True Story: I’m A Wife + Mother And I Had An Abortion

Did you know that 17% of the women who have abortions are married? Click through for one woman's story of choosing to have an abortion after already having one child.

This is the story of ‘Grace’ and her decision to have an abortion after she had her first child. About 17% of the women in America who get abortions are married.

I realize that abortion is an incredibly polarizing subject. As always, respectful, articulate discourse and disagreement are welcome. Incendiary comments will be deleted.

Tell us a bit about yourself. 
I’m 33, living in Wellington, New Zealand with my husband and our two-year-old daughter. I’m a stay-at-home mother, trying to fit my interests of reading, writing and dancing around the daily life of raising a child.
What’s your family like? 
I’ve been with my husband for almost 11 years, married for just over one. He is incredibly caring, and he makes me laugh every single day. Our daughter is amazing. I’m sure every mother says that about their child, but I am constantly feeling blessed by how much joy she has brought to our lives. We have been very lucky in that she has been an easy going kid from day one. We’ve never had the typical parenting problems with eating, sleeping, clinginess and the like. She is a dream.
Growing up, what were your thoughts about family and pregnancy?
I’m from a big family, and for many years I thought that was what I wanted for myself. I used to say I wanted 10 kids. I always knew I wanted to be a mother. When I hit my late 20s though I was a little more realistic about what motherhood entailed, and became far less certain about the idea of having a lot of kids.
How have you found motherhood thus far? 

Motherhood thus far has been great. I have, as mentioned, a dream child. I was surprised by the extent to which having a child opens your world. It is so hard to make friends as an adult, but once you have a kid you have this instant connection to every other parent. It’s like joining a club, and as a result of that my social circle has grown significantly, and I have met some wonderful new friends.

The toughest thing about being a parent is the loss of independence. You can’t just drop everything and take some time out. Ever. Every single major life decision I make from here on out will have to take my daughter into consideration. That can be frustrating. Your time and space are very rarely your own anymore.

How did you come to have an unplanned pregnancy? 
I am ashamed to say that in my 30s I had an unplanned pregnancy. I wasn’t using protection. It was as simple as that. I had actually planned on getting an IUD around the time I fell pregnant, but was waiting until I could afford it.
When did you realize you were pregnant? And how did you feel?
I knew I was pregnant very early on, within two or three weeks of conception. I’d been feeling unnaturally exhausted, and my emotions were intense. I was in a bad mood that I just could not snap out of. It didn’t take long to realise something was up, and I knew even before I took the pregnancy test what was going on.
How did you make the decision to have an abortion? 
As soon as I realized I was pregnant I knew I couldn’t have that baby. Luckily my husband felt exactly the same way. We both want our daughter to have a sibling, but we knew that financially, and emotionally, we were not able to support another baby at that time.
When I thought about having a second baby all I could see in my future was struggle and depression. I knew that was a bad sign, and the termination was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made.
Do you feel like there were any repercussions – physical or emotional – to your abortion?
No. Physically, I had to deal with fatigue and nausea for the 6 weeks or so it took to arrange the procedure, but as soon as it was over I was back to normal. Emotionally, I know I made the right decision, so it’s not something I’ve ever dwelt on or felt upset about.
If your daughter found herself with an unplanned pregnancy and was considering an abortion, what would you tell her?
I would tell my daughter that she is in charge of her own body, and nobody can make her have a baby if she doesn’t feel like that is right for her. Also, nobody can make her have an abortion if that doesn’t feel right for her. I would want my daughter to feel confident in her body autonomy. I would also make sure she felt supported in whatever decision she made.
What advice would you give to other married moms who are in a similar situation?

Being a mother is hard, but if you’re a mother already you’ll know that. If someone was in a similar situation to me, I would say look to the future. Do you see yourself coping with another child? Do you have the means to provide for another child? Most of all, do you want another child, at this point in time? Just because the timing isn’t right now doesn’t mean it won’t be in the future.

Make sure you consider all the options, but most importantly, make the decision that is best for you. You know what you can handle. I knew it would have been a struggle, but we could have made do financially had I had that second baby.

However I also knew that I would not have coped emotionally with the reality of bringing another child into our home at that point in time. My decision was based entirely on what I knew for sure I was capable of, and that’s how I know it was the right one.

Thanks so much for sharing your story, Grace. Have any of you gone through something similar? 

P.S. True Story: I’m an abortion doula

Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash

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  1. Sarah

    Thanks for sharing this! I think "Grace"'s story is far more common than many people realize.

  2. anobion

    Thank you for sharing. It's a difficult decision. I had an abortion in my late twenties even though I loved (still love) my boyfriend (now husband) and do plan on having children one day. We just knew it wasn't the right time emotionally, financially, etc…Afterwards, I was really shamed by a Dr. when giving my history (at Planned Parenthood of all places, but we live in the American south, so not a total shock). Which made me just furious. I appreciate women willing to share their experiences. It makes us all a little less alone. I am so thankful I had the ability to make the choice for myself.

  3. Katie,

    Thank you so much for sharing. I'm thrilled to see women sharing their abortion stories. Just how motherhood blogs have started sharing the unmentionables about motherhood and all of the struggles, women and now sharing their abortion stories and it's good for everyone. The shame associated with abortion is the worst part, and knowing that so many other women did the same thing and it's actually (dare I say?) normal, is refreshing.

  4. Anonymous

    I guess I truly just still do not understand, especially how your first child was right for you & a later one would be too, but then this one was not. I wonder what your children would think if they knew? That they could have been the aborted one, but "fate" saved them? I don't think most people ever feel totally ready for a child, but in the context of a loving, healthy relationship, I just can't wrap my mind around this choice.

    • Anonymous

      Because we are human beings and in charge of our own bodies. A fetus is not a human, clearly. Doctors won’t attempt to save a fetus befor 22 weeks anyway. We’re women, not baby factories. Married and already a mother doesn’t mean you have to have unwelcome and unwanted things.

  5. Mandy

    I had an unplanned pregnancy when I was 22, with my boyfriend of 8 months. We chose to terminate that pregnancy, because we were absolutely not ready for a child emotionally or financially in any way. I think what made me feel most confident in my decision was thinking about the ways that such a stressful, unstable environment would affect my child – the costs of a child on top of our student loan debt and laughable incomes probably would have buried us in a hole that we may never have gotten out of. I didn't want to get trapped in poverty, or to feel like I never had the opportunity to pursue my own happiness because there was too much on the line and we couldn't afford it; I worried about resenting my child for that. I never want any of my children to feel like a burden.

    Although it's impossible to know what that road would have looked like, I do know that experiencing this together made the both of us realize that we did want a family… eventually. It was a catalyst for a lot of change in our lives; we worked on all of the things that weren't right for a baby then, and I am now 6 months pregnant with our first child – so much more prepared to embrace the concurrent wonder and madness that is parenthood. Like anon said above, I don't think anyone's truly completely ready / there's never a perfect time, but I think my daughter will benefit from how much I've grown in the years since then.

    I am grateful that I had the opportunity to evaluate my situation and make the best choice for my body and my family. Every situation looks different and this is what was right for me.

  6. Stephanie Loudmouth

    Though I don't agree with the actions or viewpoint of "Grace" I do commend you on posting such a controversial article. I had only been with my boyfriend for 9 months when we became unexpectedly pregnant, and even though I'd never wanted kids before or even saw myself as a mother, I'm so glad I decided to keep the baby. I can't imagine my life any other way now.

  7. Cait

    The more we tell these stories, the less stigmatized abortion is (yay!)
    Empowering women to choose their own future is 100% the reason I am going to be an abortion provider.

  8. liveletlive

    I'm trying to empathize but I just can't see it from your viewpoint. While i'm pro-choice, i'm pro-prevention 10x more. Because pregnancy is SOOO easily prevented in this day and age. Its common sense that unprotected sex = high chance of pregnancy. I hate hearing about abortions because of irresponsible grown adults not thinking ahead about the consequences of their actions.

    Because pro-choice or not, abortion is a big deal to me. It can emotionally hard and physically traumatizing to the body. Its just so much easier to use adult common sense and prevent it all together. Whether you use condoms until you could afford the iud, or whatever.

    • Anonymous

      Uh, way to assume every woman who chooses abortion wasn't on birth control. Mine failed. Twice. I absolutely did what was best for me and it was not because I was irresponsible.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, having an abortion would be a devastating choice for me. I’m really sensitive about it and don’t think I could bear to have it on my conscience. That’s why I’ve never had sex without protection. I’m 33 and have never had an unplanned pregnancy. Thank goodness. I do think the choice should be available for women who want it, though.

    • Anonymous

      Pregnancy is not 100% preventable. Ever. And it’s ridiculous if you to say that. My niece got pregnant after her tubes were tied. Nothing is 100% safe. Stop judging.

  9. Anonymous

    This happened to my mother. I was around ten and my parents' marriage was falling apart. The condom broke. I absolutely believe they made the right decision.

  10. Nomad Notebook

    Great post- thanks for sharing! I think abortions are much more common than most people think. I'm 23 and know quite a few women who have had abortions in the teens and twentys.

    Lizzy from Nomad Notebook

  11. Creole Wisdom

    This story breaks my heart. I am grateful that "Grace" feels confident in her decision. Having heard stories of other women who chose abortion the experiences haven't been like these. They felt heartache and pain and regret for years and years down the road. I know I probably don't share the opinions of most commenting here, and that's okay, but one of the reasons why I shifted from generally unconcerned about the reality of abortion to leaning more pro life was because of personal stories and experiences.

  12. Jen

    Birth control can fail, commenter above – my mother in law got pregnant on both the pill *and* an IUD! I sympathise – we can only responsibly handle our ONE kid. You wouldn’t believe the judgy/sad comments we get when people find out my husband had a vasectomy when the baby was four months old… ironically from people who aren’t going to be paying for or babysitting our babies (including BOTH sets of grandparents!)!!

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