Chapter 22 » 22.59

Parents and children

Difficult decisions in pregnancy

Although my wife had repeatedly expressed her aversion to babies and the idea of maternity even before we were married, I had lived in the hope and expectation that if ‘it’ happened, her feelings would change. After about eleven years ‘it’ did happen, accidentally and unplanned, and I waited for the transformation but in vain. My wife’s distress at her condition was painful to bear and although I persuaded her to seek counselling, she saw abortion as the only way.

My feelings were very mixed. My yearning for parenthood was acute, yet, if I had been in her position, I would want to decide for myself what happened to my body, so I tried to give her all the support I could. Also the talk was all about ‘battered babies’ at that time, and as I could not bear the thought of exposing our child to the risk of maternal rejection, I saw that an abortion was inevitable.

The weather as I remember (for all this happened about twenty years ago) was perfect, bright and sunny when I took her to the hospital, a few miles away from where we lived. And the next day I went to work as usual, although my thoughts were far away. Late in the morning the strangest feeling came over me, a sense of intense desolation and emptiness, but at the same time a conviction that all was well and that my child was safe.

I found out later that the feeling occurred at the time my wife said she went down to the theatre and although the timing could have been coincidence and I could have been suffering a reaction to emotional strain, some would regard it as a spiritual experience. All I know is that it was comforting as well as painful and helped me to come to terms with my grief.

Anonymous, 1994

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