One of the most amazing pieces of advice I got when we had just learned that we'd be terminating my pregnancy with Grace Pearl was to check out a website called Ending a Wanted Pregnancy.
Not all pregnancies have a fairy tale ending. If you've received a severe prenatal or maternal diagnosis and have decided to end your wanted pregnancy, this website exists to provide you understanding, comfort, and support. Here, you will find the empathy, compassion. and solace you deserve following this uncommon, traumatic and often misunderstood form of pregnancy loss.
It took me a bit to find the mental space and energy to visit the site, but I was so thankful I did once I was there. It provided two things: compassionate, lovingly-provided information, and a private group where I met other families that had been in the same situation I'd been in. I can't say what the latter did for my sense of isolation in both the situation Jim and I found ourselves in, as well as the decision we made in response.
People very often don't talk about their abortions (1/3 has had one, meaning you absolutely know women that have had one even if they haven't told you, including your mother, daughter, sister, niece, aunt, favorite grocery store checker, mail woman, lawyer, accountant... the list goes on and on). But in our case, everyone knew we were pregnant. We'd announced it and registered and were planning a baby shower with beloved friends. No, I didn't have to tell anyone that we aborted Grace, but I didn't want to feel ashamed of our decision, which was an absolutely appropriate one considering increased pain she'd feel if she were born, the increased risk to me, and the safety of the procedure. It may make people uncomfortable, but the fact is I had an abortion with Grace, and while I 100% loved her, I also 100% believe it was the right choice. It is important that people know our story to dispel the shame around abortion. So we wanted to tell people, once we were ready. People knew we were pregnant, it was just about how to say the pregnancy ended, and that was where Ending a Wanted Pregnancy came in to help me feel less alone.
I devoured the website, which helped me see other stories and diagnosis information from people that had pregnancies end for Grace's diagnosis. Reading the practical information helped decrease my soaring anxiety (more on that another time). I felt understood and calmer. There was also an excellent undecided section for those that are still exploring their options and deciding how to proceed with their pregnancies. I loved that they offered resources for people that decided to continue with their pregnancies, indicating that they truly are there for full support, no matter what.
The private support group took all of this to another level, where I met other people that had gone through the same process. After applying on the website, I was welcomed with non-judgmental, open arms, and have taken great pride at welcoming others. I have never seen a word of judgment or condemnation; only acceptance, support, care and gentleness. It truly has and continues to make a huge difference in my grieving process, and has helped give me the strength to advocate.
If you or a person you know has had to face the tragedy we have, please share Ending a Wanted Pregnancy with them. It's a wonderful resource, and I can promise they will find valuable support. It is a 100% free site (I'm not writing this from any place other than just to tell others that may be in our situation about the site), and can make a huge difference.