It's been four weeks since I had my abortion. I never thought I would need one at the age of 37, married with one child and longing for more. But pregnancy makes me violently ill. With my first pregnancy, I had hyperemesis gravidarum, which is uncontrollable, severe nausea and vomiting. It lasted the whole nine months. I got all my nutrition through an IV line. I couldn't work, drive, or function. My husband and I debated having a second child. My OB warned me I was very likely to have full-term hyperemesis again. When we finally decided it was what we wanted, it took us nearly a year to get pregnant. At five and a half weeks, I started to feel sick. By six and a half weeks, I was bedridden, vomiting eight or ten times a day, waking up at night to throw up, constantly nauseated to the point where I couldnt even watch tv, read, or do anything other than lie in bed with my eyes closed and mentally check out. I felt like I was being poisoned.
The worst part was I couldn't take care of my preschool aged son. My mom was coming over every day to drive him to school, pick him up, and babysit until my husband got home from work. We started frantically looking for full time day care for the days he didn't go to preschool. One day I emerged from my bedroom and the look of surprise and delight on his face broke my heart. Was I going to spend he next nine months like this? Missing out on my son's life in order to bring another life into the world? Was it going to be worth it? I could feel my mental health begin to deteriorate along with my physical. A blanket of depression and despair was coming over me. Was I willing to risk my psychological well-being for this second child? I took a lot of pride in who I had grown to be and the kind of mother I was: attentive, patient, stable. That mom was gone. In her place was a trembling, tearful, vomiting mess.
I never really said goodbye to the life that was inside me. I was too desperate for the sickness to be gone. I know I made the right decision for myself and my family. It wasn't even a difficult choice to make, I knew I couldn't go through with the pregnancy. But I had wanted this second child, even secretly had a name picked out. We had tried for a long time for it. Once the baby had been born, the suffering would have been worth it. But I still could not go on for that long feeling that sick and being so absent from my family.
I don't regret my choice, but I still feel guilt and grief. I feel like I should have never tried for a second, that I should have known I wouldn't be able to do it. From time to time I wonder who that being would have been, but I also know I'm better off this way, a healthy mother of one.