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Ask Dr. Sherry: ‘My Abortion May Have Ruined My Marriage’

A reader asks Dr. Sherry how to talk to her husband about a tough decision they made that’s hurting their marriage.

You’ve seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel All Alone in Their Marriages, keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show Braxton Family Values. Now it’s your turn to sit in her chair…

Q: My husband and I dated for three years before we got married and while we were dating I got pregnant. I was nervous, excited and scared all at the same time. Around that time, we didn’t have a car, I didn’t have a steady job and I had just started college. My husband and I decided we couldn’t provide for the baby. I was scared because I knew my husband was right. I had an abortion.

Every year since then we always argue about it, but we never sit down and talk about how what happened changed our lives or how it changed my life. I think about my decision every day. I cry each time I think about it. I can’t talk to anyone about this and I feel lost. I’m a good person and I have a good heart. I know I would have made a great mother. We’ve been married for almost a year now, and I’m scared that I’m not going be able to have any more children. I love my husband very much and he’s great with kids, but I just want us to talk about what happened. What can I do to help him talk to me? I’m lost! — Anonymous

Having had an abortion is ripping you apart. This is definitely understandable, especially if you really did not want to have one in the first place. You cry and feel depressed when you think about it because you are grieving. You have experienced a loss and you are likely still feeling guilty about it. I am sure you are second guessing everything and stuck replaying each moment in your mind while thinking about what you coulde, woulda shoulda done. Whether it was the right or wrong decision, it is done now and you cannot change it.

You and your husband cannot continue to avoid having a real conversation about the abortion. Your feelings are not just going to disappear on their own. Although you tell me that the two of you agreed that you could not afford to provide for a baby, I don’t get the impression that you wanted to have an abortion. As a result, you are really angry with your husband and it seems you blame him for the decision you made together. It is likely that your anger grows when you think about the fact that he already has children and you fear you may not be able to become pregnant again. It sounds as if the decision to abort was a quick intellectual decision not an emotional one.  Pregnancies, especially the first one, are usually very emotional.

While you are angry with your husband, you are more angry with yourself. You must process your feelings so you can let go of the anger, guilt, shame and depression. It is only then that you will forgive yourself and heal emotionally.

I recommend that you and your husband seek marital therapy to open lines of communication and discuss the abortion. You may be surprised that he is hurting underneath and also needs to heal. Keep in mind that once you resolve your current feelings and you and your husband are on the same page, you may become pregnant sooner rather than later. — Dr. Sherry

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