true confessions

True Confessions Agony Aunt: My abortion turmoil and my sister

Sunday, December 19, 2010
Woman suffering

Question:

My sister told me she can't have children just weeks after I had an abortion and now I’m in turmoil.

Trying to support my heartbroken sister and cope with my own feelings of guilt and loss has left me ill, but when I first made the decision I thought it was the right one.

I’ve never wanted children and the boyfriend I had was a total lightweight, but a lot of fun. I got pregnant completely by accident and my doctor still doesn’t know how it happened because I never missed a pill, was never sick or had a stomach upset.

I couldn’t believe it at first and when I told my boyfriend he nearly hit the road there and then so I knew he had no interest in a baby.

In the end I had an abortion and told him I hadn’t been pregnant after all because I didn’t want him telling anyone else.

Then my sister turned up in floods. She and her husband had been trying to have a baby for six years and have now been told it’s practically impossible that she will conceive.

They’ve tried various procedures but apparently now there’s no hope of conceiving naturally. They’ve spent thousands of dollars trying to conceive and have nearly bankrupted themselves, so they have to give up, with nothing to show for it.

I feel so guilty - I can barely look at her because I do actually feel quite bad about the abortion although I didn’t think I would.

If she had even told me a few weeks ago I could maybe have had the baby and she could have adopted it and I keep wondering if I should suggest having a baby for her, though I could never tell her about the abortion.

Answer:

There are two separate issues here but it’s almost impossible for you to separate them from each other because they deal with the same subject.

You made your decision based on your own circumstances and while it seems tragically unfair that you ended up pregnant when you didn’t want to and didn’t plan to, that doesn’t affect your sister’s situation at all, other than how you cope with it.

This is not the time to be considering having a baby for her, if ever, not least because you are still so sad over what happened to you.

You have to be very brave in dealing with her and try to put the abortion out of your mind, which is not easy. Your sister could still adopt or foster a child but at present she has to come to terms with the fact that she might never get pregnant.

While she is grieving over this you are grieving over your abortion which is made harder by being unable to share it with her or anyone else. It could help if you go back to your doctor or the clinic and ask for counselling; if nothing else you will at least be able to talk to someone about how you feel and also tell them how much worse it is because of your sister’s experience.

They won’t judge you because if nothing else, they do know that an abortion is not something many people could opt for lightly and they recognise that no matter what your reasons, you are still suffering and could be for some time.

If you can accept that you need help to get over your situation then you might find it a little easier to offer support to your sister but do not rush into any decisions at all on her behalf – simply be there for her and don’t neglect your own needs.

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