Anonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this anonymous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.
Here on Mommyish and everywhere else on the web, we often hear about cases of women who have their rights to an abortion taken away from them. For whatever reason a woman might choose to put an end to the life of her unborn fetus, I firmly believe that it’s no one’s business what her choice may be. Only the person involved knows whether or not this choice is right for them. I also believe that having an abortion should be an exception, and that the consequences of having the child should outweigh the consequences of having an abortion.
Yet, never did I imagine that the day would come where I would have to fight my boyfriend and his family for the right to keep my unborn child.
I am already a mother. I am in my thirties. I have a good paying job, a loving boyfriend, and a very decent life. My boyfriend and I have always talked about having more than one child, although if we could have chosen, it wouldn’t have happened so soon…
A few days before my daughter’s first birthday however, after racking my brain trying to figure out why I was feeling so nauseated and tired, I began to suspect that I was pregnant again. Since we live in a small condo and his parents were staying with us, I asked my boyfriend to come into the bathroom with me, closed the door, and shared my fears with him. “I don’t care if you are or not, but one thing for sure is that we’re not keeping it” is the only thing that came out of his mouth that night.
I could not help but stare back at him half incredulously and half calmly, knowing that this was nor the time or the place to have this conversation. I told him that the next morning, I would do a test, and then we could talk about it.
Our fears became reality when the little blue line turned into a cross sign. Back into the bathroom we went, and my boyfriend repeated the same thing. I felt crushed – both because I wasn’t ready to have a second child right at that moment, but also because I hated feeling like we were on opposite ends of what will never be a fair debate. Yet, for me, it has been clear for years. Abortion just can’t be an option for me unless my child has a genetic disorder that would cause him or her pain and suffering.
When my boyfriend and I started talking about pregnancy and children about 2 years ago, I had already made my position clear. I explained to him that, considering my professional status, my relationship status, the country we live in, and our financial situation, I just couldn’t live with myself if I were to have an abortion. At the time, he didn’t quite understand my position, but he respected it. It just encouraged him to use better contraception!!
Flash back forward two years, he repeats to me once again that I have to have an abortion. I look at him, with pain in my eyes, and tell him that I couldn’t live with myself if I were to do that. For many reasons that are hard to explain (many more than before we had children), but all the same.
I’m sure it’s a hard position to be in as a man in a relationship when the two partners don’t agree on what to do about a pregnancy. My boyfriend expressed to me that he felt as though I wasn’t respecting his opinion and that I was going against his wishes. He had hoped for us to reestablish our savings, and to sell our home and get a bigger one. Although he wanted his children close together in age, this was just too close for him. He had wished that this child could come a few months or years in the future.
For the next few days, I tried time and time again to explain to him that I wasn’t against him, that it wasn’t that I didn’t respect his opinion. I listened to him over and over again explain why he thought we weren’t ready, and tried to help him understand that I was hearing what he had to say. I tried to explain how I felt about the abortion, but he didn’t feel like listening. And so we fought.
Through all of this, we were hosting my in-laws (isn’t timing perfect?!). They came to visit their granddaughter and were over the moon the entire time they were here. I myself was both physically and emotionally drained and noxious, and took advantage of the fact that they were there to help us with our daughter to rest. Of course, there was no way of them understanding what was going on. However, we had always been on good terms, and I assumed that they would understand that I wasn’t feeling well and needed a bit of help.
The day that they were to leave, my boyfriend and I had an epic fight. When his parents found out the reason for our fight, his father looked at me and said “There’s absolutely no doubt about it. You have to get an abortion. Get rid of that child. You two absolutely aren’t ready for another one”. I will always remember the anger on his face. And I will probably always have a hard time forgiving him for his total lack of sensitivity in this difficult moment of my life.
His total lack of empathy, and the ease with which he spoke of ending my pregnancy was stunning. I couldn’t even feel anything else than a burning sense of protectiveness for my unborn child. We weren’t there to discuss whether abortion was right or wrong. We were there to explain what was happening. We weren’t even asking for their advice in the first place as to what to do with the child.
Thankfully, my boyfriend spoke up, and perhaps in a moment of protectiveness towards me, said that he was willing to keep the child and he would love that child, if we could make a few financial concessions.
Throughout this entire ordeal, I couldn’t help but think that it seems as though some men (and women, because my mother-in-law felt the same way as her husband about this all) just assume that an abortion is just another form of birth control that you can take if an accident were to happen. It was surprising to me that they could just assume that someone could very easily decide to go through with it, without taking into consideration that there might be emotional and physical consequences to such a procedure. “It’s just a little aspiration – it’s not even like a real abortion that they might do when you’re four months pregnant,” my mother-in-law actually said to me. My only response to them was that we were not there to discuss the ethics and procedures of an abortion, or to judge each other’s decisions in regard to the procedure. I had my personal values and convictions in regards to abortion, and that was neither up for debate or discussion.
I have heard through my boyfriend that both my mother-in-law and sister-in-law have had abortions because they felt as though they couldn’t afford their unborn children. I’m sure that this fact has influenced his views on abortion. Having been exposed to it, perhaps they he has been desensitized to the procedure? I get the sense that neither or them took the time to talk about how they felt about the procedure – only that they had it done.
And at the end of the day, there are only a few certainties that I can attest to: I cannot for the life of me play god and decide which of my children deserve to live or die according to the balance in my savings account at a specific moment in time. The idea of having an abortion feels to me as if we were lining up all of my living and unborn children, and I point to them saying, “I want you, I want you not. I want you, I want you not.” Am I just supposed to tell my unborn child to come back in a few months when things have settled down?! How can I handle becoming pregnant again, intentionally next time, knowing that just a few months or years before, I chose to end the life of a sibling because my apartment wasn’t big enough and I wanted more money? It’s just a decision I can’t make. The consequences of having an abortion in my specific case far outweigh the consequences of having this child.
At the end of the day, the reasons for NOT having this child will be fairly easily fixed even before the birth of the child. A few months of sacrificing seem a lot more appealing than a lifetime of pain and sorrow in regards to this unborn child. I am relieved to say that, although the atmosphere in the house isn’t where I would ideally like it to be, my boyfriend and I have come to a consensus on how we would handle the next few months financially so that we could meet the goals we had set for ourselves. Hopefully with time, things will get back to normal…
It saddens me though that this situation has created a rift between us and I dearly hope that we will overcome this situation. My boyfriend has reassured me that he will love this child as much as any other and will take care of it happily – that he wants other children and he will accept my decision… But I see the pain in his eyes when he says it. I know that he feels as though I went above his head and made a decision without his input. And that feeling sucks. I never wanted to be in this position. I wish there had been an easier way.
(Photo: Getty Images)