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Age 32 felt like a good time to have a child, so when I discovered myself pregnant I was excited. He wasn't; it was not part of his plans or something he felt he could do. My new IUD had failed and we were not yet married. He cried; I watched him rocking in the rocking chair tears streaming down his face. He envisioned slaving away for a baby and all that entailed, including the end of his career as an artist. I both related and sympathized with his fear. I was also very angry at him. Very. Possibly disappointed in myself too as I could NOT see doing this alone. I told him he had two choices: We stay together and raise a child together or he leaves. The relationship as we knew it would be terminated.

He chose to stay, marry and go through with it. I no longer wanted him. I could not remember ever having chemistry for this man. The next day I had an abortion. He went with me. I was inconsolable. We stayed together and without meaning to I pushed him away... the relationship had a long drawn out death. He married someone else a year later who had had a hysterectomy. I dated men that were unsuitable at best. After eight years of experiencing everything from a scary co-dependent, a convicted murderer, a pathological liar, alcoholic/drug addict, secretly married sex addict I got myself into group therapy, CODA and individual counseling.

Therapy helped some things, other things were more slow going. I studied my strengths/weaknesses. I still stayed away from family functions where children are upheld as the greatest things a woman has to offer. I felt acutely bitter towards friends having children. At the sight of a family I felt deep pangs of sorrow. My doctor bragged of her grandchildren. I changed doctors. I was acutely disgusted by poor parenting and bewildered by friends that could date men with children. My career flourished, I dated better men, not egregiously scary, but mediocre. Leading a workshop for recovering addicts, a helper said to me, "It is really a great thing that you never had children. You would have never been able to give as much of yourself as you do and that would have been a great loss." Something shifted.

I went to Thanksgiving and saw all my cousins with their children (without heartache), I rekindled friendships with friends that are parents and I'm engaged to a man that is a good father and as close to Prince Charming as I have ever known. Occasionally I find myself speaking of his children as if they were mine. I understand now my deep regrets and disappointment in myself for not following through with the pregnancy. But I also realize that I had not as of yet come to terms with my own addictions, depression and co-dependency. Alone or with him, I knew, there was too great a chance I would be an unfit parent. At age 32 I was just learning how my own parents innocently in their ignorance had failed me and my greatest fear was to be equally negligent or worse.