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Cupid’s arrow

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Grace O. Few things irritate me more than people griping about how much they hate Valentine’s Day. “It’s just a Hallmark holiday,” they whine, “Why can’t people say I love you every day instead of waiting for Valentine’s Day? I hate chocolates. I never have a date. Roses are a waste of money. It’s stupid.” These petty complaints crop up every year. And I have to stuff my response, resist the temptation to stun the complainers out of their self-absorbed grousing about how tough it is for them to tolerate another Valentine’s Day. So I let them sulk about romance, or polish their tiresome hipster cred […]

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This isn’t about Down syndrome

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By Grace O. Ending a Wanted Pregnancy isn’t about Down syndrome (trisomy 21). This needs to be said, because to hear just about anyone else in the media tell it, all prenatal tests are for diagnosing Down syndrome, and all terminations following poor prenatal diagnosis are because of Down syndrome. When and how did a single chromosomal disorder become the proverbial poster child for all prenatal diagnoses, all medical issues, all life-threatening disorders and all cognitive disorders? When I hear people fantasizing about how they would “never” end a pregnancy for poor prenatal diagnosis, invariably they bring up Down syndrome. They’ll trot out someone they know […]

Congenital Heart Defects

Even Better Than Before

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By Grace O. It was a full six weeks after making ending my wanted pregnancy before I had even a glimpse of feeling normal. My loss was in February, 2000 after learning that my baby had irreparable heart defects and Down syndrome. I had found the support website, but it took me until April to screw up my courage and share my story with strangers via the old Yahoo listserv, where our grief support group was at that time. That was when my healing actually began. The time before that was like being at the bottom of an ocean of grief. I carried a dishtowel with me to mop up the […]

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The Dreaded Baby Shower

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by Grace O. It’s almost inevitable after we’ve ended a wanted pregnancy. We will be invited to the dreaded baby shower. It’s comes with the territory. We’re of childbearing age, and so too are our sisters, sisters-in-law, cousins, friends, coworkers and neighbors. Somebody else will be pregnant, and we’ll be invited to her baby shower. Before we were forced to choose between two terrifying options, we may have found baby showers fun, or tolerable, and if not tolerable, we could at least look forward to ice cream punch and cupcakes. But after EWP, a baby shower invitation can feel like an invitation to emotional Armageddon. […]

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Catholic Doctrine & Merciful Choice

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Cathedral - Catholic Doctrine & Merciful Choice

Our Catholic priest gave us his loving support for our decision. He told us that in the face of hopeless suffering it is sometimes right to pray for death. By A Catholic Mother Our Catholic priest supported our choice to end our pregnancy. We’ve known this priest for years and have been through most of the sacraments with him. When we had pretty much made our decision, we asked him to come to our home so we could talk it over. My husband and I trust him and value his point of view. We weren’t asking for his blessing but wanted to know where we […]

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Help! My Milk Came In!

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How to manage breast engorgement and prevent mastitis following your second or third trimester abortion By Grace O. Many women who terminate a pregnancy after the first trimester will experience an unwelcome memento of their loss: their breastmilk coming in and the resulting discomfort of breast engorgement. Your milk coming in may seem like a cruel trick of nature, magnifying an already overwhelming sense of loss. But it is really just the body’s normal reaction to the shift in hormone balance that takes place when a pregnancy ends. You may find it emotionally excruciating to have your body is making milk for the baby you […]

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Why This Loss is So Hard

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By Grace O. There is, unfortunately no shortcut through the grief that follows the decision to end a wanted pregnancy following a catastrophic prenatal diagnosis. This unusual form of pregnancy loss is often misunderstood by those who haven’t faced it. It can seem harder than other losses both because there is a decision involved, and because it involves us physically so much. The loss is from our very bodies; the baby we lost was still physically a part of our being. So in addition to all of the emotional pain of the loss of our hoped-for child, we have the physical loss of our pregnant state. […]