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Planning A Hypothetical Abortion

So there I was, my eighteen-week-old baby sitting on my knee, talking to my doctor about having a termination.

Let’s be clear: I’m not pregnant. My GP and I were discussing the termination of a hypothetical pregnancy. I’d thought I was relatively content with my contraceptive choices – heck, I wasn’t even there to talk about contraception – but we got talking. And, well, one thing led to another.

My choice, which involves two types of contraceptive, aren’t great in several ways. So we talked through different options, he answered all my questions, and we weighed the pros and cons. And then I asked what would happen if I requested a termination.

That’s where this was heading, after all. All this talk about contraception, because I don’t want to be pregnant. I’ve had two unplanned pregnancies and have two children. I’ll be forever grateful that my doctor listened. He talked me through the process. What he would have to do, and then the appointments that would follow elsewhere.

I just couldn’t go through another pregnancy and have another child. At least, not for many years to come, and even then, I’m not sure. There are so many reasons as to why, but they all come back to the same point: If I became pregnant, I would end that pregnancy.

It turns out that to have a termination, I’d have to go to a hospital that’s over an hour away. This wasn’t something I’d known before, and walking away from my appointment with the doctor, I was glad I’d asked what was involved and grateful that he’d been straight with me. There was no suggestion that I wouldn’t be the one to have their contraception fail. No suggestion that I would surely welcome another child. Instead he told me what I needed to know.

Planning a hypothetical termination meant having to face facts: Contraception can fail. You can throw around all the low failure rates in the world, but that doesn’t change the fact that no contraception is 100%.

I came home from the appointment, and once our children were asleep, I talked to my husband. I laid out the facts. He said what he always says, which is that he’d support me and my decisions. There was no getting away from the knowledge that we would both be devastated at having to terminate a pregnancy, but there was also no getting away from knowing that we couldn’t have another child.

Days have passed since then. I’ve come up with umpteen different ideas for what we do about contraception, but I can’t get away from knowing that whatever I choose could fail. And that if it fails, I’m having a termination.

So here I am. For now, I’ve made my decision. I’ve told my husband, and he agreed. It hurt to tell him and I knew he was feeling that hurt, too. I’ve decided that I don’t want to have sex. At least, I’ve decided I don’t want to have sex until our baby is a year old. I just can’t stomach the risk of becoming pregnant and having a termination while our baby is so little. There are so many reasons why not to. Childcare, medications, breastfeeding, and the sheer emotional upheaval of it all, to name a few. Once our little one is a year old, I’ll get an IUD. Then it’s simply hoping that an act of love doesn’t turn a hypothetical termination into a real one.

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