We’d always been very ambivalent about having a child, my 1st pregnancy was ectopic, and on average we were having sex ~ twice a month and avoiding ovulation times. It seemed safe enough, all things considered. Besides, we’re committed, lower middle class, and have a mediocre house in a safe area. The ‘worst case scenario’ didn’t feel unmanageable.
My partner was unexpectedly laid off on 1/29, and I was due for my annual exam in March, so I’d decided I would get back on BC at that next appointment just to be on the safer side. We are both in our 30s and had just started to be able to put money aside for emergency savings and retirement, and we’re also planning our backyard wedding! The layoff was a hard hit, but the hardest was yet to come. Less than two weeks before my scheduled annual, we figured out that I was pregnant.
We went through an extreme variety of emotions individually and as a couple, but somehow he remained staunchly supportive of everything I was feeling. I made an appointment with Planned Parenthood, then canceled it, then we thought about continuing the pregnancy, then we second-guessed it… for almost 3 weeks, my resting pulse hovered around 140, and I had this unimaginable weight on my chest. I cried at least once a day no matter which way we were leaning at the time. Nothing felt right. No thoughts put me at ease. No matter what the outcome, it felt entirely dismal.
After reading everything from daycare prices, what government assistance we might qualify for, stories of parenting ambivalence and “broke parenting” and how some overcame it, stories of abortion, and more, alongside our transparent conversations and the overwhelming feelings, we finally decided the voice of logic remained sound despite the myriad of other difficult emotions with which we were grappling. There was no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer – it felt more like choosing between ‘bad’ and ‘also bad’, but the logic was there: We were not trying to have a kid, we still did not know if we ever wanted a kid, and we could not afford a kid without substantial sacrifices we’d wanted to avoid ever making, and those sacrifices would still not guarantee us staying afloat.
I made another appointment, with a different facility, for 3/29, and our days remained filled with difficult conversations and with an added focus of how to contend with the inevitable protesters, how to prepare emotionally, and basically how to continue surviving this nightmare. I rented a car to avoid having my tag info compromised. We both wore hats and sunglasses so we could protect ourselves from facial recognition, after making sure our social media settings were fairly tight. I was (and still am) fairly emotionally unstable, and the day of the procedure certainly was not exempt. I cried at the protesters. I cried in pre-op. I cried in the OR, and I cried as soon as I woke up.
I still haven’t had that feeling of relief that’s been described by many, but I do not think I feel regret either. I do note that my partner is relieved for our financial futures and I am so lucky to have had his unwavering support throughout all of the indecision. An extreme sadness remains that I will have to work through in the best ways that I can. More than anything, I am thankful to have had a choice in our financial and emotional well being, I am thankful that choice is now behind us, and I’m hopeful that the more unbearable feelings will pass soon.