Fast forward 34 years and I have been married to a wonderful man for 33 years and he knows of my secret and the guilt that I still carry with me. I have always wanted to tell the guy that I was engaged to about the child that I aborted and set things straight with the second guy. Thanks to Facebook, I have become friends with guy #1 and will be seeing him at our class reunion. Should I find a way to tell him or just let things be? My husband says that he is ok with whatever I decide to do. Is it selfish to think that Guy #1 would want or even care to know after all these years just so I can perhaps finally have some closure over killing my baby? — Regretting My Abortion
Yes, it would be selfish. You would literally ONLY be sharing this news to satisfy your own needs (to shed some of your guilt, share your burden, get closure — it’s all about YOU, which, by definition, is selfish). The abortion was over 33 years ago. What on earth do you think telling your ex-fiancé about this would serve to accomplish in his life? What do you expect his reaction to be? Whatever you think the point of dragging the boyfriend into your emotional turmoil is, it’s not worth it. Not after 33+ years.
And after 33 years, this is something you clearly need to move past, but you need to do so without the “help” or whatever of involving an ex from decades ago. See a therapist. Talk to a clergy person if you’re religious. Forgive yourself. You were 18 years old. You weren’t ready for marriage and you weren’t ready for motherhood. You actually did the kinder thing sparing a child of being raised by a woman who was not prepared to raise it.
I wonder: Did you ever become a mother like you wanted to be? If not, maybe beyond the guilt of “killing your baby,” you feel guilty that you robbed yourself of what you imagine was your only opportunity to be become a mom. And while that’s understandable, you couldn’t possibly know at 18 how the rest of your life would unfold, nor could you have known whether the pregnancy you terminated would even have resulted in a healthy, living baby. If you did eventually have kids, maybe you feel extra guilty that you didn’t provide an equal opportunity for life to all your babies. But who’s to say the spirit of that aborted fetus — if you believe it even possessed a spirit so early in utero — didn’t find life elsewhere?
There’s so much we don’t really know about life. And I don’t mean life in the sense of physical fetal and human development. I mean LIFE-LIFE. The stuff that isn’t necessarily physical — the stuff we can’t see, but can maybe feel. Obviously, you have to decide for yourself what you believe. But I believe that all the spirits we’ve ever loved reside in our hearts, and, whether they breathe the same air we do or see the same sunsets or smell the same salty sea air, they live within us, they become part of us, and, even when we let go of guilt over how we think we failed them, they cannot detach from us. Because, love.
You’re not going to find what you’re looking for outside yourself. Not in a boyfriend from 33 years ago or your husband now or anyone else. What you’re looking for is inside yourself. It’s always been there. It always will be. It’s love. And it’s the life force that can never be terminated.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.