Friday, August 05, 2005

The Decision

I'm going to write about an extremely controversial subject today. This has been very difficult for me to write, yet I've been pondering about doing it for some time now. If you're looking to find a funny, happy post, please move on....this is not the post for you.

This post is here due to it being this time of year. A time of year that I still transport myself back to after 14 years. I am still overwhelmed emotionally by it. It's a time I think about an expected delivery date and grieve for the child that never came to be.

*****

Several years ago, when my sons were aged 2 years and 5 months respectively, I became pregnant again. The timing of this pregnancy couldn't have been worse. My relationship with my husband was on very shaky ground and our finances were in a such a terrible state, it was all we could do to feed the children we had at the time. We were struggling to meet mortgage payments, and my husband was struggling to start his own computer peripheral business, whilst working 7 days at a timber yard. Prior to Ryan's birth and due to the financial situation, I took on temporary assignments to help make ends meet. The stress of his 8 month pregnant wife working took it's toll on my partner...I know he was beating himself up mentally...he felt inadequate as a provider at that time. He was doing all he could possibly do...there really wasn't anything else he could do.

The day I found out I was pregnant was very emotional. I'd gone outside to have a cigarette in the morning and gagged on my smoke. My period was overdue, so the thought of being pregnant had been on my mind....gagging on my smoke confirmed it for me. I spent the next 20 minutes sitting on the side of the bath crying. I knew we weren't going to be able to do this...and I knew HE knew we couldn't either...it was unspoken, like a fog that surrounded us, rapidly moving in to choke us. He came into the bathroom, not saying anything and just held me as I sobbed against him.

I was supposed to be working that morning. We pulled up outside the building I worked in and sat silently in the car. Eventually I told him I couldn't go in today...I'd been crying most of the morning....my face was swollen and red...my emotional state in shatters. We decided to go straight to the doctor's office to at least have it officially confirmed.

After getting confirmation, we sat talking to the doctor about options. This is when we had to say it out loud. My husband did all the talking...I just sat there and cried more. The doctor referred us to the clinic and we made an appointment for the two day counselling session that was required first. I spent much of those two days crying....during one session I remember saying "We could still do this, we could still do this". I wasn't talking to anyone in particular...if anything, I was talking to myself. I was scrambling for ways we could continue on and add a third child to our family without further downgrading the quality of life for the two boys we already had.

One half of the scales; continue with the pregnancy..have another baby, and possibly end up being a single parent to 3 children under the age of 3. On the other half....terminate the pregnancy...help work towards upping the lifestyle for my sons and continue to build some strength into my flailing marriage.

I knew in my heart I wasn't going to be able to have another child without negative consequences falling upon my children, my marriage and my health. As far as I'm concerned, the ultimate decision was mine....my body, my children, my decision...the buck stopped with me. I did this.

An appointment was made for the termination. It was scheduled for two weeks after the counselling. I spent those two weeks in a daze...I performed my tasks at work and those of motherhood and wife on auto-pilot. I cut myself off emotionally from everything else that was going on around me...that was the outside world...that was the world I didn't want to be part of. Being part of it meant I had to look at what was going to happen...it meant I would have to feel something, and I didn't want to feel. I was numb and I wanted to stay numb...I wanted to stay frozen back in time when I didn't have to make decisions.

The guilt of that decision has haunted me off and on over the years. It was the hardest decision I've ever had to make in my life. Unless one of my sons, God forbid, is ever in a life threatening situation/condition, I can't imagine having to make another decision that will have the same amount of grief and heartache attached to it.

I closed my eyes as we drove through the protestors outside the clinic that day...I couldn't bear to look at the expressions of disgust and hatred on their faces...they were mirroring the emotions I felt for myself. I sat in the waiting room and looked at the other women sitting around me. All there for the same thing. I sat there with my mind fighting against itself. The advocate for my unborn child who never asked to be conceived, and the advocate for my sons, their health and well being.

You'd think after 14 years, I'd get over the anguish of what I chose to do. Yet, each time I try to talk about it...and now as I'm writing about it...I dissolve into tears. If you've managed to read this far and feel like spitting in my face...don't bother...I've been doing it mentally to myself for years. All it does is add to the contempt I already have festering away inside.

I lay on the table that day....the conversation between the medical staff right beside me, yet sounding from a long distance. Closing my eyes to the bright lights above me...I saw the faces of my children and knew this was the right thing to do...I knew it had to happen...I must not regret this.

Then the darkness seeped through...reaching into the very core of my soul, slowly suffocating me.
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