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Posted by on in After Abortion
A Mile In Their Shoes

‘I could/would/will never do that’, ‘how could anyone think/do that?’.  These are just a few examples of things that people write, say, think, etc after being made aware of someone else’s ‘mistake’ (premarital sex, abortion, keeping an unplanned baby, giving a baby up for adoption, and so many others).  Frustratingly, I am not immune to it.  I have my moments where I am judging someone, sure I would do a better job, were I in that position. Come to find out, I ended up doing the same thing, and not necessarily for malicious reasons.  Ugh.  It’s not pleasant, but it reminds me to be careful how I look at/speak to/think of others.  I know quite a few people who can relate to that type of attitude.

I can give many examples, but being in the pro-life movement and all I will focus on some related to this subject.

’I would never have an abortion.’  I have heard this MANY times.  Sometimes from women who have never been pregnant.  As one who lost a sibling in this way,  naturally I would love if this was a true statement, but I have met plenty of post abortives, who have said or thought the same in the past, sadly.  But then they found themselves in an abusive relationship being forced into it, or with multiple kids and dwindling finances/small or no house, etc, or perhaps super sick with hyperemesis gravidarum (severe throwing up, which can continue through the whole pregnancy for some).  Dealing with frequent stomach troubles (minus throwing up, thankfully) I can’t imagine how horrible that would be. Some have been on necessary medication and became unexpectedly pregnant, feeling unable to keep the baby because the lack of meds could make them very ill.

Also, rape.  I know women who have been raped and it has been super traumatizing for them. Some do not feel able to keep the baby.  They fear they will think of the rapist every time they see their baby.  Or perhaps they and other mothers feel their babies will be mistreated, as a result of their conception, mixed race, etc.  The world is not always kind to those who are different.  

Another reason, tokophobia. A phobia of pregnancy and/or childbirth. I heard about this relatively recently, and my heart goes out to these women. Anxiety is a hard enough struggle, but this seems much worse in some ways.  I know at least one who felt all the cutting, etc during her c-section, despite the anesthesia.  Others could’ve had days long labors, etc.

Perhaps some of you readers have been through these situations and NOT aborted.  If so, I truly am happy for that!:)  But I ask you all to be more gentle when speaking of the abortion minded/post abortive.  Many times, it’s not such a carefree/flippant decision as some people make it seem.  Many of these women are suffering beforehand, and even more so afterwards.

I also can not stand the shaming of those pregnant before marriage.  Some of these men/women had every intention of waiting, and fell into temptation, some were using birth control.  Some were raped, and some just see nothing wrong with it.  Whatever their reasons, or our personal views on the matter, I think it is best to react peacefully.  The more we condemn them for their choices, the less likely they are to feel comfortable sharing.  Some may abort simply because they feel judged and alone.  While a big goal of mine is to save siblings from abortion, I think a bigger goal is reaching out to these parents in love.  No matter their decisions.

 

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Posted by on in Problems In Pregnancy
I Just Needed To See My Baby

Our baby girl was conceived summer of 2013.  Our 2nd baby.  We thought, wow.  Our first baby – a boy. Second baby – a girl.  I made it a point to keep myself active by keeping up with our 20-month old’s playgroups, etc. regardless of how heavily pregnant I got.  It was the only way I could get exercise and I promised that this pregnancy won’t compromise our toddler’s activities.  

But then, on my 6th month of pregnancy, anxiety slowly crept in.  Countless questions started to drown me.  A baby girl?  How do you take care of a baby girl?  I seem to have been able to manage with a boy, but that’s just one child - but with 2 children?  And a girl?  How?  I tried to draw in childhood memories but none of them consoled me: authoritarian parents, physical work, smacking, not enough cuddles/kisses, siblings I barely knew because we were torn apart, my eldest sister having an unplanned pregnancy and eloping with boyfriend, etc.

My toddler’s Health Visitor seemed to know our family quite well. And so, at one of his appointments, she asked me, “How are you mum?” And I thought, “I have no one to talk to.  I have to tell her.  Now.  I broke down.  I told her that I wasn’t very happy.  That, I was burdened with worries.  That, I didn’t know how to take care of a baby girl.  She was genuinely sympathetic and tried to raise my self-esteem.  At the same time, she tried to dig a little into my story.  She said that she can refer me for mental health support – but she kindly asked me if I would like her to handle my case and conduct the first assessment.  I agreed.

After a week, she popped by our flat and we had a little chat about my family history, my childhood, my husband, and how I was managing with a toddler whilst heavily pregnant.  Going through the details with her was impossible without crying.  She was with us for an hour and perfectly understood why I felt that way and quickly decided to refer me to a clinical psychologist (CP).

Probably on the same week, at our toddler’s bi-weekly playgroup, one of the children’s centre staff approached me and asked me how I am and the baby.  I related to her what I’ve been going through and the home visit that we have just had.  She quickly told me that she can get help for me and asked me to stay for a bit after the playgroup so she can fill-out a referral form for me.  I received a call from Compass Wellbeing UK after about a week or so.  I was told that I would be seen by a CP.  I went through an assessment with the CP and she scheduled me for weekly counselling (about an hour each) until I felt that I no longer needed it.  

Early February 2014, I called my CP and told her that I won’t be able to attend the sessions anymore as I was already having difficulty moving around.  She was very supportive and said to call her back whenever I felt the need to see her.  The sessions with the CP were difficult as I had to unload my feelings every time.  But each session taught me how to handle my emotions, gave more clarity to who I am, and the future of our new baby.  

Here are some of the very important pointers that I got from her:

1. As a new parent / every pregnancy can bring back childhood memories. Both the good and the bad.

2. Do not put undue pressure on yourself and expect to bond with your baby after birthing. For some mothers, this is a slow process – but is still considered normal.

3. Your child’s life will be completely different from yours.

4. Give yourself some credit.

5. Try and sit with someone you trust, e.g. husband, partner or friend, and talk more about your feelings.

6. Go out and join groups, e.g. parenting groups / playgroups, and make new friends.

Through the advocacy of my Birth Doula (I found her through Doula UK), the consultant agreed to perform a Natural Caesarean (ironically, this was also an Emergency C-Section as baby did not engage and was swimming in three litres of water). As soon as the medical staff brought the curtain down, I burst into tears. There she was, my lovely baby girl.  A few days after I gave birth, I called my CP to update her and told her, “I just needed to see my baby.”

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