Joy’s Story

I am 41 years old, married to a much older man who actually lives in a different city from me, and mother to a beautiful six-year-old daughter. I have a successful career, live in an above-average home, and love going on vacations and enjoying being in the outdoors. I always thought I wanted a second child. With my husband’s grudging consent – after all this would be child number five for him, having three children from an earlier marriage – we decided to get pregnant. It took one week of trying. This is where the shock began, because last time it took three years to finally produce the child. My enthusiasm for this latest pregnancy lasted about two days. Then I woke up one night sobbing that I didn’t want another child; it would change everything. I could feel the relief emanating from my husband. I called the clinic at two a.m. and found out from a very helpful recording that I could get an abortion, but would have to wait for at least three weeks. The next morning I booked the appointment. This seemed all right because we had a long-planned vacation awaiting us.

Although it seemed like I had made up my mind, instead what happened was that I spent every minute of the vacation trying to decide whether to go through with the procedure. It didn’t help that lots of people asked me if I was ever planning on having any more children. Upon return, I found I needed more than the one day before the appointment to make a final decision. So I called the clinic and they easily moved me to the following week. The week was long and difficult. I also had to deal with telling my close friends about my struggles – many were clearly in favour of me keeping the child, all were hugely supportive no matter my decision. My husband too continued to express his support no matter my choice, but his support seemed to be more forthcoming if I went ahead with the abortion.

The scheduled hour began to approach. I cried all morning, even in front of my daughter. She said she had never seen me cry before. Friends kindly took my six-year for the day. I got angry with my husband; he understood my anguish and started to say that perhaps we should actually not go through with the abortion. I determined that we would go to the clinic. If necessary, I was pretty sure that I could bail at the very last moment. After all, don’t most 41-year old women leap at the opportunity to have a bonus baby??

The clinic was amazing. No judgment, just support. What I had realized over the twenty-four hours before the appointment was that I knew I didn’t want the baby, but I also didn’t want an abortion. Being at the clinic, without any pressure at all placed on my decision – how many times did I hear: if you need a bit more time to think about it, that’s not a problem – showed to me that the abortion wasn’t a problem. It was a safe, welcoming environment. I signed the consent forms, kept my options open until the very moment. And then I knew I was absolutely okay with my choice. I will not think of myself as having had an abortion, but as a woman who was able to make a choice based on my own circumstances and the needs of myself and my daughter. After four weeks of internal arguing, I have peace in my head and heart and I am happy with my decision. I feel like dancing, but will wait until the cramping eases up!