Should I keep my baby or not?

After a hard struggle with life itself and the arrival of my first daughter, I had finally made it. I finally went back to study nursing at Zuyd Hogeschool. Despite having difficulty adjusting, everything went well. I passed every test and made friends. I did not have a boyfriend, but I was in touch, if you know what I mean. I was living a vegan lifestyle at that point in my life.

Until one day I felt an untold craving for a McDonalds burger. I also suddenly had acne on my back again. Since I ate vegan, this was completely gone. A strange feeling told me I was pregnant again. I did not tell anyone because I was so scared that my hunch, as always, was right again. I decided to go to McDonalds on the condition that I buy a pregnancy test and test myself. By my standard it was out of the question to eat meat and a pregnancy would have somehow made eating meat good talk. At least, that is what I thought then. Very confusing time.

Once arrived at McDonalds and my pregnancy test in my pocket, I ordered a hamburger menu with an extra hamburger. The taste of the burger was so damn good, like I had landed in heaven. To be honest, I did not eat, but I ATE. Horrified of myself, I let myself go and drank the half liter of Coke (which I had not drunk in a year, by the way), because I still had to pee after meal. After I was drained of all the carbonation and the fast great tasting food, my bladder started to thrust. Time to go to the bathroom. A damn filthy toilet, but what choice would I have without anyone else seeing me like this?

In the far too small and smelly toilet, I pied on the stick. I had to wait, and the light was way too bad to see if the second stripe came out too. I shone on the stick with the flashlight of my phone. I could not see it properly, but it seemed that there was really a line there. I was not completely convinced yet, so I decided to go outside. Somewhere in a corner I took the test halfway out of my bag to see the result in daylight. Yes, there was definitely a light line. I spontaneously got a red head. I already heard my mother say: “Not again!” But indeed, this time it was serious: I went to school! I would be on my own again! And from what money? I got by on a stuffie. And in which room should I put her? I was already living on my own and I only had two bedrooms. And then again: I went to school!

On the way home I could not help but think, “I’m pregnant”. I ran into a friend of mine and told him the story. He had no connection with any of my friends or family, so my story was safe with him. He advised me to have an abortion. The day after I called my pregnant sister. She was incredibly happy and told me that she would never have an abortion because she had always wanted to have children. I had asked her to support me in sharing my news with my parents.

Once with my parents I was terrified. I knew my mom was going to freak out. I told my dad first. He was not happy and told me to think about my future. This went completely wrong in my head, because: “Why was I not allowed to abort my first daughter and was he open to the abortion of my second child?” That felt so unfair. Then it was my mother’s turn. And indeed, she completely freaked out, screaming, crying, statements that I do not even dare to repeat myself. She did not want to talk to me or even see me again.

After a few days, my mother had cooled off and had changed her mind: “Without me she has no one, then she won’t be able to do it at all”. My mother decided to go to the doctor in the hospital. But apparently, we had miscalculated, because my baby was not visible on the ultrasound. The doctor told me that everything could still go wrong. And in 1 second I thundered from my pink cloud and I ended up in the horrible memories of my first pregnancy where I gave birth at 6 months.

The weeks that followed were awful. I felt extremely ill, I was constantly tired and dizzy and was terrified that something would happen to my baby. But at the same time, I still did not know if I wanted to keep it. I was advised to have an abortion with everyone I spoke to. My sister and three friends told me I did not have to have an abortion. But I was so confused. I did not know how to bear this financially without help. I was even admitted to Maastricht University and I did not want to give up this opportunity.

Later, I was referred, due the HELLP syndrome from the previous pregnancy, to the Transmural Women’s Day Center under the care of Dr. Spaanderman. In other words, the professor. My great hero who saved my first daughter! There, too, I could not tell the doctors if I wanted to keep my child. Social work was initiated and there were longer conversations with the doctors.

Despite all the mental help I got depressed and sat on the couch crying in the evenings, not knowing what to do. I felt so very alone. I watched videos of how abortion was performed and held my belly. I told my child that I would never be able to do this to her, but I had to. I could not offer her a good life. I would be a bad mother. I could not offer her anything. I could not afford necessary items myself. It got so bad that I sent my doctor to PsyQ to ask if I had ADHD. After a lot of shit, I was finally told that I have ADHD. That was a relieve, I knew what was happening to me, but it did not solve my problem: Should I keep my baby or not?

But suddenly out of nowhere, a fourth friend called me and told me her story about abortion. Her message was that if I wanted to have an abortion, this is not a bad thing at all. If I really did not want the child and made that choice, no one would accuse me. Many in my situation would make this choice. Very strange, but my oldest daughter went to the second ultrasound. She was so happy that she finally had a sister or brother. And when I told her what made me think so much and why I got so sad, she looked at me in amazement and said, “Kill a baby? Who does that?” The purity in her response moved me in a way that I cannot explain myself. That moment I decided to keep my child and finish what I had started: my university education. Just as no one would look at me angry if I had an abortion, no one would look at me angry if I kept it. I felt such great deliverance, as if all the worries of the world were gone.

But I was not incredibly happy. I was still deeply depressed. I was on heavy medication, the reason I will elaborate on in a later blog and had gestational diabetes. I will tell you that I was so happy that this pregnancy was over. I have not been able to enjoy a single moment. No, I lie, compared to my first pregnancy, I felt this baby kick. Softly, but I felt her. That was so beautiful. I often played with her and I could really laugh about it. But anything else? To be fair, I cursed my baby throughout the whole pregnancy. What a terribly miserable pregnancy of nausea, tiredness, heartburn, depression and crying fits. The youngest may be lucky that my first pregnancy up to six months went smoothly, otherwise I think I would have made another choice. Just honest talk here.

But in the end, everything turned out well and I am happy and especially proud that I was able to carry my baby for another seven months in this state. I even finished my propaedeutic phase of nursing school. And despite my second daughter also had a difficult start and has a very spicy character with many angry crying fits, she is also my baby. My baby as in: MY baby. I love her with all of my heart, and do not want to live without her anymore. She will not like it when she is 5, but she is and will always be my baby. Like the oldest will remain my world.

And in the end, I received a lot of financial help from local organizations and many facilities in Maastricht, which enabled me to provide both children with all basic needs. So, when I get pregnant next time, let us hope not, but then I will never again wonder if I can bear it financially. Because if there is one thing that Maastricht supports unconditionally, it is children. Therefore, I want to thank Maastricht, the Babybank Goede Start / de Vlinder and Maastricht University, without you I would not have made it this far!

by Kim Thieme

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