‘I used to tell people I didn’t believe in abortions. ‘It’s a baby! Murder!’ And then, my boyfriend died. You don’t know until you know.’: Woman struggling with grief says ‘I was faced with an impossible choice only I could make’

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“I used to tell people that I didn’t believe in abortions.

I was really open about my opinion, and I shared it even when you didn’t want to hear it

‘It’s a baby!’ I’d say.

‘Murder!’

But here’s the thing I’m learning about all these hard things in life: you don’t know until you know.

So, it was easy for me to be ‘against abortion’ because I had never found myself in a position where I even considered it.

And then, my person died.

So, I go to therapy every single Tuesday.

I do my best not to miss even though it actually hurts a lot.

Going to therapy, we do a lot of talking about the things that are uncomfortable.

And today, for the first time, we talked about a topic I’ve done a really good job avoiding.

After Jamie died, I found out we were expecting. We were pregnant. Only the ‘we’ was just me now.

It was so so new. I didn’t even know until I went to the doctor to be prescribed something for anxiety. Something to help me sleep. Something to take the pain away, even for just a little bit.
This came with a routine pregnancy test… a test that turned positive.

My heart shattered all over again. How do I bring a child into a world knowing dad would never even get to meet him or her?

I agonized over what to do, and ultimately decided I physically couldn’t bring this child into the world. I was too broken. He or she would be half orphaned. I simply couldn’t do it. It was too much. I wasn’t able to emotionally or physically do it. I was a cup that was already overflowing, and I was drowning in pain and guilt and anxiety. Raising the children, I already had was hard enough.

And I moved on with my grieving process.

But What I found out today is I was so busy grieving Jamie… grieving the life I wouldn’t have… I never truly got to grieve the life of this child I never got to see or raise or hold. I never let myself mourn the loss of this child that I had already loved, and just as quickly, couldn’t keep. This child that was a part of the man who I love and cherish more than anything else in the world… and I never said goodbye because I was too busy saying goodbye to the much more obvious loss in front of me. But now that I’ve quickly approached and passed what would’ve been the due date, I realize how badly I needed to mourn that loss just as much. How I needed to say it aloud because I needed to feel how real it really is.

I lost Jamie. And by losing Jamie, I lost our child… a child that wasn’t planned, but I still love. I know he or she is with Jamie now, and I know he is taking care of our baby because I couldn’t.

But here’s the growth:

By losing them both, my perspective changed.

Because all of a sudden, it was me faced with this awful choice. It was my body, my baby… and my loss.

It opened my eyes to the fact that for years, I had so quickly judged those whose choices I had NEVER been forced to make, but somehow thought I could ‘do better’ if presented with the same circumstances.

And then I found myself here.

Broken. Scared. Heart shattered in a million pieces. And an understanding that I physically could not do this.

And yet: I’m lucky.

No one told me not to do it.

No one tried to make me feel bad.

I was surrounded by support no matter what I chose and empathy because those around me knew they had not walked in my shoes and that I was faced with an impossible choice that only I could make because its ONLY my choice.

I’m lucky because I wasn’t surrounded by people like the old me, trying to shame me into changing my mind.

I’m lucky because I live in a place where my choice is the only choice that matters.

I’m lucky because every single challenge this last year threw my way has had a not-so-silver lining that has helped shape me into a better person.

Because I didn’t know and couldn’t know until I knew. Until it was my loss, and my anxiety, and my abortion.

And maybe that’s okay.”

Anna Shockley Photography

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Betsy Hendrickson – Minton, 25, and a mother of 5. Follow her journey on Instagram here.  Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories from Betsy here: 

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