I have been waiting for the right time to share this story.
I lie on the bathroom floor of my childhood home, feeling the cool blue tiles press against the small of my back. On the floor beside me two little pink lines are emerging on a paper stick; clear, bold, unmistakable. As I look up at the ceiling, my hands immediately go to my stomach, and I can’t help the smile that spreads across my face. Suddenly the week before makes so much sense; getting violently ill at Schoolies after just a few drinks, mumbling something to the paramedic about a baby, waking up in the middle of the night with waves of nausea rolling through my body… I hear keys in the door downstairs and rush to shove everything back in the box. For now this is my secret, and there’s only one person in the whole wide world I want to tell.
He’s been away in Bali and I can’t wait until he gets home so I can share the news. We’ve only been dating for a few months, but having children is something we talk about all the time and I know it’s something we both want for our future.
We’re sitting on his bed and, knowing I had taken the test before I came over, he looks at me and asks,
’Really?’ He groans and shoves his face in a pillow.
My stomach drops. This isn’t how this is supposed to go. He’s supposed to be excited. He’s supposed to smile and hug me and tell me everything is going to be okay.
Seeing the pained look on his face and his body folded over on the bed, I think that’s the moment I know I can’t go through with the pregnancy.
We sit in the waiting room giggling and making jokes; two kids, completely out of our depth and unable to comprehend the gravity of the situation we’re in. A counsellor asks us questions, “How do I feel?” “Do we understand the risks involved in the surgery?” “Why are we making this decision?”
“We don’t feel emotionally or financially equipped to handle the responsibilities of a child at such a young age. We feel as though it would be unfair on the child to raise it in a tumultuous environment without adequate resources or emotional support,” I explain.
“Well that was well-rehearsed,” says the interviewer, bemused.
“No, she’s just really good with words,” says my ex.
After taking two pregnancy tests and putting on my hospital gown, I’m lead into a freezing waiting room where a tiny TV is playing re-runs of Cirque du Soleil. I have no idea how long I’m sitting there, but it feels like hours. Other women come and go, we smiled politely at each other. Some are crying, others look completely numb.
I don’t know if it’s part of the routine procedure, but they give me an ultrasound before I go in. Lying on the table, I catch a glimpse of the technicians paperwork, 7 weeks scrawled across the page in blue pen, is all I manage to make out. He runs the wand across my stomach and pauses over the lower right hand side of my abdomen. The screen is angled away from me, but I swear I can hear the heartbeat.
He asks me if I want to see. I say no.
Two nurses wheel me in to a brightly lit theatre. One makes polite conversation about my plans after school. “I’m going to study journalism. I think I want to be on TV,” I tell her.
The last and only other time I’ve been under general anaesthetic I was terrified, but this time I’m exhausted and just grateful for the chance to close my eyes.
The moment I wake up after surgery, I feel empty. As though there’s a gaping hole on the lower right hand side of my abdomen. I burst into tears. The nurses try to give me orange juice and crackers, while explaining that it’s totally normal; my hormones will be going crazy for a while.
I waddle out of recovery and he’s there waiting for me.
He smiles when he sees me but concern quickly spread across his face when he sees the state I’m in.
I cry the whole way home.
My mum buys me chocolate freckles and asks me to keep this to myself. I don’t tell anyone, I’m terrified they’ll judge me or tell me I made the wrong decision.
No one asks me how I feel. There’s no debriefing or family discussion.
I feel like everyone just wants it to be over.
In the next few months HSC results come out, I get accepted into uni and move away… Life rushes on as if nothing happened, and yet every year I’m left counting months and days and weeks in my head, trying to figure out how old my little boy would be.
I’ve been waiting for six years to share this story. I trusted that I would know when the time was right, and I feel it now.
A few months ago during meditation, my baby boy visited me. He told me he was fine and that he would be back when I was ready. I apologised for making him wait. “Don’t be silly mum, I’m so happy here.”
A few days later I was at an event and sat down next to a girl my age who happened to be a Clairvoyant and Medium. Without knowing me or my situation, she began talking about Souls and pregnancy.
Being pregnant for the first time herself, she spoke about how she didn’t think she would carry to term. Having communicated with her unborn baby girl, she got the sense that she wouldn’t choose to stay this time around.
The way she spoke had me fascinated; so matter-of-factly, yet with such deep love.
“Do Souls choose that?” I asked, on the edge of my seat.
“Of course. They knew what would happen before they incarnated.”
She continued to explain that some Souls are of such a high vibration (so connected to Source and their true nature) that in order to get used to the denser vibration of earth, they choose to incarnate for a short period of time in the safety of their mothers womb before beginning their journey here. To come straight through would be incredibly disorientating for them.
“You both chose this scenario, to play a role in each others lives that would serve each of your Highest evolution.”
By this point tears were streaming down my face. I remembered… I saw the message my boy had been sent to deliver; a Divine wake up call that this was not the life I wanted for myself. Although intellectually I had always known I made the right decision, a part of me had always held on to ‘What if?’
In that moment, six years of guilt dissolved in an instant.
I knew even at the time that the experience was both a turning point and a catalyst for me. It pulled into razor-sharp focus the life I was creating unconsciously, and showed me just how little I wanted it after all. I didn’t want the safety and security of a family of my own. I didn’t want to put my dreams on hold. I didn’t want the responsibility of raising another human being when I didn’t even know how to look after myself, and I didn’t want to be trapped in a relationship that was destroying my self worth.
In the debate between pro-choice and pro-life, I chose life, my life.
Of course there were the times when I wanted nothing more than to meet the human growing inside of me, and I tried to convince myself that everything would sort itself out. But I have to admit, the reasons I wanted to continue the pregnancy were entirely selfish and superficial. I didn’t want a child, a teenager or a young adult; I wanted a baby. I wanted tiny jumpsuits and beautiful cribs, and the attention that being a new mother inevitably brings. I craved unconditional love from someone I could dress up in cute outfits and take for coffee dates with my friends, I wanted all the decisions I had to make after graduation to be made for me, and I fell in love with the idea of never having to be alone again. We talked about having a baby like it was getting a new puppy.
It would be so cute…
We would have so much fun…
Neither of us were ready for the reality of raising a human being.
My own research and experience with clients over the last three years has proven to me time and time again how significantly a child’s early experiences and the physical, emotional and mental health of their parents influence the person they become. I didn’t want to start that relationship from a place of fear, anxiety and resentment; the resentment I would feel toward my child for all the things I could never do because of them, and the resentment they would feel toward me for all the things I could never provide.
I realised a few years ago that my desire to fall pregnant was actually a misinterpretation of my desire to create. I wasn’t using my creative energy in any meaningful way, so it was stagnating inside my body and I didn’t know what to do with it. Conceiving a child is, in its most basic form, a creative act, and one that – in the moment – seemed a lot less risky than starting a blog or publishing a novel.
When I began to own my power as a creator – consciously making decisions about who I wanted to be and what kind of life I wanted to live – I lost all interest in having a baby. I realised creating my own life was an exciting adventure in and of itself. Today, I feel truly and deeply fulfilled by my creative projects and even though I know I’ll be a mother when the time is right, my blog and business are the perfect outlets for my creativity.
Having said that, not a day goes by when I don’t think about my decision, and sometimes emotion overwhelms me. Not because I regret it, but because I had a choice when so many women don’t. I am so incredibly grateful that I was born in a time and place where I wasn’t pressured by my parents or society to marry someone I didn’t love just because we fell pregnant. I am so so lucky I had the option to learn from my mistakes and choose again. It is a freedom I don’t take lightly.
There are women I know who have chosen a different path to me – young mothers who are incredible at what they do – and I have nothing but admiration for the girls who continue to dream big and achieve their impossible dreams, despite the challenges of being a young parent. I don’t know if I would have been one of them.
I know my recount will comfort some and infuriate others, there are few issues that are so divisive. But as hard as it might be to believe, I’m not trying to justify my decision. I wanted to share this story because despite the fact that 1 in 3 women in Australia have had an abortion, it’s an issue still very much shrouded in secrecy and shame, and shame is indisidious in the way it holds us back from being who we’re here to be.
For so long I was so scared to share my story because I didn’t know how people would respond and yet when I started to open up, I was met with overwhelming compassion and a surprising number of women saying, “Me too”. Now I can speak about it openly, and it is my hope that it encourages other women to do the same. Not just online, but in conversations with one another. Whether we like it or not, it’s part of our shared experience and shame and secrecy are impenetrable barriers to the connection we’re all craving.
To the women who have told their story before me, thank you. Your bravery inspired me to share my own. To the women still carrying their secret, I love you.
You might not resonate with the spiritual side of my story, but even if you don’t, please let go of the guilt around your decision. Guilt is unproductive at best and destructive at worst, and what happened in your past (whether it was yesterday or ten years ago) has no bearing on the kind of future you can create for yourself.
Life never ends, it just changes form.
I know he’s still with me and when the time is right my little boy will make the journey earth-side. Until then, I’m content having another guardian angel watching over me.
I’m writing more about this part of my story in my book, which will be published some time in the next year. Until then, if you want to share your story, please do. This is an open space of compassion and non-judgement and everything we discuss here will lead us closer to greater love, deeper truth and higher understanding.
All my love,