Thursday, January 31, 2008

A hard decision

I was browsing through a blog that I read occasionally and saw a reference to an essay from Skirt magazine written by Alison Piepmeier. The essay is about her decision to have an abortion, how it affected her and her husband's relationship, and how they made amends to the fetus. The essay has generated a lot of comments, some supportive and others that are highly judgmental and downright nasty.

Alison's essay brought back a time when my wife and I struggled with this tough decision. I think that it's impossible for anyone to understand the emotions surrounding such a decision unless you've had to make it. I believe that terminating a pregnancy is a very personal decision and one that Alison didn't take lightly.

My wife and I had to make a similar decision years ago. It too was painful but the timing of the pregnancy wasn't right and neither of us was prepared for a baby. In fact, both of us felt that we were too messed up to think about bringing a child into the world. And yet, there it was--she was pregnant and we had to deal with the situation. So after going through a lot of soul searching, my wife decided to terminate the pregnancy. I accepted that decision for a lot of reasons, most of which had to do with the deterioration of our marriage, the focus on our careers, and a level of responsibility that neither of us wanted.

Although I've revisited that decision many times since then, it has only been since being in Al-Alon and working the steps, that I've made an amends for the decision to terminate the pregnancy. It also appears that Alison and her husband accepted their decision, made an amends to the fetus, and moved on with their life. But there are still moments when I wonder how it all would have turned out should the baby have been born. That indicates to me that I haven't completely shut the door on the past. My wife doesn't speak about this anymore and hasn't for years. I know that I can't undo what is done nor would I want to. At that time, it was the best decision. In retrospect, because my father's drinking affected me negatively, I believe that it was still the best decision given the genes involved and the situation of growing up around an alcoholic.

So ours was a decision based on probabilities and emotions, and it was a selfish decision for those reasons. But I know that the decision was not made flippantly. And I also know that no person has a right to judge or forgive such actions. That's up to the Higher Power. And that's a discussion that I will likely have with the HP for a long time.


  1. Thanks for your thoughtful comments, and for being willing to blog about your own experience with abortion.

  2. I agree, Syd. It is an extremely personal decision and not to be judged. No one can possibly know what it is like until they have been faced with it.
    Nice piece of writing here about a very intimate subject. thanks for having the courgae to put it out there.
    One more thing that struck me -- "So ours was a decision based on probabilities and emotions, and it was a selfish decision for those reasons."
    For me, the decision tohave a child is the same.

  3. I've just been doing essay writing about making such difficult decisions, where there is no clear way out of the muddle. I have no patience for people who follow arbitrary rules in the face of life's ambivalences or confusion. Such decisions must be made while squarely facing reality. Thanks for the post, Syd.

  4. After reading this article several times, my own feelings prompted extreme compassion for these people for a decision they felt necessary. In spite of others' (mine included) opinions, this situation was THEIR responsibility entirely, and I feel no one has the right to chide them in any way or to pass judgment (this is God's job anyway) for their decision. They are obviously very pained by their choice, and have used their legal right, as well as compassionate maturity to deal with a situation they were powerless over, in order to begin the healing process. My own opinion is, 'God in His all-powerful wisdom, loves each of us - no matter what - and I firmly believe forgiveness is available to any and all who honestly confront their own feelings and actions in any given situation.' I can only hope (and yes I pray for them to have peace with this problem) that they will process this, and get on with their lives. Time to let go of the past (Let Go and Let God) - - - He can handle anything. No, I do not believe He is a punitive God, either. I punished myself for my transgressions; He did not - - - He merely loved me through it all!

    Thanks for your honesty, Syd!
    Love, Anonymous #1

  5. Brave topic here, Syd. As you know I am surrounded by children in my life which I cherish with all my heart and I am very glad for the decisions made to bring them into this world. But none of us are in a position to judge another human being on our decisions. I do not want to be judged for the decisions I made nor will I judge someone else for the decisions they made. I am now going to go over to Alison's blog and read her story because we all have one. Thanks for your honesty.

  6. Wow.Kudos for sharing something like this Syd.I hope you take some comfort in knowing,we in your cyber circle,do not judge you.

  7. In life there are so many decision we get to regret. This is a hard one.

  8. I always think it odd that we humans sometimes think we know what is right for another. Most of the time I don't even know what is right for ME.
    I'm glad you can write about what you are feeling.

  9. that is a tough and personal issue that. something everyone has to do for themselves. i don't believe there's a black or white here, but multiple shades of gray!

  10. Thank for sharing such a personal story and issue. Thankfully I have not had to face such a decision but I hope if I ever did I would do so in such a thoughtful manner.

  11. I had an abortion about a decade ago (I wrote a bit about it in my blog) and second guess myself all the time about the decision. I keep telling myself that in that time, space, frame of mind, etc. it was what was best to be done. My husband and I never talk about it, and I am not sure I want to.

    Still, I am glad I had the choice to make, even if I would probably not make the same one again.


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.