Anne's Story

Hello, my name is Anne and I had an abortion last Wednesday, December 06, 2000. I am so thankful that I found this website! This site and the stories told have helped me immeasurably.

I have not been dealing well with this at all. I'm 37 and have two children 15 and 8 years old. My 8 year old has Down Syndrome. Having him has put me on such an incredible journey. We didn't know when "we" were pregnant, it came as a complete surprise.

So here we are 8 years later and I'm a week late. I was having a lot of cramps even before my period was due so I just figured it would show up soon. I've been late before. I had bought the tests and they had come back negative and my period would start either the same day or the next. This is the same scenario that I thought would happen. Wrong! When I saw that double line all I could say was "Oh my God!" over and over again! There was no feeling of elation and joy as there had been with my other two. Just dread and fear.

I went and had a blood test done and they called me at 10:30 the next day with "Congratulations!". I couldn't even talk to the lady on the other end I was crying so hard. I yelled and screamed at the Universe, God you name it. "Why are you making me have to make this decision?" "I don't want to have to make this decision!"

My husband came home from work and I remember trying to think of a way to tell him without just dropping it on him. I have to say before I did the test we had talked the night before and jokingly I had said something to the effect that I'm pregnant and he replied "You are?" I said "No, but how would you feel if I were?" He said that he would be happy and scared. Scared at the decision that would have to be made. We have just bought a new home and finally, after 12 years!, he bought a new car. He'd been driving the same car for 12 years and had dreamed of the day he could get his truck! Both of us have made sacrifices over the years because of our kids - we don't regret or resent - it's just a fact. We went over the finances and said that we could go out there and afford this new car.

Things have always been tight financially. After our son was born, we found out he would have to undergo open heart surgery (at 5 months!). At that time I quit work. My son was put on several heart medications and I wasn't about to leave him with anyone. So since then I've been an at-home mom. Now that he's 8 and his health is finally not such an issue, I had started seriously thinking about me and what would I like to do for me now. I was getting really excited about "getting back out there!"

Then the double line showed up. My husband is 45. I remember after I told him he said to me "I guess we'll have an abortion". I said something like "I guess'. We talked about nothing else for 7 days. It was all I could think about. He would be 55 when the baby was 10. I would be 48! I didn't want to be doing the elementary PTA stuff at that age! He felt he was too old. I remember how exhausted I felt after Max and I wasn't even 30 yet! How could I do this now and take care of Max? (I know I could but let's seriously look at the reality of it) I didn't have the same amount of energy I had with my first one how would it be on this third one? We can't financially afford to have someone come in and help out. Could we financially afford another child?

What if this child is another special needs child? I was only 29 when I had Max so my chances of another were up there already and now I'm over 35 so they are even higher. We were lucky with Max. Yes, he has had major surgery and many hospitalizations and many many illnesses. But things could have been worse. As it was the emotional and financial roller coaster of the first few years of his life, well let's say I'm glad they are behind us. Could I go through that again? Did I have the strength? Did I WANT to go through that again? Did I want to start all over again? The answer then and now is NO but it still doesn't make this any easier.

The answer was so strong that I "sat" with my little girl's spirit/soul on the day I found out for sure and explained to her that now wasn't the best time. That she deserved to be in a belly where on the first day of the missed period the test will be done and the news will send the "younger" couple over the moon. That she deserved that. She deserved to grow up in a home where she was wanted from the very first minute. After I had this little "chat" with her I fell asleep and I remember when I woke up I felt very peaceful for the first time in days. I also felt as if her spirit had gone.

I was having a lot of cramps and discharge and my heart would go into this incredible pounding for no reason. It felt like it would pop out or I would have a heart attack. Talk about scary! This was all before I knew I was pregnant. So I wonder if I would have even carried this child full term anyway. I wanted to miscarry because I could have handled that psychologically much better.

On the way to the clinic I was pretty numb. I couldn't believe I was doing this. When we got there I started crying as soon as the nurse handed me the paperwork to fill out. I cried the whole time I was filling it out especially when I got to the description of the procedure and what could potentially happen. I noticed the other women/girls seemed to be doing a hell of a lot better than I was. Some were joking with their partner. The whole thing was so surreal. The nurse who did the ultrasound was wonderful and supportive. She understood, it seemed, how hard this was for me.

When they called me to go back in I started crying again. The doctor came in and was also very wonderful. We talked for quite awhile. I remember the one thing he kept telling me was that I was not to feel any guilt. You see I was raised Catholic and the guilt was eating me alive. I explained our situation to him and he reminded me that not only did I have to think about how did I feel about this but that I had a family to consider. That this was going to affect them as well. Not to mention the baby. Could I be 100% that there would be no resentment towards this child? If things didn't work financially, or if she was seriously handicapped and the stress got too heavy could I be 100% sure that I wouldn't come to resent her and to withdraw from her? How unfair to the child. It wouldn't have been her fault. I have never cried so much. I went ahead with the procedure.

I just did the gas and he did the block and within 5 minutes it was over. I sat in the recovery room for maybe 5 minutes then we left. I sat in the car and cried. My husband was there and held me. It was done. I felt so empty inside. I didn't bleed that much but the cramps have really kicked my butt. We were there for a total of a little over 2 hours.

I remember sitting on the couch and I convinced myself that I had made the biggest mistake of my life. Which didn't go far in making me feel better. I think my downfall was that I was now looking at this pregnancy in the theoretical sense. There no longer was the fear of the financial responsibility, the fear of special needs. All of that was gone and all I saw was the fantasy of it. That new baby smell, her learning to crawl, sit up, walk etc... None of the reality was there. The walking the floors all night, the exhaustion.

I hope you can understand what I'm trying to say. I still don't know if I did the right thing. I feel sometimes that I was completely selfish. But a little more every day I'm accepting it. I also felt that I would never be able to forgive myself for what I did. I don't know how this will all come out but I do know that I want to heal and I want to heal in a healthy way.

I have to say again - the stories submitted have gone such a long way in helping me to start healing and not to feel guilty over starting to heal. I'm sure there will be ups and downs along the way. Hopefully the ups will start outnumbering the downs.

I felt alone even with the support of my husband. It's hard, there's no way around it. Thanks for listening.

December 2000

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"I think the greatest gift we can give our children is our own happiness. They identify - and they go and do their own happiness - and play out their own unique rhythm of awareness and healing with the world. And we can never second guess the past. It only serves to undermine our present moment and whatever we might realize in this moment. And finally, kids do become responsible for their own lot at some point - although we have 'parents' however they are defined - ultimately the earth is our 'parent' and the 'journey' itself is home."