The 'right time'
The moment my daughter turned four, the elders in the family started telling me that now was the ‘right time’ to have a second baby. They wanted me to ‘complete my family.’ Some even said that a second child will help in the physical and mental development of my firstborn. But being an elder child at home, I was a proof that all this talk was just myth.
I was happy being a one-child mom. There were other reasons why I did not want a second baby. I had some health issues during my first pregnancy and was not confident that my body will support me during the second.
My husband and I were also not financially ready to have a second child. We decided mutually that we will give the best of facilities, education and attention to our firstborn rather than making compromises. We also did not want to cut down on our own expenses and make the second child feel guilty in the future by saying how much we sacrificed to raise him/her.
The accidental conception
We took utmost care by using birth control but fate had other plans for us. One day, I felt sick and nauseous. I did not give it much thought and took some medicine to control the dizziness. However, a few days later, I realised that I had missed my periods and they had been delayed for over a week. I informed my husband and he advised me to take a home pregnancy test. My worst fears came true. I was pregnant. However, we both were clear about the next step and had no second thoughts on aborting this unplanned pregnancy.
The vansh factor
We decided not to inform my in-laws as they would have never allowed us to have an abortion. Given the fact that my firstborn is a girl, they would have wanted me to try for a son to carry the vansh 'forward'. But my husband and I do not share this ideology. I would have taken the same decision had my firstborn been a son. However, I feel that my in-laws would have perhaps easily allowed us to abort if we already had a son.
We were clear that we wanted an abortion and went to my gynaecologist for further action. She calmed me down and was not at all judgemental about our decision. She explained me the procedure of Medical Termination of Pregnancy through a pill. We signed some papers, I took the medicine and we came back home.
During the entire process, I felt strong. When I came back home after the procedure, I looked at my daughter and felt reassured that not only had I taken the right and logical decision for her, but also for my family as a whole. I was satisfied that I did not make any compromises with my child's future and will not have to feel guilty for the rest of my life for not taking care of her in the way I would like to.
The surprise judgment
I was surprised with the judgment I received from women my age. I did not expect them to agree with my decision but I also did not expect them to judge me. A few of my friends also went to the extent of making me feel guilty about it – your girl would have got a sibling, how could you take that away from her!
Abortion was a personal choice and I decided to go for it based on my circumstances and situation in life. I feel that should be the only criterion whether one wants to have one child, two children, four children or for that matter none! It’s a very personal matter and should remain so.
My choice, no regrets
Every woman should have full right to make decisions about her body instead of the society or any third person making them for her. Being a parent, I also want to ask the society – will they come and take care of my kid if we fall short on any parameters? I do not think so. Parents-to-be should thus have the first and last say about having a child or not.
Today, when I look back at my decision I feel no regret and I never will. It was my choice and I stand by it.
Persons in the picture are models.
Malini* (name changed) shared her abortion story with Love Matters for our #ChoiceOverStigma Blogathon as we mark the Global Day of Action for Safe and Legal Abortion (28 September).
This week, we will publish personal accounts from Indian women who chose abortion and claimed their reproductive rights.
Tomorrow, we hear from Nandini about the judgment she faced at a health facility over her decision to abort her unplanned pregnancy.
Love Matters supports women's right for abortion that is safe, legal and easily accessible.
This article was first published on September 25, 2017.