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to struggle with a past abortion now that I have a baby?

(19 Posts)
ZigAZigAhh Thu 31-Mar-16 22:53:33

When I was 19 I had an abortion. I had been with my (first) boyfriend for two years, the condom broke, the morning after pill didn't work. We were both students, terrified and my boyfriend made it clear he didn't want a baby. Abortion was the logical option. My boyfriend was an arse about the whole thing and unceremoniously dumped me two weeks later (the day after I was almost killed in a car accident...but that's not relevant other than to say it was a tough time which I dealt with largely alone as only my best friend knew about the abortion).

It's not something I have looked back on particularly happily but I have kept telling myself over the years that my life as it is now and the success I am now enjoying both in my career and my relationship with my now DH could not have happened if I had gone ahead and had the baby. I would have been a single mother tied to an immature and unsupportive father and life would have been much much harder. Even my GP at the time told me I had made the right decision.

Fast forward 17 years and I am deliriously happy with DH and we have a one year old DS who we are both absolutely besotted with. However, I have found that first my pregnancy and now the first year of my DS's life have been very triggering in that they have really made me feel like shit about what happened all those years ago. This has come as a bit of a shock as I thought I had made my peace with the past. Every day I have been confronted with all things baby-related and I can't help but think about the baby that never was. I have been blown away by what an incredible little boy my DS is, and I find it gut wrenching that I didn't give my other "baby" the same treatment. I'm so torn between logic, which says I did the right thing at the time which has let me be in the position I am today, and emotion/guilt/negativity.

I know I am definitely not the only woman who has had an abortion as a teen/young adult and then gone on to have babies at a later stage. AIBU to feel like I feel? Is this normal or is there something not quite right?

CantWaitForWarmWeather Thu 31-Mar-16 23:09:18

flowers It's understandable that you've been thinking a lot. But at the time it was the right decision for you, just remember that. Be kind to yourself.

NotQuiteJustYet Thu 31-Mar-16 23:09:40

flowers You sound like you need these at the moment. You're absolutely not being unreasonable, you may have made your peace but that doesn't mean you didn't experience it and don't have those emotions and memories buried away somewhere deep.

I too was in a very similar position at 18/19, I was on the pill and fell pregnant regardless to my then boyfriend who made me choose between him or the baby, and I chose him. Whilst I agree that having a child with him would have been a ridiculous decision due to the way the rest of the relationship played out (cheating on his behalf, violence, control issues etc.)

I recently had the pleasure of having Facebook's lovely memories feature reminding me of how happy I was when I found out I was expecting - there were some snippets of conversations between my cousin and friend. I ended up completely blind-sided by guilt because although I too have made my peace with it, all of a sudden I had actual physical evidence of the existence of what was evidentially a very much wanted child at the time and how pleased I was, despite being young.

In reality, if I had kept the baby I would have been forever tied to someone who made my life a living hell, I would have probably stayed with him despite the abuse and not plucked up the courage to strap on my lady balls and leave his pathetic arse. I certainly wouldn't be married to the most amazing man who loves me and supports my every decision.

TestingTestingWonTooFree Thu 31-Mar-16 23:18:17

You poor thing. Logically though, if you'd had that baby, you probably wouldn't have your DS.

Shallishanti Thu 31-Mar-16 23:20:00

Look at it another way- what would you say to your little sister/cousin/junior colleague if she came to you with your story?
you'd help her think through the pros and cons, probably point out the pratical issues around having a baby that young in those circumstances and support her in her decision- be as kind to yourself as you would be to that girl

moveitandloseit Fri 01-Apr-16 02:22:24

Testing- even if she had that first baby she could still have this child.
Zigazig- you made a decision and yes it was a shitty decision. But any decision in that situation is shitty. Abort it and you feel shitty wondering what might have been. Adoption and you feel shitty wondering what might have been and torturing yourself that another woman is babies mum now. Keep the baby and you are in for a hard slog, tight money and forever attached to the immature father. No matter what decision you made there was a reason for you to feel shitty.

FuckOffIAmMNetting Fri 01-Apr-16 02:24:12

You made the decision you felt was right

LucyBabs Fri 01-Apr-16 02:34:35

No can't agree what ever decision there was a reason to feel shitty confused

I've had dc and and abortions zig I understand it's normal to feel what might or could have been.

Do you feel regret and and wished you'd continued with that pregnancy?

LucyBabs Fri 01-Apr-16 02:38:05

Just to clarify I've never regretted or questioned the abortions I've had. They were right for me.
Not all women who make the decision to end a pregnancy have any regret and for me personally I felt relief only. My only issue was I had to leave my own country and pay a fortune to have an abortion.
Sorry to derail zig

SushiAndTheBanshees Fri 01-Apr-16 02:47:53

I've never had an abortion but wanted to say that I really feel for you. This must be so hard. Might it help to remember that the person you were then is not the person you are now? You're older, wiser, your life has moved on. You were a child then, albeit it a grown up one. You did what you thought best, you had no real choice really, and you certainly didn't know then what you know now about having children. Try to forgive your younger self, and grieve for what circumstance didn't allow you to have.


BoxofSnails Fri 01-Apr-16 02:55:05

Firstly you are not, and never are, unreasonable to feel the way you feel.

This leaps out at me:
"a tough time which I dealt with largely alone"
and I suspect this is why it's resurfaced so distressingly now. You coped with something very tough and life is good now - but I would seek help even just in the form of a short course of counselling, so that you can truly accept yourself as you are and the past as it is, and enjoy your lovely boy.

aurynne Fri 01-Apr-16 03:56:11

You are experiencing a delayed grief for your first baby. There is nothing wrong in feeling how you feel, and it could be even healthy that you acknowledge how you feel and let your mind deal with your new situation and the "what could have been's".

A friend of mine went through a similar situation to yours. She almost fell into depression until she decided she wanted to deal with this her own way. I know my friend is a different person from you, but I will tell you what she did just in case it can help you or inspire you to do something that works for you: my friend prepared a memorial ceremony (just herself and her toddler attended, it was something very personal to her). As she did not keep any physical memory of her first baby, she made a drawing and wrote a letter to him/her explaining how much she loved them and explaining how sorry she was it had not been the time for them to be born, she burned both and put the ashes in a little wooden box. She took the wee box and her son to a beautiful spot by the sea, said some words to her first baby and released the ashes in the sea.

This small ceremony and actions helped her accept what had happened, heal and move on with her life.

Big hugs!

TerrorAustralis Fri 01-Apr-16 04:22:32

YANBU flowers

I was in a similar situation, but had a miscarriage. My life would have been so different if I had that baby. The least of which would be a tie to the waste of space boyfriend who was its father.

But I still carry the thought of her with me (in my mind it was a girl even though I have no logical way of knowing). Not every day, but it's there. It doesn't go away even though is was over 20 years ago now.

Have you thought about counselling to help you get through these feelings, especially the guilt?

Atenco Fri 01-Apr-16 05:52:18

It was an act of love, in the end, OP.

I honestly believe that most women abort out of a mother's love for the child, because we feel that we will not be able to give that child what a child needs to have a good life. Be kind to yourself.

TestingTestingWonTooFree Fri 01-Apr-16 06:59:50

Moveitandloseit technically possible to have DS but unlikely. OP says she doesn't think she'd have got into a relationship with her DH had she continued with that pregnancy. Even if she had, in a completely different life, it's unlikely that she'd have had sex at exactly the right time so that the right egg and sperm would meet creating DS.

JoanneCofton Fri 01-Apr-16 07:39:10

Op I also had an abortion as a teenager and I feel the same way since I had ds. It's a weird feeling, one half of me looks at ds and feels so much guilt about what I did and the other half looks at ds and how hard having a child is and makes me glad I made that decision because it scares me to think what my life would have been like. I had no money, had a place at uni, and a dickhead, cokehead boyfriend who would have made my life hell.

Now ds is getting older, I think about what could have been a lot. I feel a lot of guilt but I know 100% I made the right decision. I don't regret doing it for a second and can honestly say I never have done. But it doesn't stop the guilt. I havent got any advice but wanted you to know it's completely normal and you're not alone. Look after yourself flowers

Fink Fri 01-Apr-16 07:47:20

It's completely normal. They even have specialised post-abortion counsellors. I can't personally recommend them, through lack of experience, don't know if they're pushing a particular line, but maybe counselling in general is something you could explore.

Does your DH know about it? Have you been able to talk about your feelings with him or anyone else?

Klaptrap Fri 01-Apr-16 07:48:10

It's understandable that you've been thinking a lot. But at the time it was the right decision for you, just remember that. Be kind to yourself.

For me his sums it up pretty well!

I had a similar-ish experience in my early twenties. Been with boyfriend (now DH!) for less than a year. Took the MAP, didn't work. Booked for an abortion (not really what I wanted but I was so lost), but started bleeding heavily before I got there, confirmed at the clinic that I was miscarrying.

I am now 29 weeks pregnant - for the first time since that experience - it has definitely been on my mind a lot. Despite not actually having the abortion, I have lots of guilt for making the decision to do so.

So, IMO YANBU to feel the way you do. YABU to beat yourself up about it though, so please don't do that. Whether it is normal or not is hard to say. Is your everyday life being impacted negatively by these feelings? If so it may be worth talking them through with a professional, so you can get past the negative feelings.


ZigAZigAhh Fri 01-Apr-16 10:06:59

Thank you so much, lovely MNers, for your responses flowerswine

Testing you're definitely right that it's unlikely I would have DS (or even DH) if the pregnancy had continued. It happened in Country A, I then moved to Country B where I met DH and we then moved to Country C where we had DS - it would have logistically been much much trickier if I already had a child in tow (and ex may not have consented to the moves in any event). That is one source of comfort.

NotQuite, Terror, Joanne, Klap, thank you so much for sharing your stories and extra flowers for you.

Aurynne your post makes me cry every time I read it (in a good way) - what a lovely thing to do. I might think about something small and meaningful I could do as a memorial.

I have thought about counselling on and off but due to some bad experiences with counsellors in the past (I had an eating disorder in my early teens and the psychologists I saw were fairly useless - one even fell asleep during an appointment) I haven't been that motivated to do anything about it. But I think I will look into it more now.

My DH knows all about it and has been wonderful, but it's the one thing in my life I find it a bit hard to open up to him about. It just feels very very personal and as though it's something I need to deal with alone.

Actually writing it all down (which I realised last night I had never done) and hearing from people who have been through a similar experience (along with those who haven't but expressed kindness and sympathy) has been a huge comfort.

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