I saw a life I had never wanted, a life I couldn’t escape from now. I saw my future suddenly as no longer mine.
I am 37. I have never wanted children, rationally and surely. I have been with my husband for nine years and I love him so much. I had never made a secret of my feelings, and had always been clear about it. Our life was a life, for me, of fun, laughter, plans, travels, discovery, dinners in front of the TV, driving out in foreign countries...I was happy. So I thought. I was naive, and immature. We thought as we hadn’t conceived yet, we wouldn’t. I used to think that if it had happened, that might have made me feel my 'maternal' instinct, if there is such a thing, and I would have been ok with having a baby. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case.
I discovered I was pregnant on Sunday evening and the world fell apart. My future suddenly disappeared from me. All my dreams and hopes of things I wanted to do with my life suddenly were gone. I only saw responsibilities, burdens, duties, things to do without freedom of choice. I saw a life I had never wanted, a life I couldn’t escape from now. I saw my future suddenly as no longer mine.
I spent six weeks trying to change my feelings. The more time passed, the more desperate I became. I hated my body; I hated what was happening. I felt awful, with no energy, and I resented what inside me was taking, literally, the life out of me. We took some counselling sessions, but they didn’t seem to help in the way my husband was hoping, which is to make me feel more relaxed and ok to progress with the pregnancy. I was only too rational and it was clear that for my own sake and the possible baby's sake, I needed to terminate. I did this a week ago. I am in despair worse than before now. If before I had a choice, a way out, now I have nothing. The harm, the suffering I have caused my beloved husband is beyond belief. I ache when I see him. I now cry all the time, and have no will to do anything. I am a nobody, and I feel worthless.
I know the choice was right for me because what I was going through was not right, and too risky if it was to last. I now have to try to figure out if I can overcome my fears of becoming a mother and maybe in six months, if I can, if I am comfortable, try again to give my husband the child he longs for. I am old, but I’m not in menopause yet and I am healthy. I can only hope. Yes, you never know how you feel until you terminate. The feelings I am having now, I had never anticipated. It's unbelievable and it's unbearable. Carrying on with my normal life is tough. Being close to my husband and feeling his distance is killing me but I understand. I feel a bit of resentment towards the unborn child for taking my husband 'away' from me, as he has shown more care for what I was carrying in me, than for myself. It's an odd feeling. I love him so dearly, that life without him seems impossible right now, but if that is the case, then I hope that time will heal my wounds, like my body is healing its wounds. The worst thing is how life can change from one day to the next, and there's no way back.
Editor’s note: Thanks for sharing your story with us…It sounds as if you had your life all planned out rationally according to what you wanted out of it, and thought that you were in control of it all, having made the assumption that your body couldn’t interrupt your life with a pregnancy.
The pregnancy simply created the – for you, frightening – possibility that you would lose the quality of lifestyle you had; a fear amplified by what you believe about the responsibilities of parenthood. Perhaps those beliefs are based on your own experience of childhood – I don’t know. The loss of lifestyle seemed too great to you, however, creating anxiety and fear about what might be expected of you, yet the same event awakened in your husband a desire for a child.
The sad thing is that this abortion has cost you what you never expected to lose – the closeness of your relationship with your husband – something you rely on for your sense of being and self-worth. Where you thought you would be able to maintain control of your life by ending the pregnancy, you were actually made more powerless because you didn’t expect your relationship to be challenged. It's always harder to heal hearts than change circumstances. Perhaps the loss of your lifestyle would have been worse than the loss of your relationship in the end. And now you are resenting the pregnancy for coming between you, but in reality the pregnancy had no sense of ‘doing’ anything at all – it’s all to do with the meaning you attached to it. It’s really about your response to what happened.
I think it would help you both as a couple to be seen for post-abortion support. You may need to be seen separately and together in the process, but it sounds as if there are issues between you now that will not be resolved by another pregnancy. There is a way through this for both of you. Just call and make an appointment at your nearest centre. We’ll be thinking of you.