I have been reading your magazine for the past two years, never missing an issue, and have enjoyed the many topics you cover that are of particular interest to women—pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. You give great tips to new mothers and your advice to parents is invaluable. However, there is a sensitive subject that you have not yet breached: an unwanted pregnancy. Therefore, I have decided to share my painful, life-changing story with you.
A dreaded discoveryI stood, my feet shaking, holding the plastic stick in my hand. Tears started rolling down my face as I saw two red lines materialize on the home pregnancy test strip—I was pregnant! I felt guilty as I thought of all the women out there who would have given anything to be in my shoes at that very moment. But as a working mama of four, with my youngest just 11 months old at the time, getting pregnant was not really an option—especially as my husband was between jobs, rendering our financial situation uncertain.
My husband and I had discussed the size of our family and we were both content with the two girls and two boys God had already blessed us with. We did not plan on expanding our family and were very cautious when it came to contraception. However, in that area, we did not have many choices: because I had varicose veins, I could not take contraceptive pills and since I had my four children by Caesarean section, the loop was hardly an ideal choice. We resorted to condoms. The fact that they are not 100 per cent effective in preventing pregnancy had become all too clear.
My reactionFor two days and two nights I cried like a baby. Through my tears, I discussed the subject with my husband who, though as shocked as I was at first, had started warming up to the idea of having another child. I, on the other hand, could not face the idea of pregnancy—I was as sure as anything that I would never survive it. My pregnancies had always been very difficult and, when I came around from the anaesthetic after giving birth, I had always felt like I was rising from the dead.
There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to terminate the pregnancy. I broke the news to my husband and, when he saw how devastated I was, he agreed.
Going through with itFinding a gynaecologist to carry out the abortion was no easy task. My gynaecologist refused to do it, trying to talk me into keeping the baby, but I had already made up my mind. Finally, I found a doctor who agreed to perform the abortion, saying that she believed it was my right to terminate the pregnancy if I so desired. She did an ultrasound to confirm that I was, in fact, pregnant and it was then that I heard the sound I least wanted to hear—the sound that ripped my insides apart and still haunts me today: the sound of the foetus’ heartbeat. Each beat was like a stab to my own heart.
OverAfter going through the painful procedure, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief—relief that the ordeal was over and that my life would soon go back to normal.
What I was not prepared for was my husband’s attitude. He was with me the entire time and had heard the heartbeat as well. His eyes were the first thing I saw when I woke up; in them, I saw a light that was fading. For days after the operation, he barely talked to me, refusing to look me in the eye and acting angry most of the time. I was devastated at the time—I really needed his support. I knew it was my decision to terminate the pregnancy, but it was not easy and I still needed support; I needed to feel loved and accepted. Because we never told our children what had happened, I was completely alone with my thoughts and feelings. It was such a difficult time.
Moving onOne year has passed; my husband has finally gotten over his deep anger and is back to loving me the way he did before the abortion. We are even more cautious than ever when it comes to contraception now because making the same mistake twice would be fatal. I love my children and I even love the one I aborted, but I know that I would not have been a good mother if I had to look after another child. I hope that God will protect my family and I will always strive to be the best mama I can be. And I pray that the little angel whose heartbeat I heard can forgive me.