The topic is one so familiar and yet so taboo: children.
Having them not having them and not being able to have them. We put so much pressure on people about children. “When are you going to have kids?” “Aren’t you guys ever going to have a kid?” “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a mini so-and-so running around?” These can be heartbreaking questions.
I want you to know that you are not alone. You are a strong, beautiful soul, and no one can say otherwise. Your actions, your fears, and your past do not define you unless you allow it to. Unfortunately, I know you won’t believe me because I didn’t believe those words when in the same position. It wasn’t until recently that I finally accepted to love myself despite what I did in the past.
This is a story I don’t tell often, and I have never put it online. I feel it’s time to stop hiding in the shadows and air out my regret and relief.
The first time I was pregnant, I was twenty-one and very nervous. I knew it wasn’t the right time to have a baby. We were in college, living with our parents and didn’t have jobs—the worst time to get pregnant. We had only been dating for a short while, and school took most of our time. Due to not spending a lot of time together, people felt the need to tell me we would break up. None of that mattered I wanted this baby. I thought it was something we could handle, together. I was bursting to share my good news, but I wasn’t sure how he would respond. There wasn’t the right time, not for us and not for the baby. I didn’t know at the time that something was wrong. You would think that I was smart enough to know the difference between a period and a miscarriage, but I couldn’t tell from the sharp stabbing pain in my back, and the severe cramps. I knew women got their periods while pregnant, but I also knew that no period was ever that bad.
I didn’t tell at the time boyfriend. I didn’t want him to know that not only had I been pregnant, I had also lost the baby. It didn’t feel fair for him to feel that pain as well. I didn’t want him to think less of me. I felt like I was a lesser woman for not being able to protect my baby. When my boyfriend was around, I was his carefree, loving girlfriend, but I was a mess when I was alone. I knew that even though I was pretending to be okay, he could tell something was wrong. Six months after the miscarriage, I made sure to bring up having kids. I saw the scared look on his face and remember just trying to clear the air that no, I wasn’t pregnant or trying to get pregnant anytime soon. Together we decided that we were too young to have a child. We would wait before discussing having a family of our own.
I fell pregnant again a few years later, and honestly, I think of it as the worst thing that could happen to me. We were worse off than before, twenty-two years old, living With my boyfriend. I knew we wanted children, but at the time, we weren’t ready. I was disappointed in myself for letting it happen. For a minute, I resented him for doing this to me, before reality reminded me it took two to make a baby. I didn’t think telling my boyfriend would be a good idea. I knew that even while we discussed waiting, he would see this pregnancy as a gift, God’s will, or something other than the financial and emotional burden I saw it as. I knew we wouldn’t agree on this being a problem. I knew I would end up agreeing to keep the baby even if it was my better judgment. I loved my boyfriend, and if he said that we could do it together, I would believe him. But I knew that we couldn’t afford this baby, his parents already questioned about our finances. They always mentioned their disappointment about how I didn’t have a job.
I did the only thing I saw fit and made an appointment at a clinic. Honestly, I don’t remember how I came up with the $700 or how my boyfriend didn’t realize I took the money. Maybe he did, and he didn’t care. I wished I had told someone at the time, but I didn’t know how to explain the thoughts in my head to myself, let alone to anyone else. I didn’t know who wouldn’t judge me for my decision to be so sure that this was my only option. I had to wait before a doctor would be available, thirty minutes, to be exact—thirty minutes of almost talking myself to just walk out the door. I remember thinking how much Iove I had for the child I lost and how I would have never given them up if I had the chance. Here I was giving up another baby—reminding myself how lucky I was to get pregnant. I sat thinking about how other women struggled to get pregnant. But the logical part of me stood its ground, and this was better for my future.
After it happened, it felt like a door of guilt and shame opened and overcame me. For a month after, my emotions were a mess and seeing babies hurt me. When my boyfriend realized something was wrong, I broke down and told him everything. Telling him was the hardest. I was driving and had to pull over because I was crying. I remember him being quiet at first and letting me get it off my chest. I kept saying, “Please don’t think I’m a bad person.” While he didn’t say anything, his face did. I could hurt look in his eye. The betrayal for not telling him, the loss of something he didn’t even know he had. I became the enemy. I was crying too much to consider driving. He hugged me as we pasted to switch seats, and he drove us home, never say anything. To this day, he never said anything. I recently learned, he and his wife are expecting their first child.
As I stated before, I don’t share this story with many. So I’m going to tell you what I think I would have liked to hear when dealing with its aftermath. My dear, what you feel is valid. There is no right or wrong to feel right now. I know it’s hard, and I know some of you feel the need to apologize to the world for your decision, but you don’t. Please remember that I am here for you. I’m glad you made the choice that was best for you. I’m happy that while slightly scared, you felt comfortable reaching out to someone. I know many people feel the need to criticize and look down at you once they know this. You are loved, my dear, and you will always deserve love. It doesn’t make you less of a woman. And it damn well doesn’t mean that you won’t be a good mother when the time comes when you want children.