Last September my world was turned upside down when I found out I was pregnant.

I am a married 40 year mother of two girls aged four and six. Last September my world was turned upside down when I found out I was pregnant. Since the birth of my girls, I had always felt that their existence was a gift. Before their birth, I lost a baby boy at 22 weeks. This was devastating to both my husband and me. It took me a long time to come to terms with our loss and my subsequent pregnancies were cherished. I love my daughters dearly and although we'd always said we'd love another child, our circumstance dictated that it was not practical. When I found out I was pregnant (a result of stupidity with contraception), my initial feelings were of disbelief, then a second of happiness, followed by panic and tears. Both my husband and I were stunned. The next two weeks were spent exploring the pros and cons of another child. Could we afford it? What about childcare expenses as we both work? Our house was too small and our car. What would our family think as they helped with childcare too? Panic set in and time was against us. We decided a termination would be the best for all concerned. A decision based primarily on affordability. The procedure was carried out at ten weeks, but each of those weeks had felt no different to my previous pregnancies as in I felt blessed and very lucky, especially as my sister was undergoing IVF. We kept the decision secret from family, friends and work colleagues. However, I told my mother who cared for my children on the day of the procedure. I cried and had doubts at every meeting with counsellors, hospital staff etc but felt this was the only option. I was on autopilot and it wasn't until the following day that I really realised what I'd done. I'd destroyed a life, a brother or sister, a grandchild, a niece or nephew. Something I'd always really wanted in my heart. I realised that all those reasons for having an abortion were actually reasons for using contraception and not ending a new life already created. Now six months on, I still have deep seated feelings of regret, guilt and utter sadness. I experience confused feelings when visiting my lost son's grave and realise that this was not the right decision for me. I am left feeling a desire for that third child still, but of course those reasons I mentioned earlier will mean that I doubt that opportunity would ever arise again. Should I have followed my heart and not my head? Editor’s note: Thanks for sharing your story with us…You seem to understand quite clearly that you were under the pressure of circumstances and that the only logical thing to do in that situation was to end the pregnancy. But that logic was only in terms of economics and practicalities, as you say. In the urgency of the situation, we forget that we always adapt and change, and make new arrangements. We’re quite resourceful creatures really. Now you are feeling the pain of your decision – loss, sadness, guilt and grief, confused by the tragedy of your previous loss. It’s pain that clearly comes from your heart where your conscience, instinct and beliefs have been ignored and broken. Strange, isn’t it, how we never say pain comes from our head, only our hearts. That deeper place in you has let you know that you have been hurt by this decision and that you need to pay attention to this pain in order to resolve it. You have been shocked by the reality of what has occurred, and this may seem overwhelming, but there is hope for you and a way forward. Please have courage - contact your nearest centre and ask for post-abortion support as soon as you can.

This story was sent in on 15/04/2009

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