“I am 42 years old, partnered, and mother to two beautiful boys aged 11 and 9. My partner and I had been together for around a year, living together for about 3 months. My partner also has two children, the same age as mine. Our lives prior to meeting have been mirrored in so many ways, down to our respective marriage break downs occurring in the same week (2 years prior to our meeting). We knew the moment we met that we were going to have a serious relationship, despite the fact neither of us were purportedly looking for that, introduced our children within a few weeks of our first date, and yes, moved in together very quickly in the end, although it felt very right for all of us.
The six of us had just established a good routine - we have all four kids with us most days - and all learning to live together well, when I discovered our contraceptives had failed and I was pregnant.
The decision to have an abortion was fairly straightforward for us - neither of us was excited about the idea of going back to babies, we felt we were past that and, in our early forties, wanted to enjoy the freedoms having older children allowed us. We love our weekend "off" from kids twice a month, we love the lifestyle we are building together for us and for our children. We didn't want to go back to small children, sleepless nights and all that babies bring into the household. We also felt that it would put unfair pressure on the children we already have, who have been so wonderful about blending our families and genuinely like one another.
Everything was going well and we were not interested in rocking the boat. We discussed having the baby, and in all seriousness, we probably could have without undue hardship. I do believe that if we had decided to have the baby, things would have worked out fine. It was just not the life that we wanted for ourselves, and we also had some concerns regarding the health risks to both me and the baby given my age.
I also had some concerns about a pregnancy at this stage of my life - how would my body cope? I was already exhausted at only six weeks pregnant, could I even contemplate doing this and worse for another eight months, not to mention coping with a baby for the next few years?
We had discussed accidental pregnancy in the past, and had both agreed that we did not want more children and were confident in our contraceptive choices to protect us. These hypothetical conversations, however, do not count for much when faced with the reality of an actual pregnancy. Our discussions came back to the same place each time however: this was not for us.
My partner expressed a level of curiosity about the baby: On one hand, I would love to see what a child between you and I would be like, he said - who would s/he take after? Would they be some weird amalgam of our four wonderful children or would they be some completely new form of human, unknown to us both? I, too, indulged the "what if" fantasy for those conversations, but ultimately we agreed that while it would be nice to know, to see that future, we were both happy and willing to leave it behind and get back to the reality we had just started creating together with the six of us. We want to renovate our house. We want to take our children on holidays. We want to give them the best of ourselves while they are still young enough to want us around. We looked down that path and chose the other fork in the road.
I visited my doctor to confirm the pregnancy and discuss the options. He agreed that termination seemed a good option for us given the circumstances, and assured me it was far more common that I would imagine. He estimated that 25% of pregnancies in this country (Australia) end in termination. He even suggested that if I spoke with my friends I would likely find that a few of them had taken the same route at some stage.
Fortunately I live in an abortion-on-demand state, so was able to simply book in a termination for the following week. My partner and I continued to talk about our feelings regarding the pregnancy, however neither of us wavered in our decision. I took a cab to the clinic, while my partner got our four kids off to school, he then went to work to wait for the call to come and collect me.
While I felt some resentment about the fact that this was something that I had to do - make the ultimate decision, sign the forms, physically undergo the procedure and recovery - I also know this is just a fact of life as a woman, and it is not really anyone's fault. And I am grateful that it was a choice open to me.
The procedure went without a hitch, it was all very straightforward and completed under twilight anaesthetic, so I remember going into the room and not much after that. I had an IUD fitted at the time of the procedure, and my partner is booked in for a vasectomy. We are sure that we do not want more children.
We do not regret the decision. It may seem selfish to some that we chose ourselves and our existing children over this potential child, but to be perfectly honest, I'm ok with that. We chose us, we chose the family that we have, and we have felt closer and more committed to that family ever since. Having made the decision to prioritise THIS family, in its current form, we owe it to ourselves and to the kids to make it the best it can possibly be.
I wanted to tell this story to show that abortion is not always a choice made against a wall, it is not always a choice that is made in impossible or even particularly difficult circumstances, it is not always a tragic story. It was a considered choice, between what we have and what might be, but it was not, in the end, an overly difficult one. Abortion was the right decision for us.” —Carol