I didn’t lose you, did I?

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 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?

The situation surrounding it

The situation surrounding it. It wasn’t as though I was a sixteen year old who accidentally got pregnant to their high school sweetheart. It wasn’t as though I’d found out I was pregnant after leaving someone I had a happy but boring relationship with, whom I had simply fallen out of love. I was pregnant to a man who, at the time, I was still in love with. A man who had spent more of our relationship berating and bruising me than he did showing he ‘loved’ me.

Two counselling sessions over the next few days and I went over as much of the complicated situation that was my life as was possible in a couple of hours. How I had felt like I was having an outer body experience since the day I walked out of my home with Brent. The physical pain and the thought of the financial support my parents would need to provide. The risk the unborn child was at of having birth defects or developmental issues as I had been prescribed vitamin A cream and an SSRI. Whilst it all played on my mind, none of those things was the deciding factor on the decision I made.

The counsellor wasn’t the only outside person that I spoke to in order to help me decide on the next chapter of my life. There was a girl I went to school with who fell pregnant at 17, although weren’t friends at school, we were in some of the same classes and she was a good person. I spoke to her about the challenges and rewards of raising two beautiful little girls, initially on her own but still as a team with their dad. I went to the state child protection agency to find out about temporary foster care, until I had a job that could support me to raise a child alone. The agency could not guarantee that the child would go to a registered foster carer that I knew, so that option was quashed quickly from my mind. The option of adoption only briefly crossed my mind, a lifetime of not knowing where my child was and if they were happy, if I could have made their life better.

Someone very close to me had a child young, whilst the child is happy, the mother spent so much time protecting the child from the spiteful things the father would say or do…just to try emotionally hurt the mother of his child.  However, children are smarter than they are given credit for and this child is now old enough to see both parents true personalities. Watching that situation led me to wonder if I wanted to put a child through the same experience.

Raising a child with someone means you are a team. That you are in each others lives until your dying day. How could I possibly be part of a team with a man who had used the words “come back to me or get rid of it”. I couldn’t be with a man who thought he could use an innocent child to scare me in to staying with him. I had never had him charged for his abuse so I had no legal standing to stop him from being a part of the life of our child.

Whilst I was putting myself through counselling and researching every possibility on my doorstep, my doctor sent me for the usual routine pregnancy blood tests. It appeared that I had lost immunity to rubella so I had this immunisation in preparation for the pregnancy to proceed. Through the whole journey I was conflicted so I needed to prepare for whichever path I chose.

I kept going back to the woman who had her child young, and how little team interaction there was in raising her child. I felt that it would be unfair for me to bring a child  into the world already having the knowledge that the parents would never be a team. After a call with a counsellor from a local abortion clinic and an additional appointment with my doctor, to which my mother accompanied me; I made a decision to terminate the pregnancy.