It’s been less than a year since my abortion. My little Violet was simply not made for this world, and my husband and I made the decision to terminate at 20 weeks for a myriad of reasons. It was hands down the most difficult ordeal of my life both mentally and physically. I think about her every day, and I’m confident that this will never change, but the pain I feel has changed over time.
After the procedure, I did a lot of talking about it. I really needed to talk, and I think there were a lot of people that needed to listen. It helped me heal. My husband, however, didn’t have much to say.
He cried the day we got the news, but I never saw him cry again. He was so incredibly focused on my needs and my health before, during, and after. He really took care of me. It’s understandable since I was carrying the baby and had to be the one to experience losing her physically, but I was alone in that respect only. This loss was his loss too.
The words of encouragement I received after Violet’s death were overwhelming. People came out of the woodwork to share their own personal hardship or simply to let me know that they understood and they supported me, and I couldn’t have been more grateful. But my husband never got that. No one called to check on him. No one reached out to tell him how brave he was. No one acknowledged that he also lost a piece of his heart that day – and he did. She was just as much his little girl as she was mine, and the loss of her rocked him to his core, even if he wan’t talking about it openly like I was.
Our society has a way of glorifying fathers who participate in parenting like they’ve done something exceptional. Fathers aren’t babysitters with a genetic tie to their charges, they are parents with the same exact responsibilities, fears, and challenges that mothers have. They have an equal stock in their children as mothers, and it’s important to acknowledge that in the best of times, the most regular of times, and especially in the worst of times.
You can certainly believe that losing Violet has taken its toll on me, but I hate that very few people have thought about what that loss has meant for her father – because that’s exactly what he is. He isn’t simply my husband, my partner, or that guy who keeps the kids alive when I’m out and about. He’s a person, a man, and a parent who is deeply connected and invested in all his children. Every. Single. One.