I am a 36 year old mum of two. I had always wanted a third child but had problems having these children so it didn't seem like it would happen.

By anonymous on 30/01/2009
I am a 36 year old mum of two. I had always wanted a third child but had problems having these children so it didn't seem like it would happen. The youngest child went to school and I happily started on a new career path for me. At that point I knew our family was completed. My shock, then, when I found out I was expecting! I knew that it wouldn't work for us as a family; the age gap would be too big. I'm finishing a degree course and we're all looking forward to spending more time together, and hopefully better financial rewards, holidays again etc. Almost immediately my husband and I decided upon a termination, but it took nearly three weeks to get an appointment, and all that time we questioned ourselves but always came back to the same decision.

The termination happened last week. We had decided not to tell friends or family. Afterwards I ended up in A and E and had to be kept in due to an infection. Although we haven't lied to people we haven't mentioned the abortion, and we both feel guilty about this. I found the whole process horrendous. The nurses were very kind, but it felt like a production line. I felt like I wanted to run and leave, not because I wanted the baby but because I felt that something so important needed more respect. This is one of the things I'm having problems with. I keep remembering bits of it and I find that hard. I do feel that I'm managing quite well considering that I haven't been able to go back to uni so I have had to be on my own a lot. In some ways this has helped but in other ways I have been able to dwell. I started off crying all of the time; now I don't. I haven't felt the relief from it. I've just felt really sad and guilty. We could have managed to have had this child but we wanted to protect the family we already have. (My parents in law had a late unexpected child and we are very aware of the reality of having a child under these circumstances.)

Now I feel guilty if I don't cry. I feel as if I should be punished and that I should be really upset. I’m scared that this will always be there, and that we will never get back to being happy. Am I allowed to feel 'normal' again?

Editor’s note: Thanks for sharing your feelings with us…It sounds as if a deeper part of you acknowledges the profound meaning of having a termination, so much so that you felt the whole process demanded more respect and reverence. You may be struggling with the mismatch between choosing to end the pregnancy and yet knowing that a pregnancy is something to be respected – something perhaps you subconsciously felt you should have respected. This would account for your feelings of guilt and the need for punishment. We call this the need for penance – the need to pay back for what one has done. Surely enough punishment would make the pain go away – but it doesn’t. One just gets trapped in it, unable to resolve it. Yes, you had many good logical reasons not to pursue the pregnancy, yet your heart is uncomfortable with what has happened and you are not at peace with yourself. It would help you to visit your nearest centre; ring the helpline or use Online Advisor for some support in order to unravel your feelings and find a better way of dealing with them.

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