Dear Jude and Paul,
I remember being pregnant with you both, but I don’t remember hearing your first words, seeing your beautiful faces or having the privilege to say you were my sons as you started your first day at school. I don’t remember the Christmas joys and the birthday laughter.
When I became pregnant with you, Jude, I just wanted to be ‘unpregnant.’ I was asked if being pregnant would affect my mental health. I answered ‘yes’ and your life ended the next week. I knew life began at conception, basic biology lessons taught me that, but I was now living in fear and could see no way out. Fear shouted louder than any whisper of hope. I was only offered one choice – that being abortion. An uninformed choice is no choice. I never knew that the end of your life would be the beginning of the decline of my mental health state. Denial would be my shadow for many years, following me around only to occasionally disappear when the lightening of anger would rear its ugly face. The first two stages of grief: anger and denial.
Paul, I was awake when I aborted you and I heard your life being sucked away. Paralysed by pain, I watched the abortionist count the body parts to ensure all of your remains were removed. No one told me my peace would also be taken, no one told me I’d never have the chance to be pregnant again. No one can ever convince me that I had the right to choose to end your life. Paul, it should never have been a legal right of mine to take your life. My rights should end when they impact the life of someone else, born or unborn.
I’m so saddened that for decades you were both nameless as you swirled around my heart and my memories, the dreams that I tried to bury. You were my mistakes, my darkest secrets and when I stopped long enough to feel, you became my ‘if onlys.’ If only I was given another option; if only I had realised my body does not have 4 arms and 4 legs, and therefore your body belonged to you; if only I had realised that human rights included yours; if only someone had told me that I could do this; if only I had not tried to sort this out myself; if only it was not legal; if only I had known you’d be called Jude and Paul. All the if’s being the third stage of grief: bargaining.
Jude and Paul, did you know that when your life ended, part of me did too? Did you know I tried to fill the void that you left by filling myself and emptying myself through bulimia? I would slip into a darkness that I now know was depression - the fourth stage of grief.
I would jump between these stages of grief, numbing myself with denial, as I was most comfortable when I thought I wasn’t feeling, never going to the final stage of grief: the acceptance. The acceptance is where the truth is. The acceptance is where I would be able to heal. But acceptance would mean looking at it without the lies, without the denial, without the bargaining and without ignoring my part in all of this.
It was at Rachel’s Vineyard that I was allowed to grieve; there I realised that I had been grieving the children that could have been instead of grieving the children that were. You were already part of this world; you were already alive, growing; you just needed time to be born.
It was at Rachel’s Vineyard that I heard the words that would change my life forever: ‘Rachel, it’s not that you could have been a mum, you are a mum!’ I realised for the first time that I am a mum.
I am your mum. I accept today that I took your lives through abortion. I killed you both. You know I wish I could turn back time, but I cannot. What I can do is write this letter to you and hope that future Judes' and Pauls' right to life is protected. Maybe someone reading this has had an abortion and is not aware that they are a mum and they can get support and healing too.
In 1967, before your mother was even born, our country voted and now many generations are missing. It was meant to be rare and safe, and yet, I’m sure you would agree Jude and Paul, that neither one of your abortions were safe for you. How did we get to 200,000 abortions a year?
9 million have now died through abortion in UK.
You are 2 of 9 million.
Stalin is quoted for saying ‘a single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.’
You’ll never be a statistic to me. You’ll always be my two biggest regrets, my two most painful memories, my 2 boys.
Aborting you both didn’t stop me being your mum.
I just became a mum of two dead children.
I love you Jude and Paul and I will spend the rest of my life showing you this by not allowing the lie that this is a reproductive right, that you didn’t exist, and that this is the best we can do for mothers.
Love from Mum xxx