Terminating a Pregnancy

Parent Q&A

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  • Very recently I had to end my pregnancy due to fetal abnormalities at 24 weeks.  I am looking for a therapist who specializes in this - preferably the therapist would accept Anthem Blue Cross PPO insurance. Thank you

    I’m so sorry you had to go through this. It’s a tremendous loss with so many facets to the grief. Good for you for taking steps to talk to someone. 
     Lynn Byk (https://www.drlynnbyk.com) is a psychologist based in SF who greatly helped me through my pregnancy losses. I hope you find someone you feel comfortable with. Wishing you calm and healing. 

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I know it doesn’t feel like it now, but you’re not alone. 💛💛💛
    I know of a support group that UCSF and CMPC host for these types of losses called Life After Loss that you might want to check out. Try this email Summer.Segal [at] ucsf.edu
    I did not find a therapist that specifically specialized in this area but met a woman therapist who volunteered her time to meet with families who’ve experienced this type of loss. It wouldn’t be a long term option but message me for contact info if interested. 
    Finally, I’m not a professional but have experienced a loss similar to yours at 23 weeks and several losses beyond that. I’m now a new mom to a healthy baby boy. I’m happy to talk and share my experience and support, if helpful. Hang in there. 

    I'm so sorry to read about this decision you recently had to take. I terminated a pregnancy last July for medical reasons as well and it was a heartbreaking fog I lived in for a while. I found an online FB group, 'ending a wanted pregnancy' and it has been an amazing resource of support and information. I am know I've recommendations for the type of therapists were seeking. If you are open to it I would strongly recommend joining the group as an additional resource and support. Happy to chat as well, if you wanted to connect with someone in person.

    I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm not sure about insurance (you may be able to submit a claim) ... but Donna Rothert specializes in pregnancy loss. https://donnarothert.com/. Highly recommend her. She sees patients via zoom right now too. 

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this but would highly recommend Molly Nourmand, who was invaluable to me during the conception, pregnancy and postpartum period (with all the highs and lows that come with that time). She’s based in LA but I’ve seen her via zoom for almost two years and find that to still be a great experience.  She’s also covered by my Anthem PPO plan. 

    I'm so sorry that you've recently experienced this loss. I had to go through something very similar back in 2017 when we found out at our 21-week anatomy scan that there was an abnormality, and my partner and I made the extremely difficult decision to end our pregnancy. I don't have a recommendation for a therapist but Oakland Kaiser hosts a support group called "Beyond Choice" for those who've gone through a similar loss. I believe the support group is still free and open to non-Kaiser members as well. You can probably find out more at this website https://handsupport.org/services or googling "beyond choice Kaiser". Additionally, this website was pretty helpful to me as I processed our loss: https://endingawantedpregnancy.com/. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.

    Postpartum Support International offers a helpline and referrals, including for those who have experienced pregnancy loss.


    I’m so sorry for your loss. I second Dr. Rothert. I wasn’t in your exact situation, but had two very medically scary/stressful pregnancies that Dr. Rothert helped me through. I’ve been seeing her for 3.5 years and can’t recommend her enough. She doesn’t take insurance, but my insurance covers 70% after I hit my deductible so that might be a way to help cover costs if your insurance does too. 

    So sorry for your loss.  Here are some resources in addition to what others have already shared.  As you can see, you are not alone in walking this difficult path.  Best wishes for your healing.  

    https://rtzhope.org/parents - virtual support groups and in-person retreat

    https://perinatalpsychotherapy.com/ - team of three local therapists 

    http://www.miriamschultzmd.com/ - local psychiatrist specializing in reproductive issues including loss

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Considering Abortion

42 and pregnant, considering termination

June 2012

Hello wise BPNers,

I am writing with a heavy heart. I am a single mom, 42 years old, and recently learned that I am pregnant with my second child (my first is 13 years old). I am considering terminating the pregnancy because, even though we were both totally open to the idea of having a child together, we feel completely unprepared by this turn of events. I have been a single mom for 13 years and, while it has been rewarding and wonderful, it has been very difficult both financially and emotionally, and I am not sure I want to struggle through the next 18 years.

I have been seeing my significant other for more than a year & have made plans to buy a house within a year, but we are not married now, do not even live together, and have not yet discussed marriage (we feel like forever partners, but just haven't discussed marriage).

Our finances are precarious. He has a good job, but I do not have stable income--rather, I work contract jobs that ebb and flow, and would not be able to do the same type of work once I was six months along or so (too strenuous). I have Medi-Cal and we could ''get by'' on his income, but it would be a real stress to try to move in together ASAP.

I worry that my 13 year-old, who has never wanted me to have more kids, will be upset and rebellious over a decision to have this baby--which would mean we would all move in together and start operating as a family rather soon. I am concerned that if I have the baby, my older child will react negatively and become very challenging/difficult; this is also something I am not sure my relatively new adult relationship can handle. We are just beginning the process of putting together our little family unit and I feel so afraid that adding a baby to the mix will spoil our chances of bonding and relaxing into our new status as a family.

On the other hand, my s/o has no family to speak of, having had an absentee father and a mother who passed away when he was young. I worry that if we terminate, I will be too old to have children if/when we ARE ready, and that he will always regret not having had a child of his own when he/we had the opportunity to do so. Ugh.

Adoption is not an option for either of us. We feel that a decision to continue the pregnancy would mean a decision to have the baby, so please refrain from recommending this option as we have thought much about it but have decided not to go that route.

I feel so blessed to be able to be pregnant, and so happy-sad that I don't feel more prepared/welcoming. I would appreciate any advice/stories/wisdom from this vast group as we go about making the most difficult decision of our lives. Thank you. anon.

I am so sorry for the spot you are in. This is not a decision that can be made lightly; I know as I have made it once, but was in an entirely different spot primarily due to age (I was 28 or so at the time). Your other circumstances re: finances, long term partner, but not yet living together, etc. all sound similar (other than the 13 year old).

Anyway, the thing I wanted to say is that I am still glad I made the decision I did and that I am not at all haunted by it. I read about women who say they are...and it has just never been that way. Every once in a great while, I might think...oh my, right now I could have an 18 year old...but then think...thank goodness I don't! My life would be completely different...I am sure I would still be with that partner (both of us were children of divorce and would never have separated)...but I am not and he and I are both MUCH HAPPIER for it...and we have both found the right partners. Also, my job situation and finances would be totally different AND I would not have my 2 kids (8 and 6) and my husband as we are...so I know that it is unlikely that you can put this off and have a 2nd family later; I am not saying that at all.

What I am saying, is that if you choose to terminate and you are sure it is the right decision, you will be fine. You don't need to listen to any of the folks who claim to be haunted or sad all the time or full of regrets...but just be sure. Make the best decision you can

What a difficult decision! I think you are wise to include your partner in the decision, but also ask yourself if you are prepared to be a single parent of a 13 year old at 56; and if you will be able to keep working until you are 65 to provide for your child through college. As you know a child can be both a joy and an incredible stress on a relationship. On the other hand the chances of getting pregnant again in a couple of years when you are ''ready'' with this partner are not high statistically speaking. Once I received the advice about getting married that unless you couldn't imagine doing anything else don't get married. I suspect having another child would be much the same thing. I'm an older parent and while I am very happy to be a mother, we've encountered an awful lot of challenges that we wouldn't have, had I chosen to become a parent at an earlier age. Now that my child is a teen, I really see how long, the long haul would be, and how I might be ready to retire at the time my child is ready for college. I think you need to be prepared to feel regret with either decision you make. Take Care

What a hard decision. I was on your daughters end of that one. My mom, it turned out, was pregnant when I was 12 or 13 and my brother was 11. She asked us (without telling us that she was pregnant) how we would feel about her having another child. We were adamantly opposed, told her we wouldn't babysit, no way, etc. Years later we found out that she was pregnant and had terminated the pregnancy based on what we had said. I felt that was an unfair position to have put a child in. So my only advice here is that the feelings of your 13 year old really shouldn't be part of the decision making factor - honestly, she is still a child and is thinking like most children would of her own time and energy that she gets from you. It's not likely she'll consider the upsides and yes, there would be some. Your own feelings about how it sould be for her are different than involving her own feelings, if that makes sense? Good luck! anon

I am so sorry about your dilemma. You clearly have a difficult decision ahead. I comment only on one small part of your statement. If you get married to a man who has regular income, you may (probably will) lose your Medi- Cal. There are lots and lots of Medi-Cal programs, so I suggest that you consult with East Bay Community Law Center or Homeless Action Center to see if their staff can advise you on the effect of marriage on Medi-Cal coverage for you, your thirteen-year-old, and the new baby. Linda

I have never been in your situation, so I will only offer my opinion.

I'm sorry you are going through this. I can tell from your post how exceptionally difficult this is for you.

I would say that due to your age if you want to have another child it makes sense to have this baby. It will be an adjustment, but perhaps it doesn't have to happen quite the way you think. Perhaps you can continue your current living situations, then have your s/o move in when the baby is born. Or perhaps he could move in right away or sort of move in temporarily so you can try it out to see if it makes sense.

I understand your concern about your older child, but in the end, this is YOUR decision, YOUR baby, YOUR life. Perhaps your relationship may change, but perhaps your older child is old enough to understand. Maybe he/she would appreciate being involved in this decision somewhat, knowing that his/her opinion is being heard, even if you decide otherwise. 13 is old enough to understand these things and if you've been a single mom for that long, I'm sure he/she has been exposed to many different aspects of reality with you on your journey. Perhaps he/she would even want to be more involved than you could predict. Perhaps after the baby is born he/she will be overjoyed. It could be a very good thing. In addition, if your older child is not ok with the situation, they are getting older and in the end, will you wish you had another child? If you can't have another one after this, will you and your s/o regret it? I think ask yourself the hard questions. Are you more likely to regret not having the baby than having it?

I'm sorry I don't have any clear answers for you. This is a very difficult decision and one that you clearly do not take lightly. But sometimes I think the unexpected can also bring unexpected joys. my prayers are with you

Congratulations! You're going to have a baby! Yes it will be challenging (all things in life are) and life will change (which it always does) but you can do this. Your son will have to grow up and guess what he might like being a big brother. You can help him with this by getting him involved with setting up the nursery (build something together like the crib and bond - all three of you). It's natural to be nervous and worried that's how you know that you really do care about this child. This baby might be the glue that keeps all of you together. There's a saying a wise friend told me: all babies come with a bank account from god (universe/speghetti monster,etc) so you'll make do with what you have. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Either way the decision is yours. Good luck! Friend

This is of course a very difficult decision and I can't tell you what to do. But I do want to respond to one part of your post where you said that you worried that if you terminate now, when/if you and current partner get to the point where you feel ready to have a baby together it will be too late for you to get pregnant. It almost certainly will be. You are 42 now. If you are ready even next year at 43, your chance of conceiving and giving birth would be maybe 1%, even with in vitro your chance will be less than 5%. Do not count on even a little possibility that there may be another chance again. Now, it sounds like you have a number of other reasons that you do not want to have a child, and that may outweigh all of this. But when you make your decision I think it should be with the assumption that this will be your last opportunity to have your own biological child. (Which may be fine-- I know I dont' want another either, but just make sure you are informed of your odds).

Also, have you had testing yet (CVS), etc. It's possible that that could help you make up your mind too. Good luck with figuring things out. --ambivalent

I'm so sorry you are faced with such a difficult decision. A lot of us out here have been in your shoes. It's not easy. I just want to comment on a couple of aspects that I have experience with, in case it helps.

I'm an older parent with a 15 year gap between the youngest and the next one up. No, it's not easy parenting a baby or young child in your 40's. If I had to do it by myself ... I can't even imagine doing it by myself. Plus I was peri-menopausal during the toddler years. My husband wanted this baby - I was OK with it but not actively advocating it. My husband agreed to take the lion's share of parenting. And he did do that, to his credit, and still does. You didn't say much about how your partner feels about a baby. If he seemed committed to doing at least 50% of the manual labor of parenting, then I would consider it.

I think you also need to have a serious discussion about finances. It sounds like he does not have kids, so he may not realize what a financial hit people take during the first 5 years -- reduced income, daycare expenses, etc. You need to have an agreement in place about what happens while you can't work, and who takes care of the baby for the first 5 years. I wouldn't go in to this just hoping for the best. On the other hand, it sounds like a second child would be much easier financially, since your partner has a good job and presumably would be committed to the child regardless of the outcome of your relationship with him.

Re your 13-year-old: When my third child was born, I had 2 kids from a previous marriage who lived with us - a 15-year-old and a kid just leaving for college. My 15yo liked his step-father very much, but he was deeply opposed and very hostile to the idea of having a baby in the house. He told everyone: ''I hate babies.'' He frequently expressed disgust at the normal baby stuff, and refused to hold the baby or look at it or touch it. However, that all changed as soon as the baby could laugh at his jokes, at about 8mos, and then say his name, at a year. Suddenly the baby became an asset for him instead of a liability. He entertained his friends by teaching the baby the punch lines to his jokes. Hilarious. The baby is 11 years old now, and they are good, close brothers. In retrospect I realized it was normal sibling rivalry, and maybe a little fear of the unknown. I just couldn't see it at the time. Please don't make your decision based on your 13-year-old's opinion. I completely support your considering terminating if that is what makes the most sense for you and yours. Just wanted to comment about your daughter's reaction. All the best to you a mom

Wow, I'm sorry you're having such a stressful time. It sounds like just talking this through some more, on BPN like you have, but also with friends, and especially with you SO and with your daughter will help you come to the right decision. Your concerns are so connected to how this impacts your family that coming to an answer will rely heavily on their inputs. Talk, think, sleep. Talk some more, think, sleep and repeat. Work out. Take care of yourself. Rest. Think. The answer will come to you. Don't carry this all on your shoulders. Your SO and daughter are there for you. wishing you the best

It does sound like you have a rough situation, to say the least. My advice may not be popular on this message board, based on what I've read on here in the past. It sounds like you want the option of having a sibling for your 13-year- old, but because circumstances are rough right now, you're not sure if this is the right time. I am of the opinion that there never really is a perfect time to add another child to the family, but many families find a way to make it work. Even if you do not have a steady income yourself, there are changes to your budget you can make that will make raising a child possible. Many moms find that being a SAHM is a cost- effective way to raise a child since you do not have to consider expensive nannies and child care. It is my belief that once a life, however small, is growing inside of you that you no longer have a choice: you have a gift inside of you and will need to find the best way to handle your gift, even if this means sacrifices, adjustment, etc. Your 13- year-old has the ability to accept this gift too and being as young as she is, she probably doesn't even know what it would be like to have a sibling. She will realize how much joy a younger sibling will bring to her life and will come to realize that another child in the family does not mean she will have less of you, especially with the age difference. Since you are already 42, you are essentially out of child-bearing years, making this pregnancy truly a gift. Waiting to retry for a child later is risky in many ways. Find all the best, positive support you can find out there to help you prepare for this child. It won't always be easy, but ultimately you'll wonder why you would have considered otherwise. Research organizations available to you that can help you out with things you need. Even BPN regularly has free offerings for single moms to get the equipment they need for baby. enjoy your gift

It sounds like you want to terminate this pregnancy, but are worried your s/o would regret it. Single parenting is hard as you know, you can't base a decision on a potential regret of someone else. If you feel you can't handle it again, that is your answer. Some people don't have a great passion to have a child, and will be fine without it. Since he hasn't had one by this time it probably is fine. Your son could love having a baby in the family. My stepson was about that age when his brother came along. He didn't live with us full time tho, so that is very different, but he loves having a brother and never resented him. I think a sibling can be a gift to an only child. Decide what you want and can handle. Good luck. anon

I was in your shoes (same age) and chose to terminate--it was the worst decision of my life. I have not been able to forgive myself and am too old to have another child. We tried a year later but had multiple miscarriages. I would continue the pregnancy. There is a good chance you will not get another chance at this if this is something you might want in the future. Old eggs

You alone have to make this decision of course - it must come from both your heart and mind after you consider and weigh everything, including advice you get here. But be sure and take the advice you get here for what it is: advice from strangers. You describe your situation, but we don't know you, your boyfriend, your child, your history, your heart.

It's hard for me to write this, but I would say that terminating your pregnancy would be the side I would fall on. It's a heartbreaking dilemma since this may end up being your only chance to have a child with this man, but this would be my advice because your relationship is so new - a year or so is very short. Also, I don't think it would be good for your older child if you all moved in together and then had a baby - it's way too much way too soon. The financial issue is important too - that would be an additional stressor, and a big one.

I don't think you have to feel so strongly about your boyfriend having a child in this life. I think if your relationship with him lasts, all three of you can have a very fulfilling life together -- you and him as a couple, and him as a loving stepdad to your child. My heart goes out to you in your decision

This is so hard. I certainly can't tell you what to do - it's so personal. But I do know that if I ever got pregnant again and didn't feel it was the right time, I would still have the baby. l am very pro choice and feel you have the right to do what you want. But since you asked- you're in a loving relationship and someday might want another child- I see this as your chance. It breaks my heart to hear of terminating pregnancies only to get pregnant a few months later- or perhaps to never be able to get pregnant again. I know it's not an ideal time but perhaps it's a blessing in disguise. I hope you find peace with whatever decision you make. Good luck and blessings. anon

You will be able to make a decision when you reflect deeply on your most basic and fundamental values and assumptions regarding life on earth - and more specifically human life. It really is that big.

Having been on both sides of this debate, I can speak to the two basic perspectives which irrevocably polarize people on this question.

So - you will have to decide whether you belong to the camp of people (not all of whom are crazy fundamentalists, BTW) who believe that the value of the potential life of this person-to-be supersedes all economic and convenience considerations, or, that you belong to the camp of people (many of whom are liberal life lovers generally, but not human lovers in particular) who hold a basically materialist perspective and believe that we are, essentially, complicated amalgamations of tissue and nerves.

The first camp believes in the ultimate value of the personhood of each human individual and of the unique position of the human being in the universe. For this camp, there is a supernatural accounting of one's earthly pursuits and intentions, either in this life, through 'karma,' or in the afterlife.

The second camp tends to see humanity as an insufferable burden on a planet made sick by humanity's selfish pursuits, one of the many animal species with no inherently superior value. For this camp, secretly or overtly, the prospect of a few million potential people prevented from being born is a boon, not a sin, to an already overpopulated world.

So - do you place an ultimate value on human personhood, or do you think we are a bundle of tissues and organs with an inalienable right to the pursuit of our own individual happiness/comfort/pleasure?

That's an enormously complicated choice, of course.

I will say this much as a sideline: the materialist position invariably leads to the kind of selfish pursuits that this very camp decries as a universal (impersonal) problem of humanity. After all, if there is no supernatural accountability, if there is no spiritual dimension to sacrifice, and if we are here to eat, drink and be merry as long as we don't ostensibly hurt others, how will we ever be motivated to actually do what may be good for others but not so comfortable for ourselves?

The spiritual/religious position, of course, is drowned out by moronic and angry voices from its own ranks, voices which are so militant, and whose thinking is so uncritical and hackneyed and bigoted as to be dismissed off hand. It takes a tremendous amount of persistent digging to get to the gold of this position. And it is there. A ''person'' is indeed an awe-filled mystery, make no mistake. the philosopher

Hello Im sorry you are going through this extremely hard situation. My advice to you would be to continue and have your baby. You said it yourself, if you later decide you want to have a child and cant, you would feel worse. I understand your older child not wanting a sibling and the thought of her being rebelious but you dont know if that will happen. Just imagine the joy you will feel once you have your baby in your arms, your older child may change her mind and be happy. As far as your finances, there is always a way through it, it will work it self out. You are very fortunate to be able to conceive and I say take it one day at time and enjoy and be happy with your situation. You wont be able to turn back time to change or say i should have... Hugs to you! Im confident that all will turn out great. smile and enjoy your baby and new family

Hi there, I have no concrete advice, just a sense of empathy at what an incredibly difficult situation this is for you. There is no perfect choice here. Whatever happens, I wish for you compassion, courage, and steel-girded support. Gift/Grief

All of the details aside, I feel as if you last words said it. You feel so blessed to be pregnant. As a single mother who was not prepared whatsoever for my little miracle surprise I have found so many wonders in going through with having my baby. I think you are right to have fears about not being able to when you are fully prepared, but then who is ever fully prepared. In my experience 13 years olds (most of the time) are going to go through a stage of rebellion. Also I know your 13 year old is in the family but it is ultimately your decision about your body and your life. Yes other will be affected but you will be the most by either decision. Also your current child may have mixed feelings about it steming from fear of not being you only baby anymore, but as soon as that baby comes out they will most likely fall in love! And if they really struggle with it there is always family therapy. And your current baby will be 18 in 5 years (not to say they will be out of the house right away) Also if you are not sure about being up for another 18 years now and are wanting to have a child with this person how do you think you will feel about 18 years in 5 years? I hope this helps you know your truth. What ever decision you make it will be the right one for you and either way there will be strong emotions and learning. Love

I read your post a couple of times and I imagine you will get tons of responses, so I even hesitate to add my 2 cents because I have not been in your position. I can say that I have spent time on forums for women who are trying to get pregnant and having difficulty or have had baby losses and you're right about it's possibly being the only chance. I may be wrong, but I imagine that if you have your baby that you will look back and be so grateful that you decided to do that. Your son may be displeased initially, but may find that later the relationship with his little brother or sister is one of the most meaningful relationships in his life... I don't know you or your son or your s/o, so I am sure I am imagining much about me and my life and imposing it on you, it just makes me sad to think about your losing this opportunity. Heavy heart too

I am so sorry for your predicament. When my son was 2, i got pregnant and felt i just couldn't handle it. It was a strong, mind blowing feeling and i had an abortion. I have never regretted it. I know it was the right thing for me to do.

I think you should follow your gut feeling whatever that might be. Sometimes we think we want something (say a 3rd) only to realize we really don't. At the time i posted on BPN and received some deeply honest private responses about how sometimes too much is too much. Yes you don't regret your child once he/her is here, you love them to death but it can affect your life in a negative way. Having a new family member isn't always ''crazy and fun'' as someone mentioned...

The answer is inside of you, and whichever it is, is completely fine. Good Luck anon

Although the decision is complex the question is simple - do YOU want another baby at some point?

If yes, go for it, this really might be your last chance and a gift from the universe. If no, don't torture yourself with all the what-ifs and consequences for others. This decision changes your life more than anyone else's. While you do need to think of others, you need to put yourself in the middle of this one. Good luck! Trying at 43

Hello - good luck in your decision making. I know it will be some weeks before you see this, but I saw this and thought of you and thought it might be something useful in your deliberations. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/17/think-before-you-breed/?src=me=general my thoughts are with you. anon

I wanted to share my story... Even though my husband and I both went back and forth for 7 years about having another, in the end we both decided that it was a sign that we did indeed want another child. A few months later at age 40 I became pregnant.

As with my two previous pregnancies (that were not planned but welcome) I felt a sense of ''UGH...I'm pregnant!'' Even though this one was ''planned'' I felt this sense of dread on some level. It is not a reflection of how I felt as soon as I held my babies for the first time. I've just never felt sentimental about my pregnancies.

On a side note, my son and I came very near to death in the delivery room. It was dire actually...I had a placental abruption. The miracle in this story is that we both survived, we are both fine, and my son is truly amazing. The whole family adores him and he's knit our family together in a way we didn't even know we needed until he arrived. I would go through it all again just to have him.

Even though you may feel unsure, torn about it, confused...this is not necessarily a sign that your pregnancy should be terminated. It could simply mean that you are unsure, torn, and confused *now* but later you will hug your baby so tightly, thankful that you kept went through with it. That's the beauty of life...you never know what the future holds! Best of luck to you as you make your decision. anon

I am sharing this with you as a personal testimony as to what I went through. I grew up saying I would never get married, teach, have children or become a christian. Because of everything I saw, heard, observed, I grew up ''running'' so to speak from everything I thought was wrong with my life. I was made to go to church and didn't really appreciate the soft, gentle understanding of a Higher Power, I observed a very abusive type marriage within my upbringing and concluded that marriage was nothing but legal sex and bills. I definitely didn't want to become a teaher because both of my parents were teachers and they were the last thing I wanted to be like; and lastly, I definitely wasn't gonna allow any type of baby/child to come out of my body with all of the mental anguish and craziness that I had inside of me growing up as a child...low and behold, I did become a christian on 7/4/92, I had just had an abortion three months before hand and had just felt the affects of ''conviction'' of making the decision to not have that child. I got married on 2/12/93 because of my christianity ''conviction'' as well...and I did start working in the education industry in March of 1997...I said all that to say...never say never...I got pregnant again (un-expectantly) in June 1998, found out in August 1998 and had a very different perception of dealing with my pregnancy...I delivered twin boys on April 3, 1999; the father passed away two weeks before they were born of a second heart attack at 28 years old, they are now 13 and doing well. I got pregnant again, un-expectantly with my now second ex-husband, found out August 2007...thought I was gonna lose my mind behind this pregnancy because I had just released 79 pounds and was on an IUD birth contraceptive that was 99.999999% effective...any-who...she is now 4 years old big, bold and beautiful...I said all that to say...expect the un- expected...I do my best to treat others the way I want to be treated...as the saying goes, if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans...my life is no where near where I thought it would be, nor the way I thought I wanted it to be, but because I have three chilren to take care of I really do see them as a blessing; every day is not roses, but I don't regret having them. I want to encourage anyone who will hear my story because I know of women that desire marriage and children and are not able to do so for whatever reason, so you never know why God saw fit for this blessing to come into your life... JB

I would encourage you to not have an abortion and find people who will support you through this difficult time - they are out there! When I went to the women's clinic and got all of the info about having an abortion at 40 with an unplanned pregnancy they could not offer me info about what to do if I did not want to terminate and needed help through the pregnancy and after the birth. Having been a feminist my entire life (tomboy girl!) I was frankly shocked that there was no support other than termination from the women's community. I am not surprised the responses you have received have been to abort. There are many organizations who will help you through this time - they are in the phone book and online - and I was not 'converted' to any religion or 'right to lifer' protester, but I did get to have the baby with a lot of support and make decisions on my own terms about what I really wanted for both of us - which turned out very well for us both! Wishing you the best! Sue

I have been reading the postings regarding your situation. It is such a hard decision -- and like all life choices, you can't try it both ways and compare. The responses have brought up feelings and memories for me since I went through a similar situation five years ago. I felt so alone and didn't know have anyone (other than my husband) to talk to. I hope all the stories you are receiving help you to at least know that many of us have been in the same boat. In my situation, I was 40 years old with two boys, then 6 and 2. We were in the process of buying and remodeling a new home, and financially stretched to the breaking point. My then-six-year-old has always been challenging - I KNEW I couldn't handle another baby. Our decision was made easier by the fact that I found out I was pregnant after my husband had a vasectomy!!! I terminated the pregnancy and it was a huge relief, but a sad one. I think that every terminated pregnancy leaves lasting emotional scars. I am blue every year around the anniversary of the termination and again sad and wistful when the baby's birthday would have been. I know that I made the right choice for my family, but I also know I'll carry the sadness with me. We don't talk about abortion - it carries shame, and it is private, but you'll need to mourn even if it is the best choice for you. Sadness is not a sign that it is the wrong choice - just as dread at a pregnancy is not a definitive sign that it is wrong for a family. I am grateful that I had the option to choose - I wish you strength and wisdom in your choice. Sad and happy that I made the right choice

Chemical abortion while breastfeeding?

Feb 2010

I have an appointment later this week to get tested, but I am already sure I am pregnant again almost a year after giving birth to my first child.

I am freaking out because this is much too soon! I am way more freaked out and upset about another baby than I am about terminating the pregnancy, which is the only option I am going for.

I am wondering if chemical abortion is an option while I am still breastfeeding? Specifically, I am concerned about what would pass through my milk as well as maintaining my supply.

I am in my mid-30s and I may want another child in another couple of years, but am concerned about how a physical abortion might affect my chances of carrying a future child to term. More immediately, my concern is how much recovery time either a chemical or a physical abortion often takes. (I stay at home with my baby so would like to be able to plan for help if I need it.) I would like to hear from other mothers about your experience with this.

To be clear - I am asking for support and advice around terminating this pregnancy. If you have an opinion about me continuing this pregnancy, kindly keep it to yourself. Thank you. Breastfeeding while morning sick and stressed

I am sorry for your predicament. In 2007 i was in your shoes and elected to do the same thing. I am not sure about your particular question but wanted to say that i am with you and feel for you. I posted something similar at the time on BPN and got some awful (private) responses that didn't answer my question and only made everything worst. Hopefully you won't...but if you do just read the ones that answer your question anon

Please reconsider a physical abortion rather than a chemical one. I had a disaster of a chemical abortion that I later learned was not unusual--I bled and passed tissue every week, with only a few days ''off'' (spotting) for three months, and once so hard that I had to seek emergency care. I can't imagine trying to deal with the exhaustion that caused me while I was still trying to nurse (I was not at the time--I'm imagining for you).

A physical abortion, especially after you've given birth, is perhaps more emotionally draining (largely because you're forced to face it in the moment) but is much safer for you, your child, and your reproductive health. If you're still in the ''window'' for a chemical abortion, you have a very very early pregnancy to terminate--your risks overall are very low, no matter which you choose. My own experience suggests a chemical abortion is not worth it. been there

I had to have a abortion after a pregnancy where the fetus stopped developing and I did not miscarry naturally. I choose to have a chemical abortion rather then the D I do not have any advice about the breast feeding aspect of the procedure--I would certainly consult with your doctor about how long you would need to stop breast feeding. I would think you could pump before hand for a supply for your 1 year old and then pump and dump till the drugs are out of your system.

I wanted to let you know that I had been told how awful the procedure would be and that the drugs would make me feel horrible for days, that there would be a lot of pain, etc... The descriptions that the nurse gave me made me quite scared of the process. The reality was not nearly as bad as they'd prepared me for. I took the drugs before bed (as advised). I didn't sleep much that night because the miscarriage started and I had to get up to change pads, etc... There was quite a bit of bleeding and it was emotionally draining, but not much pain--about the same as bad cramping from a period. I was exhausted the next day and slept a lot, but still not much pain. By the afternoon of the next day, I was up and caring for my 2 year old son, and the following day I felt mostly fine. I had bleeding for several weeks afterwards.

I'm sure every experience is different--I don't know if it makes a difference that my fetus was no longer alive, but the pregnancy was about 11 weeks along. Just wanted to share the story that it was not as bad as warned. Not as bad as predicted

Hi -- You'll need to ask your doctor or nurse practitioner about breastfeeding and medical (what you are referring to as ''chemical'') abortion. But I just wanted to reassure you regarding the surgical abortion should you decide to go that route. If done in the proper way, surgical abortion in the first trimester is extremely safe and has no long-term ramifications for your fertility. The stuff out there about harming your prospects for other pregnancies and children is propaganda. Surgical abortion is one of the most common surgical procedures in the US. Of course, you need to use a safe, licensed facility for your termination; but assuming you do, you should feel reassured about going this route. In fact, your recovery from surgical abortion may actually be easier than from medical abortion, as medical abortions can take several days and involve a lot of heavy cramping and bleeding. After a surgical abortion, most women just complain of cramps like menstrual cramps. Few women will admit this to you, but you are not alone; many women with children who find themselves pregnant before they are ready choose termination. It's not an easy decision, but it is the right one for many families. Supportive

I had a physical abortion when I was 18 and had no problem getting pregnant 11 years later. The procedure was in the morning, and I took the rest of the day off work and schoolwork, but it didn't feel physically much worse than a bad period.

There's a lot of misinformation about both chemical & physical abortion out there on the internet. I'd recommend talking with a provider about the procedure, your options, and what the risks actually are. anon

I am an abortion provider and provide both medication abortion (the abortion pill) and aspiration abortion (in- clinic abortion). If you do the medication abortion, one of the two medications can cause mild diarrhea in your baby, so you may want to ''pump and dump'' for about 24 hours after taking it, but it is otherwise harmless. Neither medication nor aspiration abortion will affect your future fertility or ability to carry a pregnancy to term. Recovery time is similar but medication abortion takes longer at home (ie. you will be bleeding and cramping for several hours), while aspiration abortion will be over in 5 minutes and you will be OK once you get home. Best of luck. You're going to be OK.

Do a physical abortion. It's fast, maybe 5-10 minutes of being uncomfortable/crampy and then it's over. You'll be able to take care of your baby right before and after wards. If you choose painkillers, that's the only thing you'll have to wait for to wear off. You'll just need coverage for your apt. There's nothing that can pass into your milk with a physical one. good luck

i have no experience with the chemical procedure but the recovery from the physical procedure is brief. you will bleed lightly for a couple of days and feel groggy from the pre-op sedative until it wears off in a few hours. you may want to take it easy the next day - no strenuous activity - but that's it.

rest assured there is absolutely NO correlation between abortion and later being able to carry a child to term. just consider this - if there were any correlation whatsoever, don't you think the anti-abortionists would be using as a MAJOR part of their justification against the procedure? FYI, i also had this irrational fear (2 procedures before my first child, 1 before my second child) before i discussed it with my ob/gyn and realized it's just not true. don't worry about that at all, take care of yourself. mother of 2

Hi, I think the safest thing to do regarding keeping your milk and your 1 year old healthy is to check with your doctor and/or your child's pediatrician. They'd probably be best to answer milk safety questions. LaLeche League is a breastfeeding resource too, which provides tons of breast feeding info online and they also have some sort of hotline you may find more useful since you can talk to a live person. You could start here: http://www.llli.org/Web/California.html.

While your post is focused on the phisical health of your 1 year old and your milk, you didn't mention your own emotional and mental health. It may be a good idea to look into therapy or support of some sort for yourself during this time. Stress and emotional health also contribute to your ability to breast feed, and to reproduce. I've never been in your current shoes- in terms of considering or going forward with an abortion, but have been in a position that you may end up in- being in an emotionally unhealthy state. After giving birth to my second child, I experienced severe emotional trauma which did affect my ability to have children. My doctor told me that I'd need medical assistance in order to have any more kids and that even that would be no guarantee. Apparently, I'd stressed my hormones out of balance. Regardless of your reasons for choosing abortion, it may be the best thing for you, practically, but you may be left to deal with some negative effects on the mental side. My advice to you is to take into account all aspects of your health with your decision to abort. Not only do you not want to jeapordize your chances of possibly reproducing again, or breast feeding now, but you want to be the best mom you can to your 1 year old. Mommy of 2

Probably around 9 months I took Plan B when the condom broke. I was still nursing and it did not affect my supply. Just felt like a really heavy period. Of course, I was not confirmed pregnant again, I was trying to prevent it. Hope this helps. Mother of two

To begin, I want you to know that I totally support your choice to grow your family when it is best for you. I am pregnant again at 42 and at 30 you have plenty of time for a second or even third child when you are ready.

I cannot speak to the chemical abortion question, I do think you need to speak to your OB/GYN regarding the risk to your breastfeeding 1 year old. However, I have had three physical abortions, two in my early twenties and one at 20 weeks of pregnancy because of a serious health issue with the fetus, and I have never had any problems getting pregnant. The uterus is resilient and a good doctor with experience should make the process early in pregnancy go smoothly. Good Luck - Mother for Choice

When I breastfed my first child I took a low dose progesterone birth control after 6 months which did not interfere with nursing. No other hormones were safe or approved. I conceived again in another year after stopping the progesterone. I continued to nurse my firstborn throughout the second birth and fed in tandem after the birth. It's amazing how strong mothers can be when they need to be. sad mom

I don't know what a ''chemical'' abortion is; unless you mean ''morning after pill,'' in which case I think it is probably too late for that.

In terms of getting pregnant after a DNC (''phyical abortion'')...should not be any issues with that at all. Anon

Sorry you have to go through this. I was in the same position as you with a 1-year-old and was not ready for another child, either. I also chose to terminate, but did a surgical (D & C) termination. I only took Motrin before the procedure and because it was early, it wasn't very painful and I was able to breastfeed my one year old without any interruptions. Be prepared for a hormonal crash within a couple weeks, but otherwise, it is do-able. Good luck to you. Been there

No. You should not have a medical abortion while breastfeeding. The medications used are quite toxic and do pass into the breast milk. A D or waiting it out would be safer in this instance. a bpn obgyn

Please don't do the RU-486 if that's a chemical abortion?! I was in the original test group through UCSF, almost bled to death-we are talking a lot of blood, not even close to a heavy period, became horribly anemic and then had the D & C as part of the agreement I had signed with UCSF-if in the event it fails...I was only 3-4 weeks preggers, young(27) and in optimum health. I have subsequently had two very healthy sons so the D & C didn't affect my childbearing at all. The RU 486 caused me to bleed heavily for 5 days, be admitted to the hospital twice and actually pass out in the first 24 hours of bleeding-after all of that my fetus was still alive, it was truly a horrific experience. It took maybe 24 hours to recover from the D & C-didn't work out hard for a week or so and didn't have sex for six weeks not a chemical abortion fan...

I had a physical abortion with my first pregnancy and was able to conceive my second with no problems (waited about 5 years). I stayed home the day of the procedure and went back to work the following day. You'll want to take it easy for a couple of days, though. supporting the right to choose

I wanted to respond because I was in your situation earlier in the year. I discovered I was pregnant on Christmas day, and was very clear that with a six and one year old, this was not a pregnancy that I would carry to term. When I looked at my options I decided to go for a medical abortion and am so glad I did. Like you, I am breast feeding and I didn't want to take any medications that would interfere with that. The info I read about the chemical abortion indicated that it may not work and that I would have to get a medical abortion if that were the case.

When it came time to have the procedure it was remarkably easy. The hardest part was the wait since I went to Planned Parenthood, and had to wait all day to have it done despite having a morning appt. But the procedure itself took no more than 10 minutes, due I think in part to my being in very early stages of pregnancy. Still, I was surprised at how easy it was physically. I felt better IMMEDIATELY. I felt tired yes, but better, no more intense exhaustion or nausea, just instantly better. I did plan on having care for my kids on the weekend following the procedure, and did have the opportunity to lie around the following day which really helped me. But to be honest, my care for the next two days didn't really happen and I was fine taking care of my kids. The recovery didn't include severe cramps or fatigue--other than bleeding, it was painless.

I also tried to leave space for different emotions to come up, (expecting to be somewhat hormonal), and there has been a continued sense of clarity that I did the right thing for my family and myself, and relief that I went through with the medical procedure. If you are still considering it, I would recommend it. The chemical route just felt like it would be too dicey and harder on my body. And I have no doubt that despite the medical abortion, I'm still fertile and will need to take precautions if I don't want it to happen again. My thoughts and support are with you regardless of what you decide, and if you are in your after stages, I hope you are healing well. anon

In my 40's, with 2 kids, considering abortion

June 2004

I am in the unfortunate situation of being pregnant, in my 40s, with two kids already. I am looking for stories of other parents who decided to terminate a pregnancy due to the fact that their marriage/finances/sheer logistics cannot handle another child. Please do not write to lecture me about abortion--I am in great pain over this decision because emotionally and spiritually I no longer believe in abortion (although I support it politically). We just truly cannot handle another child. I am wondering if other parents have gone through this and felt justified in their decision, essentially, to ''protect'' the existing family by deciding not to carry a third pregnancy through to birth.

I can emphathize with you, I had to make this decision a month ago and I, too, struggled with my spiritual beliefs. I still wonder if we could have made it work, but I didn't know how I could provide for the kids I already have. I do want to warn you, that maybe it's because of age and hormone level, but you will be severely depressed for about two weeks after the procedure. I wasn't prepared for that at all. I still wish I would have given it more thought and relied on my faith. I am sorry you have to make this decision, I wouldn't wish it on anyone. It helps if your husband fully supports you, it won't help if he changes his mine later, like mine did, when it was too late. Anonymous

I am so sorry that you have to go through this painful decision, but I commend you in taking consideration all the consequences of bringing another into your family. I beleive it is a wholeheartedly selfless act on your part to want to maintain the preservation of your household and family by not adding to it. Bringing a child into this world should always warrant such consideration--everyone should want their children to be raised in optimal conditions, and if you don't feel that you can provide that for whatever reasons, and I think yours are good ones, I believe you are making the right decision, as difficult as it is. This is why the term is ''Pro-Choice''....so one can weigh all the neccessary factors when deciding to bring another life into this world. My heart goes out to you at this difficult time, but know that you are making the right decision for yourself AND your family. anon

Would you consider carrying the baby to term and giving it up for adoption? As an adoptive mother who was never able to have her own biological child, I can assure you with absolute definitiveness that there are thousands of couples out there who, more than anything else in the world, just want to be parents. I know--I was one of them. With open adoption you can choose who will raise your child and what, if any, contact you would want with the child. I know of women in predicaments such as yours (women who just couldn't raise another one) who have done this and this would be the most giving, selfless act of love to make another person/couple parents. You truly would make someones dream come true. All the best to you in your decision, whatever it may be. the happiest mom in the world

Please run, don't walk to get Sue Nathanson's book, Soul Crisis: One Woman's Journey Through Abortion and Renewal! This is one of the most powerful books I've ever read, and I read it 15 years ago, and I've never been in the situation myself. Sue Nathanson is a local therapist and as good as they get, and she describes her experience with exactly your situation. She got really thrown by the whole thing and writes honestly, movingly, and humbly about her whole process. I think you will find this book very inspiring and helpful! Cynthia

I truly agree with you: it is best not to sacrifice your family's well being, both financial and emotional, with another child. If you think the pregnancy will take a toll too big on your health and life then consider terminating it. Otherwise please consider giving this third child for adoption if it's possible. There are too many families out there longing for a child. This way your child will have a fair chance of being born and leading a happy life. Just my .02. Good luck, no matter what decision you take. understanding you...

I don't know if this will help, but I have a friend who was in exactly the same position. She's a different person, obviously, but she doesn't have any regrets. I think what spurred her on is that whenever she asked her husband to sit down and talk about it, he couldn't find the time. I think she felt that she did what she needed to do to take care of herself and her family. No doubt she (and you) will also end up thinking about this in the future, but that's life. It's sad and difficult sometimes. anon

My heart goes out to you. It sounds like you are hurting desperately. I have been in the same boat twice myself. Some thoughts:

First, many many women have walked in your shoes. Abortion is not something many women are willing to talk about unless you bring it up first, but you would be surprised what compassion and help people will offer if you risk being open yourself. Second, the most helpful observation I got about this was from someone who'd had the procedure in her 40's, who told me, ''I was hoping that if I just had the procedure, everything in my life would go back to the way things were before I was pregnant. But you can't ever go back to how things were before. Not that you won't be happy again, it's just that things will be different somehow.''

Third, people don't tell you about the strong link between pregnancy and depression. For some of us it can be a much greater problem than post-partum depression. Make sure that you are addressing this issue NOW. Don't wait til after the procedure to seek help.

To help you work through your process and come to terms with your feelings about choosing abortion, I highly recommend Anna Runkle's book ''In Good Conscience''. More info at http://law-books.org/0787941492.html It is currently out of print but can be ordered used through Amazon.com. an anonymous friend

I had an abortion when my first and only daughter was 2.5. ( I was in my early 30s). I thought long and hard about it because I did kind of want another child. BUT my marriage was on the rocks (we split up a year later), he didn't want anymore children, we didn't have very much money, and I was just starting to do some work from home. The circumstances just weren't right! I think that if I had had that child, I would be in the looney bin!! or worse, back living with my mother with my two kids!! It wouldn't have been fair to bring another child into an unhappy and stressful home. I feel like I made the right decision, though not without wondering ''what would she/he have been like?'' My daughter really needed and still does need me to herself. I feel like our children come to us at the RIGHT time. Maybe I'm just trying to justify having the abortion, but that's the decision I made then and the reality of that time justified it. I don't think I was meant to have more than one child and I'm at peace with that. I enjoy my friends kids, my daughters friends, and feel like I have a larger family in that way. Good luck to you in your decision. anon

I found myself in the same situation. I have three kids and truly could not handle or afford another. I too have found myself slightly against abortion and I knew I didn't want to go through it!

I called my doctor who gave me a shot of chemotherapy which stops the cell growths. It has to be done before the 7 week, so I hope it's not too late. Also, he took an ultra sound to make sure I wasn't farther along and at about 5 weeks there wasn't even a blob to see, which made me feel much better! Good Luck

I extend my sympathy to you. I have not faced this situation, but I did accompany a family member through it, and it was very hard yet at the same time the best decision, not one she regretted. She also was a person who has grave misgivings about abortion, and it was some comfort to her to find that there were others in her same situation among those she met at a clinic abortion information session.

Most likely you have already ruled out the option of making an adoption plan instead of an abortion plan, but I just wanted to say that if you are open to adoption, I am interested in adopting a child and would be grateful to explore that option with you. Janey

Have you considered or would you consider an open adoption? I'm sure that there are many couples who would love to give your baby a home. You can check out the website of the Independent Adoption Center (IAC) at www.adoptionhelp.com - they are one of the larger agencies handling open adoptions. The services of the IAC are free to birthmothers and it is legal and customary for the adopting parents to assume responsibility for costs related to the pregnancy and birth, so that financial burden would be removed.

I have friends who are actively trying to adopt. I'm posting on their behalf since they are not members of this group. If you would be interested in finding out more, without any commitment, please let me know and I can put you in touch with them. I applaud your courage and honesty in exploring your choices and wish you the best during this difficult time. Lisa

I'm not sure if you want my advice - I'm not giving experience with an abortion, but I did find myself unexpectedly pregnant with #4 last Jan 01. I completely and utterly support your decision to abort; I am rabidly pro-choice.

My experience was with a partner (same father of my other 3 children) and we'd weathered 2 other unplanned pregnancies (only #3 was planned :)). We seperated for the duration of my first pregnancy as he was not (then) prepared to be a father, so we've been down that road also. He was adamant that I abort and while I made 2 appointments, I never (obviously :)) went through with it. So, we had plans to leave the area, move to the country (where we'd always wanted to move) and simplify. Then came #4. I really really really did NOT want to be pregnant. It was an awful, horrible, terrible pregnancy. I had all but #1 at home, but spent a week in the hospital with this one (#4) due to extreeme morning sickness (hypersomethingorotheremesis?). We figured out how to make it work. We went on food stamps. We bought (buy) everything at the thriftstore. I hit farmers markets at the end of the day and get a lot free (or greatly reduced). I started a garden in our front yard and we'll have eggs from our own chickens in the fall or spring (depending on how they mature). We recycle grey water.

I can give you lots of tips for frugal living - we're now a family of 6 living on $30K a year. We went off food stamps early this year (I started an in-home business) but are still on WIC. We still would love to move to the country, but we'll see. :) I'm not trying to sway your decision at all, but if the only impediment is finances, perhaps my experience might help. Oh, :) I was (thinking hard) 41 when I fell pregnant with #4. OH, and there will NOT be another. Abstinence, while frustrating, is foolproof. :) No More Than Four

Call First Resort Pregnancy Consulting-510-238-8799. They will discuss with you all your options. anon

I found myself in this situation when I was 36. I kept the baby. All I can say really is that I'm incredibly glad I did; I had an abortion at 17 and, just as you say, no longer believe in it for myself, although I do support it politically. It was a hard time adjusting, but I wouldn't have it the other way. My family changed, adapted, and our new daughter enhanced the situation. Someone once said to me that you ''grow into the role'' of being a mother.

I think you would have to weigh the pain of an abortion against the change to the family; I felt I couldn't handle that pain, not again. For me it turned out great keeping the child. There's been never a moment of regret. Though sure - it is hard work! A mother of many

I think you should think very carefully about your options. If you are anti-abortion personally then you may not be able to come to terms with having the abortion. I am pro-choice myself, but that doesn't mean that aborting a baby is the right thing for someone for whom it would be difficult logistically and otherwise to have a baby. You should have a candid discussion with your partner about your feelings and maybe with a councelor or therapist. anon

Have you considered placing your baby for adoption with another family? There are many infertile couples, lesbian and gay couples, and single individuals who want to start a family and are open to adopting a child - especially a baby - to join their familily.

I myself am pro-choice, and I totally support every woman's right to control her own body and make her own choices. I've been a staunch feminist since my teens and I'm now in my 40s. At the same time, I'd like to see more women at least considering a third choice, of adoption. We formed our family through adoption, and we wouldn't have been able to have a child any other way. As an adoptive mom, I'm grateful every day for the choice my son's birthmother made. It is undoubtedly a difficult choice for you to make, no matter what you decide, but please consider adoption as an alternative. You could call Jewish Family Services' Adoption Connection (open to all, you don't have to be jewish) for free, confidential advice.

Hi, I had two abortions in my 40's. I already had three children and my OB/GYN assured me it was fairly common. You are not alone -- but it is hard. I went through a period of mourning and wondering ''what if''. Comments like there was no more room in the sinking life boat didn't help. But I did recover. I also went to an abortion healing clinic at the Newman Center. That helped. It's a woman's decision. It's never easy, though. Even when it is in the best interest of the whole family -- there's a real mourning period -- and it's hard. But I'm ok. Good luck. been there

Have you thought about adoption? you said ''emotionally and spiritually I no longer believe in abortion'', that being said, you will probably feel guilty after it is done. Maybe you can have the baby adopted and tell your kids that you are having a child for someone that cannot. That way they can understand why you are doing it, and not feel like they are losing out on a brother or sister. I would not bring it up that this is your child that you are giving away, as the questions that come will be hard to answer. just my opinion

Three corrections to other posts to offer here... Someone recommended my book, ''In Good Conscience: A Practical, Emotional and Spiritual Guide to Deciding Whether to Have an Abortion,'' but mistakenly thought it was out of print. A new edition came out in 2002, and you can get it on Amazon or by calling my distributor at 1-800-8199-7080. You may be in a hurry for help; if you e-mail me I'll rush you a workbook/pamphlet excerpted from the book, that walks you through the decision process, helping you find the decision you'll feel good about now and for the rest of your life.

Second, someone else referred you to ''First Resort'' to talk about all your options; please be aware that they are definitely ANTI-ABORTION and their goal is to get you not to do it.

Finally, serious depression is rare after an abortion, affecting about 2% of women. These tend to be those who already have a history of mental illness, who felt pressured to have an abortion against their own judgment, or who lack support from their partner/family. Over time, women who chose abortion do not experience depression at higher rates than those who carry unintended pregnancies to term; the most common emotion after abortion, in fact, is relief. It may comfort you to know that about 55% of the over-a-million abortions in this country each year are for women who already have at least one child; abortion has always been with us as a means of providing the best parenting we can. Take care. Anna Runkle

I write as someone who had an unplanned pregnancy in her 40s and carried it to term. Having another child had serious, negative, and, I think, lasting consequences for our other children. We adore that last child, and our others, but still wonder whether we made a moral error in continuing the pregnancy. Having another child has real repercussions for your existing children, and, indeed, everyone else who depends on you, and you would be wrong not to consider them. Anon

I am sorry that you have to go through this right now. Considering an abortion is not an easy thing, and I want you to know that you have one more person out there who supports whatever decision you make. As you probably know, any decision you make will affect you deeply. My story is different, but I have faced 2 unplanned pregnancies, terminating both. I am staunchly pro-choice, but I also know that abortion does have consequences. I agree with a lot of the other postings that mention the depression and recommend counseling. Should you decide to terminate, I advise finding a SAFE place to discuss all the feelings that may come up afterwards. You are entitled to your feelings of grief, loss, relief, or whatever they may be, regardless of your decision. I hope that your partner will be supportive during this decision-making process. Years ago, there was a therapist named Kathy Anolick, who ran non- judgemental post-abortion support groups. I don't know if she's still around, but I'm sure there are others. By the way, I'm sorry that somebody responded to your request with the phone number of an anti-abortion counseling center. What you need right now is support for whatever decision you make! anonymous

I haven't been in your situation, but when I was in college my mother told me that she had had an abortion a couple years after my younger sister was born. She had had me at age 35 and my sister at 37, and when she got pregnant again she just didn't want another baby. I can't speak for her, but I never got the impression that she ever regretted that decision. Of course if you decide to keep the baby you will love it and probably not be able to imagine life without it. But if you truly do not *want* another baby (which is different from thinking that you wouldn't be able to handle it) then I don't think you would regret your decision to not have it. --wising you the best in your decision

I salute you and everyone else who really thinks about the enourmity of child- rearing. Anyone who has had an abortion should know about EXHALE, a post- abortion talkline. It offers non-judgemental emotional support, resources and information. You can call 20 minutes or 20 years after an abortion, it is also a resource for your partner or other friends. The talkline operates Monday through Friday from 5p.m. to 10p.m. and Spanish language counseling is available Wednesday from 5p.m. to 10 p.m. and by request. Their web site is www.4exhale.org and the talkline number is 1-866-4EXHALE. Peace

I was pleased to see so many different kinds of response to your note. No one can predict what YOUR reaction to this situation! will be, whatever you decide. Even someone else who has been through it may have a different reaction, short or long-term. Getting good counselling, whatever your decision, may be the most important thing you do for yourself now. I think its especially important not to assume that your feelings of relief will outweigh any negative feelings you may have. Was I relieved after the abortion I had at 21? Yes. Do I still regret my decision to have it, more than 20 years later? Most of the time. Every day. Even knowing that my life would have been completely different with that person in it, I regret making what at the time seemed the only right choice.

I married the father of that baby and had more kids, including an unplanned one in my 40s last year. Having lived with regret for more than 20 years there was no discussion of not having this one, but I had a tubal the same day. I don't regret that either.

You will do what you must do, what you think best. Just don't let anyone tell you it will be easy either way, either way is tough. Anonymous Older Mother

How to get info on new abortion law

October 2003

Now that congress has passed the ban on ''late term partial birth abortion'', and the president will sign it into law, I need to get some IMPARTIAL information about how this law might impact a very specific situation: terminating a pregnancy after a finding of Downs or Neural Tube Defects via and amniocentisis done at ~20 weeks. My concern is that this may no longer be an option. Especially since I have heard in news reports that the law makes no distinction between a viable fetus and an nonviable fetus. I heard a report that specified that the ''late term'' phrase means anything ''over five months'' (no specific week number was mentioned in the report, so it might bump up against the time you learn these things through the standard amnio at 20 weeks.) I know CVS is an option at 10 weeks, but it's not always successful -- in my case, my anatomical makeup wouldn't let it happen. I am of ''advanced maternal age'' and this would be a real factor for us in trying to get pregnant with another child. People I've spoken with about this recommend calling somewhere like Planned Parenthood, but I have a feeling I would be talking to someone who already is in an adversarial position to the ban and would possibly politicize the answer. Others have suggested calling the genetics department of Kaiser (we have Kaiser Health insurance) but I'm not sure a genetics nurse would be boned up on legislative issues. I tried calling Diane Feinstein's office but have not received a response. Any recommendations? anonymous please

In order to protect their tax exempt status, Planned Parenthood is very careful to not be political. They are a medical agency, not a lobbying organization, and when I was involved in clinic protection in the mid-eighties, the staff at their clinics were very clear that their priorities are to provide top-quality medical care to their patients, keep their doors open and services accessible, and not to get involved in a political battle about abortion. I think they would be an excellent source of information for you. You could start by checking their website, they probably have something up about the law now. a fan of planned parenthood

I would call NARAL - National Abortion Rights Action League. Having recently had to deal with this, I can tell you that *already* there are limited options for a D in the east bay - limited hospitals, limited docs. I am not sure the legislation limits the D procedure which I think you can have up until 20 weeks. With amnio, if you get it scheduled right around 16 weeks, you can get your results back in 48 hours with a FISH test (can also do this with CVS). So you could have your information earlier than 20 weeks. At Kaiser, a genetic counselor who may be helpful is Ann Bourguignon. Important Research

I'm sorry that I do not have any info on the new law, but I just wanted to make sure you had been given the correct info on CVS before ruling it out. You mentioned not being anatomically eligible, so I wondered if you had been told that they can do it either vaginally (which I had done, and it felt like a pap smear) or abdominally (like amnio), depending on the positioning of your placenta. I'm pretty sure they don't know which way they'll do it til you are on the table and they ultrasound you. If there are other anatomical stipulations that preclude you, I apologize for my ignorance. Also, if you are concerned because you have heard about limb abnormalities, those have pretty much been all linked to people who had the procedure done at 10 weeks--a reputable physician will not do it at 10 weeks because of that, which means your window is 11-13 weeks. I had mine done at about 12 weeks, I think, and it was so great to have peace of mind (fortunately) so early in my pregnancy. I went to a place in SF- -California Pacific or something like that way up California Street. The Dr. there--I cannot recall his name, maybe Goldberg?--was, according to my OB/GYN, one of the pioneers in developing CVS, and he was truly wonderful. I hope that this is an option for you, and best of luck! If you would like to ask me anything about my CVS experience, please feel free to contact me through the moderator. anonymous

Here's the non-politicized deal -- so-called ''partial birth'' abortion is one method of late term abortion. There are other methods still available. Abortion is performed by some local providers up to 24 weeks. This is generally long enough to learn amnio resuslts. If one needed an abortion later than that, they could travel elsewhere, e.g., Wichita KS. runkle

You can contact the California Abortion Rights Action League http://www.caral.org/ for info if you need it, but I can tell you as an abortion provider at a facility that does abortions up to 23 1/2 weeks that the law is not going to affect our services. Hopefully you won't need it, but even with this change in the law, you will be able to have an abortion here for any reason (for now, but you asked for an apolitical answer).

I don't really have a complete answer to your question, but the Counselors at Kaiser Genetics are not generally nurses, perhaps a few may be, but regardless of an undergraduate study focus, they would also have Masters degrees in Public Health focusing on Genetics. I think they would be very aware of political implications as they must provide options for the families they counsel. anon

Grad student's unexpected pregnancy

June 2003

I am a Ph.D student in a fairly competitive program. I am pregnant, and because I am an international student here, I am very troubled and constrained by my financial means and if we can afford time and attention to our baby within my tight schedule. Termination seems to be a rational decision, as keeping the baby would strain greatly on our financial and time resources. Has anyone else had to make a decision like this? Baby dilemna

your story rings many bells here! i arrived two years ago to begin my PhD program at CAL with a scholarship for two years. two weeks after having arrived, i discovered i was pregnant (and single, the father was already out of the picture). it was a hard moment. since the due date was end of april i knew i could probably get through the first year alright, then take the summer off and maybe go back in the fall with the help of a good subsidized child-care. on the other hand, keeping the baby would mean having to raise a child all by myself, in a foreign country, with 1100 dollars a month to live with, etc. anyway i made up my mind and i decided to keep the baby. i wanted to become a mother so much and i do think there was a part of crazyness in my decision, but i also knew that i would manage somehow. i began to look around and found plenty of helpful resources, such as the WIC program at the city of berkeley, a therapist paid 80 per cent by the university (hard to deal with those sudden mood swings and stick to my decision with the hormones going up and down like crazy), the family housing at the albany village and campus child-care etc. i have actually become an expert on all these matters so feel free to contact me if you need specific advice.

now, to come to your more specific questions: my study field is not what i would define competitive so i cannot give you advice on this. my department was EXTREMELY understanding and helpful at all levels (i delivered one week in advance so skipped the final three weeks of classes, but they forgot about that... i gave in all papers before running to the hospital though!!), i really think you should evaluate the impact that a stressful environment would have on you if you decided to keep the baby. on the other hand never underestimate your colleagues and your professors, they might turn out to be very open and helpful (my first -free- baby-sitter was another student in the dpt., and the dpt chair showed up with a pizza one night!!). to make it short, after having taken a semester off for different reasons and having gone back at a somehow moderate rhytm this past spring, my daughter has now been accepted in the campus child-care full-time, which means i can go back to full-time reading and work (I'll be teaching everyday) and prepare for my qualifying exams. my advice is: if you have any hint that you'd like to have this baby, then have it. it is doable, even though the first months are going to be extremely tough, and you will have to compromise maybe on how long it takes you to get a degree. You'll actually enjoy the fact of having a more grown-up one when you'll get on the job market... and anyway, having a kid is an amazing experience, not very ''intellectual'' at times but full of surprises. hope this long message helps you somehow. i also know of a colleague of mine who decided to terminate her pregnancy because she didn't feel she could deal with that before being done with her PhD., and i respect that. once again, feel free to get in touch with me if i can be of any help silvia

You do not mention whether you have a committed partner, and what the circumstances of your partner are. Regardless, you need to be ready to handle the demands of parenting on your own, and you do not seem ready emotionally or financially to have a baby. I have been pregnant 4 times. Twice I terminated pregnancies because it was not at the right time in my life--in one case, I was an undergrad and the dad was my amour de jour. There was no question in my mind that I would not have a baby. The second time, although I had graduated from Cal, I was unclear about my future and unclear about the dad. Only when I was clear about my goals and where I was in my life did having a baby make sense for me. (I went on to graduate school 5 years after undergrad). It sounds like you are in the same place.

Do I ever feel guilty about terminating two pregnancies? No-- curious about where my life would have gone had I had children at those times in my life, but never guilty. I have two beautiful children, a career I love, and a supportive partner. This would not have been my life if I had carried my first two pregnancies to term.

Whatever your decision, I wish you luck. anon

Yes, I have been there! When I was 21, I became pregnant. I was a full- time student and my boyfriend (at that time) and I were in no financial (or emotional) situation to take on the care of a child. I terminated the pregnancy and do not regret the decision. Since I, personally, do not feel that a fetus is a person, I didn't have any feelings of guilt about it, and I don't look back on it with grief. This is my personal experience, and not necessarily how others feel about this kind of decision, nor am I suggesting that this is how *you* should feel about it.

Having said that, I did become pregnant again, several years later, and that was much more upsetting. Not because I felt terrible about terminating pregnancy (from the perspective of the affect on the zygote) but because it is not the most pleasant experience (I don't like going ''under'' a general anaesthetic, it takes me a long time to recover). I had vowed to myself that I wouldn't ever do it again, and here I was, definitely feeling that having a child at that point would be the *wrong* time (my boyfriend, now husband, and I had only been dating for a few weeks, I was finishing school and working a lot and neither of us had two nickles to rub together), so I terminated pregnancy for a 2nd time. Not fun.

However, quality of life is a big deal to me, with regard to children (and oneself). It does sound as if having a child now would be extremely stressful for you - and how would that affect your child, should you choose to give birth (and keep) him or her? Of course, the other option is to have the baby and give it up for adoption--but going through pregancy and birth could be extremely stressful and disruptive, even if you're not going to keep the child. Also, giving a child up for adoption is no guarantee that they will go on to a ''better life.'' I know that adoptive parents can turn out to be monstrous (hopefully, the screening processes have become more sophisticated recently, so that is less of a liklihood).

This can be a very difficult decision for some people. I am glad it wasn't for me--but I sympathize completely with your situation. Some things to consider: do you (your partner) have parents or other relatives/friends who would act as a support network to help you take care of the child (should you choose to keep him/her)? This is probably the biggest issue, because parents really need time away from the child to take care of themselves (and each other), and paying for child care is very expensive. A good support network can really help you make it through a difficult period. However, something else to consider: having a newborn is EXHAUSTING. You are right in your concern that having a baby now will be a HUGE disruption to finishing school. You really would probably have to take a leave of absence for at least the first year. Are you prepared to do that? Although my first child is not born yet, I know from living with a mother and her newborn, just how consuming a newborn can be (not to mention helping my parents out with my little sister when she was born - I was much older and remember it very well).

If you need to talk some more, feel free to email me - Alesia

Please consider giving up your baby for adoption. There are so many people who would love to have a baby. I can provide you with names/numbers of people who can help you through this difficult decision. deborah

I am writing to offer my opinion on your pregnancy dilemma. When I was 18 I terminated a pregnancy because I felt I was not emotionally or financially prepared to raise a baby. Although I am still very much a pro-choice advocate, I am even more of an adoption advocate. After 3 years of infertility treatments in my late 30's I finally had to let go of having my own biological child and adopt. I am now the proud mother of an incredible 14 month old, whom I (and my husband) adopted. We know her birth parents very well and have a wonderful relationship with them. They know our door is always open if they want to see our daughter. Please know that there are thousands of couples who were in our situation who would give anything to be parents. There are many more couples looking to adopt than there are babies available. I hope you will consider carrying your baby to term and giving it to a loving, grateful couple whose dream will be fulfilled by becoming parents. I love my daughter more than I ever imagined was possible to love. We adopted through the Independent Adoption Center in Pleasant Hill, although there are other reputable agencies as well. We had a wonderful experience with them. Also, because the nature of adoption these days is open adoption, you can choose your baby's parents and the contact you want to have with them/the baby. Please please consider making another deserving couple as happy as we have been made by our child's birth parents. Adoption Advocate

hi, i wanted to write to support your decision, whatever it may be! it sounds like you have a lot on your plate right now. while i would hardly be one to suggest terminating a pregnancy for ''convenience'' you do want to be in the best position to provide for your child and be prepared financially and emotionally. the issues you addressed are definitely serious and important to consider. the difference between what you ''think'' it will be like having a child and having your first is as big as the grand canyon! it will be harder, more emotionally straining and tiring than you can imagine (even with the joy and fun that come along with it). of course either way - you will probably be able to ''handle'' it - just thought you could use the support either way... anon

If you're struggling with the decision whether to have an abortion or continue a pregnancy, you might want to check out my book, *In Good Conscience: A Practical, Emotional and Spiritual Guide to Deciding Whether to Have an Abortion.* It includes comprehensive info about the procedure (including the traditional surgical method as well as ''the abortion pill'' -- or RU486 -- which is now available through most providers). The text includes a workbook to help you weigh your decision and another workbook for exploring feelings after an abortion. It is completely neutral and supportive of your choices; it is endorsed and used by Planned Parenthood as well as Catholics for a Free Choice (who like the material about the spiritual aspects of the decision process). You can order it on Amazon.com or through Phoenix Color Fulfillment : 800-819-7080. The cost is $16. Good luck! You are not alone! Anna Runkle

When I found myself pregnant two years ago, it was a very difficult decision and it seemed like the rational thing to do was too difficult emotionally. However, two things, which helped me make my decision, were a supportive PI (who found out because of my morning sickness symptoms) and a supportive partner (we were not married). If I did not have those two things, my decision may have been different.

Now that my baby was born, the financial burden is not as great as I had thought. My partner, my baby and I are all living off my GSR stipend and some help from financial aid (who gives a $2200 dollar grant to all student families/ semester). In addition we moved into the UC Village, which has greatly helped us afford to continue to live here. The university also offers subsidized childcare to help low income student families afford to have their children watched over. Although, the financial commitments seem daunting, I have found that it is not difficult to afford to raise a child as a student.

If you think you can carry the baby to term but not care for him after birth, I'd encourage you to look into offering him up for adoption - I'm working for a woman right now who's trying to adopt a baby and it's really opened up my eyes to how many wonderful, caring people out there are looking for babies. Not an easy decision either way - best of luck whatever road you choose. Jeni

A baby and grad school can work together if you want to make it work!

I just graduated from a prestigous business school on the East Coast. I also gave birth to my son in February of my first year. My son thrills me much more than my degree!

It was tough and I didn't get a lot a sleep, but every new parent has to deal with that. I missed one and a half weeks of class, then went back to a full time schedule. I often found myself reading over my notes for the next day's class during our 1 am feeding! In the second year, my sleep was better, but I didn't get to be involved with as many activities on campus as I would have liked.

While it can be done, what really made it possible for me was the support of my family. My parents, in-laws, and brother took turns staying with us and watching my son while I was in class for the first semester when my son was too young for daycare. There was an international student at my school who had a baby the next year and had her cousin come stay with her for a few months.

It's possible! Good luck with your decision! August

Need an abortion due to poor health

March 2003

My name is Katie and I am a mother to two wonderful children. I've recently moved to Berkeley to live with my sister because of my husband's unfortunate leave from his company. It just so happened that I was pregnant again unexpectly before my husband became jobless. I was told by the last OB/GYN doctor that I could be facing serious complication if I became pregnant again because of my naturally weak body condition and because I have for fact an RH(-) blood type. I am here to ask for help with information on how to get the abortion right from a which medical institution? Please help me as soon as possible. Thank you. Katie

I am very sorry that you are in the type of situation you are in. I know how hard it is to have to make this type of decision. But in the interest of your other 2 children this may be the best decision for you. It is very scary to think that you may loose your life because of pregnancy and or related illness.In response to your question about where to go to terminate the pregnancy you may want to go to Planned Parenthood which has a number of locations around the bay area. I know that they do charge around $300 for the procedure though. If you are a Kaiser member the procedure is free. You must speak to an advice nurse and explain your sitation and depending on how far along you are they may be able to do the procedure there at kaiser I believe it is after 12 weeks they will refer you to an office that handles late-term abortions. I hope this helps you in your decision. Good luck. Anon

Have you discussed this with your current prenatal health provider? They should be able to help. But if this hasn't worked for you, I strongly recommend that you contact Planned Parenthood. They do a lot more than provide ''abortion on demand'', as the right-wing likes to call it. They provide full reproductive health services, and should be able to help you. You don't have to be 100% sure that you need or want an abortion to see them. They have counselors and doctors that can help re- evaluate your case. But if you are absolutely sure this is what you want, they will help. I understand they have a couple of clinics in Oakland. They used to have one in Walnut Creek, but I just checked their website and didn't see it there. You can contact them online at www.ppgg.org (that's for Planned Parenthood Golden Gate - the Bay Area organization), or call 1- 800-230-plan.

I'm not sure if my OB, Dr. Albert Brooks, 510-204-0965, performs abortions, but he does specialize in high-risk pregancies. If you are considering maybe not having an abortion, I recommend seeing him for a second opinion on your health risks. He would also probably be able to recommend somewhere for an abortion. Liz

I received excellent help and care for an abortion at Family Planning Specialists Medical Group at 100 Webster Street in Oakland. Their number is 510-268-3720. I believe the cost for an abortion including general anethesia was around $400. be well

Given your delicate health, I would not recommend Planned Parenthood. There are a number of providers in the area and I know that Alta Bates does abortions. I'd recommend contacting East Bay Perinatal Medical Associates for a referral. You probably wouldn't even need to be seen, or pay a fee, for the referral. Planned Parenthood may be able to make a referral also. anon

First, let me offer to you a message of emphathy and support. This is so difficult, even in the liberal Bay Area.

The first place to start is your current insurer or health care provider if you have one. If not, I would call Planned Parenthood. Several years ago, I had an abortion at 18 weeks due to genetic problems of the fetus. As a Kaiser member, I was referred to a clinic in Oakland (The obgyn at Kaiser who would have done the abortion was away for a few days.) I don't remember the name of the clinic: it was in an unmarked office building. The intake and counselling staff were there all week. They performed abortions there on designated days. The staff was very supportive and positive. I could have gotten followup care there if needed.

I learned later that the M.D. who performed my abortion also worked at Alta Bates one day each week, and probably at a third facility as well. So, you may end up with the same M.D., even if you are choosing among facilities.

I hope this is helpful, and feel badly for your sake that I feel I need to remain anonymous.

Best wishes to you. Anon

Getting Pregnant after an Abortion

Will another abortion affect future pregnancies?

June 2011

I am a 30 year old mom of a 15 month old daughter. My partner is in school full time and not working so I am supporting the family. I just found out I'm pregnant and we feel that terminating the pregnancy is what's best for us both emotionally and financially, but I had an abortion when I was 23 and in an abusive relationship. I am reading now that after 2 abortions the chances of having complications in future pregnancies increases exponentially. Does anyone have any experience with getting pregnant after a (second!) abortion? confused mom

I am not aware of any statistics on pregnancy after abortion(s), but I was able to conceive with no problem (and no complications) after more than one termination in my life (more than 2!). ended up just fine

My own experience was that my chances of pregnancy were definitely not affected by multiple abortions. mom x 2

What a painful decision for you to have to make! I'm sorry that you're going through this. I had 2 abortions when I was 22 and 24. That, along with a hormonal imbalance, led me to believe that I would have a hard time conceiving again and carrying to term. At 34, I became pregnant on the very first try. I had some complications, but they were completely unrelated to the abortions. I know that this is only anecdotal, but I thought you needed to hear a positive outcome after 2 abortions. All surgeries, including abortion, come with risk, but this is a relatively safe procedure. Best of luck to you. anonymous

Abortions do not affect future pregnancies if performed by a professional. In Russia, the median obortion rate is eight per woman under age 40. Women that go on to have several babies.

Pregnancies are much harder on the body, and can affect future pregnancies because of the wear and tear on the uterine wall, but most likely, your body and soul, and our society can handle more than a few births per woman if you have the means to read to your kids, not abuse them and put them all through College.

DNC's (abortions) if done in a safe, clean environment are very much like a facial, as far as your body is concerned. It is a gentle sloughing procedure much like a forced period. If anything, it makes a nice smooth place to plant again.

Naturally your heart is a whole other landscape to plow, fertilize and explore. You'll need to think long about what you wish to propagate there. Your body though, dearest, is fine.

Relax. Plan your family. Do what feels right. Reenie

I've had 3 D procedures in my life, once by choice, two following a miscarriage and I've got two healthy kids. Rarely will an abortion cause difficulty with future conception. Anon

I had two abortions and two full-term pregnancies. Mine went like this: abortion at age 19 (unwanted pregnancy); baby at age 31.5; abortion at age 33 (fetus not developing properly); baby at age 35.

My two full-term pregnancies did have problems that required bed rest. With my first child (when I had had one abortion), I was dilating a little early and some preterm labor. He was a very healthy baby, born 2 weeks early with no problems during delivery. My daughter (my final pregnancy) was causing pregnancy-induced high-blood pressure and again I was dilating early (but just barely both times). She was born about 3 weeks early, but very healthy. My doc stimulated the cervix to see if we could bring on labor naturally b/c she was worried about the high blood pressure. My doc felt that the baby was pressing against a nerve or something, causing the high blood pressure. I doubt that had anything to do with a prev. abortion. Again, easy delivery, healthy baby.

So, I have no idea whether my issues were due to my previous abortions, but I weathered it all just fine. I was able to work from home a bit when on bed rest. I gave no concern to future babies in making my decisions to terminate the pregnancies. I was just making the best decision for that particular situation. Good luck to you and take care.

No. I'm a physician and there are not any increased risks with multiple terminations. You should do what is best for you and your family and you do not need to worry about dangers to future pregnancies. That information is propaganda by pro-life groups. anon

Hi there, I am embarassed to say that I have had 4 abortions (very fertile when I was young!) and went on to have a totally problem-free twin pregnancy at 39 yrs.-- I even went past my due date, no early contractions, no bedrest, etc. I have 2 friends who have had 2 or more abortions and have also gone on to have several children with no fertility/pregnancy issues. Now that I have kids I have VERY mixed feelings about the abortions-- but that's another issue anon

I don't know what you are reading but you should talk to an ob gyn. From what I have read and experienced there is no correlation between abortions that are performed correctly and subsequent pregnancy complications. I had 3 abortions and went on to get pregnant and give birth without complications. anon

So sorry for your situation. I did not have two abortions, but had two D procedures after incomplete miscarriages (essentially the same thing, medically). I went on to have an uneventful pregnancy and a normal (no, fantastic) child. Hope that helps. Good luck

I had 4 abortions and 1 miscarriage. Then i had a beautiful healthy baby boy. Home birth too! So do what's right for you and your family and have more children when it's the right time. BTW I always ate healthy and exercised as well. Good luck! G.

Just finished reading the responses to this question and I wanted to give a big *thank you* to so many women who were open about their history with abortion. I'm not the original poster, I'm the mom of 2 with other abortions. Just feels good to remove the shame around this matter and know you weren't the only one who had an abortion.

You know, I've heard lots of people tell me that pregnancy goes down with abortions (and long-term use of birth control). But, I had 2 abortions (15, 17yrs). I'm 37, and just planned my first pregnancy. I'm 34 weeks, and it took 2 months to get pregnant, after being on the pill for 10 yrs. I was pretty relaxed during the conception period as I was on the fence and knew we'd be happy with or without baby. The point is, maybe stress is more of a concern than abortion or other factors? Good luck. Try not to worry. A.

Trying to concieve at 42 after a termination

Feb 2009

Hello, I need some advice from others who have gone through something similar to me. I am 42 years old with 2 beautiful daughters, ages 6 and 4. About 2 years ago I got pregnant again and after much struggle, decided to terminate. It was a very difficult decision, one that I think about everyday. At the time we were having a lot of problems with our youngest child and were under an incredible amount of stress. We didn't think our marriage would make it with another baby and also that we wouldn't be able to devote the time we needed to our now 4 year old. I have been obsessed with having a third child since then, and cannot seem to let it go. I think mostly a big part of me thinks our family just doesn't feel complete. Things continued to be stressful until about 6 months ago, and we started trying again. I had no problems conceiving my first 2 children (no fertility drugs or technologies, and we conceived the first time we tried both times), but I haven't been able to get pregnant yet. Of course, I am now 42, so I imagine my egg quality has declined significantly. Has anyone else been in a similar position, trying to conceive after a termination and not being able to? I feel so sad and really feel like I made a huge mistake and should have not terminated my 3rd pregnancy, but of course it's too late. I am also thinking of trying some low tech fertility method to help conceive, like Clomid, but am a little apprehensive about having twins. We don't want to do any high tech fertility treatments or to adopt at this point. Regrets

I understand that feeling of guilt, I have been there, and I am so sorry for the pain it is causing. But the thing is, it is very hard getting pregnant after 40. It has nothing to do with the abortion. Please try to separate out the two problems: 1) the guilt about the abortion, and 2) the problem of getting pregnant after 40. A therapist might help with #1. For #2 you might need to see a reproductive endocrinologist. See the BPN website - there is a lot of advice about fertility after 40 here . I wish you all the best! been there

The part of your post I can address is whether to do lo-tech chlomid. Older women tend to respond poorly to chlomid--what they get in eggs, they lose in uterine lining. If you try chlomid, demand to know your lining thickness at the ultrasound that determines when you would inseminate and if possible around an insemination. If you plan to do it 'naturally' ask for a day 11-13 ultrasound for uterine lining thickness (the day would be determined by your cycle length or lh surge. Baby aspirin can help improve lining. anon

Check out the website thefertilesoul.com. While I didn't become a ''client'' of theirs, the info made lots of sense to me and gave me hope for conceiving without Western interventions. I would also highly recommend Abigail Surasky, acupuncturist in Berkeley (845-8017). I am currently 36 weeks pregnant and 45 yrs old. I had my third child when I was 42 with Abigail's help. And really give her a lot of credit for helping me conceive at that time and this time. Feel free to contact me if you wish. Marjorie

my heart breaks for you. i had the same problem, but it was with #4. i got pregnant on the mini-pill while my 5 mos old baby was still nursing. my husband and i debated for over a month about what to do. turns out, we were on opposite sides of the fence. in the end, i did what i did because i felt like it was in the best interests of my husband and three children. but like you, i couldn't let the idea of having another baby go. it felt like something was missing, even though my life was very full and happy. in the end, we did decide to go for #4 and are pregnant now. i don't know what would have happened if we had had trouble conceiving. was it fate? punishment for my decision? i told no one about my termination- just that i had lost a baby. people still don't know. i hope for you that you do get pregnant. yes, you're older and that may be making it more difficult. let the guilt go and hope for the best. looking forward to baby

Dear Regrets, I've gone through a very similar situation, only I have just one child. He also needed a lot of attention (speech and occupational therapy for several years), and I was working full time. I was thinking of having second one, and was agonizing over the final decision. It became an obession. Still, I terminated a pregnancy two years ago, as our special- needs son didn't leave any time for anything else, and we were afraid our marriage wouldn't survive another child. My obsession with having another baby spiraled into a clinical depression, leaving me almost unable to deal with my existing child and even myself. It took a year of unbearable sadness and darkness, accompanied by the strained relationship I've developed with my husband who couldn't stand my constant crying and irritability any longer. I finally got out of an over it, with the help of lots of therapy, a depression class, an anxiety class and several months on St John's Wart.

Now that I and our family overall are back to ''normal'', I still want to try for another child, but it's no longer an obsession. I guess what I am trying to say is that maybe it would be a good idea for you to see a therapist now, in addition to a feritlity specialist. If you end up getting pregnant, then it would still be helpful - anyone these days has enough stress to deal with. Whatever happens, I really feel for you and hope it works out for you. Regrets too

I really support the choice you made two years ago. It appears to be the best possible decision for your family at that time, and I'm sure your family is stronger because of it.

As for your current attempts, check out Taking Charge of your Fertility by Toni Weschler. In many cases, armed with some info, you can get pregnant without medical intervention. Good luck!

Hi - I just wanted to post that I wish there were more discussion around this topic. Everyone in the bay area is so ''pro choice'' but I think there is a lot of pain around abortion. I also terminated a pregnancy after having 2 children of my own. It is a huge regret for me. I think about it almost every day. I think a young 21 year old who terminates a child might not think about it nearly as much as a settled mom who terminates. I wish they had more counseling before hand, and that abortions weren't so *easy* to get. I do think they should be legal, available and safe, but once you do it there is no going back --- and some of us have to live with the pain forever. anon

We terminated our first pregnancy for medical reasons, which was horrible and heartbreaking, of course. It took us a while to get pregnant after that, but it was totally unrelated to what happened with the first pregnancy. After trying clomid and finally visiting a fertility clinic, I was told that I had poor egg quality and high FSH levels. I was 31, but told I had the egg quality/FSH levels of someone closer to 42. The fertility doctor estimated that about 1 of every 6 of my eggs/cycles might be viable. That's just sort of the odds. He was about right. We had one early miscarriage and then finally became pregnant without help. It took at least a year and a half.

I'd guess what's going on with you has to do with age...not to be discouraging. It's just the way it is. I don't believe that Clomid helps in this situation, though I could be wrong. Talk to your doctor. 'How to Get Pregnant' by Sibler is a very good book that addresses the subject of maternal age at length. It's quite scientific and addresses fertility treatments in-depth, so if you're not exploring that option, maybe not the right book for you. I found it very helpful though.

Many years ago, I was in a situation similar to yours. I was 44, with a 3 year old, and my husband and I decided to try for a second child; I became pregnant (after a miscarriage). I should add that it took 4 long years for me to have my first- born, and I had several miscarriages before he was conceived. As soon as I found out I was pregnant with #2, I was instantaneously overcome with feelings of remorse and dread that were constant and unshakable. I literally would pray that this pregnancy would fail.I felt somehow that it was a HUGE mistake to have become pregnant again.I never felt a moment of excitement or joy. After much soul-searching and counseling, as well as an unsuccessful attemt to have CVS to determine whether the fetus was healthy, we decided to terminate the pregnancy in the 11th week.It was the most difficult thing I have ever done.

Immediately afterward, I was overwhelmed with regret, shame, deep sadness and horror over what I had done. I felt that I had been suffering from an undiagnosed antepartum depression, and had killed my own baby while under that dark cloud. I felt so strongly that we should have another baby, that there was a ''missing member of the family''.My arms literally ached to hold a baby. My husband, who had been incredibly supportive throughout, was understandably reluctant to try to have another child.

Long story short, I did get pregnant and have my second child (without any infertility treatments, apart from acupuncture) at 45. I NEVER had a second of those dark feelings with this pregnancy (nor had I ever suffered from depression previously, or since that episode).Over time, I came to believe that the baby I terminated had some congenital defect that I sensed, somehow. My second child is now in middle school, happy and healthy, and I feel that she was always meant to be here with us; that it was her spirit in the body of the baby we chose to abort, and that she returned to us in her healthy body.

This probably all sounds crazy, but it is absolutely true. I urge you to try for another baby, if it is your gut feeling that it's the right thing. Listen to yourself. The counselor I saw prior to the termination said something that really helped me later on. She said,''You don't WANT to feel like this. You just do.'' It really helped me to be able, over time, to forgive myself. Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself, and move forward. anon

I missed your post but I think I've got the jist from reading other people's responses.

Two things.

1) You're not alone. So many women terminate pregnancies and have very mixed feelings about it. Myself included. I fully support people's choices and decisions for themselves and their families' but even though I know the decision I made was correct for myself, it was still one of the toughest I've ever made and I still think about it often. I now have a child I adore and would like to someday have another so I understand that desire and the fear around whether I'll be able to do so.

2) There are so many resources available to you to help get you to a place where you're okay with your decision, as well as to help you have a successful pregnancy. I'd like to recommend a source for coming to an okay place about your decision. There is a terrific nonprofit organization in the Bay Area (in Oakland) called Exhale which offers pre- and post-abortion counseling via a confidential and anonymous hotline. http://www.4exhale.org/ or 1-866-4 EXHALE.

They are supportive of women's choices, no matter what they decide, and also counsel family members (like husbands, boyfriends, parents, etc) who are dealing with abortion-related issues with a loved one. They have a variety of resources on their website that I found helpful in dealing with my own termination and I've found their counselors to be extremely well-trained good listeners and non-judgemental allies for women.

What I realy liked about them was that they adopted the language I used to describe my experience. I knew I was making the right decision for myself, but I also felt in my heart that I had terminated a life -- a potential child -- and they used the same language and didn't force any PC words on me. I think abortion conversations should allow space for a woman to refer to her ''fetus, child, baby, problem, etc'' or whatever that woman feels without someone politicizing it.

I felt respected for how I experienced the pregnancy and Exhale never aliented me and really helped me come to terms with my decisions. You may find them to a be a useful starting place in helping you deal with the guilt issues you're going through -- without necessarily taking the plunge into finding a face-to- face counselor. They offer counseling in Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Vietnamese on certain days. Best of luck. Becky

I wrote the original post and just wanted to thank people for being so amazingly supportive. It is so nice to know that in a stressful world like the one we live in, there are such kind people out there! Thank you!

Having a 3rd child after a termination

May 2008

I am a 41 year old working mom with 2 toddlers, 2 years apart. I recently got pregnant with a 3rd child and after much agonizing, my partner and I decided to terminate the pregnancy. It was an awful decision as we have always debated about having 2 or 3 kids, but this just did not feel like the right time. It felt like it would put too much of a burden on our relationship, our dedication and support to our other two children, our finances, and our own mental health. I feel horrible about this decision but it felt like the best decision at the time. Now I am left with still pondering whether we want a 3rd child (it would not be for another 6-12 months, most likely, if I am even fertile then). I still have so much guilt and sadness over the abortion but I also was so unhappy being pregnant and so ambivalent and anxious about it that it didn't seem fair to bring a child into the world like that. I guess what I am looking for is other women who have been in a similar situation, mostly being ''older'' moms and trying to decide between 2 or 3 children. I don't know if anyone has ever gone through a termination and then went on to have a third child later on. How much do the dynamics change? How much of a strain was it adding a 3rd to your relationship with your partner and the other children? Does it help to space your 2nd and 3rd children more than the 1st and 2nd? Why did you ultimately choose to have a third? Any kind advice is appreciated. Still hurting and confused

Hugs to you during this difficult time. My advice would be to wait a while before making any decisions. After terminating there is often great sadness and a void in your life. It is easy to think that this will be mended by having another child. I had similar thoughts too and was very anxious and desperate to have another child, in part to replace the one that I had lost. Over time these feelings faded and my husband and I decided that two children were enough. We are at peace with everything now, but it took time to get there. Been there too

first off, let me say how sorry i am for what you are going through. no matter how pro-choice we can be, when it comes down to your own pregnancy, it's a different matter. i am in the same boat as you with a few differences. it was my 4th that i terminated and i am a few years younger. we agonized over the decision and it is something that still, in one way or another, affects me daily. honestly, even though it was my decision ultimately, i cried a LOT during and afterwards. it took me a whole 8 mos to stop resenting my partner for being unable to just say, ''lets go for it!'' during that entire time, i was OBSESSED with getting pregnant. now, a year and a half later, i still ponder a 4th, but it's not the obsession it once was. i feel more balanced and in control of my decision. you will too, with time. i am not sure if we'll go for another. we also will be deciding in the next year or so. but i personally feel like i have left something unfinished.

incidentally, for you, going from 2 to 3 for us was not a big deal. i was already outnumbered. and i actually feel like it triangulated our energy, and they get along better now. for you, your heart will ache for only so long. but you too may feel there is just something missing. allow yourself time to heal. it's hard. there is plenty of support for a miscarriage. but a voluntary termination is the dirty little secret we moms share. only three people actually know what happened with our 4th pregnancy. and honestly, it's no ones place to judge us anyway. i wish you happy healing and less heartache. it does get better. momto3

I terminated a pregnancy between my first and second child, and am now happily pregnant with my third. I have no regrets about the termination because it was not the right time. I would have been too depressed and overwhelmed had I continued with that pregnancy, and feel my second child has benefited greatly from both the age difference and a happy mom. I may have an especially cynical view of when life ''begins'' but guilt really doesn't come into my mind about the abortion. I have 2 lovely children and don't dwell on what could have been. In fact, my 2nd child wouldn't be here had I continued the other pregnancy. anon

I cannot answer most of the questions you asked, but it does sound like you could use some time and space processing your situation in a safe environment. I know that First Resort offers free and unlimited post-abortion counseling tailored to your own needs. They have offices in Oakland, SF, and Redwood City. It might be worth it to check out. there is hope

Hi - We also got pregnant (we already had three young children) and decided to terminate. I was completely and totally overwhelmed and could not even comprehend having another child. I would not even consider it and we terminated. My husband was very upset. I had and have horrible guilt over it and consider it one of the worst mistakes I have made. For a while we thought about having another child, just so I would feel less guilty, but we ultimately decided not to. I try to channel my energy into other avenues: my education, the three kids we have, etc.

I don't think people realize -- that if you terminate once you already have children (and a partner etc) that you often feel very, very guilty and depressed.

I actually think abortions should not be made so readily available to middle class (and upper middle class women) with stable partners etc. because of the guilt it leads to. I mean, of course they should be able to terminate if they wish, but I do think there should be more counseling involved and not such a ''You go on girl with your bad self and do whatever you want with your body''.

Anyway, I'm rambling. I just felt bad for your post and I wanted to let you know you are not alone. I think we are all trying our best. And we shouldn't be so hard on ourselves. anon

One of the advice givers in the last digest recommended using First Resort for counseling re: issues over termination, pregnancy, etc. I don't know if they were aware, when recommending First Resort, that the organization is NOT pro-choice. Their counseling is NOT unbiased. Their services are free because they are privately, well funded by anti-choice advocates. I would not recommend anyone go there who is grappling with decision making re: pregnancy. One is much better off getting help from a counselor/agency who does not have a hidden agenda. Lori

One of the replies recommended First Resort for free counseling after an abortion. You should know that they are an anti-abortion organization and cannot be relied upon to provide accurate or nonjudgmental support. If you want to talk to someone, you might consider calling ACCESS, Exhale or Backline, all of which are hotlines offering counseling on abortion and other pregnancy related issues. You can find them online. Good luck and be gentle with yourself. best wishes

Support after Terminating a Pregnancy

Grief after 2nd trimester termination

Aug 2012

We recently terminated a pregnancy in the second trimester because we were given the diagnosis that our baby would die in utero because of chromosomal abnormalities. The doctor actually said he advised termination because it was his job to help prevent our baby from suffering.

Has anybody else gone through this? How did you cope? Therapy? Support groups? It's not like you can just tell everyone you had a second trimester abortion and expect anybody beyond close friends to understand, let alone empathize. And,meaning no disrespect to women who have suffered a miscarriage, but this pregnancy felt so much more real having the physical changes of the second trimester.

Have you gotten through this? How???? Rubbing an empty belly

I am so very sorry for your tremendous loss. Sending hugs

Please, please call Jeanne Menary (510) 845-4656. She runs a support group (Beyond Choice) for women who've gone through this. I had a similarly excruciating experience a year ago and I can tell you you will need every bit of support you can get. It is so painful. Also check out the list serve A Heartbreaking Choice and get individual therapy if you can. I wish you peace. Anon

First let me say how very sorry I am for your loss. I dealt with a similar situation, though much earlier in the pregnancy, with twins (incidentally conceived through IVF). I would like to suggest you speak with Madeline Feingold, a clinical psychologist who specializes in fertility issues and pregnancy loss. She helped me tremendously. Her website outlines her approach, so I would suggest you start there. All best to you moving forward. Been there

I'm really sorry for your loss. I can't offer any advice about getting through it, but I did want to let you know (although maybe you already know)there's a support group called Support After Neonatal Death through Alta Bates. I went after a miscarriage and found it helpful. anon

Get onto the online support message group A Heartbreaking Choice. Saved me after terminating at 18 weeks for Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome). Yes, not everyone will agree with your choice but you will, slowly, find people who have ended pregnancies. After spending time on the Heartbreaking choice message boards, a group of us started meeting - there were about 6 - some had kids, some the termination was their first. This group was incredibly supportive and stayed connected thru years of subsequent pregnancies. There is a support group at Oakland Kaiser - but when I attended there were women attending who were pregnant with subsequent babies and I could *not* handle that. There is also a group through CPMC in San Francisco. I highly reccomend Accupuncture - I needed it for depression/anexity. This is a brutal loss and I am so sorry you went through it. One other piece of advice is to have both you and your husbands chromosomes mapped - your doc may disagree but it can rule things out. Take care

Hello, I am so terribly sorry for your loss. This must have been a terrible ordeal for you, and I am so sorry you are hurting.

It is my viewpoint that your termination should be treated with as much care and mourning as though it had been a miscarriage--because it sounds like, in truth, your baby would not have survived. If others ask (and they often will, as you were in your second trimester and had likely told others you were pregnant), I think it is fine to say you had a miscarriage and leave it at that. Share the details only with those who you know love you truly and best.

The first month or two after a termination are terribly difficult, but as time goes on things do get better. Your hormones will balance and the part of your feelings that is brought on by hormonal changes will begin to lift. Of course you will still be grieving, but know that your outlook will start to get better.

It also sounds to me as though your doctor frightened you with that statement about it being his/her job to prevent your baby's suffering. If that bothered or concerned you at all, I would also advise you to change doctors, especially if you are planning to conceive again in the future.

Hang in there. You are incredibly strong and brave, and you will get through this. another sad mama

Please accept my deepest sympathy for your loss. The death of a child is such an enormous loss. It is so outside of what we consider to be the normal flow of our lives.Neonatal losses are frequently deepened by lack of understanding and empathy by family and friends. These losses can also impact the relationship between partners.You do not need to grieve alone. Please contact SAND - Support After Neonatal Death. They meet in Berkeley at Alta Bates Medical Center 510-204-1571. Please contact me if you need more information, or support for your grief process. I have many years of experience in accompanying parents through their journey of grief and healing. Andrea

I am so sorry for your loss. I can empathize as we too had to terminate for medical reasons in May 2011; we were also in the second trimester when we found out that our baby had T18. After looking at all of the information about the suffering and short life, if any, that she would have, we decided to terminate. What really helped me was connecting with other women online through baby center.com, under the Termination for Medical Reasons group. I'm not one for therapy, so sharing common stories and understanding was the way to go for me. It's a great community of supportive, empathetic women of all ages and walks of life. There are also related groups for conception after termination and expecting after termination to deal with the very specific fears we all have as we move on. It was a devastating decision and process to go through and it definitely affects your next pregnancies in terms of fears and ability to connect with and enjoy a pregnancy. However, I am happy to say that after an additional miscarriage after the termination, I have with me a much-anticipated 2-month-old perfectly healthy baby girl. Contact me through baby center if you'd like to talk further--my handle is Rosen6. Sarah

I feel for you. It is so, so hard to go through what you have. I went through it 9 years ago, and it turned my life upside down. 4 more pregnancies later (2 MC, 2 children), my second-trimester termination is still the most difficult experience I've ever lived through. I still think about it a lot.

You ask what you can do. Before I was ready to talk about it, books -- I look on Amazon for ''pregnancy loss'' and I realize that I've read nearly everything there. Most of them have something to address the strange decision/non-decision that comes with terminating a pregnancy where the baby had a negligible chance of surviving. I wish there had been more. It is almost impossible to talk about, not because of the stigma, but because it is just so hard to explain (and easier to just tell people it was a miscarriage). It was only because of that lack of other support options that I even got myself into therapy. But then that was the saving step (a group at Kaiser Oakland and then an individual therapist).

You're a different person after suffering a loss of this sort. There's no denying that. I hope you find the support that will let you process it. In my case the termination was the starting point for a lot of rethinking and re-evaluating how I dealt with the world. In the end I came through it stronger than I went into it. Not sure that this is any consolation, but I can see it that way in retrospect. peace to you

I went to Kaiser's grief group for this type of loss. Our minister offered to have a little memorial service, which we did not do, but maybe should have. There are some books I read that were referred by Kaiser's genetic counseling department. There are some interesting practices in other cultures - like Japan - that are helpful. I'm sick of the secrecy, really. Why all the shame and silence? I had multiple losses and voluntarily terminated a Downs pregnancy. My pregancies showed a great deal, so there was no keeping it a secret, though we did a bit of lying since there's a lot of judgment around our termination issue. Yours is a bit less complicated in that the child would not have lived and was suffering. Still, why are we not allowed to grieve for wanted pregnancies that die? In Japan I understand you are allowed to grieve for whatever sort of abortion you had, even of a healthy child. Miscarriages are very common, and a lot of the time I told anyone I had a pregnancy loss they say they've had one too. Boy I have learned not to inquire about anybody's pregnancy beyond saying ''how are you doing?'' People said some lame stuff to me about my many pregnancy losses, but they do mean well, so I tried to just hear their supportive intention. Having a healthy child has been a huge consolation. -- hope this helps --

I hope you get lots of support and ideas from people who have been in similarly heartbreaking situations. I have been fortunate to never lose/end a pregnancy, but I was struck by your saying that you couldn't ''just tell everyone you had a second trimester abortion and expect anybody beyond close friends to understand, let alone empathize.''. Of course most people will not truly understand your pain without going through it themselves, but I would certainly hope that any people you choose to tell would empathize.

It sounds like you are carrying some guilt about your decision, or at least fear others' judgment. I just want to let you know that as a totally impartial outsider, I am sure you made exactly the right, most compassionate decision for your baby. Allowing the pregnancy to continue would only have caused suffering for the fetus. You made the best, most courageous decision you could as a mother. I hope that I would have done exactly the same in your position. I would be horrified if anyone you told thought otherwise.

Wishing you all the best in getting through your grief, and for your future healthy pregnanci(es). be proud!

I am so sorry for your loss. I haven't had your experience but I think it would be absolutely fine and truthful for you to simply say that you lost the baby in the second trimester and that you are devastated. If pressed, you can say it was b/c of a chromosomal abnormality and the fetus wasn't viable. I think this is enough information for most people to understand your grief and you don't need to talk about the termination unless you want you. I hope your close friends and family will give you lots of support and I hope you won't feel judged (or judge yourself!) for the terribly difficult decision you faced. anon

There is a fabulous support group through Alta Bates called SANDS (support after neonatal death), which at the time that we went was run by a therapist who had experienced neonatal loss herself. You may want to check it out. There were couples there working through many losses such as yours, and although the first thing we learned there is that every loss is unique, the support was amazing. http://www.altabatessummit.org/health/cpsg_grief.html been there, sometime still am

Dear Friend- Although you may not be Catholic, the Oakland Diocese has an excellent program for ANYONE who has gone through an abortion for ANY reason. It is TOTALLY non-judgemental, non-religious, etc. They have a retreat for parents who have terminated a pregnancy that allows you to recognize the life of your child even though it would not have been viable. You are guided through your grieving process with kindness and recognition of the fine human being that you are. Please consider inquiring about the program...been there. Susan

First of all, my heart goes to you and I wish I could give you a hug. I could have written your post almost two years ago to the day. The very same horror happened to us, same advice from the perinatologist, second trimester, the baby wouldn't have survived, everything. The second anniversary of the termination is coming up and grief is starting to well up in me again. But I can tell you that we have continued to live. We have a new baby who is healthy and beautiful. I can also tell you it was hell. Hell on both of us, hell on our marriage. We went to individual therapy, couples therapy, and -- what I felt helped the most -- group. I strongly recommend you contact Jeanne Menary at 510/845-4656. She runs a support group called Beyond Choice. For me, the most helpful thing was being in a room with other people who had gone through something similar. And then after time passed, being there for someone else made me feel better too.

I wish you the very best during this dark time. All I can say is: you are NOT alone.

There are many of us who have terminated a pregnancy who, like yourself, found we could not talk to those in our usual circles about it. Kaiser Oakland offers a wonderful resource, a twice monthly support group for those run now known as the Beyond Choice support group.

From the current Kaiser Website:

Beyond Choice is a support group for women and their partners who have terminated their pregnancies because of a fetal abnormality. We come together to share stories, concerns, and feelings with others who are suffering the loss of their baby and the difficulty of their decision. Jeanne Menary (510) 845-4656 Ann Bourguignon (510) 752-6755

I am so sorry for your loss and wish you strength through the healing. Been there too

I am very very sorry for your loss. The best way through it is to join a support group specifically for parents who have terminated a pregnancy due to a diagnosis of severe fetal anomaly. There is a group--or at least there used to be--that meets twice a month at a Kaiser facility and is open to non-Kaiser patients. It was free. You will need a referral to it, perhaps from your OB/Gyn or a genetic counselor. Skeptical? Yes, I was, too, having never done any kind of therapy or support group of any kind. But this is where you will be with people who truly have an inkling of what you're going through. No two experiences will be exactly the same, but this support group will be more helpful for you than a traditional miscarriage/stillbirth group, since the diagnosis and the decision are key parts of your loss. Wishing you healing, and very much hoping you will treat yourself with kindness and gentleness as you grieve. Been there

We went through a similar loss about two years ago. Our baby was found to have a genetic disorder resulting in a very abnormal heartbeat which the baby was not likely to survive in utero. We terminated at 23 weeks. At that point, everyone knew but I felt comfortable even telling people who I worked with since I work at a hospital and it was a very unusual disorder. People were very caring and concerned, and I hope you'll find that people just want the best for you and your family, given the unplanned nature of terminating the pregnancy.

We didn't do therapy or groups. The genetic counseling staff at Kaiser-Oakland was extremely supportive.

I found that reading stories about others who had gone through a similar choice made me feel less alone (http://www.aheartbreakingchoice.com/).

I cried a lot and stayed away from newborns and happy pregnant women, and gave myself the space to be down. Being in nature and gardening, creating life, was calming.

Time does slowly heal. Maybe you'll try again when you're ready, but only you'll know when that is. kjl

We terminated a pregnancy under similar circumstances 15 years ago. It was rough, and though I am totally and vocally pro-choice, I mostly told people we lost the baby. It was true and it spared me having to give the details. Also, it is nobody's freakin' business what happened. Anyone who presses you for details doesn't deserve to hear them. An ''I'd prefer not to discuss this.'' should be enough on your part.

I didn't experience a super high level of grief. I did grieve, mostly during the diagnosis and decision-making process. A month or two after the termination, I was okay. I knew it was the right decision.

So, I don't have advice on grief counseling or anything, but I do want you to know that you will get through this. Please cut yourself a break and allow yourself to grieve, but also know that you did the right thing. Time will help enormously. You have all my sympathy.

I am so sorry.. we had the same experience and it was awful. My partner was carrying the baby, so I'll let others speak to that part. However, I would like to tell you that people were AMAZINGLY supportive and empathetic to us. We didn't encounter any criticism about the decision.. and we were very open about what happened. In fact, looking back, I remember the love and support we got as much as the pain and anguish we experienced. If you can, let others console you, bring you food, do nice things for you - it will help while you grieve. anon

I don't know where to begin besides that my heart goes out to you. We too terminated at the late stage of 22 weeks due to a genetic defect that would have meant either severe and painful disability or death soon after birth. Knowing this did not lighten the weight of our decision. We told a few trusted friends and family members, but beyond that we were living in a world that is so completely unacknowledged and underground from the waking world, and so we, my husband and I, were each other's support as much as we could be. I tried therapy but didn't connect with the therapist despite her experience in this area. I just felt empty for a very long time. People told us you never really get over it unless you are fortunate to conceive and give birth to a healthy child. We have indeed been blessed with a beautiful girl, beyond our wildest hopes, but she is not a substitute for our first boy. We will carry him in our hearts always. My advice is to make room in your life to honor this emptiness however best you can. I've heard about a support group at Alta Bates, and a yearly meditation walk they host for these unborn children. And there is a Japanese Buddhist deity devoted to those who don't get born--I can't remember the name, but there are books and statues that may help to serve as a reminder to yourself to honor your little one's brief time in your body and life. Best wishes. 2 pregnancies, 1 baby

Yes, as others have said, visit aheartbreakingchoice.com.

For myself, the turning point was attending ''A Ceremony for Children Who Have Died'' at Green Gulch, which is part of the San Francisco Zen Center. They have these twice a year, I think. The next one is Sunday, 9/16 from 2- 4:30 p.m.

There is no chatting or sharing your story. It's silence. You make some things with cloth and natural objects. The things you make feel both meager and sacred. You leave one in the garden and take one home. Mine sits on my shelf and brings me comfort. I cried my eyes out for my lost baby that day. I honored her. I gave her all the love I had, that I could never give her in ''real'' life. It helps to know that I did that. Especially when it's so much a secret in the rest of life. It was transformative, private, respectful, deep. It's like the service we never had for her, come to think of it. Although you have complete privacy within the group, you feel held by the group, by the others who have also lost children one way or another, born or unborn. I highly recommend it.

http://www.sfzc.org/ggf/display.asp?catid==1460 been there

Guilt about termination

Feb 2010

Two years ago in May, I terminated a pregnancy at 18 weeks. The pregnancy had been very hard and my health was declining during the pregnancy (my asthma was terrible, allergies were awful and I didn't have any energy at all and had a general malaise the entire time). Later, we found out that the home we were renting had very bad mold - and I am very allergic to the type of mold that the home had. I understood later why I felt so awful during the pregnancy and had felt mentally and physically so out of it and challenged. At the same time, my son was just about 2.5 and his asthma was very bad during that time (he too is allergic to the mold that was in the house) and my marriage was in a rough spot (we are now divorcing). I developed and still have a very strong chemical sensitivity that is being managed medically but is reflective of how allergic I was. At the time, I truly felt that terminating the pregnancy was the best choice I could make even though I couldn't articulate what was wrong, I just knew I had to get my health back for myself and my son. Now I am 42 and know that I could have a second child alone if I wanted to but I feel that I can't move forward with it - but I can't stop thinking about it either. The termination haunts me. I think about it everyday and I blame myself for not being stronger somehow and now try to remind myself how sick and how bad I felt. I had consulted numerous doctors and looked for answers at the time but no one could figure out what was wrong. The baby had a balanced reciprocal translocation that had been found in a CVS but it wasn't a reason to terminate. I wanted a second child and am having a lot of anxiety about the ''window'' closing for me given my age. I also need to somehow forgive myself and find peace with this. The pain is pretty intense. Can anyone offer any thoughts about this or words of wisdom? Given how sick I was during the pregnancy and how I literally felt as if I was getting pulled under the tow physically while my body tried to handle the pregnancy at 40 and the mold I learned about later, I felt I did the right thing but now, like I said, it haunts me daily. Thanks for any insight or help. I feel very alone with this all and didn't tell anyone I terminated but instead said I lost the baby. Deeply sad

People don't talk enough about the guilt and deep sadness that can come after an abortion. I terminated a pregnancy 14 years ago, and as I read your post, I realized that now the grief is letting up. It haunted me regularly. I'm now married to and have two children with the father of the baby who was terminated. I am still pro-choice, but in the do-over, I would not have done it, and neither would my husband. It would likely never be the choice for us again. It helped to grieve with him, rather than on my own. And I wish you had that with your partner. Knowing the depth of his pain around the issue helped me feel less alone. When I see other children of friends of the age that child would have been, it can still be hard. I guess I don't have that much advice, just wanted you to know you are not alone, and the tide of grief will tug at you and when it's not there, enjoy the respite. Enjoy the spaces between, and they will grow. At least they have for me. Good luck and be tender with yourself. been there, sort of

I'm so sorry to hear about your sadness because of your loss. Perhaps what happened to you, the intense illness leading up to your termination happened for a reason? Maybe it was meant to happen this way? I guess trust in yourself that you knew at the time what was right for you and your family. I'm sure you did not do it lightheartedly or without intense thought and a sense of loss. Maybe you could read your own words from the same perspective that I am reading them ( a detached stranger who greatly sympathizes with you), that your suffering was (and is) justified and that you are worthy of forgiveness and freedom from guilt.

You lost a child. Even if it was only a fetus, I'm referring to the legitimate emotional/physical bond you felt. Allow yourself to grieve. Talk to the spirit of your lost child. Honor it symbolically. Give it a name. Write it a loving letter, or place flowers on an alter for it. It doesn't matter what religion you are. When I say to ''honor the spirit of the child,'' I'm not talking about something whose existence is necessarily outside your own psyche. Allow yourself to cry for what might have been.

But stop punishing yourself with guilt.

The function of guilt is to let us know we need to make amends for something we've done and also to inform us of what it is that we did that was wrong, so we won't make the same mistake again. If there is are no amends that can be made, for example the person one has wronged is either dead or no longer available, or the mistake we made can't be corrected or undone, your guilt isn't serving any useful purpose. Your guilt isn't doing you or anyone else any good. Acknowledge and express gratitude for any useful lessons you've learned that cannot only benefit yourself but can help others as well to avoid making that same mistake. Finally, use what ever rational self talk you can, to let your guilt go and stop obsessing.

It seems like you got some very helpful comments from the community. If you need to do something active to heal from the grief, check out Goat-in-the-road. In the past they have offered a buddhist ceremony for children who have died whether it be from abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth... anon

Supporting friend terminating Down syndrome pregnancy

June 2011

Hello BPN. I am in the very sad position of having to ask you for advice about how to help my best friend cope with terminating a pregnancy at 13 weeks due to Down syndrome. Since I know this could become one of those hot-topic BPN postings, I'm going to ask you all to please BE KIND in your responses. My friend is an educated, academic 37 year old woman who went through infertility treatments to achieve this pregnancy. She and her husband are devastated by the diagnosis but certain in their decision to terminate. I want to do anything I can to help them through their grief. I was hoping a few of you could provide me with insight into your experiences of deciding to terminate a pregnancy due to chromosomal abnormalities. My friend lives out of state. Are there any online resources where she can connect with other women in her position? Are there any books out there that have helped you cope with your loss? What did people do for you that made you feel loved and supported? Thank you so much. M

We had a baby 6 months ago that has down syndrome. She is doing really well, is healthy and she is a very happy baby. We are very lucky and adore her, down syndrome and all. We also know that not everyone feels the same way we do. In my quest for information about Down Syndrome I did come across this page awhile ago for people who have chosen termination for medical reasons:


There are many different reasons people terminate, but most go through the grief and guilt the same way.

Where I could not disagree more with your friends' choice, they must have their reasons. You are a good friend to help support them in a non-judgemental way. DS Mama

Send your friends to aheartbreakingchoice.com been there

There's a section in ''Bad Mother'', the wonderful book by local writer Ayelet Waldman, that addresses her process in a situation that was similar. I thought it dealt with the termination in a very human and real way.

Perhaps the folks in SF who run a support group for people in the position of terminating because of a genetic diagnosis would know of resources in your friend's area, or books, etc: Life After Loss 415-600-2628 Kersten Spangner

Glad you are so supportive of your friend. You may be the most important ''resource'' to her!

Ouchy Wowchy M,

Please let your friend know that we all send our love to her during this huge envelope in her life. Important to note, that she will have many more huge envelopes as her life progresses, and we'll be cheering for her at every turn, because she is one of us.... a woman. Choices are difficult and thank God, we can trust women to make the right ones.

All is well.

My dear friend Ayelet Waldman made the same painful choice and has written much on the subject. Her book Bad Mother, is a great book.... actually everything she writes is wonderful. She has four kids, let one go that was diagnosed with prenatal disorders.

She may find her a comfort.

I hope she is finding more support than cruel critique. You did indeed open a can of worms here, but Berkeley tends to be pretty pragmatic.....

Much Support and Love, and here comes a little energy ball of joy for the next baby, should that be her call. Reen

Been there and it's brutal. Infertility just adds a twist to all the pain. One of the best on line resources is a moderated list serve called A Heartbreaking Choice: http://www.aheartbreakingchoice.com/ Tell her she will be amazed to hear her story, and have women from all over the country (and other parts of the world) connect on this. It saved me. I was fortunate to meet FTF with women I met online. I would also reccomend therapy with a person who is comfortable with grief and loss, as well as infertility.

Down syndrome is what we terminated for. I was supported by two people - one a very close friend whose younger brother has a 'mild' case and his life has been hard - even with living on his own and 'working' - she would have terminated for that diagnosis. Another friend had an son who was 20, still in diapers and had a handful of words - she too supported the decision.

And I was 37 when this happened, and went own to have two kids whose chromosomes got into the right places - one at 39 and again, breaking all the odds, at 42. Been there, sorry to say

There are two talklines that I would recommend as starting points:

1) Backline (www.yourbackline.org) 1-888-493-0092 for before and after having the procedure.

2) Exhale (www.4ex-hale.org) 1-866-439-4253 for after

Both have extremely well-trained peer counselors who will listen without judgement or assumptions and who know what further resources are out there for any situation, including that of your friend. I wish her the best and am very sorry for what she is going through. Kira

I feel so sad for your friend and I hope she can find comfort in the fact that she's not alone in having to make such a heartbreaking and difficult decision. Having been in the same situation myself, I know she will be feeling a deep sense of grief and loss.

She will need the same things that any other person who is in mourning might need - someone to listen when they feel like sharing, a meal delivered, an understanding note, flowers, a movie or book you think she might like, etc. It will be important to be present with her when she needs a friend and give her space when she needs to be alone. I found walking by myself in the early morning was very therapeutic and gave me a time to be alone in my grief. One book that helped me immensely was Unspeakable Losses: Healing From Miscarriage, Abortion, and Other Pregnancy Loss by Kim Kluger-Bell. There weren't many books about pregnancy loss a few years back but there may be some others available now that might be helpful as well. I would also recommend that she may want to find a support group for interruption of a wanted pregnancy after a genetic diagnosis. There was group in Oakland called Beyond Choice and you may be able to contact them for other resources and groups in the state where she lives.

She's lucky to have a caring friend like you. anon

You are a very kind and thoughtful friend for asking for resources. It's very important that you are there for her and keep talking with her and letting her vent her feelings and describe what she is going through. I think that is one of the most important things that helped me as I have gone through this same process--we terminated for Trisomy 18 at 16 weeks six weeks ago today. What was not very helpful was people choosing to not reach out to me--to let me heal or ''get over things'' by myself and wait for me to reach out. At a time like this, it really helps to have family and friends call and check on that person--especially the day of the termination and right after. Even if it's just to say, hey, how is your body holding up? Obviously, her emotions will be a mess, so you kind of know that answer. It helped to even just talk about the process--at least it did for me. Very few people want to listen to this kind of story. That being said, there are MANY people on the Termination for Medical Reasons group on babycenter.com. I have found this group to be so helpful before, during, and after the termination. Everyone is going through the same thing--and a great deal of women have the very heart-wrenching choice of terminating for T21 (Downs), so she will find a lot of past posts, and a lot of women going through the same conflict and emotions as she is right now. This is a horrible, horrible experience, but it really helps to know that there are others out there, and that the healing does start to happen--and that the healing process is really very different for everyone. What she will find with the women in the group is a complete understanding, no judgment, and full support and empathy. Even if she just reads the posts, it will be helpful. All my best wishes to your friend, and I am glad to know she has a friend like yourself who is caring and supportive. Still working my way through it

Such a heartbreaking and tricky situation for so many reasons. Looks like many have offered resources for women contemplating abortion, but I think that as a true friend, you would also point her to resources about raising a child with down syndrome. I know our world will never come to a consensus about what constitutes a human soul, but there is so much to be said for choosing to keep the pregnancy. If your friend has been struggling with fertility, she may deeply, deeply regret this decision later down the road that she let go of what would have become a beautiful child. She will run into other families raising a child with down syndrome and probably feel a deep loss. I am not trying to downplay the challenges that come along with raising a child with a chromosomal disorder... but it just seems that if your best friend wanted a child, hasn't she received that? Shouldn't she know more about the beauties and joys that could come from having a child with DS? Shouldn't she talk to parents of children/teens/adults with DS? I think a true friend would offer that piece of the puzzle in the most gentle, effective way possible. anon

Healing + courage after terminating a pregnancy

Nov 2007

I recently terminated a pregnancy at 13 weeks due to major chromosomal abnormalities. This has been a tough time for me and I am looking for ways to heal physically and mentally. I've seen a therapist several times which has been good, but I'm looking for something more holistic. Since I was sick for most of the pregnancy I also feel depleated nutritionally. I would love any suggestions (yoga, books, body work and treatments, meditation, retreats, practitioners names, etc). I'm in SF and any resources there or close by would be helpful. I am also looking for ways to build up my confidence and optimism about conceiving in the future. I have been blessed with a wonderful, healthy toddler and there is no history of chromosomal abnormalities in either of our family trees but I am quite scared of the future. I've put off testing to see if either my husband or I are carries of a DNA abnormality but at some point I have to face it. We really want another child. I would love to hear from anyone who has faced something similar and how they got the courage to try again. I'm not optimistic by nature but this experience is forcing me to rethink my outlook on life... hoping to heal

I'm so sorry for your loss. I've lost several pregnancies, one in the second trimester and it's the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with. I found the book A Silent Sorry by Ingrid Kohn to be a big help. For me, it also helped a lot to talk about it with people I trust, instead of keeping it a secret or taboo. I don't know if you ever ''get over'' something like this - It certainly changed me forever. But time does help and so does giving yourself the time and space to mourn. It's important. For us, we had to shift gears and stop trying to get pregnant for awhile. It took me over a year to recover and I can still feel the pain sometimes. My advice is to be kind to yourself. What you're going through is probably going to hurt for some time, but it does get better. It's life, and it's wonderful and wrong, and all sorts of things, you just do your best. Sorry for your loss

Give yourself time to heal emotionally. If you are like most people, there will be a day in the not so distant future where you won't be consumed with either sadness, fear or anxiety. By all means, try again! The success of a subsequent pregnancy will make you feel a lot better about the past situation. I too had a similar thing with my second pregnancy (although it wasn't a genetic problem, so I can't speak to those issues), but once I eventually had my second (healthy) child, the pain of the past was truly behind me. Go for it! Been there too!

I am very sorry about your loss. For me, undertaking a subsequent pregnancy after pregnancy loss was both terrifying and healing. I have a couple of recommendations for you...

1) there are two books that I found to be very helpful. I read these whenever I was feeling scared.

Lanham, Carol Pregnancy after Loss: A Guide to Pregnancy after a Miscarriage, Stillbirth or Infant Death. 1999

Douglas, Ann and Sussman, John Trying Again: A Guide to Pregnancy After Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Loss. 2000

2) there is a wonderful online group called SPALS (Subsequent Pregnancy After Loss www.spals.com)This group is made up of women and men who have experienced pregnancy loss and infant death and are in various stages of trying again. There are many people who are trying to get pregnant, many who are pregnant, and many who are done with this journey.

3) If you are looking for a therapist - I recommend Kim Kluger- Bell. She is in Berkeley and specializes in issues related to pregnancy loss and has written a great book on the subject. She was a terrific support to me through a subsequent pregnancy.

I hope you find peace and comfort on your journey through this process. Been There Too

I feel for you. I've also suffered 2 miscarriages (one in the second trimester last year and the most recent - last week at 10.5 weeks). I also have a toddler and I'm 42. You are unlikely to be carrying anything, although testing will only give you more information. My thoughts are with you, I know it is a hard road healing from a loss. Try some restorative yoga, maybe a loss support group, or some acupuncture ( a good acupuncturist can recommend some healing herbs/diet)? Good luck. susan

You said you feel nutritionally depleted. We should be eating healthily at all times, but even more so under duress, because it provides us the physical strength and hormonal balance necessary to cope. Consider metabolic testing. It's usually $100 or so. They test your blood and let you know where you have deficiencies and you can work from there. Feed yourself wholesome, solid, balanced meals. Don't let yourself skip on it - many lose interest in food during grief. But you must force yourself to eat good stuff that brings you both satiety and health.

Make your physical health your number one priority. Just balancing your hormones could help tremendously with mood.

Also relaxing baths with epsom salts (which allows the skin to absorb needed minerals). If you can put essential oils that smell nice to you in your baths too, all the better - any oil that appeals is good, but a few oil ideas: rosemary is good for the hope to carry on. Grapefruit is good for depression and loving yourself. Clary Sage is good when it's hard to let go of the past.

While doing all these things, get yourself a $10 Sweet Chestnut flower essence from the health food store. This works subtly on the emotional level, and ''brings optimism and peace of mind when anguish overwhelms you and you can't find a way out''. I found it soothing during periods of loss, but note, it doesn't cure you. It simply provides support to help you get to the next step. Hope you feel better

I have been thru this twice, at 18 weeks and at 13 weeks. Healing is slow but it does happen. Get your chromosones tested as soon as you feel up to it - more than likely, they are normal (especially if you have a healthy child and don't have a history of reoccuring miscarriage). there used to be a support group run by CPMC - not sure if they still have it. There is a great one thru Kaiser Oakland that is open to non Kaiser members - I know many women who have travelled many miles to attend. I also recomend the A Heartbreaking Choice list (google it)-- its a moderated email list-serve (I think thats what its called). I was very very skeptical and turned out that I connected with about 8 women from the bay area -- we have been thru so much together and they ''get it'' like no one else. We used to meet regularly for lunch & still connect even tho some have moved out of state.

I would not have survived without accupuncture & regular exercise. My accupuncturist prescribed herbs for anexity & depression, to help me sleep & eventually to help me try to get pregnant again. I cried alot in accupuncture -- it helped that I knew her before the losses.

Many women who have been thru this have talked about knowing when you are ready - and what I have heard the most is that when the fear of another loss is less than the fear of not having another child, you are ready. And subsequent pregnancies are very challenging - another place the Heartbreaking Choice lists come in very handy for support. I am so sorry you are dealing with this. Take care

I am so sorry for you loss. After I lost my first pregnancy a friend told me (who had also had a loss), ''If I hadn't lost that pregnancy, I wouldn't know my daughter. And she has changed everything. I am thankful for her every day.'' That conversation gave me hope. And after my daughter arrived, I now completely understand what my friend was saying, I wouldn't be myself without my daughter. My purpose on Earth is to be my daughter's mother. It was hard for me to see that in the days after my miscarriage, but that concept did help to change the way I saw things.

Take care of yourself. I went back to work way too fast. There were days dealing with the parking lot at the grocery store was overwhelming. Go home and cuddle up with a book. Do acupuncture. That was the most therapeutic advice my body needed. It balanced my hormones and made my body feel like me again. I love Katie Mink at the Bancroft Center for Chinese Medicine. The books listed in previous postings were good. Get hugs from little arms. Spend time with the little people in your life: nieces, nephews, godchildren, etc.... Those hugs are good medicine. Again, I am sorry for your loss. Julia

Had abortion- no relief; only remorse

Dec 2006

i had an abortion 5 days ago and am feeling very, very remorseful and sad. even though i am pro-choice, i believed at the time and after much discussion with my husband, that terminating this pregnancy was the right thing to do. we have 2 lovely children, and i have talked about a 3rd. but we also have a baby and i think a new baby would have overwhelmed all of us. i find myself tearful much of the time, can't be alone without obsessing about what i did to my poor baby, and just plain bummed out. i wonder, did it feel pain? did it have a soul? will i always feel so sad about this baby? and now i also find myself consumed with planning on when i would have a 3rd. i know that i am grieving and probably need therapy (never gone). are there any women out there who had children, chose to have an abortion and then went on to have more children? any good therapists to recommend? sad mom

Call the Exhale hotline right away. This is what they're there for. It's going to be OK. http://www.4exhale.org/
An abortion provider

What you're feeling is normal----very sad, remorseful. Remember, though, that you made that choice because you're a responsible parent who wanted to make sure your two existing children received the attention and support they're entitled to, as well as ease any blows to the marriage from the stress of the an additional pregnancy and new baby. I had the same experience. Two wonderful little children and I got pregnant with a 3rd. At the time, my second was a terror---- tempermental to the max. It was very demanding, emotionally. I didn't want #2 to become an ignored, middle child and make my future life more miserable, due to lack of attention from child #3. I chose abortion.

After the abortion, I'd cry and regret my choice for the first few weeks, wondering what the aborted fetus, as a child, would had been like. It got better over time----I felt bad occasionally, but reassured myself about why I made that choice. About 2 yrs later I accidentally became pregnant again, but (I'm sure due to the earlier abortion) it ended in a miscarriage. After that I didn't become pregnant again. We have 2 great kids----sometimes I wonder what would've happened with my second child's personality if we had gone ahead and had #3, but we're very happy with two and I think our lives have been a lot more enjoyable and less hectic as a result. We had more money/benefits (travel, classes, tutors) for the 2 than we would've had for 3. I still feel I made the best choice to protect my second child's needs. There will always be a little question about that choice, but if you know why you made it, you can always be sure you did it for the right reason. Just because everyone else is having 3 kids doesn't mean you have to, too. There seems to be a bit of peer pressure/keeping up with the Joneses to have 3 kids. Pro-choice isn't just for non-marrieds

When I had my abortion, I also was very distressed. In retrospect, I think it had a lot to do with hormonal fluctuations. You just had a major hormaonal shock to your system. I would encourage you to talk to an OB about that and see what they say. Please give it time. You are still recovering physically and I am sure you will feel better soon

dear sad mom: reading your post broke my heart! I had an abortion earlier this year-- totally the right decision for our family (we decided long ago to only have one), but it was a hard decision nonetheless & one that brought with it lots of sadness. 5 days is not that long ago-- please give yourself time to grieve; what you are going through sounds like a totally normal reaction. if you would like to talk to a therapist, Kim Kluger- Bell on Solano Ave specilaizes in pregnancy termination & loss (I saw her after a miscarriage & after the abortion). her number is 510 524-1475. also there is an after-abortion hotline called Exhale that Planned Parenthood recommended, though I never called it: 866 439-4253 not sad anymore

I debated whether or not to answer your post, because my situation is a little bit different than yours. I've never had an abortion, but I lost three pregnacies, one when my son was two years old. I know the pain of loss. And if this just happened in your life only five days ago, you are no doubt feeling both physical and emotional loss. It will take your body some time to return to your non-pregnant state, and the hormonal and other physical changes do have an effect on emotions. You will need time. Be kind to yourself.

I'm also concerned by some of your questions about the baby. I think they are completely normal and it's probably a good thing in the long run for you to be thinking about things. When it comes to matters of soul, you are stepping into an area where there are strong beliefs and strong judgements. Take care there.

It might help to realize that there are a wide variety of beliefs in human societies about life and soul. For instance, some systems believe in reincaration, a soul, or spirit, or life force can be born into different lives over the ages. Some religions beleive that a baby's soul or spirit does not come to completely reside in the body until later points in pregancy or even after the child is born. If a pregnancy is lost before those points, the soul or spirit finds another body to merge with.

These ideas won't change what's happened, and probably won't help much in the course of your grief. But I mention them here to offer ways in which you don't have to be so hard on yourself. You made what sounds like a decision for your whole family. However, you are the one who must feel the physical loss deepest. Allow yourself room to grieve. Have a ritual to commemorate the baby's brief time in your life if that sounds like it would help, and allow it to go on. You may never be completely *over* this loss. I still sometimes find myself weeping. But you will return to a sense of balance. For me the greatest help is remembering to be inn the present moment, by focusing on my child , my family and my community. With all my heart, I wish you peace anon

Everything that you are feeling is normal. There is no ''right'' way to feel. There is a great organization called EXHALE which offers free, non-judgemental, confidential phone counseling to women who have had abortions (and their allies). They are ''pro-voice''! If it was 5 days ago or 50 years ago, you still have a right to your complicated feelings and to be listened to and supported. www.4exhale.org info [at] 4exhale.org After-Abortion Talkline: 1-866-4 EXHALE Monday - Friday, 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. Pacific Saturday - Sunday, 12 p.m. - 10 p.m. Pacific Counseling available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin and Tagalog. it helps to talk and get support

Oh, sweet lady, I'm so sorry to hear of your sadness. I send many hugs. Please, please, please contact Project Rachel online and by phone. Their purpose is to comfort women in your situation who are grieving. Your aching heart needs the words they have for you. You are a wonderful mom and you did what you thought was best for your family. To be able to best serve your family from now on, you need to heal your mama's heart. Please call them. Their phone # is on their website. stlprojectrachel.org/ Let yourself be comforted so you can comfort your 2 babes

Regarding post-abortion counseling, I noticed two posts recommending anti-abortion organizations, though neither post identified them as such. Those organizations are Project Rachel and First Resort. Anna

My heart is with you. You did a hard thing, made a difficult choice. Neither another child nor an abortion is easy. You're feeling sad and that's okay. Your raging pregnancy hormones are leaving your body. Remember the first two weeks after your children were born? How emotional it was? It's like that again, your hormones have nothing to do but dissipate, which takes a little time. Crying is okay. It helps. I still think about what might have been, but I can only guess and hope and wonder if I still made the right decision to abort, but have to accept that it was the right decision at the time, since that was what I knew at the time. What's so damn hard too is you don't really get to grieve openly about an abortion, like when you miscarry or something. Please find a therapist and talk to your partner too. You both have feelings about this and each other It will be okay

I want to extend my support to you at this time. I can understand the mixed feelings that you are having. Having mixed feelings is very normal yet very confusing. I wanted to recommend Kim Kluger Bell who is a therapist in Albany/Berkeley - her phone is 524-1475. She's written on pregnancy loss through both miscarriage and abortion. Take care of yourself Amy

Sad mom, your posting really struck me. I had an abortion several years ago and although I didn't feel as you are feeling, I certainly can understand how hard it could be. I think you need to dedicate some time to allow yourself to grieve your loss -- it's a sad thing you had to do. That doesn't in any way conflict with your pro-choice conviction, so let yourself fully mourn. I really hope you don't get bombarded with well meaning anti-abortion messages because I think you are already carrying enough feelings of guilt and remorse. It sounds like you are on the right track with seeking out a therapist to help and support you during this time. I hope you find peace and don't beat yourself up for what was a very difficult decision that you genuinely felt was for the best LR

Perhaps you should seek out post-abortion counseling? I know that First Resort offers this, and I believe the cost is very low. You are definitely not alone in allthe feelings you described after having an abortion, and you should definitely find some place to work through and process your experience!

Regarding post-abortion counseling, I noticed two posts recommending anti-abortion organizations, though neither post identified them as such. Those organizations are Project Rachel and First Resort. Anna

Dear Sad Mom, My heart goes out to you. What a difficult decision to make and what a difficult time to have to make it. I think you already know that you made the right choice for your family and that counseling and time will help. I hope that hearing everyone's compassionate responses on BPN helps too.

As a Pro-Choice Pastor I wanted to offer a few thoughts on the baby's soul. I don't know if the unborn have souls from conception or if the acquire them somewhere along the way, but classic Christian thought has always held that the unborn are sinless. If a baby dies in the womb Christians believe that nothing would hinder her from entering paradise.

Three year ago yesterday my mother died. I remember a friend telling me then that at Christmas time heaven comes a little closer to earth and that her journey between places would be swift and sure.

I also remember that December seemed so sad with the days so short and the nights so long. But after Solstice the days started slowly getting longer, just a few minutes at a time. It seemed like a good metaphor for grief. You never get over it, but it does get better. The sun will shine again.

My prayer is that this will happen for you too. I hope that you will feel secure about your baby and that happiness will slowly enter your life again too.

Blessings to you and your family. Call if I can help. Shepherd of the Hills, Berkeley Katie

I'm not in your situation but I felt that I needed to respond because I remember that aching. I have always wanted children. I got pregnant when I was 20 and felt very connected to that child. I new it would be a girl, I knew what she would look like. I was in a stupid relationship and really felt that I had no option but to terminate the pregnancy. I am now in my 30s with a wonderful toddler.

An abortion is a loss and it will take time for you to resolve this loss within yourself. You are grieving and that is to be expected. Many women have ceremonies to honor that loss. I remember praying that I could just get through one day without thinking about it and feeling that pain. I repressed it in my daily life, but I remember crying almost everytime I took a shower. I didn't get therapy until years later and then realized how much it had hurt me emotionally. Therapy will help. But you will still grieve and there will still be times when it is painful. I have realized that it was the right decision for me at the time, but I will always wish that it was a decision that I didn't have to make.

For therapy, I recommend Beverly Parrish in Berkeley. She is a gentle soul and really helped me work through my guilt albeit a few years after the fact.

Best of luck to you anon