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moving on after a termination

(55 Posts)
kakiqueen Fri 22-Mar-13 22:56:28

Hello all,
This is my first post on mumsnet and I'd really appreciate some advice.
I had a termination on Wednesday, for various reasons.
My dh and I already have two young children and felt we could not cope with another. I ha e a history of severe PND with both children and a history of ongoing low mood.
Please don't judge me for the termination, I already feel terrible enough.
Since having had the procedure, I cannot stop crying and feel so sad. I still feel it was the best decision in bad circumstances, but my hormones are all over the place.

The problem is that my dh is being very factual about the situation and is getting increasingly cross and frustrated with my grief. I feel I am entitled to feel sad and don't understand him.
I feel I have to hide my true feelings from him and pretend I'm fine.
He says he is suffering from compassion fatigue in view of my previous depression.
I'm so sad that we are so separate at this awful time.
Do any of you have experience of termination and relationships with your partners?
How can we move on without fighting every time we try to talk about this, which is what has been happening.
I worry we will spoil what was a good marriage by not being able to get through this.
Any advice, please?

MaidMiniEgg2012 Tue 26-Mar-13 20:46:25

Oh love, my heart goes out to you x

None of my real-life friends know about this, not because I'm ashamed to confide in them, its just I want this to remain a private thing, not a bit of gossip for people. I feel like a bit of a fraud sometimes around my friends, as I know we all know private things about one another, but I'm keeping quiet and it feels like I'm hiding something.

Doesn't it stir up some strange feelings and emotions?

I'm also from a Roman Catholic family, so they don't know either. There would be Hell to pay if they did. I was previously dead against terminations until I fell pg last time. I'm also on anti-epilepsy drugs which can cause birth defects etc, and can't stop taking them as inevitably I will start having fits again which is no good for looking after a 2 & 12 year old. Its just a mess.

kakiqueen Tue 26-Mar-13 20:26:52

Thanks miniegg. I feel for you. It is so sad. Thus has really changed me. My dh and I are getting on ok, but I feel so emotional and similarly to you, I'm swinging between self disgust/loathing, numbness a d then suddenly feeling all rational about it.
Part of me can't believe I actually went ahead and did it. I take that as a very small comfort: I really must not have wanted to have another baby. But right now, tonight, all I want is that baby back.
Thank you for replying to this thread. Hearing from others really does help. In real life, I feel very separate from my friends.

MaidMiniEgg2012 Tue 26-Mar-13 19:24:23

This thread has touched me. I had a termination 6 months ago, as DP and I have 4 children between us and could not afford any more. I was on the pill and it failed. DP was heartbroken, cried real huge tears as he blamed himself for "getting me pregnant" We made the decision together and I had the procedure. I was 6 weeks gone.
To be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about it. I veer from guilt, anger at self, disgust at self, to nothing. DP still gets tearful now. He adores children and if the time was right we would have continued with pregnancy. I cant bear to think of it as a "baby". I just cant.
I feel for you Queen I really do, as I myself suffered terrible delusional PND at 17 with my DS1. Mental illness is horrendous, especially at times like this.
Im thinking of you thanks xx

kakiqueen Tue 26-Mar-13 13:40:03

Thank you, differentnameforthis. I will do that. I was thinking of writing it down, too. Like a letter to it. So sad...
Thank you for sharing your experiences with me.

differentnameforthis Tue 26-Mar-13 06:30:53

I feel so sad for the little embryo I let go. But I know it was right.

This may sound a bit 'woo' but this is what a friend told me to do. . . Talk to your lost embryo. Talk out loud to it. Let the words out. OK ok, I know that it isn't going to hear you, but you need to hear the words. I said I was sorry that I couldn't give it life, but that the life I would have given it probably wouldn't have been a very nice one/good one. And lots of other stuff that I don't really remember too much to be honest.

I think the reason my friend told me to do it, was to rationalise the reasons & feelings in my mind. To let my ears hear that I was sorry for what I had to do, even though I knew I had to do it, if that makes sense.

It was like I needed to explain it to myself, like part of me didn't understand. Which, honestly, it didn't really. I love kids, I always wanted lots, but once I had 2 not great pregnancies & I had to listen to my body! So it was at odds to what I had always wanted. Talking out loud to it, to myself help me to understand that sometimes things don't always go the way we want.

Oh & grieve! It is a loss. You have every right to grieve this loss.

Homebird8 Mon 25-Mar-13 08:14:38

Oh Queen (definitely not kaki). Your pain is palpable and I so wish there was anything anyone could say to make it more bearable. sad thanks It was six weeks before I could even function emotionally so don't expect too much of yourself.

I found just talking was my best outlet. I have to admit DH did have a limit on listening and I made sure he got time when I found someone else to talk to. Some of my friends got a telephone blow-by-blow account of our time in the hospital and all the feelings I had, on several occasions. I told them I knew how amazing they were being for listening as if it were all on a loop and I will always be grateful.

DH is no saint by the way, however much I do feel we handled it well together. He told me at one point to "stop obsessing" and that it was as if I was picking at the wound to actively stop my healing. I felt angry and abandoned and like nothing would ever be the same again. It isn't, there is always the gap in our lives left by that baby. Still, I know we made the only decision we could and that we have found happiness in our two DCs, and in each other. It was nearly 12 years ago and still I found myself in tears suddenly on Friday. It wasn't an anniversary, nothing particularly had happened. I just reached my limit and the tears just came.

I'm not quite sure what to do next

Maybe doing something is too much of an ask. Just be. Whether you try counselling, or group support, or acts of memorial that you choose, it's early days at the moment and nothing is going to act quickly to remove you both from your feelings. Try not to second guess your own decision. I'm sure you both gave every option full consideration and, as painful as it is, you made the right decision for your family.

If you think you need to then I'm sure your GP would be a good option for exploring support as you go through this. Given the pregnancy hormones it might be as well to keep a close eye on your mental health. Don't be mistaken about your very real grief though. It's not unreasonable and you have a right to your own feelings even if they are not shared.

Sending you a brew and wishing I could clear a chair (sure it's not that messy really wink) and sit down to share it with you. Holding your hand for the party.

kakiqueen Sun 24-Mar-13 09:49:44

Thank you, quodlibet just ordered the book from amazon.x

kakiqueen Sun 24-Mar-13 09:48:48

homebird8,thank you so much. I'm not quite sure what to do next I feel I have this rage bubbling inside me, I want to scream at my husband. Maybe he does feel guilty for getting me pregnant each time. I just feel like a failure. Maybe if I'd not had post natal depression with my other 2 children, then we could have had this baby. I feel it is essentially my own fault for not coping in the early years. Rather than it being an enjoyable period in our lives, we both look back in horror at my state of mind at the time.
Part if me feels so angry with my dh that he did not tell me about his fear until after the termination. Maybe we could have sought counselling for him and had the baby?
I'm so angry and lonely and irritable. He has now one for a 3 hour run, leaving me with our two kids, a messy house and a kid's party to go to, alone.

Homebird8 Sat 23-Mar-13 23:24:17

We had a long talk after my last post last night during which he sobbed... he never cries

I wonder if he feels the responsibility to be the strong one, to never let his feelings show, possibly because he really can see how you feel and is so frightened that he has been partially the cause (by getting you pregnant in the first place each time). I feel proud of him for his tears and of you for understanding his fears. You did make the right decision together, and together you can be strong. There is a strength in shared weakness, and in determinedly sharing your feelings, both of you.

You have made great leaps forward by talking so well together. My DH took a while to be able to do that. He also now seems to know exactly what to say to other men in similar situations. I hope your DH has the opportunity to share with other men how he is feeling. He may get some great support that way.

I hope someone will be along soon who knows of support groups you may be able to contact together. The hospital probably know. Ask your health visitor if you think it may be an idea worth exploring. I found talking with much older women (who I knew from church in my case) helped me. It's surprising how many people understand that pain. Keep posting. The collective support and wisdom of MN is unfathomable.

Quodlibet Sat 23-Mar-13 22:43:17


There's a book called Unspeakable Losses by Kim Kluger Bell about the hidden grief and the psychological processes of pregnancy loss, including from termination. You might find it speaks to you - I found it very helpful after my MC. It made me realise how much we try to brush these losses under the carpet, when actually we might need significant time and space to get over them, whether or not we have chosen to end the pregnancy.

kakiqueen Sat 23-Mar-13 22:24:43

Thank you ladyapricot. Feeling very odd and detached this evening. X

LadyApricot Sat 23-Mar-13 22:02:52

They do say that about a week after your hormone levels will drop and its normal to feel very low but you will come out the other end soon!

LadyApricot Sat 23-Mar-13 21:59:39

Just talk to each other as much as you can. No one knows what his thoughts are at the moment so try to find out. Your hormones are causing your emotions to be much more intense at the moment and remember you will get through it and after a few weeks you will be able to see things clearer.
There is a free online counselling service for you which can be very helpful. You can also meet up with them if you prefer. Some only need one session and feel a lot better just for that but you can go regularly too.
Remember you're not alone and you will get through this and carry on to live a happy life. Remind yourself when you feel a bit wibbly that it was a big decision to make and you know it was the right one.

kakiqueen Sat 23-Mar-13 18:48:16

Thank you, notthesamenametoday. It is so helpful to hear other peoples'experiences. We are managing to talk today and I've cried a bit, too. I feel so sad for the little embryo I let go. But I know it was right.
It such a terrible conflict of feelings.
My hormones are definitely up the spout today and I can imagine crying myself to sleep again tonight.
I think I never imagined I could find myself in a situation like this.

notthesamenametoday Sat 23-Mar-13 18:03:26

kaki I really feel for you. I had a termination 20 years ago - at Uni. It wasn't nice, my then bf refused to help me make the decision on the grounds that it was my body. Then afterwards (after I made the decision that I am sure he wanted anyway but didn't want to take any responsibility for) he was vile to me. Refused to collect me from hospital because it might upset him. He was a mummy's boy and they had a bizarre Oedipal relationship. She hated me and was always unbelievably rude. When I told him he should stick up for me he said 'how can you expect her to like you when you murdered her grandchild?' (she didn't even know about the termination and lived overseas most of the time).

Anyway, I know my circs were very different, but I was an awful mass of hormones afterwards. I cried myself to sleep sobbing 'I want my baby back' for a few weeks. I resented the people who had urged me to have a termination. I think it's completely normal.

Now I am so glad - and grateful to those people - because my life would have taken a different course and I wouldn't have had the children I have now. I honestly think we have the children we were supposed to have and it all happens for the right reasons.

You are so very right to preserve your mental health. You need to look after yourself, but also the children you have.

I have a friend who had two difficult pregnancies, pre-eclampsia, early babies and fragile MH. Against reason she had a third baby, again had the pre-eclampsia, baby early. She has never recovered and it's been at least six years. She is very ill, on loads of meds, still seeing her psych frequently, spends her whole life on FB posting those awful mawkish maxims about love, friendship, motherhood etc but hardly engages with the real world. So sad.

You did the right thing. It must have been horrible to see your dh cry. But at least you know he has deep feelings about this now and may resent him less. I hope you can both heal from this experience soon.x

Oh and agree totally with those who have said having a termination is no reflection on your marriage, and very narrow-minded for anyone to think so.

belfastbigmillie Sat 23-Mar-13 16:51:16

I would imagine that termination and the drop in hormones could still trigger PND.

tribpot Sat 23-Mar-13 16:47:58

He said he feels the last ten years have been all about me and my mental health, which is more or less true.

Or to put it another way, you had bad PND after giving birth to his children and now you've gone through the severe trauma of a termination and you're meant to have pulled yourself together in four days?

Compassion fatigue my arse. I sympathise with him to some extent, it is hugely draining living with a partner with a long term health condition, but that doesn't prevent you from having compassion for the crisis points. He needs to man up and realise this wasn't an appendectomy (not that you would be back to normal in 4 days even if it was).

With your history of depression I would think you would be wise to seek counselling in any case to help process the recent events safely.

^ I need to find ways to help myself get better in terms of mental health, without leaning too much on him^

Only you can do the work to improve your mental health, but you should be able to count on him. Who the hell tells their partner they should be 'more fun' four days after a termination?

He's now cried about it, but has he comforted you at all?

belfastbigmillie Sat 23-Mar-13 16:38:11

In fact, at the time I posted on here in abject misery about the whole thing. Be kind to yourself and to your DH.

belfastbigmillie Sat 23-Mar-13 16:32:50

I am in a good marriage and had 2 kids (the youngest was 4 months) when one child got diagnosed with a serious medical condition and then I accidentally got pregnant again. We were in a very, very bad way regarding our child's health issues plus I was at the same time recovering from a section scar which wouldn't heal and baby no 2 wouldn't stop crying. Things were very grim and we had no family to support us. I had a mutually agreed termination and it was the right thing to do. We were barely keeping our heads above water as it was. Anyway, the hormone drop after the termination certainly sent me a bit doolally and a termination is a very lonely and sad experience for anyone. I don't think DHs understand as it is not their body and they have not seen/felt/experienced anything to help them to understand the trauma. For a long while afterwards I really hated DH's guts (irrationally) and there have been some bad fights. Our previously happy marriage went very downhill. I just wanted to take all my rage at the unfairness of my life out on him. We have worked through things and are now back (3 years later) in a good place. The termination was the right thing to do and you MUST keep telling yourself that and force yourself not to dwell on it. It is a very hard and lonely experience for any woman. You and your DH will get through this but it will take a long time. Best wishes xxx

differentnameforthis Sat 23-Mar-13 10:40:13

I'm pleased it gives you hope. Come back & talk here any time, don't worry about comments re contraceptive, I am astounded that people think those who have unwanted pregnancies can't be using contraception!

Feel free to pm if you want, too.

kakiqueen Sat 23-Mar-13 09:19:23

Differentnamefirthis, thank you. Your post gives me hope that dh and I will survive this. As you say, it's early days. X

kakiqueen Sat 23-Mar-13 08:59:00

we were using contraception. Sadly it is not 100% reliable, as our situation and so many others, demonstrate.
Thank you for the kind and compassionate replies.

differentnameforthis Sat 23-Mar-13 08:40:00

*Sorry this may sound harsh but you now need to think of
Contraception to prevent u feeling this way in future!*

Thistle, I was using condoms & on the mini pill when I fell pregnant. This assumption that unwanted pregnancies only happen when no contraception is being used has to stop. You have no idea what the op was using. Yes your post WAS harsh, because you assumed, you didn't ask! You just thought she must not have used anything...

differentnameforthis Sat 23-Mar-13 08:27:59

terminations don't only happen in 'bad' marriages, that is a naive, polarized and pretty offensive thing to say...

Absolutely. Dh & I had no issues at all in our relationship before this. We hit major rocks after the termination (again, his lack of support) but we came through it. Things are back to normal now.

If I were to fall pregnant again (hopefully not as sterilized) I would not hesitate to make the same choice as 4 years ago. That is no reflection on my marriage, just me, knowing my baby days are done & listening to my body telling me it doesn't like growing humans in it smile

differentnameforthis Sat 23-Mar-13 08:19:27

I could have written your post in 2009. Same circs, 2 children, youngest 5mths. I had asked my gp to refer me for tubal ligation, but he refused, and they refused to sterilize me at dc2's section. The one time I felt ready after dc's birth & I fell pregnant.

I know that I couldn't do it again, medical reasons mainly. Already had 2 sections, pre eclmapsia, carpal tunnel, SPD. Still recovering from section/birth. I just couldn't do it.

Had the termination & felt instant relief, but also felt so alone. Why did dh get to live a "normal life" & I got to grieve. Yes, I did what was best, but you still need to grieve in a way. Why did he seem so dismissive of what I had been through? Why couldn't he understand how big a deal it was, yet also appreciate what I had done for the sake of all of us. A little understanding, some talking, some reassurance would have gone a long way, yet instead he said "it's all done now" hugged me quickly & moved on to what ever he was doing.

I internalised my grief, which turned into anxiety. A few months down the line I realised that I wasn't dealing as well I had thought I was (I didn't ever feel guilt, or regret it, my feelings mainly focused on "were my reasons good enough") and I sought counselling. It helped!

I also talked to a friend, that helped too. I came to realise that although I wanted this, I still had the right to grieve over the loss. And so I did.

DH told me recently that he really didn't see it was a big deal, because I wanted to do it! I told him how it affected me & he said he had no idea. I never even told him about the counselling at the time. Don't know why. I guess it all points to the fact that I felt like I had no support from him. He can't really explain it, he just said it didn't feel like a big deal to him. We had a problem, I sorted it. He thought that was it. I guess in some way I should have told him how I felt.

We didn't talk about for it a long time, because I couldn't understand why it didn't affect dh as it did me.

In short, it is still very early days. Find someone you can confide in that isn't your dh (I'll be happy to listen) and seek some counselling. It really will help. Be kind to yourself. Of course you are entitled to feel sad, and your dh really needs to understand that! Please don't keep your feeling locked away, I don't think that will help at all.

You will come out of this, op. You really will. 4 years on, I don't look back. I looked after a friends little one a while ago & I had that little one & my youngest on my lap & I had a peep at what my life would have been like & I didn't like it. I am glad I took the path I did, I am not really cut out for more children. I have now been sterilized, so more proof that my baby raising days are done.

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