'Why Was My Body Revolting Against Me?'

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

That’s the question this reader asked herself following many lost pregnancies:

Ever since I can remember I wanted to be a mother. I don’t know why, but I just knew it was what I wanted. When my husband and I first started dating two weeks into the relationship, I found out I was pregnant. We were stupid, young, and used no protection. He was terrified, I was happy.

A month later I woke up covered in blood, and after being rushed to the hospital, we found out we lost it. I cried and cried, and we fought, and I was sure he would leave me. But he didn’t, and six months later I was pregnant again. This time he was happy at first and kissed my stomach. Then we got into a car accident and found out the baby didn’t survive.

I was numb. After two years, I had had five miscarriages.

I was becoming angry, even suicidal. Why was my body revolting against me?

I was in college, my husband was working a crap job, and we were living in a crappy apt. I found out I was pregnant again and fear rippled through me. My husband watched as I had panic attacks 24/7 and broke down in tears. It was horrible just waiting for this baby to die like all the others.

When the first month came and went, I became terrified. Look at our situation: We weren’t even married, we can’t even support ourselves. My hair began falling out, and my husband finally asked me what was wrong. It all came spilling out, and I thought he would label me as a monster. With tears in his eyes, he told me he felt the exact same way: We weren’t ready to be parents, and this child would suffer. Without another word, I called my mother and she scheduled my abortion and paid for it.

My husband begged to be allowed to come with me, but I refused. The doctors performed an ultrasound and very quietly told me there was no heartbeat and that the baby had already died.

I still don’t know how to feel about everything, but after something that would have broken most people, it made us stronger. He proposed a month later and we married the next day. It’s been a year, and I have my first fertility appointment on Friday.