Submitted by: SJ
I could have been a mother of 2 by my 32nd birthday, but I recently made the decision to terminate a pregnancy in the midst of such an unprecedented time in history, and an incredibly stressful period of my life.
My husband (50) and I have been married for 4 years. We both have great jobs (although mine feels unstable in this time). He has a 13 year old son from a previous relationship. We have a 14 month son, and we both work and are without childcare during this pandemic. Between pregnancy hormones, the stress and anxiety of the pandemic, the isolation, the utter illness and exhaustion, I felt during this pregnancy, the financial worry and instability facing the entire world, after my initial excitement of taking the test and more time under quarantine passed, I had an overwhelming feeling of dread that I couldn’t shake.
My husband and I barely had any time to talk through this decision, or conversations ended in frustration quickly because we disagreed on the best course of action for our family. All day we work in shifts to take the baby or do our jobs. We ate dinner, put the baby to bed, and then continued working to make up for lost time during the day, or I would be asleep by 9 since the the exhaustion, depression, and nausea were so overwhelming. overall, it just felt like there was no time to talk this through before my scheduled appointment. Everything we did was in shifts with no shift for our relationship.
when I went to the appointment, which I had to go to alone due to the current state of the world, I found out I was 7 weeks and 1 day. While I thought I was prepared to make a decision about termination then, I was scared, I cried, I was conflicted, I was so stressed and sad and alone. It was raining horribly which made it worse. I couldn’t do it, but made an appointment for later in the week, which my husband was well aware of.
That week, I was almost waiting for him to talk to me about it. It was unfortunately passive, but again, I was tired and in my state, felt like my mind was made up, despite knowing my husbands feelings differed. We never made the time for each other before the appointment.
He drove me to the doctor on friday and waited with our son in the car, knowing what was happening. We were both quiet but seemingly supportive, or at least understanding of the reality that we were about to face. I went into the appointment alone and was administered the pill to begin a medical abortion.
I was immediately sad but relieved and told my husband just that when I got back in the car, but then stopped me from speaking since he thought I was just saying “bullshit.” He then browbeat me in the car before stopping himself saying that it wasn’t fair. It’s been two days and we’re both grieving. He’s angry and called me a child murderer. I was so shocked but disagree, and know he’s going through this in his own way. We got into an argument about this being solely my decision without any input from him. I’m seeking counseling to help us through this time, as the more I read (which I have energy to do again), realize that this could destroy us. I didn’t foresee the emotional impact that this decision could have.
One of the scariest parts of this is that immediately after the abortion, the pregnancy hormones leave your body and I felt like myself again. like waking up from a bad trip or a bad dream, where a veil or fog was lifted. I wasn’t tired, I wasn’t ill, I had energy for myself and my son and my husband. My face looked different. My body didn’t hurt. Neither did my head.
And then I begin to wonder, wow, how can a person enduring all of that exhaustion and pain and nausea and anxiety and stress of unplanned pregnancy and stress of unplanned worldly pandemic and stress of
finances and health and isolation and depression possibly make a decision like that? I had a thought today, that if I wasn’t under the fog of all those hormones I might have made a different decision. I don’t know who’s feelings or decision would have been more valid.
At the time, with everything I had, it wasn’t right. I wish I had more time, to talk with my husband, to think, to process. I wish things were different. If there wasn’t a global pandemic, I would have wanted to grow our family but the uncertainty of the world has me very panicked. I know life will eventually move on, or move forward in a new way, but the idea of being pregnant with such uncertainty in isolation without help in our current roles as professionals and parents — the stress of anything additional was too much to bear. I thought about how exhausted I was and how I would be more exhausted with a newborn. I couldn’t imagine it. I was so spent. So fragile. So hormonal. So scared.
While I don’t wish this situation on anyone, I wish I could find some solidarity in shared experience here. Women who couldn’t bear the idea of moving forward with pregnancy during this time. Women who are in married loving relationships. Women who are financially ok, but who still have financial fears. The only articles on abortion during this period are unfortunately about potential bans.
I’m not really sure how to end this story. It won’t ever end in my mind or heart.