Eloise’s Story

My ex-husband had two children, one each from two previous marriages. Finances were tight, as we had our own expenses, rooms for the kids, and payments to each mother. The kids were a delight, the circumstances complicated. It’s probably difficult to explain *how* complicated it is to trade kids back and forth, make three sets of schedules (three families), and have discussions with other people about parenting do’s and don’ts.

I became pregnant when our birth control method failed. I knew it right away, and confirmed with a test. I knew I didn’t want to carry to term, but thought it only fair to ask my husband. He said he couldn’t imagine having a third child, and couldn’t imagine how we could manage financially.

That was a relief for me. At 16 I knew I’d rather adopt than have biological children. We made an appointment for an abortion. While waiting, I felt like I had cancer: something growing inside me that I could not control, if allowed to continue it would wreck my life, our lives. That was horrible. Babies aren’t supposed to be carried by women who feel that way, they’re supposed to be loved and wanted, as a foundation for a great life.

I consulted various books and friends about herbs to take to induce a miscarriage, knowing that women have done that for hundreds of years. I took the Chinese herb Dong Quai, morning, noon and night. I have a rather sensitive metabolism, and it worked.

The evening I began to cramp, I knew it was working. I had painful cramps, but nothing worse than periods I’d had before. I went out and walked and walked, to increase the likelihood that it would continue. After returning home, I passed a tiny clump of tissue. I wasn’t stressed out by looking at it. I was over the pain and bleeding in a day or two. It was a deep experience with an undercurrent of sadness, and one you wouldn’t choose, but relief was the overriding emotion.

The overriding moral decision was: What is right for this group of people who already exist, what is best for these two children who already exist? The choice was very personal to us, and no one else’s to make for us. If the herbs hadn’t worked, I would have gotten the abortion. I didn’t regret terminating the pregnancy that night, and haven’t regretted it since.