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What do I do?

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 01 May 2015
I am a 55-year-old childless woman and have been reasonably happily married for 20 years.

When I was 18, I had an abortion. My parents were very strict and insisted I had an abortion as I was due to go to university, and they also didn't want the shame of their only daughter becoming a single mother. At 21, I married my first husband but we were childless for the 5 years we were married, and then he left me for someone else. They went on to have 3 children. I then met my second husband, who had a 5 year old daughter from his previous relationship. He insisted that he didn't want any more children, and I foolishly accepted this. Now I am full of regret, and wished I could turn the clock back.

A few months ago, my beloved dog died in my arms. She has been my baby, and I cannot get over the loss.
I am so unhappy, I have no children, no grandchildren and no dog.

I have made such a mess of my life, and feel I am being punished for the termination I had all those years ago. My husband is very angry with me, insisting unless I pull myself together, he will leave me. I don't know what to do.

Please help me.

Patricia Marie says.....

You are a woman who has never recovered from a forced abortion, but has transferred any anger she may have felt with her parents to herself - when it was not your fault at all.

You say you had no choice but to go along with their wishes, just as you accepted your second husband's decision not to have any children. Then your first husband's infidelity, and the sheer trauma of him then having a family with another woman, makes it no wonder you are feeling as you do.

You have endured some painful experiences, and although you cannot change the past, finding some self-acceptance within yourself will stop the past from anchoring your future. I believe you are carrying a huge amount of unnecessary blame, and have the lowest self-esteem.

You are not being punished by any other influence - but by your own self.

Can you enrich the relationship you may have with your stepdaughter?

Sometimes easier said than done, but a valuable lesson to us all is to make the very best of what we have, rather than dwell on what we haven't.

You very much need to stand up for yourself, starting right now, by telling your husband that instead of giving you an ultimatum, he needs to be more understanding, caring and supportive of you. Sit him down and tell him exactly how you are feeling, so that you can work together as a team, before the marriage declines to an irreparable state.

I feel you may both benefit from attending Relate, for some counselling sessions with a couples therapist.

I presume that over the years you have suppressed your feelings, and the loss of your beloved dog has aroused them.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to get another pet, which would offer the unconditional love you are seeking, and help with your loneliness. Wipe away those tears. You haven't made a mess of your life - things have happened to you, as they do to all of us. Accept that and move on to the next chapter of your life.

I recommend you read: The Healing Choice by Candace De Puy, and Dana Dovitch. An enriching read about coping with the psychological aftermath of abortion, no matter how long ago.

Hypothetical Sticky Situation

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 19 February 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,
I have recently come out of a 4 year relationship because my ex told me he would want an abortion if I were to ever become pregnant. Not that he would force one on me of course, but that would be what he would prefer. This crushed me, not because I'm against abortion (because I'm not, it's a personal choice in my opinion but an emotional one I couldn't go through with).

My ex and I split up because of that, and I've been with someone new for the past three months. The new gentleman in my life also told me he'd prefer an abortion. While the new boyfriend reassures me that his feelings aren't personal against me, he feels he simply isn't mature enough to entertain the thought of wanting a child. I have no intention of ever becoming pregnant before marriage, however I do want some reassurance that no matter what happens, the man I love would be there for me.

I am not ready to have a family right now, nor am I planning to. But I find it incredibly difficult at my age (28) to consider that a man who is truly emotionally mature and responsible and in love can also not even entertain the fact of not wanting an abortion. I truly believe that I could never handle the emotional reprucutions of an abortion, and cannot quite come to terms with the fact that the men I seem to fall in love with don't see a pregnancy as something they would have an emotional connection with.

My question to you is, should I stay with my current boyfriend and just trust that he doesn't mean this personally, or leave him and seek out a man who is on the same page as me in regards to this sensitive topic?

Patricia Marie says.....

You are making decisions on assumptions, and by doing so not only are you putting intense pressure on yourself, but are then unable to fully enjoy your relationship. If you were to get pregnant, the fear of your partner wanting you to have an abortion and abandoning you is so overwhelming you are almost wanting to risk ending it for something that may never happen. I'm wondering if these insecurities are connected to deeply buried feelings, igniting past fears of loss and separation.

Even if you were to meet someone who initially gave you assurances, the reality is people and situations change and we can leave ourselves open to disappointment if things can't always be as we had initially hoped. You are wanting guarantees, something life cannot give us - no matter what the circumstances. Not sure the men you say you fall in love with aren't able to connect emotionally to a pregnancy, but suspect it's more likely they are neither ready nor wanting to be fathers just yet.

I believe you could benefit from some counselling which would help explore your fears and anxiety, enabling you to deal with things in a more positive way, so you can enjoy your relationship in the here and now and be in a better place to deal with whatever the future brings.

The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy have a directory where you can find a therapist in your area www.bacp.co.uk

A rather sensitive topic

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
Guest has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 09 January 2014
Dear Patricia Marie,

I have a rather sensitive topic I'd like your advice on, if you're able to oblige. I recently got out of a 4.5 year relationship because my ex told me he would want an abortion if I were to ever become pregnant. Not that he would force one on me of course, but that would be what he would prefer. This crushed me, not because I'm against abortion (because I'm not, it's a personal choice in my opinion but an emotional one I couldn't go through with).

My ex and I split up because of that, and I've been with someone new for the past three months. The new gentleman in my life also told me he'd prefer an abortion. While the new boyfriend reassures me that his feelings aren't personal against me, that he simply isn't mature enough to entertain the thought of wanting a child, he knows that while he wants children one day, he'd want an abortion right now. I have no intention of ever becoming pregnant before marriage, however I do want some reassurance that no matter what happens, the man I love would be there for me.

I am not ready to have a family right now, nor am I planning to. But I find it incredibly difficult at my age (28) to consider that a man who is truly emotionally mature and responsible and in love can also not even entertain the fact of not wanting an abortion. I truly believe that I could never handle the emotional reprucutions of an abortion, and cannot quite come to terms with the fact that the men I seem to fall in love with don't see a pregnancy as something they would have an emotional connection with.

My question to you is, should I stay with my current boyfriend and just trust that he doesn't mean this personally, or leave him and seek out a man who is on the same page as me in regards to this sensitive topic? What would you do in my situation?

Thank you so much for the courtesy of your reply.

Patricia Marie says...

You are making decisions on assumptions, and by doing so not only are you putting intense pressure on yourself, but are then unable to fully enjoy your relationship. If you were to get pregnant, the fear of your partner wanting you to have an abortion and abandoning you is so overwhelming you are almost wanting to risk ending it for something that may never happen. I'm wondering if these insecurities are connected to deeply buried feelings, igniting past fears of loss and separation.

Even if you were to meet someone who initially gave you assurances, the reality is people and situations change and we can leave ourselves open to disappointment if things can't always be as we had initially hoped. You are wanting guarantees, something life cannot give us, no matter what the circumstances. Not sure the men you say you fall in love with aren't able to connect emotionally to a pregnancy, I suspect it's more likely they are neither ready nor wanting to be fathers just yet.

I do feel counselling will help your fears and anxiety, enabling you to deal with things in a more positive way, so you can hopefully enjoy your relationship in the here and now and be in a better place to deal with whatever the future brings.

The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy have a directory where you can find a therapist in your area www.bacp.co.uk



Got a dilemma, please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk
Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.

In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows


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