real life

"The ultimatum that ruined my marriage."


By: Helen Hignett for Divorced Moms.

I stood there, not knowing what to say, with thousands of thoughts racing through my head.

Did he really just say that? Did I hear him right? No, he wouldn’t. Yes, he did! And in the blink of an eye my world fell apart…. I was given an impossible choice to make that would end my marriage either way.

What am I talking about, I hear you say….

It all started on a Friday morning in June 2013. I recently had some routine blood tests done at the doctor’s office when I received a telephone call that would change my life.

checking your phone
"I received a telephone call that would change my life." Image via iStock.

The doctor congratulated me on my pregnancy and informed me I would need to book in for my early pregnancy assessment due to my previous pregnancy history. I was delighted but nervous as we hadn't planned this pregnancy.

I told my husband the wonderful news and I could tell immediately by the look on his face he wasn't happy. He told me he didn't want the baby, didn't want to talk about it, and I was not to tell anyone. My heart sank.

We drove to our friends in Scotland as planned and spent the weekend. We didn't discuss the pregnancy and the weekend was a struggle both physically and emotionally.

Days went by and he didn't want to talk about it. We argued like never before and then one day, two weeks after the telephone call, my world fell apart.

"I don't want the baby," he said. "I never wanted her," pointing to our beautiful 20-month-old daughter. "I only married you and had her for you. If you have this baby, our marriage is over. It's our marriage or the baby," and he left.

"My head was spinning. I couldn't stop the tears from streaming down my cheeks. " Image via iStock.

My head was spinning. I couldn't stop the tears from streaming down my cheeks. Did I really just hear my husband give me an ultimatum? No, I couldn't have. He wouldn't say that. Would he? Yes, he did. My husband, the father of my daughter, was giving me an ultimatum.

I felt like my heart had just been ripped out of my chest. How can I make this choice? How could he put me in this situation, knowing how devastating the loss of my two previous pregnancies had been.

For the next few days we barely spoke. When we did, it was like world war three. I had every conceivable possibility running through my head. I couldn't sleep, I binge ate, I was so consumed with what happened and what to do. In secret, I confided in a dear friend.

My daughter and I were then involved in a minor car accident that required an ambulance to attend. This, unfortunately, happened in the neighbourhood my husband and I work. I had to tell the paramedic of my pregnancy, and in turn, people at work found out.


A few days later, I came home from work and took my daughter outside into our beautiful garden and watched her as she played with our dog, oblivious to my heartbreak.

When my husband came home, I asked him to come and sit with us, and there I told him I had made my choice, fighting back the tears I told him I had booked an appointment for the following day to end my pregnancy and save my marriage. He told me it was the right thing to do and he will tell people we suffered another unfortunate miscarriage. I was speechless.

Work friends congratulated us, I told my husband. He was then concerned his family would find out and we hadn't told them. My husband phoned his mother and told her I was pregnant, but the baby is not viable and I have to go to the hospital the following day for assistance with the "miscarriage." I felt disgusting; I didn't want to do this, I desperately wanted my baby.

"I desperately wanted my baby." Image via iStock.

I didn't sleep that night and the next day was a blur. My husband dropped me at the hospital and he went to our friends house who were aware of the situation. I met with the doctor and that day I ended my pregnancy. I immediately regretted what I had done and right there in that moment I knew my marriage was over.

He picked me up with my daughter, flowers and a "Thinking of you card." I felt sick.

I couldn't look at him. I was devastated.

I tried to forgive him and continue with our marriage. I became very depressed, I couldn't leave the house, I hated myself for what I had done, and I hated my husband for giving me the devastating ultimatum.

I wanted separate rooms in the house while I dealt with the destruction and grief left behind.

He then began to put me down for gaining weight, for being in my PJs all day - telling me I was a mess and why would anyone want to be with me. He would put pictures of me looking beautiful and slim in front of my face and shout, "Where is she? Where is the woman I fell in love with?"


It was a daily struggle not to cry. I no longer wanted to feel the pain and hurt. I was at rock bottom and the only light was my daughter. She kept me from ending it all because I couldn't bare to leave her, not see her smile again, or never hear the words, "I love you, mummy," again.

Then one day after my husband put me down, I was crying and my daughter started to cry and said, "Has daddy made you cry again, mummy?" My heart broke. I finally realised that not only had the problems affected me, but my daughter also.

ruined marriage
"Has daddy made you cry again mummy?" Image via iStock.

So just after our daughter's third birthday, I told my husband I wanted him to move out of our family home. It was extremely hard to do so, but I could never forgive him for the ultimatum and the constant emotional abuse following.

We sold our family home, and my daughter and I moved into rented accommodation. I was so broke I struggled to put food on the table and only heated my house when my daughter was home.

I have slowly started to rebuild my emotional well-being, though it's an ongoing battle. I still haven't come to terms with the decision I made and I'm not sure I ever will. I try to take each day at a time. It's a constant struggle, but with the smile of my beautiful daughter and my friends, I'm slowly finding myself again. I still have a lot of issues to deal with because of the tough time. It impacted my work, but I've learned some valuable lessons and they have made me the woman I am today.

My divorce will be finalised imminently, and although I'm sad that my marriage failed and we are no longer a family unit, I've realized I deserve so much more than what I accepted. One day I hope to find someone who will love me and my daughter unconditionally through the good times and the bad. I'm not looking for someone who is perfect, just someone who is perfect for me.

Have you been through a traumatic divorce? How did you cope?

This post originally appeared on Divorced Moms.