I was over 40 when I was blessed with pregnancy and a wonderful daughter. Her dad and I are not married, but we are responsible and loving and do nearly everything as a family. But I am struggling with the realization that I probably won’t become pregnant again naturally. In vitro fertilization is cost prohibitive, and I feel guilty about not wanting to adopt, but I know how important prenatal care is (and how difficult it is not to drink coffee for 40 weeks or have a nice, cold beer with friends). I was ready to be a mom, so I was willing to make the necessary sacrifices, but some women won’t. Mostly, I have regret for becoming pregnant earlier in my life, when I was not ready to have children emotionally or financially, and terminating the existence of that amazing miracle. How can I move past this?
Be grateful for your regret. It teaches you to sweeten your decision-making process by slowing it down. That leisurely approach allows time to consider the implications of your choices now and into the future. It also provides useful perspectives, like this: Babies don’t always arrive at the most convenient times, but the experience of parenthood, as you have certainly learned, is not about what is convenient for adults. It is about love, the kind of love that the ancient Greeks called agape—a willingness to extend oneself selflessly to serve the needs of another. It’s the antithesis of selfishness.
If a woman becomes pregnant, and doesn’t feel emotionally or financially prepared, it’s an act of selfless love to have the child and allow a responsible adult or couple to adopt the baby. But you didn’t. So how do you forgive yourself? With great compassion. As you now see, abortion is more than a surgical procedure; it’s a life-altering decision for the couple and the child. It also deeply affects the community. After all, if we hold the belief that there is a psychic connection among all human beings (“we are all one”), then the choice to end a child’s life impacts the planet.
You probably did not allow yourself to fully feel your emotions when you had the abortion. The cultural chorus that advocates abortion tends to deny the possibility of grief. But you must grieve what you clearly perceive as the riches that slipped through your fingers years ago. Then acknowledge this other life lesson: You chose abortion because you were afraid that you were not ready to be a parent. In your life right now, what else do you believe is too big to handle? When we experience an idea, project or life situation as bigger than us, we are playing small in life. “Too big” means we are called to be as big as or even bigger than the obstacle facing us. As we accept the challenge, we evolve spiritually.
One last thing: Remind yourself regularly that you have all that you need in life. So if your life doesn’t include something or someone (like another child), then you simply don’t need that thing or person. There’s freedom and joy in accepting a good life, like yours, as it is.