Dear Ms. Anon Advice,
I’ve done something terrible, but I can’t tell anyone about it, and I don’t know how to help myself.
Years ago, I went on one of my trips to a different country, I won’t be naming it for privacy’s sake. I was a very confident and outgoing young lady. After my basic schooling, I went abroad for further studies twice. I used to save all my pocket money and even earn via part time jobs and saved all my earnings to go on tours to different countries. Naturally, I was an explorer and wanted to try a lot of different things. I used to believe it was all a part of self-discovery, that I’m reaching out to different cultures and absorbing in experiences.
Initially, I felt bold and brave about, for example, trying alcohol, or bungee jumping when I’m scared of heights. You know, that kinda stuff. Pretty soon, though I started doing more, under the euphoria that I was living life to its fullest.
I met a guy near the end of my masters program abroad. We clicked instantly, and of course started dating. He was non-Muslim, and I had no immediate plans of getting married, so we were both very happy with the casual relationship. Of course, our relationships knew no limits. It wasn’t long before we started sleeping together, and then it became a very regular and frequent thing. We practised safe sex in every way we could possibly think of – we followed my cycle, we used the pullout method, and we also used condoms. Additionally, I was also on the pill.
It is this fact that is killing me. That child made it through so many precautions….only to have its own mother discard it like unwanted hair or a wart. I was scared and unprepared. I felt like I had a lot more life to live before I could add my child to the equation of my life. I also felt scared that people back home would question my character and make my life miserable. I was afraid my parents would be disappointed in me, I was afraid they would think I took advantage of the freedom they allowed me to enjoy. All that might be true. But I realise now that perhaps my parents would actually have been more accepting of me. It is now useless to bring it up with them because they’re even older now and it would just be painful for them…I have nothing to show for it anyway.
What will I tell them?
“Hey Mom, Dad, I got pregnant but don’t worry, I got rid of it and it was a long time back, I’m just letting you know because I’m depressed and I thought you should know.”
That’s just…pointless. Like I said.
Why I haven’t thought of all this in such a long time, you ask? Because recently a friend of mine went through a miscarriage. It broke her down because they had been desperate for a child and this was their first pregnancy after several years’ worth of effort and patience, and it was the longest their pregnancy had ever progressed. Seeing her made me relive my own episode, my decision of almost 12 years ago, but in a different light. I keep imagining different scenarios, all of which have a beautiful, happy baby. My baby. Alive. And I cringe to think I could have had a different life…that my baby could have had a life at all. And to top it all, I stumbled upon (I’m being less than honest here) the video of an aborted child that was fully developed and was breathing its last while doctors held it in their palm…that fetus was as old as mine was when I ended its life. I’m reading up on abortion stories, in hopes of finding out why people do it and how they cope with it afterwards. But I find myself going into gory details rather..
I made such a huge miscalculation, just because I freaked out and didn’t want to lose the window of opportunity to get rid of a problem…and it kills me to recall that I thought it was a problem.
There was no pressure on me, my partner didn’t even know. I found our around the 9th week mark, and i’d gotten it done within the week, and was back on my feet within two more, off on further adventures, with a huge weight off my shoulders with a “Phew!”
It feels good to let it out to someone finally. But I’ve suddenly reached a dead end in life and I don’t know what to do anymore, how to move forward. It feels like I’m suddenly at a halt a decade in the past.
What do I do? How do I get over this and move on?
Dear Murderer (NOT),
I’m sorry you’re going through such a tough time.
You need to see a therapist immediately. You’re suffering from the shock of a trauma very, very late after the incident. This is equally dangerous as suffering from the shocks of a very recent trauma, and you need professional help.
In the meantime, please remember that what is done is done, you can’t change the past. I personally believe that everything happens for a reason. That helps me a lot, especially in tough or confusing times. So for example, if it was me in your place, I’d be trying to reason with myself that perhaps that child’s life was worse than its death, no matter what the circumstances.
Another thing that helps me deal with death in general, is knowing that the deceased, if a good person, is now closest to God, and that his/her test of the world is over, that they’re done with this temporary journey. And praying for them helps too.
Perhaps there are other factors as well that you could look into, that are triggering your depression? From your letter, I conclude that you’re not married. Perhaps you were not ready to do justice to motherhood back then, but are ready now? Perhaps it is time now for you to get married, have kids, and try to compensate for missing the child you decided not to allow into this world? The new kids can never take that one’s place of course, but maybe it could help you get over the guilt if you do justice to the job of raising them well.
You’re not helping anyone by calling yourself a murderer and trying to live with it, least of all yourself.
Go get professional help, leave the past behind because living with the past, you’re setting yourself up for more failure for future.
So here’s sending you loads of love. More power to you.
Ms. Anon Advice.
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