I Wore a Cross and People Told Me To Take it Off Because I Killed My Child
Trigger Warning: Abortion.
Every Mother’s Day since 2012 instead of writing posts on social media about and to the mothers I know – I started to write to the ones I know could have and wanted to be mothers. My heart goes out to those who feel a void because their child is away from them, has passed, has been taken from them, or who had to give up being a mother because she knew the timing wasn’t right; and like myself, the ones who still feel a void despite how many prayers they’ve said in their head and to God for solace in dealing with their loss and the pain that comes with it.
I’m not ashamed of this anymore and so I write. My friends and family know I tried. They saw me bawl my eyes out to the point where I was numb and looked lifeless. I know in my heart what I would have done if the situation were different. For God sakes my child’s name is tattooed on my back. I wanted him. I hope someone takes something from this. If nothing else, understand this is such a common experience and you’re not alone.
I am very choosy with my words when I describe my experience around abortion. I say: “I have lost my child.” My child was taken. I did not choose this route for myself and without control during this time it happened. I did not want to lay on a table drugged to the point where I couldn’t feel the pain but could hear the sound of my child being sucked from between my legs and tossed in a garbage as if it had absolutely no meaning. To me (based on my beliefs) it was still a life. This was in 2012 and still I feel pain. Four years later I still feel it. So no, if asked I do not say, “I decided to have an abortion,” instead I say I lost a child. This wound slowly healed (to an extent) but there will always be reminders and days that force me to reflect; like Mother’s Day.
I don’t believe I’m the only female that experiences a sense of pain around May. I know this because I have friends and family who have lost children. I always call or text to wish them a Happy Mother’s Day whether or not their child is alive. I understand that tears flow and I understand that regardless of whether or not you’re excited to spend the day with your own mother you think of what could have been done for you if your child took its form. Instead they remain a memory in your head and a soul that touches only your heart.
I’ve heard it all:
“It wasn’t meant to happen for you right now.” … I understand, maybe not, but I still housed life.
“He wasn’t meant for you either, he wouldn’t have been a good father.” … I understand but I still carried our first child.
“Your child is in heaven looking over you, don’t worry.” … I understand but how nice would it have been if my child made me breakfast on Mother’s Day? One of the few points I’m trying to make about this situation is that all feelings relating to this experience do not just go away – at times it still hurts.
These are reoccurring thoughts when I’m bombarded with everything I see leading up to or on Mother’s Day. I am fine most of the year. I love my mother and I appreciate all of the women in my life. I appreciate those who have blessed me with children that call me aunty, sister, or friend… but my void still exists.
Many judged me. I wore a cross and people told me to take it off because I killed my child. My older sister told me that I killed my parent’s first grandchild and so I should be ashamed of myself and my actions. She said I don’t deserve to be a mother ever again. What she and many didn’t understand was that I was verbally abused, I was forced into a situation I didn’t want and I was forced to choose whether or not it was worth bringing my baby into a situation with a man I knew wanted my child dead anyway. I tried.
The strongest woman can suffer from mental abuse and when or if she does, it is not a reflection of her strength. It’s a cycle people don’t understand unless you’ve experienced it. Nobody knew about my sleepless nights. They don’t know I cried every single night and begged him to change his mind. I begged. They don’t know that he went back and forth. I drank myself to sleep for months because I felt numb and couldn’t handle the pain. The insomnia wouldn’t pass so I drank and I cried some more. They don’t know he chose a name. They don’t know we decided we’d ignore what his parents thought. They don’t know he changed his mind after he said he would protect me. They don’t understand I didn’t know what to do.
The mother of my God daughter called me the morning she knew I was going through with the procedure. She said, “If it’s money I’ll pick up an extra shift at work.” My brother/one of my closest male friends said he’d fill in as my child’s father because the man who fathered my child didn’t want to be. My little sister said she would be the support I needed even if I couldn’t get it from him. The afternoon I came home after having the abortion I remember my sister calling me as I was going to my room to tell me she saved something I had been craving, for me to eat. I shut my door and I bawled my eyes out.
At the time your head isn’t on straight. You start panicking because what you thought was your main support system failed you. So I cried some more and I did what he said because I didn’t want to raise my child alone and I didn’t want to be a single mother. I wanted my child to know both parents. And so I terminated my pregnancy. Not because I was weak; because he left me and I was scared to do it alone.
My experience with my own pregnancy does not mean I have a hard time being happy for new and existing mothers around me but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t take some time to get here. I avoided newborns for a while; I didn’t go to my cousin’s baby shower because I couldn’t handle it. I cringed every time I heard a child cry and it wasn’t mine. I had many conversations with myself. I had many conversations with my friends and I had many conversations with my mother who told me she experienced a similar situation and nothing besides crying herself to sleep every night helped her too.
So I continued to cry until I didn’t have it in me to cry anymore.
Not choosing to be a mother when God presented me with the opportunity is not something I should allow myself to be punished for, especially not for the rest of my life. It just wasn’t my time as much as I wanted it to be.
For those of you who are here, have been here, or struggling to cope: what helped me was talking to my baby. I apologized to its spirit and I apologized for being irresponsible. I said sorry for not being as safe as I could, for its conception and I apologized for bringing it into a situation where both people involved couldn’t handle the responsibility. I spoke to God from my bedroom and to my minister in church and she told me to punish myself was an even bigger sin than to let my baby go.
I am not less of anything because I am not a mother when I could have been. I am not less of a Christian, I do not need to take my cross off nor do I deserve to be punished. My child is in my heart and although at times I feel a sense of guilt, I would not have been able to provide the life I wanted at the time. This does not make me weak or selfish. This makes me a woman who tried her best, who is still resilient, and who understands her capabilities – I wasn’t capable at the time. After understanding this, I chose to let myself heal.
I’ve hated Mother’s Day since 2012 and this is okay. Maybe I’m still healing in my own way and again, this is okay too. I don’t need to say sorry anymore. If you’re still healing, I promise you it gets a little better every day. Give yourself time. Abortion, miscarriage, stillborn – a loss is a loss. Pain can’t be differentiated even if you want to categorize it – pain is pain. This day is for us too. We might not be celebrated in the way we’d like but we know what it feels like to talk to a child or to talk to a spirit we’ve created. Whether or not they’re here, they love us and we love them. Even if the human form of our children did not manifest. We’re forgotten on this day because what we created cannot be seen but there was a life in us too.
I harboured an immense amount of guilt. It’s one thing for other people to punish you but punishing yourself is the worst possible thing you can do. I’ve taught myself to release myself from my own mental scrutiny and guilt. This does not take away from how I feel/felt about my child and it shouldn’t for you either.
If you needed a refresher; on Mother’s Day I posted: “Today, thinking of all those who don’t fit the Mother’s Day norm. Those who miscarried, aborted, or gave up for adoption. To those women who don’t have children but have helped raise others. To those who can’t make babies so they blessed the world with other talents. To those who weren’t ready to be mamas, but gave birth regardless. To those single fathers, step mothers. To the children who have lost their mothers. Whatever it is, love to you on this day.”
Mother’s Day is for ALL women.