Today is International Bereaved Mother’s Day. I saw a friend, who’s lost two infants in tragic circumstances, post to her social media, ‘love and support to all bereaved mothers‘. Then I thought to myself have I lost a child, am I a bereaved mother?
Yesterday, completely randomly, someone asked me “What’s your opinion on abortion?”. I couldn’t lie. So I answered straight out “I’ve had one”. Perhaps this blunt honesty was inspired by the I had one too movement. The person who asked seemed as though they really didn’t know how to react. I explained a little in about 15 seconds but then the conversation was dropped. I kind of wished I’d asked their opinion before I’d answered, then I’d have known the point of the conversation. Instead, I felt a little judged.
With yesterday’s conversation in mind and knowing that it’s International Bereaved Mother’s Day. The question I find myself asking is whether I have a right to grieve the child that could have been. I, not without considering my situation, chose to terminate my pregnancy. I chose to go through with the abortion. I chose to not have my six year old child walking beside me today. I also chose to not be trapped in a life with a controlling, physically, sexually and emotionally abusive partner.
Someone very close to me has had more miscarriages than I think I could ever bear. She, I expect, grieves those children. She had her rainbow baby but I’m sure those children that could have been are never forgotten.
This year, you’d be in first grade. Other than knowing that, I don’t know if I have the right to imagine who you could have been. Because I didn’t lose you, I chose to let you go, didn’t I?
I still clearly remember the day my house mate out of the blue said “today would have been their first birthday”. Pretty sure that constitutes grief over a lost life. I was at a total loss for words, she had kept that hurt hidden inside all that time.
I also wonder the same about babies lost after taking the morning after pill. I have had to do this 3 times. The first after sexual assault, the other 2 times out of stupidity. The second time I remember a moment when I was sure that I had just brought about the end of a life. It felt shit. It still feels shit. It is something I will always wonder the truth of. And I regret that choice, even though I can’t undo it. Do I also have the right to grieve?
Just because you made a choice, and didn’t lose that life through circumstance….. doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to grieve it’s loss. It is still a loss.