Two Years After My Beloved Son Died, yours truly Got Pregnant Again.  Here’s Why yours truly Chose An Abortion.


Two Years After My Beloved Son Died, yours truly Got Pregnant Again. Here’s Why yours truly Chose An Abortion.

Two Years After My Beloved Son Died, yours truly Got Pregnant Again. Here's Why yours truly Chose An Abortion. The in the front compotation yours

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Two Years After My Beloved Son Died, yours truly Got Pregnant Again. Here’s Why yours truly Chose An Abortion.

The in the front compotation yours truly sculp freaked out yours truly was carrying a fetus, yours truly was 19. yours truly drank tequila and cried with-it the clarinet at confederation events and yelled at my gigolo. We’ve mildly recognized every separated as things go a littlest months. We are giddy young fry who usefulness infirm strategies. My gigolo known as his starets, who despatched us $300, and a littlest weeks of yesterday we had been at Planned Parenthood with-it Phoenix, terminating the abundance. It was 1999.

We received concentrative anyhow birth control in virtue of that, utilizing a high-frequency speaker linked to spermicidal gunk.

However, in virtue of six weeks, linked to the vernal with-it arctic Maine self-confident, yours truly was sissified yours truly was carrying a fetus beside. When yours truly rickrack twinned routine toward the abundance check, yours truly spread-eagle up to the overwhelm, a black-and-white-checkered edgestone with-it the few bathhouse re our picayune house. yours truly screamed as things go my gigolo. When inner self rickrack the check, inner self yet spread-eagle up to the the depths. We did not allege something. Nothing up to allege. We pair knew we had been eclipse up to finagle this babyish.

We with zest bailed toward our vernal with-it Maine and headed labial up to Arizona up to severed a compagnie and head into the pain re parenthood.

Antonia was plumb at special hospital with-it Prescott, Arizona, toward Feb. 3, 2000, in virtue of 12 hours re nativity, linked to the do service to re baggage car midwives. Our mother and father tried up to bullshit us right into a special hospital nascency, entirely yours truly did digest yourselves”Spiritual Midwifery” and felt connected to a sacred feminine process. After Antonia arrived, the midwives ordered pizza, cleaned up, started laundry and eventually left us to be a family.

For two days, her father and I took turns staying awake for 24-hour shifts. I don’t know where we got the idea that one should always be awake. My girlfriend was on the phone with her father one night, explaining how tired we were of this job, when her father said: “If the baby is asleep, for God’s sake, you both can sleep!” We were young, lacked self-confidence and literally knew nothing.

For the next year, we pieced together a life: classes, study work, childcare help from friends and financial help from our parents. As the surprise first grandchild on both sides of the family, Antonia has no shortage of adoration and attention. Giggly and chubby-cheeked, he smiles easily and often. I carried him in a sling and we slept together. We are fueled by love and our youth. He is a miracle.

Four years and five months ago, when she was 18, my daughter Antonia died. It was two weeks ago after he graduated from high school. An unrelenting fever and headache landed us in the ER three times before finally entering him. Orwithin days, when asked to rate her illness on a scale of one to 10, Antonia said 15. A terrible medical accident and failed meningitis treatment led to encephalitis and her death. He is my whole beloved world; my past, present and future.

The death of a child is an endless desert of emptiness, loss and misery. I was annihilated. I starved myself, cut myself and drank massive amounts of vodka. But nothing worked. No more miracles. There is no good reason to live.

Antonia in Ireland, two months before her death.
Antonia with-it Ireland, twinned months erenow he decease.

Photo courtesy of Jess Healy

Two years into this hell, I checked myself into a residential trauma treatment program. Upon retrieval, a nurse asked, “When was the persist compotation themselves gripe themselves?” “The persist compotation yours truly gripe myself was for the nonce.” Until this moment, I have not been honest in what I do.

Once, at the beach, a friend saw rough scratches on my arm and I said another friend’s dog did it. No one doubted me. They said, “Ouch!” And yours truly vocal, “I know! Crazy!” Telling myself brought a complete stop to the chaos that had become automatic.

Once back from my therapy program, I got involved with a guy who was 10 years younger than me. He was newly sober and severely depressed, but I thought we could get better together; build a life together out of our respective struggles and traumas. His mother died: check. My daughter died: check. Both hungry for touch after a year of the pandemic, we would prepare for some time, have sex, watch a movie and sleep. When we woke up, of course no one was healed.

It’s the dead of winter on the gray coast of Maine. Frozen, brown, murky sidewalks and pandemic isolation made me anxious and hopeless. Antonia is not coming back.

And I found out I was pregnant. Even when I took Plan B, even when I thought I was too old to get pregnant, or too malnourished, or too broken. It’s like a cruel joke.

To say that the man whose sperm fertilized this egg is not Daddy material is an understatement. He would often bolt, black out for a few days and eventually admit he was using again. I myself had a schizophrenic, drug addict, whose psychotic behavior was scattered throughout my childhood. I know I will never sleep with this man again, and I certainly will not raise a child with him.

MAny person who assumes pregnancy after the death of a child is a “mystery,” regardless of the circumstances, but everything about this pregnancy felt wrong. I was on the demoralizing path of food stamps and piling up credit card debt that was raising Antonia. As a single woman working in the social services field, I could never work enough to afford full-time day care.

Moreover, I failed to take care of myself; how could I care for a baby in my traumatized, despondent state? I want my daughter back, and this baby is not my daughter.

I owe a lot to a friend who reminded me, when I was stuck, that I had a choice.

At seven weeks, I opted for an at-home, medically induced abortion through Planned Parenthood. I told my mother, a nurse, then, and drove to her house for the procedure. The night was long and the pain was worse than childbirth. At one point, I was writhing in my mother’s bed and then throwing up, just like Antonia’s headache caused her to vomit during her last days in the hospital. It was as if I tapped into his intense pain, his writhing and vomiting, all the things I couldn’t save him from, which plunged me into my PTSD. The pain was haunting and I cried and cried, wanting my dead daughter, riding the feverish peaks of the waves of pain. I took pain meds; I threw up; My blood increased. By 5 am, I finally fell asleep.

Stopping the pain can cause a strange euphoria. I woke up feeling almost crazy. My leaky ship is no longer sinking. My coffee had just the right amount of cream. Compared to what I’d been through since Antonia’s death, a medically induced miscarriage, painful and triggering as it was, was small fries.

I was paralyzed in the weeks leading up to my decision, steeped in the patriarchal message that it was a woman’s duty to give birth to a child, even at the expense of her own well-being. It took several hours on the phone with my friend to realize that I had a choice, that I could choose myself. Doing so awakens something deep, like self-preservation.

It took another year to start eating again and stop using alcohol and men as fuel. But in choosing to prioritize my own healing ― choosing to say, no, I really can’t; I didn’t have the mental health and financial stability to ensure a positive, viable outcome for this pregnancy ― I took the first step in saving my own life.

Now, two years since I chose to end that pregnancy, I swear off men, vodka and other habits I used to distract myself from my pain. I will always be a mother without her daughter, but I am learning to keep choosing myself. And while I still slip sometimes, I try. I think Antonia would agree.

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If you or someone you know needs help, dial 988 or call 1-800-273-8255 for National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also get support by text by visiting Outside the US, please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.