Friday, August 5, 2011

My Struggles with ‘Replacement Baby Syndrome’

After my first abortion there was a period of time where I was devoid of any true emotion, left only with the ache I felt for the baby I had torn from my body. My arms felt so empty and my life felt meaningless. I wanted my baby back! Even at the time it felt bizarre, I had just chosen to abort my own child and yet suddenly all I wanted to was to be a mother.

I hadn’t been trying but when I found out I was pregnant for a second time I was overcome with a sense of joy and hope. I felt as if I had been given a second chance and knew I wanted to do it right this time. I was going to protect this little life with everything in me. My emotions were quickly thrown for a loop, however, when the doctors told me of their concerns for my baby’s health. I felt like such a failure. Something inside me said maybe I didn’t deserve to be a mother. Maybe as punishment for choosing to end the life of my first child I was never going to be given another child to love. But I continued on with the pregnancy and 8 months later I experienced the greatest joy of my life, the birth of my son.

Now that my arms were no longer empty I believed that I could move on and find happiness and fulfillment by building a new life with my son. What I didn’t understand, however, was that loving and caring for this precious child while trying to ignore my unresolved sense of loss and longing for Aaron would not lead me down a path of healing and happiness. I was still an emotional train wreck; I didn‘t think there was any way to find that inner peace which I needed so desperately for myself and for my son. And as I grew to love my son more each day, the pain only worsened and ultimately I began to believe that my abortion defined me and left me unworthy to be a mother…especially to this perfect and beautiful little boy. Eventually my fear and grief drove me away from my son emotionally.

It took nearly a year of my son’s life and yet another abortion before I realized I needed help. It was only after I found the courage to seek help and stare down those demons that held me captive for so long that I was able to begin the healing process. I was able to acknowledge and truly delight in my son as a unique and beautiful individual and came to understand that I had tried to use him as a way to fill the void left from my abortion. One person cannot replace or bring closure for the loss of another. I will forever regret the time of emotional bonding that I missed with my son; however, I am glad to say that today you could not find a greater love than he and I share.