Isn’t It Ironic, Don’t You Think?

We had an abortion.

We are adopting.

The situation was far from ideal, but we did chose to end the life of our child.

I am depending on someone else to choose the life of their child so that I can have a child.

The irony of this is not lost on me.

.

I do realize it’s not as simple as this, but on the surface it could be viewed this simply.

Regardless of what I say and I believe, some may say that I did not fight for our child’s life, some may say that I gave up on our child the day I ended her life.

And yet, now, I need someone else to put their child’s life above all else so that I can be a mother.

If that’s not ironic, I don’t know what is.

.

We were honest about our choice to terminate for medical reasons while we went through our home study and adoption process.  We told our social worker everything.  As always, we were honest.

Yet, we noticed that this specific fact was not included in our home study.  So, unless we tell the birth mother directly, she will not know.

I know the point of a home study is not to tell every detail about your life.  Rather it seems to be about showing what type of family you were raised in, what your marriage is like, how you came to choose adoption and how you work through difficult circumstances.  The home study makes mention of our losses and our attempts to figure out how to have children, but it doesn’t focus on it.  I get all of this.

Yet, I cannot help but wonder, should a birth mother/father know this specific detail considering that they clearly chose not to have an abortion rather to have the child to place it with a family like us?  I don’t have the answer, but I cannot help but wonder.

I don’t have the answer.  Who am I to know the right way to handle this situation, it’s one of those life situations that no-one is ever prepared for.

I don’t really think that our decision to terminate for medical reasons will come up in conversation casually, because honestly, I’m yet to encounter a casual conversation about termination.  And I can honestly say, I don’t see myself meeting the birth mother for the first time and then saying we had an abortion to save my life.  Seriously, how does that just come up in conversation? And I honestly feel as though the focus of the first meeting conversation should be on our future child and our expanding family, including the child and possibly her.  And yet, even though our adoption agency didn’t feel the need to share this piece of our lives with potential birth mothers, there is a nagging voice at the back of my mind that says she has the right to know.

And then there is a part of me that fears that she wouldn’t chose us if she knew.

So, what are we to do?

I feel as though this is one on of those situations where there is no road map.  A situation where there is no right or wrong.  A situation where no-one can tell us what to do.

Really, like so many things we’ve lived through in the last few years, this is yet another one of those situations that just sucks.  It’s just another situation that I wish I didn’t even have to contemplate. Yet, I cannot change our losses, I cannot rewrite this part of our lives nor can I forget.  Instead, I am left trying to navigate it, hopefully with some grace and compassion.

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40 Comments on “Isn’t It Ironic, Don’t You Think?

  1. Honestly, I don’t think she has the right to know. I don’t think anybody does. I think it’s something super personal that you have every right to keep to yourself if you want. You would have done just about anything to not have to make that choice. If you hadn’t, you very well may not be here for her to even choose you to parent her child. It’s totally up to you, but if you choose not to tell her, I wouldn’t feel bad or guilty about it for one second. Sending you lots of Love!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and your encouragement – I always appreciate your opinions because I know you are also in the thick of it with your own adoption process. It’s sometimes hard to figure out what they should know and what they shouldn’t! Open adoption can be so difficult sometimes. And so can baby loss and termination for medical reasons. Arg! If only it could just be easy.

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  2. Having had an elective abortion (not to save my life) and not having had a medically necessary abortion I do think they are different. Even if the end result is the same. In both cases, a person does not have to share or disclose this information if they don’t want to or feel it is necessary. Some people will understand, others won’t, but they have not been in your situation. Neither have I.
    I do understand that abortion is a big deal for some. When I had mine, it was my choice and it was the best choice for me at that point in my life. I have never regretted it and never looked back. (Yes there were times when I pondered upon it in the throws of despair and IF treatments when I wondered if that had been my once chance. But I couldn’t go back in time, even if I had wanted to.) I feel totally at peace with my decision. When I read through your several posts in which you write about medically necessary abortion, I get the feeling that you yourself are still processing it, hurting from it and still need to heal from it. It feels to me that you are working your way through it and that is why you worry/wonder others should be told. I mean this all in the best possible way and wish I could hold you close.
    Because you have had an abortion, for whatever reason, does not in any way take away from or diminish how much you desire and deserve (I’m at a loss for the correct word that I am feeling in my head) to be a mom. You are worthy! You will be a great mom! Go easy on yourself and forgive yourself!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so very much for sharing. Like you, I realize rationally that I cannot never go back in time. And I also have to admit, that if I were in the same position again tomorrow, I’d do the exact same thing. I think likely so many of my emotions and struggles are wrapped up in the way I was treated that day by the ultrasound staff and the radiologist. I think their judgement really impacted my ability to process everything. I’m not sure if that makes sense, but I guess I have given their overt judgement of our decision (without even knowing all the facts) the power to cloud my emotions.
      Regardless, I do believe you are right, I am still processing it all and trying to work my way through it. The emotions are deep for me, probably because I would have given my left arm if it meant our baby could have survived, but that just wasn’t our reality.
      And mostly, thank you for reminding me that just because one thing happened in my past, it does not directly correlate to my future. And even more, your comment about forgiving myself struck a cord – your words might just be the wisest words I’ve read in a long time. Thank you.

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      • You are welcome.
        I know the feeling of giving anything to have a child. It is huge and very ugly at times. *hugs*

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  3. I just wanted to say something about this: “they clearly chose not to have an abortion” This is not true, because not everyone who has an unplanned pregnancy even considers that option. My pregnancy was unplanned and couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Abortion never entered my mind that I can remember, so it wasn’t a choice I chose not to do, rather the pregnancy happened and my mind shifted that my life was going to change and it was what it was. I think it is vitally important to recognise that – ESPECIALLY if you are adopting, because your child will be told over and over and over again how lucky they are that they weren’t aborted – however it is wrapped up in pretty words of she chose life – it means the same thing. You’re lucky, you better be grateful, you could have been aborted…it get’s old…and it is pervasive, and parents need to guard against it and dispel the myths…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much TAO. I honestly so appreciate your perspective and your ability to enlighten me to new realizations. I feel like every time you comment I learn something new. And now I am cognisant of how my language around this topic could impact our child (not that I plan to tell my child about this until the right age). Thank you.

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  4. I don’t think she needs to know. I pretty much agree with everything that our greatest desire said. Yes, you had an abortion, but it was to save your life. In an effort to be super honest about your experience (which I greatly appreciate), I think sometimes that fact is unintentionally minimized — your life was in danger. Yes, you are depending on another woman to choose life, but in your situation if you had chosen not to terminate, you wouldn’t have been choosing life, you would have been choosing death for both you and your baby. It’s just not an apples to apples comparison. OGD is right that if you didn’t make that choice you wouldn’t be here to parent a child through adoption. You’ve been through so much, my friend — so much that my hurts my heart just thinking about it, and I hate to see you add this to your list of worries. Please try not to feel guilty about the birth mother not knowing. I really think it’s ok!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much my friend. You know, logically and most days I completely agree with you. And, I need to find a way to stop comparing my apples to someone else’s oranges – so long as I cannot differentiate between my fruit, I’m going to continually just hurt myself time and time again. 🙂
      And I also think that if it were a big deal, the social worker would have included it in the home study report. She didn’t, and she knows best when it comes to these reports since she’s written a few hundred in her career and I’ve only read one in my entire life.
      As always, thank you.

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  5. Wow, I hadn’t thought about it that way before — that while you yourself had an abortion, you’re now relying on someone to choose not to abort and to allow you to parent their baby instead. Although as you point out yourself, it’s a fairly superficial conflict — there’s no real chance that your baby would have survived, even if you had allowed the pregnancy to continue, and that knowledge certainly played into your decision (not to mention the forehead-slappingly obvious need to save your own life!).

    I think there are ways to talk about this with a potential birth mother that don’t use the word abortion but are still honest about what happened to you. For example, you could say that you’ve lost five children, including a septic miscarriage that threatened your life. Even though your baby was (barely) alive, I don’t think anyone would quibble with that description, since it was clearly (according to all the *responsible* doctors you saw, at least!) a miscarriage-in-progress. I also agree with folks above that you don’t *need* to say anything at all to the potential birth mom. Your history speaks for itself, and if you just tell her that you experienced five pregnancy losses, she’ll at least have some insight into the depths of both the pain you’ve experienced and the desire you have to be a parent. Those are the important things for her to know. I don’t think that anybody, even your child’s birthmother, is entitled to more detailed information about your medical history.

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    • Thank you for sharing your prespective. I think you are right when you point out that my internal conflict is superficial – I’m letting myself worry about things and compare things that just done make sense, as both you and theskyandback point out.
      And I think you are right, just because I keep using a the word abortion, I don’t need to both in conversations with her or with myself. Honestly, my choice to use the word abortion rather then TFMR has almost just enabled me to torture myself every time I think about it. I’ve always done it because our medical system classified me that way, yet, my mental healthy reality might require me to shift my language to be more forgiving.
      Thank you again my friend.

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  6. What I’m hearing you say here is that it is important to you, on some level, to communicate the abortion to the birth mother. What I hear is some small fear that anything less than full disclosure robs the birth mother of the opportunity to make a truly informed decision about who will raise a child that she clearly loves. If that is how you feel, I don’t think there is anything at all wrong with sharing that part of your story with your birth mother, and I honestly don’t think that it would scare one away, either. Your home study has already shared with her that you and your husband have experienced multiple LOSSES. That’s all the abortion really was in the end — another loss. I’m sure in many, many ways, the most difficult loss for all its complexities. What you did in that situation was choose life. You could have elected not to go through with the procedure and then both the baby and you would be dead. Choosing the procedure preserved life — not just for you, but for the child you will adopt from this woman. You are alive to give that child a life, and the birth mother has chosen life for that child and for herself just as you did then. You share a respect for life with her, and you will share a deep and unchanging love for the one she carried and that you will raise. You and this woman will likely share a lifetime of experiences together on some level or another through open adoption… There’s nothing wrong with wanting that relationship to be laid on a foundation of complete openness and trust from the start, and I find it admirable that it means something to you to do so.

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    • You have such an interesting observation about my desire to be fully honest with the birth mom/family. I have always placed high value on honesty and integrity, so I guess I do feel like she deserves to know everything, good and bad, since this is a decision she is voluntarily making. Yet, I also realize that the process is designed to share what is necessary and that my terminology doesn’t have to continue to use the world abortion just because the medical system I live within considers it an abortion.
      Thank you so much for your thoughts and your compassion. I am always so grateful for your perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. you and your husband will provide a loving and caring home and if you feel like you want to tell the birthmom eventually you can tell her that you loved your child so much that you were unwilling to let your body slowly kill something that you loved so much and that you had to make the decision and go against what you wanted (giving the baby a chance) to do what was right for the baby and what was right happened to be not letting the baby slowly pass away! No one can say you didn’t fight for your child if anything you put your own wants and needs aside and focused on what would be best for the child…any parent would want to know that no matter how painful the choice is that the parents will do anything in the best interest of the child… if you decide the birth parents don’t need to know then don’t tell them but don’t feel guilty about not telling 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for these very kind words and support through such a difficult topic. I do believe you are right, we did everything we could for our child, and I also know we’d make the same decisions again if we were in the same situation again. So while at time I struggle with all of this, I do know it was the right decision for us.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I think that the birth mother would be more concerned about the future. Can you love, nurture and support the child you are adopting. I wouldn’t hold the abortion against you especially if it was medically necessary. I don’t think it is necessary to divulge that information unless you feel comfortable with the birth mother. If I had a kid and I was placing the kid for adoption I would probably ask “Why do you want to adopt?” and the truth is that you have had recurrent pregnancy loss and you still want a family.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think you make a wonderful point about the concern of a birth mother being the future, not our past, especially considering our termination was medically necessary.

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  9. Something that you may want to ask yourself: If instead of receiving a medically-necessary abortion, the choice was made for you by miscarrying, would you tell the bio parents?

    Liked by 1 person

    • You make a great point Lynn. Thank you. I really like how you re-framed this. We have acknowledged our losses, as just that losses of children we desperately wanted and really, that’s all that matters. The way we lost (i.e. natural miscarriage or TFMR) them doesn’t really make a difference because each one was so desperately wanted.

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  10. I can only imagine the private kind of hell a medically induced termination was. The way I see it ( along with almost every one else in the world) you had no choice. Either you both die or you live. It isn’t really an abortion to me although it may technically classify. I wonder if it helps or hinders your healing to classify it in this manner in your head. Maybe neither. Either way- I think you divulge to the birth mother anything you feel is relevant to your ability to raise your baby. Just my two cents :).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so very much mamajo – you are right, in all rational ways! But then there’s that horrible emotional way that I just cannot always wrap my mind around the same way. (I hope you know what I mean when I make the distinction or rational vs emotional). I really do know that you are right, rationally and logically. And I really do think the way I’ve been processing this specific loss as an abortion really has impacted my ability to heal and move forward. I think you got it right with that observation and it’s something that I had not seen on my own, so thank you for that. Clearly I need to start using kinder language with myself to help my healing process.
      P.S. sorry it took me a full week to respond…ops.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I totally get the distinction between rational and emotional and it is super mature of you to distinguish the two. I know those are so easy to muddle. I am glad you are being kind to yourself and hopefully healing. Xo

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  11. I agree with everyone else. I don’t see what you had as an abortion and I honestly would feel like you were telling half the story if you told it to me that way. When you say “I had an abortion” you imply that you willingly chose to end a healthy life (no judgement from me on this as I’m actually pro-choice – I am just stating facts). That’s the story you imply. If you tell me you had an abortion for medical reasons then I hear a different story. You might as well call it a miscarriage as it is more like this. Your baby is torn from you through no will of your own. The only difference is you had to make the choice because it wouldn’t happen spontaneously and endangered your life. Big difference. Massive. So if you tell the birth mother then you need to tell the story completely IMO. Don’t put yourself through needless suffering.

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    • Emily, thank you for this. I had not thought of it from the other side, you are right if I simply said I had an abortion it wouldn’t be the whole truth of the matter. In fact, if I am honest, it was a medically necessary procedure at an elective abortion clinic, I’ve let myself muddy the waters with my terminology, and I’m not being fair to the situation if I neglect that medically necessary part of the conversation. And regardless of the birth mother, I’m not being fair to myself right now either. Thank you for pointing this out to me, I guess I just wasn’t seeing the obvious on my own.
      P.S. sorry it took me a full week to respond.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think given that you had to go to a clinic to have the procedure makes it pretty hard to not feel like an “abortion”. I’m glad you are feeling more healing towards this now but geez, what a crappy thing to have to experience.

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  12. What a tricky subject. I feel like you’ve gotten a lot of great advice and comments. So here’s my two cents: HUGS!!! I couldn’t imagine having to make these decisions and have it weigh so heavy on my heart. So, I just want you to know that you are supported by me with whatever decision you feel is best to disclose! It’s an important and impactful detail of your life and I don’t blame you one bit for needing to process this part! XO again, HUGS!!!

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    • Thank you so much for your constant love my friend, I am thankful that i have you at my side. You are right, this decision still does weigh on my heart. I know I’d make the same decision again if we were in the same situation, so I know it was the right decision. Yet, the emotional side of this is just a bit more complicated. I do hope with time and some energy I will work through this and come to a much healthier place.

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  13. I would hope that, if it every came up with the birth mother, she would show you as much empathy, compassion and grace that you would show for her. Both of you would be in this circumstance and how you both got there may be quite different, or quite similar, but the life and happiness of your child should hopefully bring you together. It certainly it isn’t easy, but you have nothing to feel ashamed about. You were in a terrible situation that nobody should ever be in, and had to make a decision nobody should ever have to make. It’s helped shape you into the wonderful person you are now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. The most beautiful words i have read lately are yours – “the life and happiness of your child should hopefully bring you together.” Thank you.
      P.S. Sorry it took me an entire week to respond.

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  14. I can’t speak from experience on either side of the issue. You did what you had to do in the best interest of you and your family. I don’t think that it is something you have to disclose, but if you choose to and the mother rejects you for your decision then it wasn’t meant to be. In my opinion you did what you had to do in the best interest of your family just the same as someone who is choosing to give their child up for adoption. If they choose to reject you for that then it wasn’t meant to be in the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I think you are doing all the right things my friend. Full disclosure is not necessary it seems. I do love this title “isnt it ironic”. I just wrote a pword protected post yesterday about something similar, yet different.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I personally don’t think much of what adoptive families are forced to disclose is any of the birth mother’s business, but certainly not this deeply personal trauma you experienced. I appreciate the conscience with which you approach everything, but (1) there’s no shame in this and (2) it has absolutely no connection to your ability to parent an adopted child. I’ll join the chorus of voices nudging you to let yourself off the hook!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your support A. I think you are right, a lot of my issues around this are no-one else’s business. This is event, is part of my deeply personal history, and I choose who I share it with and when I share it.

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  17. All I can say is that I’m sending you a big virtual **HUG**! And p.s. Jagged little pill was the first CD I bought myself. Love Alanis 🙂

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    • Ha, I love that Jagged Little Pill was the first CD you bought. I so wish I could have been cool enough back then to be able to say my first was was Alanis, not Tiffany. 🙂
      Oh, and thank you for the virtual hug. Much love to you as well.

      Liked by 1 person

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