For some people, becoming parents is a simple, absolute yes, but for many, timing, situation and partner are just some of the reasons that becoming a parent isn’t the right decision.
These men reflecting on their past brushes with parenthood on Quora show how complicated and emotional choosing to have a child – or not – can be.
A range of emotion is displayed in the personal accounts. There’s relief, as when one says, “That level of irresponsibility is something I regret. The abortion is not”
There’s deep grief: “If you have similar experience, please tell me how to get over this guilty feeling.”
There’s also the isolation of having to keep the feelings bottled up: “For me it caused to cry ‘inside’ hysterically. I couldn’t let it out. I had to be a ‘man’.”
In light of that account, it is positive that they’re choosing to share their stories about abortion on an open platform that can help people currently going through something similar.
“I am terrified, I feel helpless”
The most gripping and painful story comes from commenter Stephen Gamble, whose girlfriend is currently nine weeks pregnant and wants an abortion.
He starts his story, “right now I am a living a nightmare,” and his account is incredibly raw.
Although, to begin with, his partner said “she wanted me to have a 50% say in this,” it’s become clear to him that she is against having the baby.
The couple are clearly completely opposed in their views on what to do next, with Stephen admitting, “I showed her a picture of a 9 week old aborted baby, it was horrific, it looked human to me but to her it just looked alien.”
Stephen’s heartfelt writing opens a window into how it actually feels to live through such a momentous decision for a couple.
He concludes, “I wish I had never met her. I wish I never fell in love. I wish I had remained a lonely 27 year old virgin.”
Commenter David Urquhart found himself facing fatherhood as a “frightened teenager.” He said that although it was the only real solution, abortion came with “some costs”, including health problems for his ex-girlfriend and speeding up their eventual separation.
David says “it was a sad, scary experience that highlighted my weaknesses.” He goes on to say that in speaking to others about the subject, “what I found common is that men’s emtions around the event are deep, raw and unaddressed.
“At the time when a partner is considering or having an abortion, we know our needs are seocndary… and we don’t usually know where to turn for support.”
David concludes that “the answer is for men to turn to other men for that friendly ear, some reassurance,” and that the internet is a helpful place for this.
“Now as a married father of 3,” says an anonymous commenter, “that ex-gf and I would have been TERRIBLE…
“She basically wouldn’t communicate with me. How was that supposed to work long term?”
As well as seeing his earlier relationship with a much clearer eye, the commenter can now pinpoint two major effects of the abortion on his later life.
He says, “I went into a depression for about a month when my first child was around 8 months ols. I hadn’t truly understood what I had missed out on until I had one of my own. I still kind of grieve now and then.”
He adds, “Another thing it did to me is I feel sex or living together is a cheap way to evaluate long term commitment.”
He concludes that knowing that you would have a child with your partner is the only true sign of real commitment.
“I feel as if I failed both my child and my ex”
Commenter Juan Bravo’s ex fell pregnant after five months of dating, but she scheduled the abortion without telling him.
This led to Juan spiralling, he “often forgot to eat and didn’t sleep because there was so much to think about.”
He adds, “I recall leaving work early the day of the abortion and crying on the drive home.
“I feel guilty for this outcome, I feel as if I failed both my child and my ex, had I not gotten into constant arguments and instead re-assured her with love and patience that we could have done it, brought this child into the world.”
Juan goes on to say that “this event did change my life and myself drastically,” but there were some positive effects too, like developing “a strong admiration for mothers, especially single mothers,” and “a deep respect for human life.”
If you need advice on abortion, please see this NHS page