Family matters can be very complicated and hard to fathom living with. u/Jayx8 has a very twisted situation on her hands involving a secret abortion, a divorce, and a liver transplant. I [22M] just learned that my sister [29F] had an abortion to be able to donate me part of her liver. It caused her divorce. I can't stop hating myself. Here is the whole story:
What really happened: I was very sick four years ago and was in need of a liver transplant. My situation was that it was very unlikely that I would get one in time. At that time my sister was pregnant. I didn't know as it was early (less than two months). My situation was getting worse and my sister decided to do an abortion and then two months later we did the transplant surgery.
I never knew about the pregnancy. All I knew was that she gave me half of her liver. My sister and her husband divorced a year later. I didn't know the truth until yesterday when my mom slipped up about an abortion that my sister had. I asked her about it and she told me everything. She told me that my sister made her promise not to tell me and she failed that promise.
My sister was very happy. My brother in law was a very decent guy. I knew they were looking forward to having children. They were great together. She always told us about how lucky she is to have found him.
Apparently at the time of their decision, my sister and her husband had great disagreement. He didn't want her to have the abortion and risk the transplant surgery and was hopeful that my situation might sort itself out without my sister's help. The chance was very small but it was there. My sister didn't agree. They couldn't convince one another and my sister did things anyway without his blessing. They tried working things out after the surgery, they went to counseling, they even tried to have another baby but they couldn't get themselves to do it. He couldn't forgive my sister and she wasn't all that apologetic so they ended up separating and eventually divorcing.
My sister isn't happy now. Hasn't been since the surgery. She never told me the real reason for her divorce. She told me that they were after different things. I just learned things from my mom. I asked my mom if my sister still thinks that she did the right thing. She said "she's not sure".
I can't stop feeling guilty. My sister saved my life but destroyed her own life doing it. She had to abort the baby she definitely loved and looked forward to and did that knowing that it will probably end her marriage as well. I was ready to go at that time. I had accepted my fate and I was at peace. She should have just let me. My brother in law should have told me so I would have talked her out of it. I'm surprised he didn't. I can't feel anything but to hate myself.
I don't know what to do. Should I talk to my sister? What should I tell her? Should I keep my mouth shut and pretend that I don't know? I'm not sure if I'll even be able to look into her eyes and not show that I know. I just don't know what the f*** I should do.
Please please help me.
yes you should tell her. It's a burden on you and on her. Just go and talk to her. Tell her how you feel, she'll tell you how she feels, and it will bring you both closer together. It's a very difficult situation where nobody is at fault and it's very unfortunate that her marriage ended that way. But you both can heal together.
It was a brutal choice
Your sister made an impossible choice. Either way, she was risking losing a family member. There is not outcome here that would have made everyone happy. And, despite the guilt you feel, you weren't in control of any of the decisions she made. Do you really believe you could have convinced your sister to let you die when she had the ability to save you?
Show your gratitude and let it beGiphy
Don't hate yourself. I have two young sons who I love to the ends of the earth...but when I was less than two months pregnant I would have done the same thing to save my brother's life. I do think you should talk to her. Hug her. Tell her you're so sorry. DO NOT tell her that she shouldn't have done it. Or that you're blaming yourself. Then she'll wish your mom had kept her promise and it will make it even worse.
Lasting marriage is stronger than thatGiphy
I don't think you should consider it that your situation CAUSED them to divorce as if it was an inevitability.
I think my marriage would have survived this situation. I think there are many here whose marriages would have. What your situation did was bring your sister and her husband to a crossroads where they discovered some fundamental incompatibilities in their relationship. That may well have happened sooner or later anyway.
A clear choiceGiphy
Your sister did the right thing, and you should be proud of her, and feel so lucky to have a sister like her.
Put yourself in her shoes. You have a sister who is dying, with very little chance of surviving if she doesn't get the liver she needs.
You just got pregnant - hooray! But you're the only person who can save your sister's life, and it will cost you the pregnancy. Damn.
But you can get pregnant again. 75% of pregnancies end in miscarriages, most of the time without the mother even knowing, and few of those women are rendered infertile by it.
So you know that, while it's sad, you can always try again for another baby - but if you let your sister die, you'll never have another sister again. Easy decision, right?
Move past the guiltGiphy
Hopefully you'll see this.
Have you ever heard of the hindsight bias? We use it colloquially in media nowadays but it has real emotional and cognitive impacts on us in real life.
Essentially what you're doing is, you're hating yourself for something you did not know and could not know 4 years ago. You are giving 4-year-ago-you the same knowledge/mindset of present-you. And present-you knows so much more than past-you. And that's not fair to hold past-you up to the same standards as present-you. Because that is impossible, that's not how time or life works. So stop beating yourself up over not being able to achieve the impossible. Because no one can achieve that. Instead, have some grace towards your past-self with the wisdom you have as your present-self.
It was her decisionGiphy
Look, I know you feel terrible, but your sister is an adult. The choice she made at the time was her own, and it was a very noble one. She chose to save you, her brother, whom she clearly loves very much. She knew what she was risking when she decided to donate her liver to you, accepted those consequences, and chose to do it anyway like the incredible sister she is. It's terrible that her marriage fell apart and that her husband chose to leave, but that's not on you.
It's all love
Your sister made the choice to save your life, at whatever costs she was willing to make. She did it because she loves you and she knew there would be risks involved, especially with her marriage if they had talked about it. In saying that, this was her choice. You didn't ask her to get an abortion to donate half her liver to you. She chose to. And she did it because she loves you. You shouldn't feel guilty, her having an abortion and eventually divorcing, is in no way your fault.
Divorce is a multilayered beastGiphy
Please know that divorce is complicated. It's never just one thing that leads to it. We tend to hyper focus on one thing while we're in the middle of it all, but it's never just one thing. If your sister and her ex husband weren't meant to be, that had a lot less to do with you than you're thinking.
Your sister is an angel. Were it me and my sister, I would do the same thing, no question. It's a no brainer. I have a toddler and am currently pregnant, and if there was anything I could do to save my sister's life, including an abortion, I would do it.
Your sister isn't the only one...Giphy
I would have done the same thing as your sister. I would have chosen the life of my immediate family members over the life of an unborn baby and over my marriage. I would hope that my husband would agree but if he did not, it would be a risk I would be willing to take.
Lets ask a biologistGiphy
Fun fact: It makes more sense biologically to save your adult sibling than your unborn offspring. You share the same amount of genes with both of them but the unborn child is gonna have a lot of opportunities to die before procreating and spreading your genes further. It's like a textbook example actually. I'm a biologist.
anyway: super awful situation and I think their relationship was doomed the second he asked her to leave you to die.
The husband doesn't sound so greatGiphy
I hope you know your sister loves you very much and she's an amazing sister and you're lucky to have her.
I think that if she didn't do the abortion to save your life and you would have died then she would have blamed herself for the rest of your life.
Maybe she would have ended up divorcing her husband anyway, if she thought that if it wasn't for him you would still be alive. Her husband doesn't sound like such a great guy if he was happy to stand idly by while you were dying.
There's always more to the storyGiphy
I would talk to your sister. Tell her how you are feeling and tell her you wish she hadn't of kept you in the dark. Express your feelings but make sure to let her express hers, especially if she is going through a hard time. I honestly think there had to of been more to their marriage issues then the abortion.
It's important to look at both sidesGiphy
It's not your fault. You sister was is a difficult spot. What she did for you was a great gift and I am happy for your sake that she did. As far as her marriage, what she did felt unfair to her husband. To terminate a wanted pregnancy without his consent.
I am trying to put myself in his and her shoes. People have very differing opinions of what "life" is and when it starts. For those who view it as a bundle of cells like she probably did, it's a no brainier, giving her brother a chance was the right decision. On the other hand if he already thought of it as "his baby", then it had to be very painful for him to see her terminate. I don't think BIL was a bad guy if you consider than in his eyes he was trying to protect his unborn child. I think either way the marriage was in trouble because one of them would have had resentment.
The important thing is that this is not your fault. You didn't ask to be sick or for anyone to make sacrifices. Talk to your sister be supportive and kind. Don't beat yourself over it.