How Do I Get Over Abortion Guilt & Ticking Biological Clock?

Profile picture for user Betty Dodson

Betty Dodson

Dear Betty,

I love to visit your website several times a week to laugh, listen and learn. Thank you and Carlin for your wonderful work.

I am an artist, living in a european capital, I am single and turning 39 this year. From age 29 to 35 I was living with a man younger than me and who at the time did not have legal papers to stay in my country. For me (late bloomer) it was my first real serious relationship and I was very much in love. After one year I got pregnant. I remember I was feeling happy and proud, thinking something like "I am a real woman now". When I told the boyfriend he reacted totally hostile, saying a child was out of the question. He immediately started pressuring me to have a abortion, menacing that he would leave me if I carried on with the pregnancy. Everything got really ugly, I felt crushed for being rejected and being denied help, understanding and support when I most needed it.

I figured I had to make up my mind alone. There was no one I could ask for advice and the local "planned parenthood" counselor was not much of a help. (In this country they by law are obliged to give you a counseling but to take a totally neutral stand). I decided to end the pregnancy due to the fact that at that point I was unemployed, we were living in a bad apartment in a bad area and I was having thyroid health problems as well as anxiety problems and depressive episodes. I felt I had no right to bring a child into these conditions.

Afterwards times were tough as I struggled to get us to better places, basically ALL my friends moved in with their partners, married, had babies... while I could barely talk about my experience and if I did I was badly judged. It is unbelievable how taboo and shame ridden the whole subject is!

Looking back now I cant understand why I went on to stay with him several more years... Not only did I stay and help him in every way possible. And above all I was trying all the time to prove to him that I could become super successful, healthy, beautiful, in short "good mother material" (sounds horrible, I know). I even started a second career where I teach art to children to show my ex that I have a good way with children. (Ironically it turned out that I am doing a very very good job teaching and it has become a very satisfying and fun career....:-)

Obviously my attempts to convince him of my mother&wife qualities failed. Basically all he wanted was that I was a mother(figure) to HIM, to tend to him, help and nurture him, getting jobs for him, helping with his papers, translating etc... There were also lots of fights over responsibilities, money and underlying it all the conflict (well, my conflict because to him the abortion had been "nothing") Open conversations about the baby issue were not possible, "not now, maybe later" he used to say.

Everything ended in 2012 and he moved in directly with his "great love". With that woman he has a child now...

Betty, how do I handle the situation? How do I let go of the past? How do I get past the feelings of having made an irreparable mistake. The bitterness, the shame and guilt, the rejection, the feeling of having missed my only chance to have a child... How do I step past my anger against the ex and myself for having been so stupid to stay with him and waste my time?

And how do I make peace with the present? It is not that I am dying to have a child. But there is a longing, a longing for life and love and togetherness to give and share. It is more like my body and soul wants to become pregnant while my head is shit scared. I have become super sceptical and mistrusting towards men. The most I can handle is a friendship with benefits. At 39 it is also not very easy to find a partner who would want to have a baby with me. Any advice so I can change to a positive perspective?

I appreciate it very much, if you (and Carlin, maybe?) find the time to give me a little help.

Thank you and best wishes

Dear D,

I continue to forgive myself on a daily basis. My so-called "mistakes" were sign posts pointing to a better future.

Now when I look back at my youth, I bless my three abortions and the one miscarry when I was married and my husband wanted to have children. I love the life I've chosen which was to be a committed single devoted to my work first as an artist and then as a sex educator.

You are still so young at 39. Carlin didn't have her baby until she was 42. This was after dating and enjoying sex with numerous partners until she felt ready to have a baby. Our website was doing well and when she reunited with a friend who worked with her 12 years ago and they started dating. Instead of falling tor the unreality of romantic love which burns hot and dies out, she married an old friend and they both wanted to be parents.

So count your blessings you are well rid of a selfish "Baby" posing as a man. Now you can enjoy yourself and from a position of self-love and strength, meet someone who deserves you. Time for a passionate love affair with yourself while you are healing from your self-inflicted abuse that happens to so many of us. We end up with worthless man/babies who suck us dry. Celebrate! You just dodged a deadly bullet. Now get on with your life.

Dr. Betty

Mentions And Related Topics