Last year, I had an abortion at 14 weeks. It was left so late for the pure and simple reason that I had no idea I was pregnant.
My partner was drinking heavily, had lost his job and my property has only two bedrooms. The new born is in a cot in our bedroom and my 7 year old daughter is in hers. I would have proceeded with the pregnancy if I knew that the coming child would be provided for. The truth of the matter is that it would not. I also suffered from post natal depression with both of my children.
After the procedure, I suffered terribly. I lied to my violent partner and told him I had miscarried. I dealt with it all alone. It still hurts me so much. However, I know I made the right decision. At the time, I coped by using the justification of 'the past is not my fault, the future is my responsibility'. I made a decision out of love and responsibility for the unborn child, myself and my other two children. I am now a single parent. Both of my children are happy and I made the choice to be the victor, not the victim. I will always feel a sense of guilt. But, remember, guilt goes hand in hand with being a good parent.
Editor’s note: Thank you for sharing your story with us…It sounds as if you have had some difficult circumstances to live with – a violent partner, the possibility of recurring post-natal depression, a new baby and probably not much money coming in. All these things made it hard for you to consider pursuing the pregnancy but it was obviously the circumstances you didn’t want, not the pregnancy. You tried to make the best decision you could with what you knew so that you and your two children could survive.
It seems as if you really felt the need to get back in control and not be the victim of your circumstances. Many women say that having an abortion seemed like the best decision to restore control to their lives, but afterwards, they realise they’ve exchanged one set of circumstantial problems with more painful ones - heart problems, such as guilt, anger, grief and sense of loss, often resulting in depression.
Guilt sometimes makes us feel as if we need to pay something back for what we’ve done, or that we should endure it endlessly as a punishment. But guilt is actually a healthy emotion. Its job is to tell us that we have crossed the line of our own value system, or broken one of our own rules. I think you’re trying really hard to make it all work out logically in your head in the hope that your heart will abandon its sense of guilt, or at the very least, learn to live with it. Logic rarely solves the problem of guilt; the solution is far more profound.
However helpful it sounds to say that we are not responsible for our pasts, but that we are responsible for our future; the truth is that we do have to take responsibility for some things in the past, and we also have to accept that we cannot have complete control of the future either. When faced with difficulties, the healthiest option is to live in integrity, behaving out of what we believe to be true and right and good, regardless of the circumstances.
I realise that this has been challenging for you. If any of this has touched you, if you can bravely acknowledge that you can be free of guilt and not hold on to it, then please contact your nearest centre; ring the helpline or use Online Advisor for what you need. We’ll be thinking of you.