Fifteen Years Ago
Relieved that an abortion helped me hide my affair and move on with my life. And then ...
I was having an affair with a married man (oh, let's call him Jay) when I got pregnant. I instantly decided on an abortion. If you had asked for my reasons back then, I would have said, these are my reasons:
- I love Jay, so I have to take responsibility for my actions and fix this situation. I got pregnant because of my lazy attitude towards birth control. So I am the one who needs to make things right by having an abortion.
-if I have this child, it might cause the end of Jay's marriage. His wife will find out for sure.
-Jay's wife (let's call her Emily) is pregnant. If he tells her that he got me pregant, too, it will end her happiness and maybe mean that her baby will grow up with a divorced mom instead of in a family. Emily has thought of me as a friend, so the betrayal would be awful.
-Jay will have to tell Emily, because if I have a baby, I'll need child support and a lot of help. I can't do it on my own.
That's what I would have confessed to, but the more truthful answer would have been, the real reasons:
-My mom and dad will be so ashamed of me.
-My family will disapprove and say nasty things.
-I'll lose my place as the competent daughter who has everything under control.
-My catty sister will look down on me and hold this over my head forever.
-I'll be the subject of gossip amongst neighbors and our extended family.
-My husband will find out. HIS family will say really horrible things.
-Everybody will know that I had an affair with a married man.
-Emily's mom and dad will say vicious things about me.
-My "I'm so perfect" act will not look so perfect anymore.
-I'll need to accept help from others, instead of being the helper.
-I really don't how to get through raising a child without a husband to help me.
-I don't want to confess the truth to Emily, my husband, and everybody else after all the lies I've told.
-Even if I have the baby and give the child up for adoption, everybody in my life would still know, right? How on earth could I hide a pregnancy for nine months? (I now know how I could have managed that, but I couldn't figure it out back then.)
It was so easy to ignore the pro-lifers!
When I thought about having an abortion, those pesky pro-life people barely got in the way at all. They said things like "but what if this is the only child you'll ever have?" and "what if you can't have children later because of the abortion?" They asked "what if you regret it later?" and "what if you become religious later in your life and regret it a lot?"
Clearly these people were insane, so it was easy to ignore them. I knew that I would have lots of children later, that I would never regret an abortion, and hey - if I were to become religious later, I'd ask God for forgiveness if I ever felt sorry about it. But I knew that would never happen; I didn't believe in God. I was strong, I was sensible, I was smart. I knew everything.
And so I had my abortion on a sunny afternoon in May I had my abortion. Other women in the recovery room were sobbing, but not me. I was happy about the whole thing, other than the physical pain. When I went home I was pleased with myself for handling a difficult situation with such competence. I felt empowered, and I was pleased to be a strong problem-solver who needed only a bit of medical care (the abortion) and no emotional support.
I thought about volunteering at the abortion center. As a feminist, I believed in a woman's right to choose, and helping to make abortion easily accessible seemed like a good cause.
Now fast forward 15 years, my mom and dad are dead. My catty sister isn't part of my life, and I never see my former neighbors or extended family. I shouldn't have cared about their opinions. In the long term, that didn't matter. I think Emily's mom and dad are dead, too.
Emily had her baby, and that girl has grown into a gorgeous, smart, and interesting teenager. Every time I see her I think that my own child would have been just about the same age. They would have been half-siblings, and maybe we could have found a way for a friendship between them.
After my affair with Jay ended, I realized that my marriage was a hopeless sham, so I left my husband. We got divorced.
Five years later I met and married Nicholas, the man of my dreams. We wanted a family of our own. I've been pregnant five times, but each pregnancy has led to a miscarriage or a stillborn baby. It's been heartbreaking, because we so wanted to have children. Doctors have not been able to help us with this, in spite of a stupid amount of medical testing and intervention.
If only I had welcomed that first pregnancy! Sure, the circumstances were less than ideal, but the child would have been wonderful nonetheless. I could have kept her and raised her myself - I know now that lots of people would have helped. Or I could have put her up for adoption. Either way, she'd be alive and celebrating life. (I have always imagined that child as a girl, though who knows?)
I am so sorry that I ended her life for my own convenience. Back then it felt like I was doing the only sensible thing. In retrospect, I know I killed my baby so that I wouldn't have to be embarassed about my affair.
Fifteen years ago I had no religion, and didn't want any, either. Nobody would ever have dreamed that I would wind up being Catholic, but that's exactly where I am now, so those pro-lifers were right after all. It's an odd twist of fate that the pro-lifers I held in such disdain were right about so many things: I did wind up regretting my abortion after all. I regret it very, very much.
Please SHARE so others will not suffer the regret and pain of abortion. It is the death of a child and the broken heart of a mother. Amen