Y2K Abortion

May 30, 2013 No Comments »

I got pregnant just before New Years’ 2000. Every year is a reminder of how old my first child would have been. I loved the father and his family dearly and had known them for years, but he was young and not ready/interested in committing to me so he skipped town and I had no way to reach him (this was before everybody had cell phones) Occasionally, he’d call me out of the blue and try and convince me to have an abortion. Meanwhile, my mother (who I was living with at the time) didn’t approve of him and didn’t consider my life together-enough to handle motherhood so she felt abortion the only reasonable option, even though I felt deeply torn. Thanks to an amazing counselor at Planned Parenthood, I came to the realization that I did feel ready to be a mother, and decided that I could make it happen, even if I had to do it on my own. I am forever grateful to this therapist for helping me to believe in myself and see that my heart really wanted the child. I cancelled my abortion and went to stay with old friends in another city. I would have probably moved forward with keeping the baby but the father showed up– this time in person, and his anxiety about the situation, coupled with my profound love for him (and desire to not “ruin his life”) plunged me again into confusion. Ultimately, I felt so ashamed about my inability to be strong and my various “attempts” to abort the child that I bowed my head in grief and shame and went through with the abortion after all. The 2 or 3 years after this event are lost in grief and regret, and I fought nearly constant suicidal feelings even though I had never had mental illness before. Any life goals I thought I would achieve by having the abortion no longer seemed important, and it took a lifetime of strength and mountains of support and resources to be able to move forward and get anything done in those years. I now consider myself healed, though I also think that a part of me never truly healed till I had another child in 2007. And even though!
I made the best of those years– traveling and going back to school, I would still take the decision back in a heartbeat. My advice to other women is… if you are considering abortion for financial reasons, or because of pressure from your parents or the father– be warned! Regret and grief may sound like something you can handle, but there is truly NOTHING akin to loosing a child you want to keep and nobody except you will have to experience those feelings. And even if only 51% of you wants to keep the child, that’s still the majority of you. Don’t let that other noisy, angry, fearful 49% drown out your heart’s desires or make you feel ashamed, because every mother feels unprepared and afraid and nobody ever feels financially ready. I believe abortion should be kept safe and legal, but I also believe that freedom of choice should include the freedom to keep your child, and nobody but the mother should be allowed to consider abortion. What a pregnant woman really needs is support for keeping her child, and re-assurance that everything will turn out fine. The fact that abortion is an option does not make it (or adoption for that matter) an easy-out solution in a culture that makes parenthood very expensive and difficult. Don’t punish yourself because of the failings of society– let’s change society instead!

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