I was so in love with my partner and it seemed like he was in love with me, too. He said things that hinted at a future between us. He would talk about what he wanted for his own children in the future. He seemed to be a man who wanted a family.
We had been together for five months. I was 32 and he was 39. We were using a form of birth control and it failed.
When I discovered I was pregnant, I didn't know what to feel. My first reaction was to get “rid of it”. I know we weren't ready as we were establishing a new relationship. I do know couples need a very strong foundation before deciding to have children.
But, when we looked at pictures on the Internet of a four week old embryo (fetus? life? baby?), I started tearing up and getting emotional. Very slowly, my thoughts about this life inside me began to change. My partner saw my reaction and said sharply, “See. That's why I want to get rid of it as soon as possible!”
“When do you think you'd be ready to have a child?” I asked.
“When my wife and I decide to have a child. You (and he pointed at me with his index finger) will have a child when you're ready,” he answered.
“If you have this child, it will destroy us. I don't want to resent this child every time I looked at it,” he added.
There is that cliché: “words cannot express what I feel.” I can try to paint the experience with my words, but I'm not sure if I can successfully communicate how lonely and confused I felt. Men will have sex with a woman in a second, but when she becomes pregnant, respect, empathy and love disappear faster than you can say isolation.
After his words, I knew that if I loved this life inside me at all, I couldn't bring it into this world without a father. I grew up with the most fantastic, supportive father who absolutely loves me to bits. He's the type of father any girl could dream of, and believe me, life is still full of suffering and hopelessness. How could I bring a life into the world whose own father would resent it on top of life being challenging as it is?
So, I didn't think about myself. Not even for one second. Was there a point in thinking things through or trying to convince the father to love it? Could anyone ever convince YOU to love someone? During the moments leading up to the abortion, I could only think of my baby and what was best for it.
After the abortion, I fell into the deepest depression and I am still experiencing it, ten months after the abortion. The grief I felt for many long months felt like I was under water, and I never saw the world the same way after my abortion. Every time I looked at a baby, my heart would break to pieces again. I feel like a part of me has died forever.
After the abortion, I realized that I wanted a baby for as long as I could remember. But, I never expected the heartless reaction I received from its father. It is incredible how cold he was and his words still haunt me to this day. I think I will be haunted forever by how he handled it. He showed so much love and commitment to me, but the minute I got pregnant, I felt he no longer respected me. It almost felt like I was a girl on the side who accidentally got knocked up. Having him in my life for this brief time has hardened me, and since the abortion, I haven't been the usual bubbly, optimistic girl who laughs often. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever get her back.
The father of the baby stayed with me for eight more months after the abortion, seeing my deep depression and grief. He said we would have a future and he could see us having children after he saw how the abortion affected me. For a long time, I grieved as though that was my one and only chance of having a child. The day he left me, he said, “I didn't mean it when I said I saw us having children together. I only said it to make you feel better because you were going through so much pain. I don't see children in my future. My father failed me when I was a child and I don't want to fail another child the way I was failed. I don't even remember what you were like before the abortion.”
When I hear the words “baby killer” used by pro-life groups on the news or see bumper stickers preaching the atrocities of abortion, I cannot begin to tell you how painful it is to live in a world where some people view abortion as murder when a women is only trying to protect her child from the pain in this world. She is doing it with perhaps even more love than some women who ended up bring their children into the world. It takes two people to get pregnant and many women who choose to terminate their pregnancies do so because there is no man willing to take responsibility of being a father.
Today, I had a really rough day at work. I am a first grade teacher and lost my temper with a petulant child in my class. Unfortunately, his mother was waiting outside the classroom and heard it all. The fact is, all teachers lose their temper with difficult students, but parents never witness it. When she confronted me after, she said, “I don't know if you have children, but would you ever speak to your child that way?”
I came home and cried. I thought about how my child would be two months old by now. And, to answer that parent's question, yes, I would speak to my child that way if I knew what was best for him. I loved my own baby so much that I knew it was best not to bring him into the world even though I now know I will most likely live with this unbearable pain for the rest of my life. If I knew I would experience this pain and grief after the abortion, would I do it all over again? I hesitate at that question because this abortion experience almost killed me, literally and figuratively. But...yes, I would. Every human deserves a strong, loving father-- not a father who would resent him or her. Being a mother means thinking about your child first and foremost before anything, and I did just that.