We were making progress as a family, but we were still deeply broken. I was not emotionally fit to carry a pregnancy, nor was I mentally well enough to mother another child. I was still navigating depression and post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from Abel’s birth. I froze at every sound and blew up over every struggle. My husband’s post-traumatic stress had only worsened since Abel’s discharge. We felt guilty for not immediately wanting a second child. We had the financial means and the intention of having another kid one day, but the pragmatic reasons did not outweigh the emotional damage a pregnancy would do to our family.

I did not trust my body to create a healthy environment for this baby, nor did I trust my mind to establish safe guardrails to protect myself, and a newborn, from the evil tricks trauma was playing in my head. If I didn’t feel safe in my own body, there was no way another person could. The decision was heartbreaking. I remembered my experience with Abel. It was shattering to accept that losing him was protecting him, but I vowed to trust in the quiet and still love between us.

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