by ASHLEIGH MUTIMER
Two years ago I had an abortion. Two years ago to the day I had to make one of the most soul-crushing and horrific decisions of my life.
Christopher* and I had been together for three years and we’d been discussing starting a family for the last six months. He was in his early 40′s and starting to feel time was slipping away from him. I was in my early 20′s and could think of nothing better than having children with the love of my life.
We were away on a business trip when I discovered I was pregnant. Overjoyed, I began making OB/GYN appointments back home, looking at baby clothes and buying baby books by the dozen. If Christopher wasn’t quite as excited as me, I chalked it up to work stress and figured he would be more excited once we’d seen the ultrasound.
The day we flew home I drove straight to my doctor and she booked my eight week scan for the following Thursday. Christopher was holding my hand when we saw our baby for the first time – not much more than a blip on the screen but hearing that little heartbeat suddenly made it real. This was really happening!
Christopher chose that night to tell me he couldn’t do it. “I saw the excitement on your face today and I just don’t feel it. I’m sorry but I can’t.” Needless to say, I was crushed…furious…bewildered…scared.
For the next four days I ran the gamut of emotions from A-Z, trying to work out what had happened, what I was going to do. By the Sunday Christopher had come to a decision. He sat down with my parents and I, looked me dead in the eye and informed me that he didn’t love me; I was free to do whatever I liked but he would make me fight for every penny of child support and he wanted no part of this child’s life.
In the space of four days I had gone from the belief I was bringing a child into a loving family to the knowledge I was about to be a single parent at 22. Without a full time job and nothing but a $16,000 car loan to my name I was trapped between the proverbial rock and hard place, not knowing how to live with either decision.
Looking back, I don’t remember much about that time except a vague sense of drowning. I found an amazing counselor who first helped me reach my decision to terminate…then he helped me live with that decision. It’s taken a really long time but I’ve finally made my peace with everything that happened.
Over the last year I’ve found the strength to open up and talk to others about it. What has surprised me is the number of women who know exactly the pain I went through. Though not polite dinner party conversation, so many of us have been there in one way or another and realising that I’m not alone has somehow made each day that much easier. If I can help just one other person feel less isolated then going public with my story has been worth it.
*Name has been changed for privacy reasons.
Since graduating from high school in 2005, Ashleigh has either been working in hospitality or traveling. She has decided 2012 will be remembered as the year she resolved to join the adults and get a real job.