Submitted by: M
I have not allowed myself to grieve your loss. I still cannot believe that I had to make the choice to terminate my pregnancy. You were a healthy and strong baby, but I could not bring you into a world of chaos. You were a surprise, but conceived with a man I was engaged to. We were both financially ready to welcome a baby, and I dreamt of being a mother for over a decade. I was thrilled to finally be a mother, your mother. I felt you were going to be a boy, fiercely protective of your family. And, in your own unique way, you were.
R, the man I was engaged to, was not able to protect me from his family who was forcing me to convert to Islam. I was blindsided by this requirement. I did go through the motions of “accepting Islam” to avoid a stressful pregnancy, but the “conversion” took a toll on me. I felt like I was being stripped of my cultural identity, my freedom, and my dignity. I felt reduced. I felt trapped.
R’s family shamed me and gave him ultimatums. No one acknowledged or prioritized how delicate a pregnancy is, and the support needed to ensure the baby and mom’s health. I felt alone and I was fighting for my sanity. I ended up in the ER because I was suicidal. That was the turning point for me; I knew I was not in the mental space to welcome you. As a mother, I made what I knew was the best decision for you.
You protected me because you showed me the character of the man I was committing my life to. You saved me from killing myself. R left on a road trip two days after my procedure: I was 16 weeks along and had to go into the hospital alone because of COVID. I called off the engagement.
I have not taken the time to truly face the loss — all of the acute loss. This is the first time I have written in over 8 months. This feels like a release, a start to the healing.
A, I love you.