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This topic is for personal experiences or dilemmas; to debate the ethics of termination, please go here or here.

I wish it was easier to talk about terminations (apologies if upsetting)

(385 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

Thurlow Sun 07-Sep-14 13:06:39

It feels like it is one of the great taboos and I don't dare talk about it IRL.

It's playing on my mind as I had a termination just under a year ago, so newborn babies are a bit of a touchy spot at the moment.

I am comfortable that we made the right decision but as a 30-something mum in a long term relationship, I know it is not a common choice nor it is one that many people might even understand or approve of.

But knowing it was the right decision doesn't mean I have completely forgotten about it or that I don't ever want to talk about it. I had the counseling that was offered, I am fine with my choice - but it's still there.

But I feel like I can't talk about. Sadly, many of my friends are going through problems TTCing right now, including some very, very tragic experiences. I know the most inappropriate thing I could ever say to them would be to tell them I terminated a potentially healthy baby.

99.9% of the time it is no problem but every now and again, people ask me when we might think about having another DC, or I feel I am in a conversation where I am essentially lying and dancing around the subject. I nearly mentioned it completely by accident to a very good friend the other day, a friend who would probably be very upset if she heard about it.

Why does it feel like such an awful taboo? Selfishly, why do I feel like I have to keep this secret from people? I feel like even those who wouldn't be personally hurt by the decision would probably be 'disappointed' that I made that decision, or perhaps think less of me.

It's even taken me a while to be open about this under my usual username. How bad is that?

I might be sensitive about this at the moment, but sometimes it feels as though "you made that decision, you live with it".

Is it just me? Does anyone else understand?

(Sorry this is a bit waffly...)

gingerbreadroll Sun 07-Sep-14 13:12:09

I'm sorry you are feeling like this. I think the thing is people tend to see others' situations through the lens of their own experience so people will think about it from their perspective and not yours. A termination may seem unthinkable to someone struggling with fertility issues and they may not be able to put themselves in your shoes.

At the same time, I wonder how much of the judgement you fear is actually likely to happen. What makes you think people will be disappointed or will think less of you? Is it coming from experience at all?

gingerbreadroll Sun 07-Sep-14 13:13:49

This makes interesting reading:

Branleuse Sun 07-Sep-14 13:14:13

it is still a taboo,especially if you dont regret it.

Ive had a termination too

Donnadoon Sun 07-Sep-14 13:16:19

I understand
Somebody very close to me had one ten years ago and regrets it every single day, she discusses it with me, and only me, fairly regularly.

TheWhispersOfTheGods Sun 07-Sep-14 13:16:19

I think because it is a very hard decision, and can feel very alien if you've not had to make it. It can be hard to understand.

I don't tend to mention mine, it was a long time ago now and I was in a different situation (student, bad relationship) and it rarely comes up. It might as I get into the TTC stage with my friends.

FWIW, I found my due date hard the year it would have been born, but it's never bothered me since.

Thurlow Sun 07-Sep-14 13:21:48

Thanks all. I don't know for sure people would think less well of me but... I suppose it was deciding at have a termination at the exact time everyone else was trying for DC2. A very natural time to have another DC. Being a mother already and knowing we would like another DC at some point - that's what I suspect people would judge.

It feels that people would view it as very different from having a termination at 22 after a brief relationship.

But you're right, maybe only someone else in the exact same situation would understand why we made that decision.

I'm sure this will pass I don't regret it and as whispers agrees, it's not long after the due date so that's making me think a bit. Plus it shook me up so nearly accidentally mentioning it to a friend who is about to start IVF.

gingerbreadroll Sun 07-Sep-14 13:27:44

Honestly, someone having IVF needs to understand that other people's lives are different. So if you do mention it,

gingerbreadroll Sun 07-Sep-14 13:28:29

Sorry, hit post too soon. If you mention it I would hope they could understand it wasn't about them!

The fact they're TTC doesn't mean people should have a baby in a situation where it's not right.

Sparklypants Sun 07-Sep-14 13:34:19

I had a termination 8 months ago. My life feels like it's turned to shit since I made that decision.

I should add that I didn't have any counselling. I wish I had.

Sparklypants Sun 07-Sep-14 13:36:59

And unlike you, op, I do feel ashamed of what I did ( I don't mean that anyone should be ashamed, it's just that I do) No one in RL knows and couldn't ever imagine telling anyone but at the same time I have a burning desire to talk about it.

Thurlow Sun 07-Sep-14 13:37:24

I'm so sorry, sparkly flowers Would it help to talk about it?

I guess I wonder why it seems such a generic taboo, not just a specific one for me. It feels like something that people don't really talk about very openly. It's all a bit hushed.

Thurlow Sun 07-Sep-14 13:40:42

X-posts with your second post. I really am sorry. What can feel like the right or only decision at the time can feel so wrong afterwards. People who have been through what you are going through need to talk about it and get the support.

AdamLambsbreath Sun 07-Sep-14 13:42:56

Hi Thurlow. I am TTC my first child at the moment, and have had several miscarriages over the last year and a half. Eight months ago my best friend had a termination. It was an awful time for her, and she felt very conflicted about it.

She worried that I would be upset at her terminating a healthy pregnancy. But she still told me about it, and I'm really glad she did. Not long after her termination I got pregnant (lost it later), and though I worried that that would upset her, I told her. In fact it's brought us even closer. She understands what it's like to lose a pregnancy (in her case forced by circumstance, in mine because of miscarriage). Each of us has been through the pain of watching other TTC-ers around us announce instant, healthy pregnancies. We understand the dark thoughts you have under these circumstances, and we can share these with each other without judgement, and comfort each other.

The fact that I'm having problems TTC has no bearing on my feelings about her termination. It was her baby, not mine.

I totally agree that it's hard to talk about termination. There's such a lot of judgement around it that it's hard to know who you can talk to. MC and infertility is not as bad, but it is similar. You never know when someone's going to make a stunningly insensitive comment, or imply it must be something you're doing wrong.

I'm really glad to have been open with my friend, and that she felt able to be open with me. Maybe your friends will be more understanding than you think thanks

MrsAlexanderSkarsgard Sun 07-Sep-14 13:43:11

I had a termination 14 years ago and whilst I don't think about it every day, I can't say I don't think about it fairly often.
I didn't want it, but was under pressure from my parents and my then boyfriend to "do the right thing".
It's something I know I'll regret for the rest of my life.

Branleuse Sun 07-Sep-14 13:48:34

i dont regret mine, although i do occasionally think about it.
It was 20 years ago though

Sparklypants Sun 07-Sep-14 13:49:47

Thurlow - thank you. I'm going to look into counselling because you're right, I do need to talk it through.

MrsAlexander - I was the same. I was very much pressured into it by my then partner. If I had wanted the termination then I think I wouldn't feel like this now.

Adams - you sound like a lovely friend.

TheWanderingUterus Sun 07-Sep-14 13:50:07

I agree with you OP.

I had a termination of what would have been my third child, four years ago. I don't regret it, but I do regret being in that situation and having to make that choice. The first year was terribly terribly hard and it was made even worse by the fact I couldn't talk about it to anyone.

dreamingbohemian Sun 07-Sep-14 13:58:04

I think if you don't regret it and are at peace with it, then in the not too distant future you won't really feel the need to talk about it. It will cross your mind sometimes but it will seem less big in your life. At least this was my experience.

I'm a bit torn about the taboo. On the one hand it's awful if it keeps people from talking about it and getting support, and women shouldn't feel ashamed about it. On the other hand, it is an intensely personal thing -- and many personal things are taboo. People tend not to talk about their difficult or painful experiences generally, or things that might make other people feel uncomfortable. So why should terminations be any different really?

This is one of the things I think MN is great for, the anonymity makes it so much easier to talk about things.

Hpparent Sun 07-Sep-14 13:58:49

I agree it is a difficult subject to bring up. Mine was 30 years ago but it is only something that family, my best friends at the time and a few other people since (boyfriends, DH) know about. I have never told my teenage daughters for example. I think it is something that people judge you for; either as stupid for having an unplanned pregnancy or morally reprehensible for having an abortion.

Thurlow Sun 07-Sep-14 14:14:58

That's a good point about the unplanned pregnancy. I always think that deep down most people assume you're an idiot it one way or another for accidentally getting pregnant - despite the fact that no contraception is 100%.

differentnameforthis Sun 07-Sep-14 14:23:26

I understand. Mine was almost 7yrs ago.

2 friends know, but none of my family do. I just can't bring myself to tell them.

I don't know why it is this way, why we can't talk openly about it in some places. We haven't done anything wrong.

differentnameforthis Sun 07-Sep-14 14:29:10


Sparkly, please don't be ashamed. Please talk to us.

I do know what you mean, perhaps we need a thread...I don't know...I think that we would get people coming wading in saying all sorts! But please...I am happy to talk & listen to anyone.

I terminated purely because I just did not want an unplanned baby & because pregnancy makes me very ill. I fell on 2 types of contraceptive. I had asked my dr to refer me to be sterilized 6 weeks post birth of dd2. I feel vindicated that he now knows I did not want anymore children, after he refused to refer me!

I don't for a moment, regret that choice.

differentnameforthis Sun 07-Sep-14 14:33:45

Thurlow, that's it, isn't it...those assuming that we were all careless with (or in this case without) contraception. The sheer number of WOMEN I have seen on termination threads on here saying that those who didn't want an unplanned pregnancy should have been more careful, should have used fucking bugs me!

Sorry...but it really gets my back up when they assume that accidental pregnancies only occur because woman forgo protection.

It's totally unacceptable that we should be subjected to such ignorance.

Devora Sun 07-Sep-14 14:44:59

I had a termination 33 years ago, when I was still at school. I found it very distressing at the time, and for a few years after, but I have never regretted it. It is strange that it is so taboo, given that 1 in 3 women has an abortion.

I think there is strong pressure to adopt a certain narrative, in order not to be seen as callous or irresponsible. You know: ideally it was not our fault we got pregnant (we were using contraception, but it failed). And we really have no choice but to have this abortion, it wouldn't be fair on the chid to bring it into these circumstances. And we are of course devastated. And we will only ever have one abortion, promise. It's really hard to talk about abortion in any way other than this.

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