It’s not easy to share my story with you. This is a topic nobody wants to talk about, but I am able to look back with sadness on the past from a life filled with so much joy today. I now know the joy of having children of my own, and it is as I hold them in my arms that I write of the child I gave up.
I was born into a pretty good and loving home. I was a loved child from a broken family, I was an academic achiever at a private girl’s school, and I was seen as a ‘good’ girl. At 18 I found out I was pregnant, and it came as a huge shock. I never thought ‘this’ would happen to me. I’d been in a relationship with a guy for about a year, and we were sleeping together but I was not intending to get pregnant.
I felt completely alone in the decision to keep or abort my baby, although many people offered support ‘whatever decision you make’, which in the end just left me feeling lost and confused. I didn’t go to see my normal doctor, as I was too ashamed. I thought I made a ‘well-informed’ decision, but now I look back on that day with such regret. My ‘choice’ was made knowing none of the consequences of abortion, or anything about the baby inside me. I only discovered this through the experience.
Later, during a University course in human physiology, I burst into tears when I realised that the ‘foetus’ I had aborted actually had a heartbeat when I’d had the abortion. This devastated me. I had no reason to think abortion was wrong to this point, but I knew it had hurt me. It wasn’t till I realized it was a ‘who’ I’d given up, a baby, my baby, and I’d never be able to get it back, that I began to grieve. I had lost something.
Grief is a lifelong journey, but admitting there was a life, and it was gone, helped me to cry tears I hadn’t known were there. They weren’t tears of guilt, but of sadness and loss. I had guilty feelings I needed to deal with too, I needed to forgive myself and seek forgiveness for what tormented me now as one of the biggest mistakes of my life. I was so disappointed that I had missed out on sharing a life with that baby.
I spent the next few years processing what had happened. Some beautiful ladies spent time working through my grief with me, holding me, letting me talk about how it felt, and what I had missed out on. Those times were so precious to me. I now have a little statue in my garden of a baby lying wrapped in the wings of angels. When I look at it I’m grateful for what I have, and remember what I gave up. That helps me somehow.
My husband and I now have three gorgeous kids, Evy (5), Asher (2) and baby Mercia (<1). As I write this, they race around my house, full of the life they’ve been given, and giving me untold joy (and plenty of challenges I must admit). Their laughter, innocence and ‘joie de vivre’ remind me to be thankful for what I have, but also often leave me wondering about what I missed by ending my first daughter’s journey before it had even begun. I have so much more life to journey on with my kids, and I’m so grateful for that. I don’t want to miss out on any of the time we have together, and I wouldn’t give them up for the world. I just wish I knew all that the first time round.