Two Years After My Beloved Daughter Died, I Got Pregnant Again. Here’s Why I Chose An Abortion.

I was 19 when I first found out I was pregnant. She drank whiskey, cried in the woods at college parties, and yelled at her boyfriend. We had only been dating for a few months. We were irresponsible children using unreliable methods. My boyfriend called his father and he sent us $300.It was 1999.

After that, I took birth control seriously, using a diaphragm with spermicidal jelly.

Still, six weeks later, when we spent the summer together in southern Maine, I worried I was pregnant again. I fell on the floor, the black and white checkered tiles in the tiny bathroom. He too fell to the ground when he saw the test. we said nothing. I had nothing to say. We both knew this baby was going to be born.

We quickly got through the summer in Maine, moved back to Arizona, rented a house, and started working as parents.

Antonia was born on February 3, 2000 at her home in Prescott, Arizona after a 12-hour labor with the help of a local midwife. Our parents tried to dissuade us from giving birth at home, and I did. read “Spiritual Midwifery I felt connected to the divine feminine process. After Antonia arrived, the midwife ordered pizza, started cleaning up, doing laundry, and finally left us to become her family.

For two days, her dad and I took turns staying up 24/7. I don’t know where you got the idea that someone has to be awake all the time. My boyfriend was on the phone with his father one evening, explaining how tired we both were with this routine, and his father said,If the baby is sleeping, you can both sleep! ” We were young, stupidly confident, and literally clueless.

The following year we pieced our lives together. Classes, work and study jobs, babysitting help from friends, and financial support from parents. As the surprise first grandchild of both of her families, Antonia had no shortage of adoration and attention to her. With her giggle, her plump cheeks, she smiled easily and often. I carried her in a sling and slept with her. We were sustained by her love and youth. she was a miracle

Four years and five months ago, when I was 18, my daughter Antonia died. It’s been two weeks since she graduated from high school.Constant fever and headaches took her to the ER three times before she was finally hospitalized. 〇A few days later, when asked to rate her pain on a scale of 1 to 10, Antonia answered 15. A horrific medical accident and unsuccessful treatment for meningitis led to her encephalitis and her death. She was my beloved world. my past, present and future.

The death of a child is an endless desert of vacancies, deprivation and pain. I am annihilated. I starved, mutilated, and drank copious amounts of vodka. but nothing worked. There were no more miracles. I had no good reason to live.

Antonia in Ireland, two months before her death.

Photo courtesy of Jess Healy

After two years of this hell, I entered a trauma home treatment program. Upon acceptance, the nurse asked.When was the last time you self-harmed? “Today was the last time I self-harmed.” Up until this moment, I hadn’t been honest with what I was doing.

Once on the beach a friend saw scab marks on my forearm and said another friend’s dog did it. No one doubted me. they said, “pain! And I saidknow! crazy! “ Telling myself completely stopped the automated chaos.

After returning from a therapy program, I met a man who was 10 years younger than me. He had recently become sober and depressed. Let’s build a life together out of our respective misery and trauma. His mother died: checkMy daughter passed away: checkA year into the pandemic, we were both starving for contact. We made up for hours, had sex, watched movies, and slept. When I woke up, of course nothing had healed.

It was midwinter on the Gray Coast of Maine. The icy, brown, muddy sidewalks and pandemic isolation made me both thwarted and hopeless.Antonia never came back.

Then I found out I was pregnant. I had Plan B and thought I was too old, too malnourished, too broken to conceive.

To say that the man whose sperm fertilized this egg was not papa material is an understatement. I have a schizophrenic and drug addicted father who has been littered with psychotic behavior since childhood. I knew I would never sleep with this man again, and I never intended to raise a child with him.

M.Under any circumstances, we believe that pregnancy after the death of a child is a “miracle”. But everything about this pregnancy felt wrong. I was following the demoralizing trail of food stamps and piling up credit card debt to raise Antonia. As a single woman working in the social services field, I couldn’t afford full-time day care.

Besides, I couldn’t take care of myself. How do you care for an infant in a traumatized and grief-stricken state? I wanted my daughter back, but this baby was not my daughter.

I owe it to my friends for reminding me that I have choices when I feel stuck.

When I was 7 weeks pregnant, I opted for a home medically induced abortion through family planning. I told her mother, who was her nurse by then, and drove to her house for her surgery. The night was long and the pain was worse than the contractions. At one point I was writhing and vomiting in my mother’s bed, just as Antonia’s head pain caused her to vomit during her last few days in the hospital. Her immense pain, I felt like I was taking advantage of the writhing, vomiting, and all that I couldn’t save her, and that sent me into PTSD. The pain was unforgettable, I wanted my dead daughter and cried through the feverish peaks of the pain waves. I took painkillers. I vomited. I gave more blood. Around 5am, I finally fell asleep.

Pain cessation can bring a strange euphoria. I almost woke up feeling dizzy. My leaky ship no longer sank. My coffee had just the right amount of cream. A medically induced miscarriage, even a painful one, was a small fry compared to what I’ve endured since Antonia’s death.

I was paralyzed in the weeks leading up to my decision, steeped in the patriarchal message that it was a woman’s duty to bear children, even at the cost of her own well-being. It took me hours on the phone, but I realized that I had options and could choose for myself. In doing so, something deep like my salvation was revived.

It took me another year to start eating again and stop using alcohol and men as fuel. I made it I lack the mental health and financial security to ensure a positive and viable outcome for this pregnancy – I have taken the first step towards saving my life.

Now, two years after choosing an abortion, I have cut off the men, vodka, and other habits I used to distract myself from the pain. I am learning to keep choosing myself. Sometimes I fail, but I keep trying. I’m sure Antonia will agree.

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If you or someone you know needs help, dial 988 or call 1-800-273-8255. National Suicide Prevention LifelineYou can also get help by text by visiting . Suicide Outside the United States, International Suicide Prevention Association For a database of resources.

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