No matter what I did, for the next week, the two lines would not leave my mind.
I was so consumed by the thought of being pregnant that I could hardly function properly. On the same day I saw those two lines, I had faced the biggest hurdle in my relationship to date. I was so overwhelmed with emotion and preoccupied with questions.
Without knowing how I felt about the situation yet, I already knew how Matt felt. He was completely against the continuation of the pregnancy. He pleaded with me to see his point of view. He wasn’t ready to be a father, at only 23 years old, I knew exactly why. He is one of the most ambitious people I have ever met in my life. His aspirations were so big, he had the most amazing future ahead of him and I knew it. I knew a baby coming along would stop him from achieving his dreams, or at the very least delay them by a long time. He had just been told by work that he was being sent on the course of a lifetime in Canada for three months starting in only a few short weeks, which made our choice even more urgent, and impossible.
If there has ever been a decision in my life where I was so torn, this was it.
I have never considered termination of a pregnancy an option for me. I’m not against other woman making decisions for their own bodies and their own situations, but just not for me. I knew the weight of a making a choice like that, from experiences of those close to me who have made it. How they now, still, live with an emptiness and a guilt, a constant “what if” about that baby which they chose to never bring into the world.
For me, It was a real moral question. A simple “Do I believe in this?”.
The short answer: No.
I felt like if I was to choose to go through with termination, that I would be taking a life. A tiny, precious, vulnerable life. I had no idea if I could even live with myself if I did that? Wouldn’t that make me some kind of monster? I felt extreme guilt at even considering the choice in the first place, so how would I feel about myself if I chose to go through with it? Could I look at myself in the mirror? Would I like the person I was? Would I be judged by God one day for taking away one of his children? Did I have the strength to go against my own beliefs? What was the right thing to do? Would I meet the baby one day in heaven? Would he or she hate me? I didn’t have the answer to those questions then, and I still don’t.
Some people argue that a baby at only a short gestation isn’t even a life, the old “bunch of cells” argument… Personally I just couldn’t disagree anymore. I’m not sure if that’s a difference that is more prevalent between men and women or just people in general.
For me as a woman (a specifically maternal woman at the very least) I felt so attached to this tiny little baby already and I had only known of it for several days. As hard as I tried not to, I just felt so protective. Any bad word Matt would speak about it’s existence I felt genuinely hurt by. It wasn’t this little baby’s fault it had arrived in this universe… it was ours. We were the only people responsible for the situation we were in, no matter how unplanned that situation was.
Despite a moral compass and maternal instincts leading me one way, my own logic and Matt were leading me the opposite way. There was so much at stake. The biggest thing for me was my studies. I had half of the year left to go and that was it. Three years of my life had been completely dedicated to becoming a nurse and if I chose to keep this baby, I’d be choosing to put a completed degree on the sideline. I didn’t want that. In fact it was the last thing I wanted. I’d worked so hard to get to where I was in my studies, overcoming many health problems and life events and still managing to pass everything. I felt so proud of myself for accomplishing all that I had; and with the finish line just in sight, it was utterly heartbreaking to think of giving that up.
Then there was all of the logistics to think about. Matt and I weren’t living together, we hadn’t been together for a very long time. How would I do this first part of pregnancy on my own? Where would we put this baby if I kept it? Would we move in together? Would it put a strain on us? Our relationship was pretty strong and going really well, I didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize it. I wanted to do things the right way because I really believed we had something special.
I felt so guttered. So stuck.
I absolutely adored the man I was with. I wanted him to have the best future possible and I felt like my choice had the power to destroy it all. I got to a place where I realised that the love I had for him and the happiness I wished for him, was enough to make me go against everything I believed in.
After a few days of countless conversations with Matt, we were lent towards getting an abortion. Matt said he would be there for me every step of the way, but I felt so scared, I didn’t even know if I could physically walk myself to the doctors to ask for one. But we had this future ahead of us and I wanted to keep it that way.
We just had one thing left to do: Tell my parents.
That was the turning point. That talk with Mum and Dad changed absolutely everything.
My parents are some of the most amazing human beings on this earth and I really do mean that. They sat us down and spoke to us like the two nervous and clueless wrecks we were and told us straight out that whatever we decided they would support. Coming from a religious background, I was shocked, but relieved. We told them our fears and our dreams and they sat there and listened. I think I was shaking and had a constant stream of tears in my eyes but they sat through it all and just listened.
Finally they gave us advice. To come to this decision together. It wasn’t about what I wanted or what Matt wanted, it was about us… and if we could live with the decision we made. They told us that if we decided to go ahead with the pregnancy, of all the support we’d have, the people who’d be there for us, to love us and our baby. They told us how it is possible to achieve your dreams while being a parent and how we could do that. They encouraged me to finish my studies pregnant and for Matt to hold onto his dreams and go to Canada for the course.
We left their house in a different mindset and on the way home Matt told me that he knew what a termination would do to me mentally. I’ll never forget him saying he didn’t want me to hate him for being the reason I was going to turn my back on what I believed in. I told him I didn’t want him to hate me for taking away his chance at an amazing future. We realised how much we just wanted to protect each other. We realised how much love we actually had for one another, and that if we worked on the fine tuning, maybe we could actually do this.
So together, we decided to put the decision into God’s hands.
I’m not particularly religious anymore and I know Matt isn’t a great believer, but we both knew that we had to release our fate into the hands of something bigger than us. If it was meant to be, and this child was supposed to be a part of our lives then we’d have a healthy baby in 9 months time. If it wasn’t meant to be, nature would take it’s own course and neither of us would have to feel any guilt about what had happened and we’d deal with it together.
I’m here now, 5 months later, pregnant still, writing this story.
I have to say… It was the best decision him and I ever made together. It solidified us as a team, a family, and now we are BOTH so excited to meet our son in a few months time. I’m so grateful for the advice and counsel I received during that hard time. I know our little boy is going to be so overflowingly loved by all those who surround him. I’m really proud of Matt and I, the decision we made, and the family we have.