, and all the others.

Andrea said...

I can't really add much that other people haven't already said, except my personal support. You are brave, not only taking this decision solely on your own shoulders, but being able to make the decision in the first place. If you can't fully disclose it to your husband, that's okay too. It's for people like you that the laws governing a woman's right to choose were enacted. I applaud you for knowing what needed to be done, and not only doing it, but shouldering the burden alone so that your husband wouldn't live with the second guessing you're living with.

I hope writing about this in HBM's basement has helped get some of the burden off. You did what you thought best. Try not to be so hard on yourself for it.

Kristine said...

I hope the comments from you post give you some comfort and strength. You did what was right for you and for your family, and you did it with much thought and, clearly, agony.

It's unfortunate that people can be so judgmental, in effect "forcing" you to keep something like this a secret, when what you need most is support.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to lend you my 'vitrual support' - we all have things that we hide and I am glad you have made peace with this. By getting it out there and 'telling' I hope it makes it easier on you. Take Care

thordora said...

Don't feel guilty. Don't explain. I can relate to the knowledge that another child will kill you-and that's not your fault.

You were strong enough to tell your story, and strong enough to carry the burden all this time. You are brave in ways I couldn't be. Let go of the guilt, and revel in what you do have.

Sometimes the right choice isn't the easy one.

Hang in there.

Lisa said...

If I were in your situation I would have done the same thing. Honestly.

crazymumma said...

Oh, you have so much more support, and I suppose you have found that out. We all have to make difficult decisions, you are living with yours, and we support your decision! Anne

Anonymous said...

You do the best you can at the time and even though it's the hardest decision of your life, sometimes having an abortion IS the right thing to do.

It took me a really really long time to come to terms with that after my own abortion, but I got a lot of help from the message boards at a very neutral, non-judgemental place:

Just in case our support isn't quite enough.


Anonymous said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

I am pro-life but I'm also pro-choice. I do not judge you or blame you. You made the best decision for you. Don't feel guilty and do believe that you have support.