Forgiveness

It’s currently after 2:30 am and I had a realization.  So, here I am, wide awake thinking.  And so, like many bloggers, I found myself turning on my computer and starting to write.

Thanks to my post yesterday and the comments I received, I’ve realized that:

I have not forgiven myself for our abortion.

In a comment yesterday, someone posed the question “If instead of receiving a medically-necessary abortion, the choice was made for you by miscarrying, would you tell the bio parents?”  I can answer this question relatively easy because we had 4 other pregnancies end in miscarriage where the choice was made for us.  And I know I would tell them if they asked, and in fact our home study makes reference to our 5 losses.  However, from this question, I now realize that I do not have the same troubling sense of guilt around those other 4 miscarriages – yes I have grief and sometimes I struggle with not blaming my body for them.  But, I also realize that the final demise of those pregnancies was out of my control and did not require us/me to terminate a baby while it was still technically alive – a distinction that is clearly important in my mind.

In my comments yesterday, another person actually stated “go easy on yourself and forgive yourself!.”  As I read those words, I realized she had a point, I simply have not forgiven myself for the decision.

Yes, we made the decision to terminate and I have no regrets.  Honestly, I’d make the same decision tomorrow if we were in the same situation again. So, I know it was the right decision.

Yet, at the same time, I also realize that there is not a day that goes by that I do not think about our decision to terminate.  Which means there is not a day that goes by that I do not know what if or was it really that dire of a situation?  What if the infection never turned deadly for me?  What if the lab results were wrong?  What if….

I know our baby would have died eventually, there was no way she would have survived to term let alone to be “compatible with life.”  But, I cannot seem to let go of the fact that I* ultimately ended her life.  Ultimately, I made the decision, and while I know it was the right decision I clearly am not in a place yet where I have been able to forgive myself for it.

The more I’ve thought about it all of this tonight, I’ve realized that a lot of my abortion guilt is likely wrapped up in the fact that we had to go to an actual abortion clinic for the procedure and we had a pretty horrific experience at the abortion clinic.  I cannot help but think about how much that experience plays in my mind and how much that has impacted my ability to forgive myself.  I will never know the answer, but I do wonder, if we had been given the procedure at a hospital, outside of an abortion clinic, would I feel differently today?  Would I be able to forgive myself?  When we were forced to share the waiting room, I developed an appreciation for the other women/couples there, but I also began lumping myself in with those who were there for an elective procedure, vs. the reality that we were there for a medically necessary procedure. And as another person noted yesterday, “I wonder if it helps or hinders your healing to classify it in this manner in your head” – well, I know the answer to that too, it doesn’t help me to classify myself as the medical system does.  But yet, I do.  Heck, I tend to use the word abortion not terminate for medical reasons, because I went to an abortion clinic, and so that’s how my medical system classifies me.  Yet, there is a difference, but our experience has enabled me to blur the lines between our reality/decision as medically necessary or not.  And I continue to let myself blur the lines further, even though it is clearly not a healthy way for me to think..

I don’t know how I am supposed to over come this and how I am to come to a place of forgiveness.  But I now realize this is something I need to process further and work to deal with.  I realize I cannot spend the rest of my life wondering and that I must find a way to forgive myself.

*Note that while Mr. MPB was a full participant in the decision to terminate, I do believe that as it was my body I was ultimately responsible for the final decision and therefore I often use the pronoun I, not us.

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78 Comments on “Forgiveness

  1. I am so glad you had this realization! I do hope you can fully work through this and 100% forgive yourself. You have to know that baby is all you wanted and your circumstances did not allow that to happen. Many hugs coming your way. Great thoughts!

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  2. What a realization. I’m sorry you feel so torn up about it.
    On a side note, please know medically, we use the term missed-abortion for miscarriage when a D & C is required as well. So, though the world uses the term abortion as an elective termination of pregnancy, it is also used in the medical world for medically necessary terminations. These are words though, and when it comes down to it, it’s your heart that’s hurt. (((hugs)))

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    • I will never understand why medical system uses the term abortion in so many different ways. Only because the modern social perspective of abortion is so much different from a miscarriage. It seems to me like two different words are required.
      Also, thank you so much for your love and your support. I am always grateful.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so glad to hear that you’re on the road to forgiving yourself. What you did was absolutely necessary. There really wasn’t a choice in the matter, and I still can’t believe that the Drs wouldn’t do something for you and made you to to a clinic. What a messed up medical system we have. I’m so sorry for your pain and loss, but you didn’t do a darn thing wrong.
    so many *hugs*

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  4. I have only just read your story about choosing the abortion (obviously you know what I am going through and hence why i had to wait to read it). I am so sorry for your loss.

    Can I ask, did they ever find a reason for these miscarriages?

    I think of you often.

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    • I absolutely understand waiting to read it – it’s not an easy read at the best of times. I’m sorry for everything you are going through right now.
      After our fifth loss we went to an RPL specialist – I shared the results in this post – http://wp.me/p4qQfg-wl. So yes, we got an answer sort of. Without the surgery we will never know for sure, but since I cannot have the surgery locally we decided not to do it given the costs and risks of out of country surgery. In the end, adoption just made a lot more sense for us.
      If you ever have any question feel free to ask. Sending you love.

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  5. Yes! I was thinking all of these things when I read your post yesterday — and hoping that you would be able to forgive yourself. Also, at least in the US, when a woman miscarries on their own, the technical medical term is “spontaneous abortion.” So it seems like abortion is used for ANY instance of pregnancy loss. I hope your 2:30 am realizations will help you reframe your thoughts and ultimately set you on the path to forgiving yourself. From where I sit, you have absolutely nothing to forgive, but I know that we are our own worst critics. I think forgiveness is a life-long journey, but even just thinking about it means you are well on your way. Cheering you on from the sidelines, as always!

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    • I think the term abortion for a miscarriage is absurd! I guess from a medical stand point I get it, but from a societal stand point, it’s not appropriate given the connotations attached to the term abortion by popular media and society at large. I wish the medical system would hurry up and get with the times!
      Also, thank you for your encouragement. I do hope one day I am able to let this go and truly see it for what it was. I hope to with time, and until then I hope to give myself more freedom to sort through all the emotions. Thank you!

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  6. I think realizing this is the first step to healing your heart and forgiving yourself. The ‘what ifs’ can drive you crazy, and I hope when you extend forgiveness to yourself – completely – you will let go of most of them. give yourself the understanding and love you would extend to anyone else in your shoes. ❤

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    • The what if game is such a bad game to play! It almost doesn’t matter what the topic is, once you go there you are destined to lose.
      Also, wise words about treating myself as I would anyone else in this situation.

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  7. I am hopeful this is the first step in you finally letting this go. It was not your fault, not your choice and you did what was necessary to save your life. You did not choose your life over your baby’s. That was not the decision. It was either live or die and anyone in that situation who is sane and able would be forced into the actions you made. It sounds like a traumatic experience that should never have to happen to someone in your situation. I am so sorry you had to go through that. Sending hugs.

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    • Thank you so much my friend. Rationally, I know everything you said here to be true. And yet, irrationally I clearly still have some distance to go in order to really let this go. One day I hope to get there, it’s a process I guess.

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  8. I think it’s really interesting, the connection you made between how you perceive the termination with the space in which it happened. They should never have left you with no option but to terminate at an abortion clinic. It was very insensitive of our health care system. I wish you had been cared for at the hospital like I was when I had my D&C. It was a very different experience- everyone handled me with kid gloves and was so sorry for our loss, and gave me Popsicles after the surgery. The people around you should have understood your context better, and should have mourned with you. I’m glad that you realize that the little life inside you was going to expire eventually, and that it wasn’t your fault that that was the fate of your little angel. You just called it earlier like I would if my pet was terminally ill and suffering. (I know a human life is very different from an animal’s life, but I know how much you love your pet and how gruelling it would be to make end of life decisions). Plus, your life was in danger. I know it’s so hard, but you made the right decision, and I do believe that you’re on your way to forgiving yourself.

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    • I too had my first D&C at a hospital and the experience was much less traumatizing. Although, no popsicles for me just tea, toast and jello I think. 🙂
      Also, I really appreciate your perspective of letting a pet suffer. I’ve often said we are kinder to our pets in the end of their lives then we are to terminally ill people. I don’t start a discussion on euthanasia, so I wont got into that anymore right now. My point simply being that there is a difference in my mind of ending a life that is going to die anyways, especially in our circumstance when my life was also at risk.
      As always, thank you my friend. Your words, your love, your friendship. Thank you for all of it.

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  9. ❤ I see so much healing in this post. Not only is this post so important for you, but I appreciate your honesty and you sharing this. I know you'll help so many others with this post. Sending love as always.

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  10. This post came up in my reader first, so I have not read your post from yesterday yet. I am glad that you realized you need to work on forgiveness. This is such a difficult thing to do. I hope you can focus on self care and be kind to yourself. I hope you can let go of any guilt you may hold. The past is the past and cannot be changed now. I hope you can work through your feelings and find a way to forgive yourself. You deserve to be happy and you deserve to have some peace about a situation where you made the best decision you could for you and your family. ❤ Much love to you!

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      • This is one of my favorite Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes: “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

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  11. I honestly don’t think you chose abortion. You chose life – yours. Nobody could ever denigrate you for that. What should you have done? Otherwise Mr MPB would have to suffer two deaths rather than one. Nobody would choose differently – it wasn’t a real choice.

    I’ve noticed you’ve blogged a lot about abortion and your feelings that there should be no judgement against anyone who has an abortion. We can’t know their circumstances etc. However I wonder if maybe you don’t have some kind of sense that you are judged in the same way as people who voluntarily abort (as opposed to for medical reasons) and if you have some, I don’t know, judgement or value attribution for that? (Ignore me if I’m way off beat here.) I don’t know, I feel like you write a lot about justifying it when it really isn’t anything that needs to be justified or made excuses for. I think it is so straightforward. Your life was at risk. You didn’t have any other choice. In this case your life took precedence over that of your unborn baby. No matter whether you are pro life or pro choice, I believe the life of the mother takes precedence.

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    • I think maybe I judge myself the same why I expect others to. I think, I look at our decision and I look at the fact that we went to an abortion clinic, and I see it for what anyone else in that room would have seen – just another pregnant girl ending a pregnancy. I know that’s not true, but yet I do hold onto that.
      It’s interesting that you’ve noticed I blog a lot about our termination – I just started a few months ago, probably around the time we found each other actually. I went a few years where I basically never wrote about it and never went there. I’m not sure exactly why, but I feel like I’ve reached a place where i need to sort through all my emotions. Clearly, they are pretty complicated because I too believe the mother’s life always takes precedent, and yet struggle to forgive myself knowing that we did the right thing.
      Thanks for your thoughts, as always!

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      • Oh, that’s interesting, the timings. I’m sure you are naturally working through your emotions. I think you have to frame it differently in your mind, that it wasn’t an elective abortion – it was a life saving operation that resulted sadly in the death of your child but happily in the continuance of your life.

        I honestly don’t feel this should be called an abortion. I’m afraid I do judge people who have abortions… Not in the way that I hate them or anything, but I find it deeply sad that they are making a choice to end the life of an unborn baby. (I’ve written before how it feels to be adopted and how that potentially clashes with being pro choice.) I still believe in the right to choose but not the reasons, if that makes sense. But I don’t think that’s the choice you made. I almost think that it was a choice by proxy for Mr MPB… Like in the old days when they would ask the father to save the mother’s life or the baby’s! It is an awful decision to make but in my opinion it’s not really a decision. I don’t think you have anything to forgive yourself for and nor does anyone else. X

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      • With this post I really started to realize that I need to use TFMR more then abortion. I need to use softer language with myself, regardless of what the medical system here says, because I cannot move on in a healthy way if I continue to hold onto that terminology.

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  12. You know, every time i read about this i always think how terrible it was that you were sent to an abortion clinic for something that i believe should have been done at the hospital by your doctor. If it was a matter of you potentially dying from infection, wouldnt that put you in the same category as women who have ectopic pregnancies which are removed in hospital? It just doesnt feel fair to send you to a place where people are ending the life of their baby for reasons that are not life and death… i really think your doctor could have and should have handled that differently instead of causing you such emotional trauma. Im sorry you had to go through that at all and especially in such a devastating way.

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    • I have to agree with you, I should never have been sent there. The doctor was actually really upset that she had to send us there, and that it was illegal for her to perform the surgery at the hospital until the infection became life threatening. So, because of the way our laws are written, it was our choice to wait it out and see what happened or go to the abortion clinic and have the surgery before the infection became serious. Not much of a choice really.
      You know, I think if it weren’t for going to an abortion clinic I’d feel so much different about our situation today. I think that experience has really impacted me, more then I had realized until this week.

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  13. It’s so tough to forgive ourselves. I can’t imagine having to make that decision. I didn’t have the greatest behavior in my youth and somethings I think of infertility as my punishment. But I know that God doesn’t keep record for those who ask for forgiveness – it’s me who keeps the record, lugging around a huge filing cabinet of the things I don’t want to remember. Praying for you always MPB.

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    • You are right, it is me who keeps the record of this decision. No-one else has judged me negatively for it, yet I continue to judge myself. And until I learn to forgive myself I will continue to lug around the filing cabinet.
      Also, for what it’s worth, I don’t think for a second your IF is punishment for your past behaviour.

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  14. You know where I stand on this: the medical system failed you. You should have never been left to make that choice and have your only option be an abortion clinic. I struggle with forgiveness for many things in my own life. Sometimes it just takes time; sometimes it take digging deeper. Just go with whatever feels right to you. You don’t have to get there over night. Forgiveness can be a process.

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    • Thank you so much my friend. It’s interesting, I too feel that our medical system failed me, and yet I seem to be more willing to over look the systems failing then my own sense of guilt. It really doesn’t make much sense when I think about it logically.

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  15. Hello! I’ve been silently stalking your blog for a few months. I, too, am on the adoption path after a long battle with infertility. Just working on our profile now! Anyway your last couple of posts really resonated with me as I also had to make the painstakingly tough decision to terminate a pregnancy. One that I had waited nearly 3 years for. One that was only causing some minor spotting with normally doubling hcg. But one they suspected was ectopic because nothing showed on the ultrasound. I cried and cried when they asked me to terminate. I eventually did take methotrexate but felt incredibly guilty that I made this conscious choice to end the life of my child. In the end, despite 2 shots of the methotrexate, I still ended up getting surgery 10 days later in the middle of the night because it was ectopic and my tube ruptured. The methotrexate didn’t even work! So I have the good fortune (if you can call it that) of knowing that my decision to terminate did not change the outcome. But it still weighs so heavy on my mind and heart sometimes. Over the last year I have definitely learned to forgive myself and I hope that you are able to get to that point too someday. Sending hugs to you.

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    • First, congratulations Jess for working on your adoption profile!! I am beyond excited for you! Every time I hear of someone who has chosen a similar path to us, I am always excited. I hope everything proceeds very quickly for you! 🙂
      Second, I am so sorry you too have struggled with infertility! And that you also terminated your very much desired and dreamed for pregnancy. And that the methotrexate didn’t work and you ended up in surgery anyways. Just reading this, made my heart sink for you. I am so sorry.
      Third, thank you for your encouragement and for sharing your story with me. I do think with time, I’ll start to forgive myself a bit more. Thank you again.

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  16. I’ve come to believe that forgiveness is not a singular event; it is a choice that we are often required to make repeatedly over the same issues…over and over again. I was talking to another adoptive parent yesterday who is struggling with some behavioral problems exhibited by her daughter. She asked me if I had forgiven myself for making my life so hard in dealing with a kid with issues. I told her I have to choose to forgive myself daily and sometimes I’m better at it than others. Go easy on yourself and remember that forgiveness is a continual choice. xoxo

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    • I have thought about your words here many times in the last week. I do think you are right, forgiveness is not a singular event. Forgiveness is ongoing and that means that some days are good days and others aren’t.

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  17. I hope you are able to be gentle with yourself and with time, feel complete acceptance and forgiveness toward yourself. I don’t know how I would feel in your situation, but I imagine I would have a lot of the same guilt. It’s because you loved the baby and your child was wanted. You may also feel a little guilty toward the baby, like maybe you think you need forgiveness from your child? I don’t know, I’m definitely no psychiatrist! Regardless, I hope time and patience and love for and from the child soon to join your life helps heal this wound. xx

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    • Thank you my friend. I think in some ways I would love forgiveness from our child, yet I know that will never come and I need to find it within myself. One day, I hope I’ll get to a place of true forgiveness.
      As always, thank you for your compassion.

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  18. I want to give you a big hug and tell you that you are being ridiculous, that you are a good person and you are not to blame. If only it were that simple. Hope you can do this for yourself soonxxx

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  19. This makes TOTAL sense. Having to go to that clinic must have been traumatising. It is no wonder you feel the way you do. You posted recently about your therapist and how you haven’t been for ages. This sounds like a good issue to share with her. I know we are all great and all but we are bite sized pieces of support. Sometimes you need a good few hours of talking this stuff through. I hope you find your way to healing over this. You deserve that xx

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  20. Forgiveness will come in time. I am confident that you will work through and come out on the other side. For now, while you are processing, just know how loved and supported you are! XO

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    • I think you are right, it will come with time. Right now I am in a stage of processing. Last year I was in a stage of denial / ignorance is bliss. Hopefully one day I’ll be in a stage of acceptance / forgiveness.

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  21. I’m so glad you’re forgiving yourself, although like you and others have said, I don’t think you did anything that bears ‘forgiving’, yet I totally understand that this process is where head and heart collide – some of the choices and situations all of us face are extremely logical, but, they feel ‘illogical’ or ‘immoral’.

    I play the what if game a lot, too – though I have never had to make the choice you did, I can imagine I would have done EXACTLY what you did, and would have a lot of mixed feelings as a result.

    Sometimes I think I will be unraveling the damage that IF/IVF did for the next 10 years. I have a feeling I’ll be making new discoveries and understanding and letting go for a long time, sounds like you’re starting the process now that the adoption is pending, it’s safe to start letting go of some of the trauma and pain.

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    • Thank you so much for your kind understanding. You are right, I am in a place where my head and heart are colliding, and I’m trying to work my way through it. And I can really relate to your thoughts about the damage that IF/RPL has done to me, and the effort it is going to take to work through it and let go of it all. Yes, in some ways adoption has started that process and in other ways I am curious what will resurface in the future.

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  22. I did read your post yesterday, but didn’t get to respond because I was exhausted and couldn’t think straight. But I will say this: just because you were forced to go to an abortion clinic to have the procedure done, doesn’t mean that you did it for selfish reasons. I know that you know logically that you did the right thing, but convincing your heart of it is another thing all together. Perhaps this would be a good reason to contact your counselor again, to help work through all of these feelings? It’s good that you realize you still need to find forgiveness for yourself, but it’s not instant just because you know that.
    As far as the birth mother/parents…I don’t think that they would think any less of you for what happened. I know that if it was me, I would feel more inclined to choose you, because you’ve been through so much hurt and pain and heartache.
    I’ll say this too, and I might get a lot of flack for it, but whatever: you know that I work in the vet field, and I deal with euthanasia on a daily basis. I know that there is a big difference (for some people) between a child and a pet, but I know that I (and others) truly feel that our pets are a part of our family. If they are sick or injured, beyond any repair and there’s nothing left to do, we have the ability to give them the gift of a painless passing. It’s a horrible decision that’s so hard to make, and most people do feel guilty about it, but so many times it’s the right thing to do. When you’re put into a situation where you (or your pet, or child, or partner, etc) are in that dire of a situation, where you know that one or both of you will not make it out alive…well you have to look at the big picture and make the best decision possible. You knew/know what the outcome would have been, you know that you could have been so much worse off physically/medically if you had waited any longer, and you knew that baby just couldn’t survive through it all. You made the best decision for you and for that little girl that you possibly could have, you let her go peacefully before she could suffer any further. I don’t think it would have made you feel any better to let her dwindle away on her own.
    Sorry this is long, I guess I just have a lot to say on this. I hope you understand what I’m trying to say here. I hope you find some peace with this very soon, and if you need to talk please let me know. *hugs*

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    • Amy, you are amazing! You know that, right?
      You are right, logically I know that just because I went to an abortion clinic doesn’t mean I went for the same reasons as everyone else. In fact, I know I didn’t. And yet, in my heart, I do feel very traumatized by the whole situation.
      Also, in respect to euthanasia, I have said many time that we are kinder to our animals then we are to terminally ill people. And I do understand and appreciate this analogy because it does fit with my believes. You are right, it is a horribly hard to decide to terminate a life, and yet sometimes the decision to terminate is the best decision possible for all involved.

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  23. This was certainly a brave post and I thank you for sharing it with us all. I have a lot of thoughts percolating in my mind about this, but I’m afraid whatever I say might come out as me telling you how I think you should feel and I don’t want to do that. There is no right or wrong way to feel. We all do the best we can with the circumstances we are given. Sometimes we have to make awful decisions, with no good options, no easy way out and that isn’t your fault. None of it is. I never had a termination at a clinic, both of mine were in a hospital setting so I have no basis for comparison but I can tell you that I don’t have the mixed feelings about the setting as you’ve described here. You should not have been forced into a clinic, of that I am sure. This has all given me a lot to think about and perhaps I will write a post of my own about my experiences. xxx.

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    • First, thank you for understanding and taking the time to share such thoughtful words. You are right, sometimes we do have to make awful decisions that no-one ever dreams of having to make. And yet we do our best and we have to find a way to move forward, which is precisely where I am today, trying to navigate all the emotions and find a healthy way to move forward.
      I too agree that we should never have been sent to an abortion clinic. I look at the mental health consequences that have resulted for me, and I know no-one should ever be forced into that clinic, another option should have been offered. In this circumstance I can assure you that I believe our medical system failed me. And now I just need to find a way to cope with our reality in a healthy way.

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  24. I know you need to forgive yourself, but I also know its not as easy as it sounds. I think you are surely trying to forgive yourself, but i think its such a confusing and terribly long process. And in all honesty, what does “forgiving” yourself even look or feel like? I wish I knew myself. Does it mean not thinking of it everyday? Ever? The cliche “forgiving and forgetting”? Who knows.

    As far as the clinic, I think you are probably right. Experiences at hospitals are totally different. I wish I wasn’t saying this, but from my experience I must. Im so sorry you had an awful time at that place. Please know u are not alone.

    Now for the most important part. I think you are so awesome and you are doing everything you can to move forward, not back. Really thats all you can do my friend. Be gentle with yourself. Your miracle is on its way ❤️

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    • I think you are right, it is a “confusing and terribly long process” to reach a place of lasting forgiveness. It’s something I’m determined to do, but like you, I don’t even know what a place of forgiveness really looks like. I’m hoping I’ll know once I reach it.
      Also, thank you for reminding me that I am not alone in all of this and all of the emotions. Sending you love my friend, and hoping we both get our miracles sooner rather then later.

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  25. It’s a great path to be on, learning how to forgive yourself. By opening up on on your blog, I hope this has been a truly positive experience for you (I guess a kind of therapy?) and continues to be. I can say that I know your strength to be open and honest truly helps and inspires others, me included 😊 so thank you

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    • I love your perspective, learning how to forgive myself is a great path to be on. It’s definitely a lot better to be on this path then to be on a self-destructive path.
      I do know writing through all these emotions is really helping me at least identify them. And I take great comfort in knowing that my sharing is able to inspire others – that makes it all worth it! Thank you. 🙂

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  26. I am coming back to post tomorrow when I have more time. I HAVE A LOT TO SAY ABOUT THIS … A LOT.

    Just hang on and savor this quote in the meantime:

    “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” ~ Mark Twain

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  27. I’m sorry I didn’t see your post yesterday (wasn’t online) and someone else may already have made this observation but I thought I’d remind you that miscarriage in medical language (rather than our proletarian vernacular) is “spontaneous abortion”. I don’t know what the medical language is for TFMR but I imagine it still involves the term abortion. In any event my point is that in medspeak they’re both abortions and that term has no shameful connotation as it seems it does for you in your experience of the baby you lost due to TFMR. Something to think about. I am sad that the stigma sticks to you and frames your feelings toward yourself about the inescapable decision you made. I’m sorry this haunts you. I don’t know that you’d be free of these feelings entirely had you been able to avoid the abortion clinic but I do think your experience there has made it harder to let go of that stigma and for that and for each of your losses I am deeply sorry.

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    • Oh my, I cannot believe it’s taken me this long to respond. Oh, and that I’m now responding as an attempt to procrastinate on other things like my newest unwanted basement water and some work.
      Anyways, thank you so much for your kind words and your attempt to remind me about the usage of the word “abortion.” I clearly do need to start being more fair to myself and using more forgiving language around our TFMR.

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  28. I know medically they don’t differentiate but emotionally … There is a wide chasm of difference. Be kind to yourself and forgive xx

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    • You are right, medically they don’t differentiate, but for me, emotionally there is a world of difference. And I need to start allowing myself to differentiate between abortion and TFMR. I know by changing my language I will be kinder to myself.

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  29. As an “English person” I truly believe that words only have the power we give them. Sadly, a word like “abortion” is a politically charged and emotional one, even though (as many, many insightful women before me have noted) it describes a wide variety of medical and natural occurrences. I think in the end the line between what is an “elective” procedure and what is a “necessary” procedure is hugely blurry, and in a lot of ways it’s clear that even though intellectually you know that you really didn’t have much of a choice ultimately you (and your husband) did “elect” to go with the procedure. So in that sense, it doesn’t really FEEL that different from an elective abortion for any other reason. I also hear you struggling to navigate the belief that abortion for one reason is no less valid than another with the emotional weight of the decision you made. In other words, I get the sense that you don’t want to appear or feel self-righteous for having an “understandable” termination. On the other hand, it is impossible not to confront the reality of the differences between your experience and that of others, and the feelings you have about having to have that done in an abortion clinic surrounded (presumably, of course) by women who were terminating for different reasons are valid.

    I believe that you will be able to resolve all this cognitive dissonance in a way that brings you peace, and I’m so proud of women like you who bring these kinds of issues to light in this public sphere. Your openness and honesty here provide clarity and insight for far more than just yourself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think you are right, words have power and the words we use reinforce their power. And I do think a lot of my struggle does rest within the terminology that the medical profession used for our situation and the terminology I use. You are also right, I struggle with the fact that I do feel my abortion/termination was different then most, and I struggle with the fact that I was at that clinic for very different reasons then most. It’s hard. It’s frustrating. And I as you say, hopefully one day I can resolve the cognitive dissonance in a way that makes sense in my mind, peacefully. I do hope that I reach that day sooner rather then later, and yet I’m not sure it’s a line in the sand that can be reached, more of a way of living that probably wavers from time to time.
      Also, thank you for your encouragement, particularly with this topic. It’s a hard topic to write about it, it’s a hard topic to live with daily, it’s a hard topic to share with the world. Your support means the world to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Pingback: Failure and Forgiveness | AdoptiveBlackMom

  31. Abortion — a fully loaded word indeed.

    Your forgiveness … is yours.

    Some questions to ask yourself: Do I not forgive myself because I had an abortion, like 30% of all women in their lifetime will? (2008 US stats)

    SOURCE: http://www.guttmacher.org/in-the-know/abortion.html

    Do I not forgive myself for having an abortion because I currently have no living children and one alive child with disabilities would have been better than none?

    THE SOCIALLY INAPPROPRIATE MOM (TSIM) has this to say about having a child with severe disabilities:

    “I know I’m different from your typical special needs parent in many ways. The most striking difference between “the others” and me is that I refuse to see my children as precious little gifts. I stand by my previous statements that special needs children are probably one of the shittiest gifts a person could be given. I don’t care how much I’ve grown as a result of having my children. I could care less that I’ve surprised myself with an ability to love in ways I never thought possible or my capacity to feel compassion to the point it actually hurts. My personal growth is not worth the suffering of another human being. Period.”

    LINK: http://sociallyinappropriatemom.blogspot.com/2014/06/refusal.html

    TSIM also goes on to say in an earlier post:

    “Here comes the horrible part of my blog where some of you are going to gasp with horror and judgment. Please note: you haven’t been in my shoes so you can suck it as far as I’m concerned.”

    “I think a big part of my guilt is that I knew about most of Aria’s problems fairly early in my pregnancy and I chose to have her anyway. I knew there were options. I was told by medical professionals that no one would fault me for choosing not to go through with this and I went through with it anyway. At the time I was so hopeful. At the time I kept reminding myself of the cases I’ve read of children with missing brain matter who, by some miracle, only suffer minor cognitive delays. I told myself about the kids with severe hydrocephalus who weren’t deaf. I told myself that the stomach surgery and brain surgery would just be a small hurdle on the path to a productive and fulfilling life for Aria. I told myself that we were keeping her because we wanted to give her every opportunity in the world to flourish. I told myself all sorts of ridiculous shit. ”

    THE FULL POST: http://sociallyinappropriatemom.blogspot.com/2011/05/two-sentences.html

    The reason I’ve included an excerpt from TSIM is because this is a mother who chose consciously not to abort (terminate if you prefer that term) her baby for medical reasons. She held on to hope that maybe things wouldn’t be “that” bad or they could be corrected with surgeries to a more manageable level. This woman had ever legal right (and ethical right in my opinion) to abort.

    She does the absolutely best she can and Aria has had innumerable surgeries and hospitalizations. This mom writes about her journey through life with Aria candidly, openly and lovingly … but doesn’t sugar coat a shit sandwich she was dealt.

    ______________

    Some more questions:

    Do you have a religious upbringing where you cling onto the guilt of abortion through church teachings?

    Do you feel guilty because you were the one who felt like you made the ultimate decision to terminate the pregnancy even though your had a fully supportive husband?

    There are many women that wish they didn’t have to make a conscious choice of termination and that there own bodies would have created a miscarriage or that the baby inside would have been just that much sicker, just that much weaker to die on its own without help. Sometimes these scenarios don’t always happen.

    As a woman who made my own elective decision to terminate for medical reasons I have wished all of the above thoughts. However, I couldn’t put my baby, my child into a life sitting behind huge milestones only to have social, physical, mental and emotional problems all of their life. This (the elective abortion) was my independent decision and although my husband was 100% supportive, I knew it was the right decision for my child, myself and my husband. I also don’t believe that my personal choice is the right choice for everyone else out there — they have to make their own informed choices based on their own life experience, their belief systems and their family.

    I will make a confession here … I see your abortion as inevitable. I see a woman who could have become ill with sepsis only to ease the guilt of NOT making the commitment to abortion and end that life in a compassionate way. No one has to be a martyr to prove they love their baby. No one has to do this.

    MORE QUESTIONS … Do you feel like you didn’t “really” love your baby because you chose abortion?

    How have you gotten over feeling guilty with other things in the past? What have you forgiven yourself for before and how did you get to that point?

    Do you feel that if you forgive yourself that will mean forgetting that special pregnancy? And as long as you hang on to guilt that simply a bit of your pregnancy remains alive?

    Here’s a blog post on SELF-FORGIVENESS:

    https://paigebartholomew.wordpress.com/2014/12/28/how-to-forgive-yourself/

    Just some thoughts I had …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing all of this. Rather then answering each of your questions individually, I’m just going to share my thoughts as I thought them while reading.
      1. My husband and I have always said that we would terminate a pregnancy if our child was going to be severely disabled. We said it before we even entered into the world of RPL, and today we stand by that. We have both felt this way because we know it’s not a life we want for ourselves and not a life we would want for another human being. I will not apologize for knowing ourselves well enough to know that we will not willing choose to raise a disabled child, it is what it is and that’s okay. And honestly, the adoption process has actually reinforced this approach as it requires us to look into what we will parent knowingly. And let me be blunt for a moment (becuase I know you prefer my bluntness) we chose adoption once we realized that the likelihood of my body carry a healthy child to term was slim to none without substantial medical intervention that would include multiple high risk pregnancy drugs. When doctors start using words like “compatible with life” to describe the ultimate goal, we stood back and thought about what we really wanted – a biological child that could very likely be “non-compatible with life” or an adoption child who will very likely be healthy – well, our decision was a no-brainier.
      2. I was raised in a very liberal church as a child and in a much more strict church as a teenager once my dad re-married. I do not attend any formal sort of religion today and have no intentions of returning to formalized religion. I would say I am a deeply confused christian at absolute best. In reality, I would I am likely considered non-religious.
      3. We experienced missed miscarriages where the baby had died before we knew, I consider this an “easy” miscarriage. We also experienced slow and agonizing miscarriages where we watched the baby die for weeks. These go under the category of “hard” miscarriages. And obviously we had one that was slow and agonizing that resulted in the TFMR that goes into the category of “excruciating.” There is no easy way to lose a much wanted pregnancy, but in our experience there are “easier” ways.
      4. I harboured guilt for not being in the car that killed my mom and sister. I would have been sitting where my sister was (we had a seat rotation based on month to prevent fighting, so I know I would have been in her seat). The point of this reference is simply to say that I think there is always surviour guilt. There is always a way to blame yourself, if you want to. It doesn’t make it right or real to others, but it does happen in our own minds. And yes, I did deal with those feelings and yes I do realize that in reality if I were in the car my brother and I would also probably be dead. The reality is, which may just be your point, in these types of shitty situations there simply is no win, and to beat ourselves up for something that was outside of our control makes no rational sense.
      As always, thank you for your heartfelt comment. I always enjoy your thought provoking comments and I greatly appreciate your willingness to share with compassion. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. My reader wasn’t working all week until today, so I’m very behind, forgive me.

    I have always wondered why you refer to it as your abortion, and this post answers that. I hate that you had to go there for a medically necessary procedure – that isn’t right and it makes me sad.

    This post is a fabulous step towards self forgiveness. Be easy on yourself as you work through this.

    Like

    • I think the experience of an abortion clinic really impacted me, maybe more then anything else. I do wonder how I’d process it if I didn’t go to that clinic, I’ll obviously never know for sure, but I do think I would be a lot different about it. And with this realization, I think I need to start being a little kinder to myself with the words I choose to use in the future.

      Like

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