My baby would have been a month old today

It's 8 months ago now that I had a surgical termination.
If I'd allowed my baby to be born he'd have been a month old today. I don't know why, but somehow I feel my baby was a boy.
This is the second time I've told my story on this site, maybe I need to tell it again because I don't feel that it's over yet, because I'm still crying inside about what I did and there's nobody there to listen.
I was 41 when I became unexpectedly pregnant for the first time. As well as being worried about the risks related to my age, it was at a difficult time in my life financially and career-wise, and my relationship was not at a stage where a baby would have been welcomed. My partner was not ready or willing to support me and as soon as he knew I was pregnant he began to retreat from me emotionally.

We would both be unwanted

It was clear that he didn't want to be a family with me, and I felt sad about bringing a baby into a situation like that, where we would both be unwanted by this man.
He insisted we would end up hating each other if we went ahead and had this child, and I didn't want a future filled with anger and bitterness.
Now I know I was wrong to care so much about our relationship, and about my partner's and my own needs and fears, at the expense of the life of our child.
In the end the decision to terminate the pregnancy was his but he left me the responsibility of dealing with it all both practically and emotionally. Maybe it was out of anger and disappointment in him that I went ahead with the abortion even though I knew in my heart it was wrong. I just had nobody to talk to.

The pregnancy and termination are secrets

I can't bring myself to speak of even now because I'm too ashamed of what I did to confide in family or friends.
The day of the termination was the worst day of my life, a long, slow agony. They kept moving me from room to room, each room was full of girls and women waiting in silence, not looking at each other.
The nurses were so cold, I felt they were judging me, the clinic receptionist was heavily pregnant, it felt like a slap in the face, and the doctor who 'approved' my procedure didn't look up even once from his notes to meet my eyes. He just sat there, reading stupid questions from a form, and ticking boxes. I cried all day. When one of the nurses saw how I was crying, she asked me if I was sure I wanted to go through with this. I said yes. Why did I say yes?

I hate myself for being so stupid, passive and weak.

I had a chance to save my child and I missed it. I can never forgive myself for that. I just wanted to get out of that place, to go home, for it all to be over. But somehow I felt that once the decision had been made there was no going back.
Now I replay that scene over and over in my mind and I say 'No, I don't want to go through with this, I'm going to keep this baby', then I get up and walk out.
I wish I had done that.
All day I kept hoping my partner would call and tell me not to go through with it, but he didn't. He sent me a text that morning saying 'be brave, I'm with you'. But of course he wasn't with me; actually he was a hundred miles away and was too busy to be there. I felt so alone. He didn't call me until after it was done. To be honest, I never really thought seriously about having children before, but now it's all I think about and I live in terror that I will never get another chance. I'm 42 now, so I wonder if there is any hope.

How will I feel when my chance of a child is finally gone

The full force of this missed opportunity really hits me? I would give anything now to be holding my child in my arms. I feel that there is something missing from my life now, an emptiness that I hadn't noticed before, but I don't understand why I feel this way, and I don't know where these feelings are coming from. It's all taken me completely by surprise and I don't know how to cope.
I don't want to live with this pain any more, but if I let it go and move on, I'm afraid my child will be lost forever and I'm not sure if I'm ready for that yet. I want peace, but I don't know how to find it because I can never change what I've done. Abortion is never the easy option. It doesn't just erase a mistake and allow you to carry on your life as before.
Although I do believe in a woman's right to choose and I would never judge a woman for making that choice, I think that in the panic and stress of an unplanned pregnancy it's all too easy to make a decision that we'll always regret. To any other woman in this situation I'd like to say be brave, don't despair, talk to someone who will listen to you, don't allow others to judge you or bully you. There's always a way to cope, and you'll never regret having a child but you may regret choosing not to.

Editor's Comment

It is very hard living with regret and trying to understand your feelings retrospectively. At the time the relationship with your partner and the life you had together was what you knew and it is often hard to imagine life beyond this when your partner was so against continuing the pregnancy.
The feeling that if you let your grief go you will lose touch with your baby is not unusual. Letting go is the hardest thing to do but it depends where you feel your baby is and what will happen to them if you release them and choose to move on. I think that writing the way you have will help to release some of the pain you are feeling, but it would help you to go through 'The Journey programme with a trained advisor who would help you to work through some of the painful emotions you are feeling. I do believe for someone like you there is a place where you can find peace and move on from this agonising experience. Please think about calling the national helpline for more information 0300 4000 999, or look on the web site to do the journey with an advisor one to one or Online find a centre for post abortion support in your area.

This story was sent in on 12/09/2010

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