an After abortion

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Tuesday, September 7, 2004

From yesterday's Guardian, The Hardest Choice.

Yet when I suggested terminating the pregnancy, I hoped, against all the evidence, that William would pull me back from the precipice, assure me that we would work things out, that he would take care of me. He didn't. Panicked about the impact a child would have on his career, he readily agreed to an abortion. I scheduled the procedure for the earliest date I could have it.

It took another year and a half before William and I could untangle our lives and separate. The abortion blindsided me: humiliated and humbled, I could not believe that I was capable of terminating an intentional pregnancy. My big fear had been that we would be biologically unable to have a child; it turned out that we were emotionally unable to do so.

The abortion never troubled my husband deeply: it wasn't his body; he had never wanted a child all that much to begin with. While I don't regret ending that pregnancy, it still hurts to be childless. I shut the door on motherhood, quite possibly for ever, and in the starkest way possible.

When, as happens with ever-increasing frequency these days, a friend announces that she and her partner are expecting, it quietly knocks the wind out of me. When I come home from spending a long weekend with my raucous two-year-old niece, my apartment seems filled with too much quiet, empty space. At those moments, I tell myself that I have ruined my life. It's not that simple, though.

Good Lord. This is what it feels like to not regret ending a pregnancy?

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