A Mother’s Choice

Note: The Exhale Pro-Voice After-Abortion Stories Hub includes people’s stories of their experiences and emotions, exactly as they have written them in. We do not edit these stories at all, and the content that follows this message is exactly as we received it. We know that people’s experiences are complex, and these stories reflect the many emotions they may be feeling after their abortions. From relief to grief, and everything in between, and all at the same time, we’re here for you.

Submitted by: Ashley

I feel obligated to preface this story but stating that I am a loving mother with a happy little boy who brings me so much joy.

I found out I was pregnant unexpectedly in May, and my husband and I were both floored. We had unofficially decided that we were complete in our family. Before having our son I miscarried and that experience triggered a lot of anxiety in my next pregnancy. Fortunately, we had a healthy boy and we were so so happy to be parents. Very quickly after my son was born I began struggling with postpartum, anxiety and depression. It took me a long time to get out of that, and it tested my strength and marriage.

Now nearly 4 years later I have a loving marriage and a beautiful family. My husband and I never felt the urge to add to it, and were beginning to discuss him getting a vasectomy, but then I found out I was pregnant. The joy and excitement that I felt with my first two pregnancies was replaced by total fear and anxiety. I wasn’t ready to have another baby, the world was undergoing a global pandemic, and most of all I feared what another anxiety-riddled pregnancy and postpartum depression could do to the family that I loved and cherished so much.

We grappled with this decision for a week. I even made an appointment and then canceled it, but in the end we both came back to the decision that this was the best thing for us as a family. I had a medical abortion and the staff at the planned parenthood could not have been any more kind. What I couldn’t get over was how many women were there. I had felt so alone in this decision, but there were so many women going through this. Afterwards, I felt – and still feel – such guilt. We have a loving home, good jobs, we are good parents but somehow we just couldn’t go through with this pregnancy.

My biggest fear is that this will be something that haunts my husband and I for the rest of our lives. We are both seeking therapy and doing everything we can to move forward, but one month out, it still weights very heavy on our minds and hearts. My rational mind tells me that this was the best decision for my family, but it just hurts so much. I want to go back to that feeling of joy and content that I felt just a few months ago. I also have this overwhelming urge to make amends somehow.

I’m hoping sharing my story helps with that. Before I found this site I would desperately search the internet for stories from other moms so I didn’t feel like I was the only mother who had done this. While I need to work through my own pain and feelings towards this, it helps to know that I’m not alone and I want other mothers struggling with something similar to find stories that look like their own.

I know one day I will be ok. I have to be for my little boy who deserves a happy and healthy mom it just feels so overwhelming in this moment, but I have hope.

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12 responses to “A Mother’s Choice”

  1. Alexa

    Hi Ashley,
    Thank you for sharing your story – I’m also a mother who had an abortion and the pain I felt afterward was completely overwhelming. After a lot of therapy, I feel better. I feel more confident in my choice, and more certain that it was the right one for me. And I know that when the pain comes, I can breathe through it and it won’t take me under. It’s been a long and hard journey, but I’m beginning to feel better and I have a more hopeful view of the future. At first I didn’t think I’d ever get over it. I suppose that’s what everyone thinks whose been through a major trauma. But little by little, by talking and reading, sharing with very trusted family and friends, and working on myself in mind, body, and spirit, I do feel better. It’s a horrible thing to go through, but horrible things make us strong. You sound really strong. Good luck to you, and just know there is another mom out there going through a very similar journey.

  2. Ariana

    I can relate to these stories as well. I’m a mother of 2, happily married with a very supportive husband. When I found out I was pregnant with a third child, I couldn’t accept it. For 2 weeks I was depressed, sad, I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep.. I felt like I was bringing more hardship into our family (we were struggling financially already) and that our children’s lives will be forever altered. In my mind I was convinced that something was wrong with my pregnancy and that’s why I was feeling so negative and depressed. I couldn’t bare the thought of bringing an unhealthy child into the world and creating more pain and suffering for my family. All I wanted was for things to get back to they way they used to be. Well, after 2 weeks and 2 appointments at 2 different pregnancy centers, my husband and I made the decision that the abortion was the best thing to do. So I had an abortion 4 days ago…for a quick minute I felt relief the day I took the 1st pill. But after that and since then, all I could feel is regret and anger at myself. I feel like a horrible person for making such a terrible choice. I feel like I can’t move forward with my life and will forever be damaged. A few days ago I couldn’t stand the thought of being pregnant!!! Now all I wish is that I was pregnant again. I wish I could turn back time and do things differently. I don’t know how to move forward, how to redeem myself. I don’t think I can go on like this, feeling miserable and hating myself. I don’t know what to do, this is all I think about and feel like my life will never be the same. I feel like I will never be happy again.

    1. Kathleen

      I can so relate to this. So much. It’s painful. It’s so disconcerting isn’t it? To want things to go back the way they were and then feel such profound regret so soon afterwards. How is your husband coping/ helping you work through these complicated emotions?

    2. Keely

      I feel the same way. This week is my due date with the baby I aborted. I am 9 months out and still very depressed, though i am less suicidal than i was early on. We’ve been actively trying to conceive since March and have had no luck. I am going to a fertility specialist this month. Having this 3rd baby is the only way I can move forward with my life and forgive myself. I worry I ruined my life and body if I cannot get pregnant, but I have already decided I will do IVF if I am not pregnant in 3 months. The only thing that will make me feel better is a time machine, things will never be the same. It’s so unfortunate planned parenthood does not counsel you more. I needed more support that day.

      1. H

        Hi Keely. Wondering how you’re doing now? I am in the same exact situation. I did mine 4 days ago and I’m feeling the same emotions as you. It’s been a while since your post. Wondering about an update? How are you
        Coping now?

    3. RT

      I am in a similar position as both of you. I terminated a wanted pregnancy last week. It was unplanned but the idea of a third was not out of the question for us. Initially, I was happy but as the weeks went on I started to remember how depressed and overwhelmed I have felt throughout the last four years since my first child was born. I was depressed after he was born, depressed during my pregnancy with my daughter and had really bad anxiety after her birth. I still feel exhausted most days. I regret not being able to enjoy them more, especially as babies. My marriage has struggled through all of this too. I hoped it would be different the third time but all I could feel was dread. I just didn’t want to live in that fog and sadness again. We made the decision to terminate all although logically it was the right choice for the family I have now, I still feel so much loss and sadness. At times, I feel like I will never get over it. It is really comforting to know that I am not the only mother who has made this heartbreaking choice.

  3. Lesley M

    I am a mum with a child and made the same decision to terminate because i was happy being a family of three. The pregnancy was an accident and it was tough to have made the decision but there were so many other factors that made us decide. Its going 4 years since the procedure and we actually had a baby girl 3.5months ago when things were better for us. I knew i didnt want to have a child then because i wanted to bring a child into this world with better resources that i could not give to my first. 3 years later, i was in a better place – not only because now we.were in a better place financially (etc etc) but i am a stronger person that is able to make brave decisions for my family. Love and light to you.

  4. K.

    Hi Ashley,
    Your story is a lot like mine. I’m three weeks out and I’m holding onto the same hope you are. The pain is unbearable and I want to go back in time but that is not an option. I hope both of us will be able to heal from this and go on to live happy lives.
    I’m thinking of you!

  5. Kathleen

    Forgot to say that I completely understand that feeling of needing “to make amends.” After the abortion, I was secretly trying to get myself pregnant again. I felt like a crazy lady. My husband got his vasectomy 2 months after the abortion and even then I was still hoping I could get pregnant with some last surviving sperm. I truly felt like I’d gone off the rails, but I thought if I could get pregnant again then THIS time I’d have my head on straight and I could be stronger and tougher and it would make things right and ease those feelings of guilt if I could bring this pregnancy to term. Thankfully/ regretfully, it’s been 3 months since his vasectomy and no pregnancy. So time to really face my feelings.

    1. K.

      I thought I’m the only one thinking about getting pregnant again. It feels crazy! I want to give my kids the sibling I took away from them and have hope for the future. The crazy part is that one of the major reasons we did what we did was that life with one more child to care for just felt extra overwhelming in the immediate future and in the far away one as well. How come then these thoughts even enter my brain?!
      Good luck to you with facing your feelings!

      1. Kathleen

        You make me feel less crazy! I’ll admit I still track when I’m close to ovulating in case he still might have viable sperm– I’m bona fide nuts! I was thinking about getting pregnant again within days of the abortion. Yes, our life was full enough with 3 kids too and a 4th would have overextended us in so many ways. I think this desire to be pregnant again is just my attempt to make things right; it’s just so irrational. Sigh. I am realizing that my healing is entirely contingent upon my thoughts, so I’ve really been trying to harness the harmful ones and make sense of this whole experience in a more loving, nurturing way. I’m basically living in my head and giving myself therapy sessions all day long…when I’m not tracking my ovulation! Keep me posted K….

        1. K.

          I could have written this comment! This would have been baby no. 4 for us too and although I’m not ready to commit to trying now this is a big thought I’m trying to process. It does feel like an attempt to fix this grave error we made but at the same time all the thinking about the baby that will not be, as impossible as having it was before it seems so doable now. It’s a constant battle with my thoughts. I try to not go there, to that alternate life and when I’m able to block it I feel like I can go on. But then these thoughts take over and I fall apart.
          I hope we both can heal!

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