Silent Grief

By Anna Stoyanoff

There are some possibilities that, once options, can quickly become obligations. It happens with all kinds of decisions in our lives, both big and small. The guilt and pressure that others place on us can press us into making choices we perhaps wouldn’t have made, if left to ourselves.

Around Australia there are thousands of women in relationships of domestic violence. Whether it consititutes physical violence, emotional manipulation, or control – these situations always lead to harm.

Now let’s pull out a massive taboo. Let’s talk about abortion.

We know that many women access a termination through legal abortion providers. We know that many of these women would try to access a termination whether legal or not, which is one of the strongest arguments for legal, regulated abortion.

However, we must also recognise that so often, the option turns into an obligation. A large proportion of women who access abortion already have living children whom they care for. Most families have financial obligations which become one of the major considerations when deciding whether or not to have another child. When an unexpected pregnancy means needing a bigger car, more beds squished into a small house, and more education expenses down the line, it’s understandable that couples feel overwhelmed.

This Infant Loss Awareness Month, let’s consider the mothers who never met their youngest son or daughter.

I know women who have discovered an unplanned pregnancy, and been told by their partner, “If you don’t terminate, I’ll leave.” If they choose to have that baby, they then face all the challenges of an additional child – without the support of a partner, and with the added stress of a relationship breakdown.

How easy it is for someone to manipulate the conflicting emotions we mothers feel in the face of an unexpected positive pregnancy test. How easy it is for a partner to add to our layers of guilt, to increase the pressure of the decision, to make us feel the obligation to the children we already know and love.

And how many times has it worked?

See page 2 for more…

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