In part 4 of the series (read the previous parts here, here and here), Noémi bares her soul: she tells the honest story of her abortion 10 years ago. She also went to a psychologist to be able to process her decision and accept its consequences. The series is about a couple living in Hungary, so it presents the adoption system of Hungary. Written by Noémi Szabó.
Why am I different?
For years, I have been wondering about why I feel different from others: why is it that I don’t desire motherhood like so many people around me? My friends have reached the age when everyone is married and planning to have children (some of them even had their first or second child already). This has an effect on me and Ádám as well. On the one hand, we’re under a bit of social pressure; after all, “having children is the meaning of life”. On the other hand, as a woman, I feel I should desire motherhood. I should long for the joys of pregnancy and childbirth. But I don’t feel this irresistible urge. What’s wrong with me?
I can make a stand for my decision that I do not want this and that I would prefer to have children by other means, but it would still be nice to know why I think like this, why I’m not like other women.
After dealing with the idea of adoption for months, one morning when we were just traveling home from Ádám’s mom, I said out what has been bugging me for days: maybe it’s the shame I feel over my abortion 10 years ago why I wouldn’t be comfortable with others seeing my growing tummy. Ádám wasn’t surprised, he already had this in mind as a possible explanation – he sees me more clearly from the outside.
In September 2020, I went to a psychologist so that I wouldn’t have to process my past “mistake” on my own. I didn’t know if it was going to help, I hadn’t been to a psychologist before, but I was hopeful. Eszter, my psychologist (I never would have thought I’d call someone my psychologist one day) is an expert in topics related to having children, so she was glad to talk to me.
Below, I’m telling everything with the same sincerity as I did to her on our first meeting. Until now, no one knew about what happened to me except for my mom, her partner, my then-partner, a couple of my girlfriends and my current partner. Not even my brother and sister knew.
Saying the unspeakable
I’d been dating a guy for a few months; I’d been still living with my parents, and he’d already been living with us for a while: six people in a three-room apartment, just after the 2008 economic crisis, and I was preparing for high school graduation. I didn’t really know what I wanted to be, which university or college I should be applying to, but I was sure that I didn’t want to become a manual worker like my parents.
Now I know that I was already pregnant during high school graduation. But I only got diagnosed later. I remember that my mom and my then-partner were there with me at the clinic, going from one examination to another. Then one of the doctors declared the “verdict”.
I knew that I didn’t want to, that I couldn’t keep the baby.
My partner wanted to keep it, but we were not ready for it: we had no money, no place to live, and I didn’t even have a profession, and I was just admitted to university.
Before the abortion I had to go for counseling; they tried to convince me to keep the baby. I was crying almost through the whole thing. But I cried a lot around that time anyway. It was a heavy burden, and I blamed myself for being so stupid. Obviously, I knew how pregnancies work, we live in a civilized place and in the 21st century after all. I used to take contraceptives at some point, but we didn’t always have the money for it.
My mom supported me all the way. She probably would have supported me even if I had kept the baby, but she let me decide for myself; I was and adult and had to bear the consequences.
I have a sister and a brother, they’re 7 and 10 years younger than me, respectively. I always strove to set a good example to them. But this I didn’t dare tell them.
I didn’t want them seem me as bad, flawed, fallible. When I had to go to the hospital, I told them I was going to sleep at one of my girlfriends.
At the hospital, I was pretty scared, shivering at the thought of the “scraping”, and I felt sorry for my unborn child. On the first day, the doctors dilated me as I had never given birth before. The next day, after a lot of waiting, I was next in line. I lay down on the table, got the anesthetics and it was over. I was released quite soon after waking up. There was no pain – no physical pain, at least. But I was very sad.
Life without him, with him
I remember that he was supposed to be born on February 14th, I think that was on the papers, but I can’t clearly recall it anymore. I’ve been commemorating him on this day every year since. I think about how old he would be and what life would be like with him.
Countless times have I fantasized about how my life would’ve turned out if he’d been born. I probably wouldn’t have a degree now. Maybe we would’ve stayed together with my then-partner, but it wouldn’t have been a happy relationship by then. We might have had more kids since then. We would have lived in poverty, moving from one rented flat to another. That’s what I think now. Of course, I would have received lots of smiles, hugs and kisses from my child.
I do not regret my decision; I wouldn’t want to be the person I would’ve ended up with him. Now I live in a happy relationship, I’m in a much better socioeconomic situation; we managed to raise enough money that buying an apartment became a possibility. We are starting a family.
How I tell others
When, over the years, someone got close enough for me to know they wouldn’t judge me no matter what they knew about me, I told them. Since then, even a few men got close enough to me that I shared my “sin’ with them. Do I really consider it a sin? After all, it’s not a secret, but it’s not something I will share with just anyone.
At the psychologist
I’ve been to Eszter a total of six times so far. I can’t tell whether it helped. Then COVID got worse again and the sessions cost a lot, so I can’t afford therapy indefinitely. So, for the moment, I stopped going to her. I might do it again but I’m not sure.
I will ask her if she thinks we’ve made any progress. I can’t tell because I don’t even know what can be achieved with a psychologist :) Ádám said that it’s definitely a good result to be sitting here and writing all this down to you, to everyone, to the world. I dare say it out loud, I take responsibility for my actions and maybe I’m less and less ashamed of my decision, which I still hold as right. But I still haven’t become a woman craving pregnancy and to give birth.
Instead, we’re going to adopt a few children, for whom we can create a better life and become a family.
Source of featured image: unsplash.com
Translated by Ádám Hittaller