I never pictured myself as a caregiver. I think some women feel like they are born to be moms but me, I never knew what I was born to do until I did it. This has been a constant in my life, not knowing what I needed until I had it, or not knowing what I wanted until I got it. Never truly feeling like I had a direction in life, just taking chances and risks until I found the path that eventually lead me to happiness.
I didn’t realize that I wanted to be a mom until I became one and my views on motherhood changed a lot over the years. If you had asked me in my twenties if I thought I wanted children the answer likely would have been a no. That’s probably at least somewhat attributed to my herstory. At a very young age I found myself with an unwanted pregnancy resulting in an abortion having impacted me in ways that I never could have comprehended until much later in life. I was basically a child at the time and because I was so mentally unprepared to deal with such a heavy life changing decision, it resulted in the abortion being partly forced upon me by my parents who luckily knew what was best for my future, even though it made me feel somewhat helpless in ways that I never understood until later, and powerless in making my own decisions for years to come. The emotional impact and psychological ramifications of having an abortion so young in life are tough to ever fully recover from because I feel like I am constantly discovering new or buried wounds from triggers that I am still unaware of. The ripple effects of the unresolved feelings towards my teen abortion lingered throughout my later teen-years and twenties and would resurface over and over without me even being cognizant. I would lose my innocence and my relationship with both my parents because of it. To them, I was just a baby. They had the unpleasant reality of discovering that their only daughter was not only sexually active but pregnant, all in one day. My poor mom, a detective in her own right, realizing that I hadn’t gotten my monthly visitor forcing her to open an investigation and probe me with questions that I wasn’t prepared to answer. I myself did not even know that I was pregnant until the test came back positive, even though I was far enough along that it was almost too late to abort. I was visibly showing signs of weight gain, but to me, with only the mind of a child I thought nothing of it. That was the level naivety. I can’t imagine that would be an easy thing for any parent to process. Later, much later, I would find myself with a second unwanted pregnancy also resulting in an abortion, a choice that I was able to make for myself after evaluating where I was at and where I wanted to be. While liberating, this abortion came with a bunch of its own medical complications along with bringing to surface all of those buried emotions from when I was a young teenager. This experience eventually lead me to the realization that the brunt of my distorted view of myself and motherhood came from my unresolved emotions towards my teen pregnancy. The reason I had convinced myself that I would never make a good mother was because of the shame that I felt for irresponsibly ending up pregnant at 13. Unfortunately, because of the way that my parents handled it and chose to brush it under the rug after their initial negative reactions, I was left holding the bag full of guilt all on my own, and it was a heavy bag. I felt like it was all my fault. I now know at the age of 33 that getting pregnant at 13 is not a choice that you make. It wasn’t like I chose that for myself. There was peer pressure from the other person, who after the fact left me on my own to deal with the outcome, literally fleeing the scene, and the province. That also wasn’t my choice however it left me feeling like I was the only guilty party. I felt dirty, like I was a slut which is a term that I would now never use against my own worst enemy never mind towards myself. But I truly believed that about myself for many years afterwards. Getting pregnant, that wasn’t my choice. I couldn’t even tell you if having the sex that lead to the pregnancy, was my choice. It is hard to imagine that it was. Looking back at my younger self I was likely only seeking his approval or love which I now know was not love at all. If only we could go back and warn or younger selves of these things.
Don’t worry too much this story does have a happy ending. Although it took me many years to forgive myself and to understand myself, I wouldn’t change my path. It is the hardships that we go through that form us into the people who we are today. The way I see it, if I hadn’t made the decision to abort my pregnancy at 29 I likely never would have confronted those buried emotions from the abortion that I had at 13, which in turn forced me to face a lot of my fears towards motherhood. Had I not faced those fears I probably wouldn’t have made the decisions that eventually lead me to move to Mexico where I met my now husband, who would later give me my daughter. A pregnancy that was planned. And wanted. You see this story does have a happy ending because I got what I always wanted, even though I didn’t know I wanted it until I got it. To some, especially those who are “pro lifers”, this all might sound crazy. I had to have an abortion, to have another abortion, to realize I wanted to become a mother. It all sounds very controversial but I assure you it’s not. It is actually kind of beautiful. To be able to begin to heal from trauma that is so deeply engrained in who you are from such a young age is truly something. Many of us wallow in our trauma’s and never find a way to heal, especially from wounds that are buried so deeply. I wasted years of my life hating who I was and wishing that I could go back in time and erase what happened which took me away from being present and owning who I am and what I have been through. For a long time I wasn’t able to say out loud the age I was when I had my first abortion. It wasn’t actually until I became pregnant with my daughter that I was forced to say the age out loud to multiple nurses and doctors, who were total strangers to me. But every time I said it it lost its power over me. I now find strength in speaking my truth although it can still be uncomfortable. Once you fully accept yourself it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or says about you. Only your opinion of yourself matters.
Becoming a mom is honestly the best thing that has ever happened to me. I look at my daughter and I see my younger self and I can’t wait to give her the advice that I wished I had growing up. I look forward to building up her self esteem so high and strong that she doesn’t need to look for love from anywhere else besides from her father and I, until she chooses to. I am excited to watch her grow and learn, and even to make her own mistakes and to learn from them while I stand behind her one hundred per cent of the way. Being her mom is what I was born to do. She was in the plan all along, I just didn’t know it then, but I am glad that I waited for her. And I am beyond grateful that she chose me to be hers, and while she is the one I was meant to carry into the world, I still carry the ones before her in my heart and soul.
Abortion isn’t an easy topic to talk about. It’s one of those things that you can be both grateful for and mourn at the same time. I know for me, personally, had I not had access to those resources I would be in a very, very different place right now. So I am forever grateful for my abortion, and for the one after that, and for the life I have now because of them.