Abortion and Miscarriage – Life Talk (Episode 3)

we come across spiritual teachings everywhere these days but we don't always know how to integrate those ideas into our personal lives as much as we may understand the concepts of how to live an awakened and conscious life it's not easy putting that wisdom into practice what happens when we step out into the real world in this series we're going to be talking to real people about real lives we're going to meet some amazing individuals and learn how ordinary people can overcome extraordinary battles in their lives using the wisdom of oneness welcome to life we're back again at the next episode of a life talk and we've received some amazing feedback from all of you telling us how useful you found the previous episodes that we've done so today's episode we're going to be talking about abortion and miscarriage now not a lot of people know that back in 2017 Hermia and I went through two failed pregnancies and I say we because it was an ordeal for both of us and it's not something that's talked about very much but only after we went through the process did we realize how common it was and that's why we felt that today's episode was going to be a really useful conversation just for people to try to understand what our personal experiences were and what some people who have gone through it or have heard about other people going through it might just get a feeling of what what some of those experiences are like so let's go straight into it let's go back to bring our back our minds back to 2017 what was happening in our life then so Rajan the younger one was about five years old and we I knew I was getting closer and closer to the age of 40 and I was very aware that the older you are the more risks and complications they're on pregnancy so we kind of decided if we're going to have a third one better get on with it because there's no sense in leaving it too late and so beginning of January in 2017 I turned 37 and so we thought okay good time let's let's plan for the third one and thankfully by March I was pregnant and and very pleased after having had a good gap between the other two and enjoying the the pregnancy and one day I was at work and working as normal and I felt some bleeding as you would with it with a like a period to remember how many weeks it was into so I was pretty I was about nine nine just over nine weeks into the pregnancy okay so still quite early so quite still quite early in the pregnancy but enough to know that it was confirmed that I was pregnant and have the tests and everything you do and how to mean to the GP and started health process off but having experienced that that little bit of blood I went to the toilets have a look and and it was really like fresh blood like red blood only a few drops but obviously having had kids before I knew okay this is not normal I'm probably not supposed to bleed so it was up very little so I just ignored it and carried on went back to work and then a few hours later same happened again again more blood and so at that point I thought okay this something something's right here yeah so put on a sanitary towel carried on and and then some more blood and that came for a while but then it stopped and so as would be sensible contacted the GP to find out okay I'm pregnant but this has happened what do I do now and they arranged for an emergency scan to go on to the local hospital to have an ultrasound scan to see what could be happening did you have any idea what what you thought might have been yeah I mean because again it was quite early in the pregnancy knowing that the chance for miscarriage is more likely within the first three months and I hadn't got to the three months so I was quite aware okay there could be a risk to the that's something that you always hear isn't it in the first three months they say that you shouldn't really announce your pregnancies because of the highest risk and that's a regardless of how old you are yes but having had two kids already did you have like quiet sort of sense of confidence that that everything was okay or were you quite nervous about the fact that you my starting to see bleeding and I was hopeful that it would be okay because it stopped every time their bleeding stopped again I was like oh maybe it'll be okay yeah but and then when it starts again and then you're like okay maybe this isn't going this isn't gonna continue but so what happened when you when you went to the doctors for that for a scan so the scan I realized is they can't necessarily tell you straight away whether or not the pregnancy is going to continue or not so they did the scan and they could see the fetus and they could take measurements and everything and they basically said that we need to reassess in a few days or a weeks time to compare now to see whether the fetus continues to grow or the opposite okay so they can't tell you straight away whether something wrong yeah I mean I mean they look for a heartbeat and they again couldn't confirm whether there was a an active heartbeat or not so again I think they're always extra cautious they don't want to say that that the pregnancy is terminated if there's any chance that hasn't and the safest way is to actually just compare over a period of time to see which way it's going on what happened at that point once you had had the first and the second scans at what point did you realize something might be wrong so even after that first gun I think I'd continue to have some more bleeding like a very light period so that made me more sure and myself knowing that actually this this amount of blood is probably not normal I expect I've probably miscarried so I kind of knew in myself that that was likely but um the scans confirmed that so so when I went to the further scans then yes they did conclude that the the fetus was not not increasing in size and the babies had stopped growth let's stop growing yet so so we knew at that point that the that the pregnancy had spontaneously terminated and was not continuing to grow at all and what happens at that point once the baby stops growing inside you so after having had that light period and knowing that the pregnancy was not continuing the pregnancy still needed to be eliminated from my body what does that mean so the fact that I'd had some bleeding meant that the pregnancy was not continuing now but at some point that pregnancy tissue that had formed where that baby was growing needed to be expelled from my body okay so the baby needed to come out yes exactly and normally that would happen as a process of during your subsequent periods sometimes it takes a month two months eventually the the baby would be expelled as part of that period so after having had the scans to confirm that the pregnancy was no longer progressing I was given two options either to wait and allow it to naturally allow the pregnancy tissue to expel during a period or have a process of being induced like you'd be induced for giving birth when you have a base and that triggers the whole process off to allow it to happen a few days after you are induced which one which one did you go for so generally we'd always prefer the natural option which is what we were leaning towards because if whatever you can do naturally why take chemicals if you can avoid it and so I came home and we told the doctor would think about it and during that time thankfully I managed to speak to a few other people some friends who I kind of knew in the back of my head they may have experienced a miscarriage before and it wasn't something I never discussed with anyone but I just heard it in passing that oh maybe somebody had experienced that which is really useful and really helpful because when I needed to think of somebody to contact to speak to about it I had in the back of my head someone who I knew had experienced it and was that to help you decide which option to go for the natural option or to take yeah medicine to help the baby come out yeah exactly because the the decision-making process was based on how their experience of the whole process of eliminating that suck was so I always understood a miscarriage just means you have some bleeding and then everything carries on is normal okay I hadn't understood that you actually have to go through a little mini birth kind of giving process because your body has to expel that that second that fee so regardless of how developed the baby is inside your womb at some point once it once the the baby is no longer growing yeah that baby has to come out yes exactly so obviously the earlier in the pregnancy is the less strong or it is for the body and for the mother because the less there is to expel and that obviously furthering the pregnancy the more traumatic it is because the bigger the mass that has to be removed and did you think it was going to be a fairly easy non traumatic experience ideas until I spoke to two other people until I spoke to other people who'd been through it and the other factor was the fact that we had pre-planned a holiday that was going to be coming up in about three three and a half weeks time and so if I had left it to do it naturally there was a chance it would have impinge on that holiday and it couldn't it what happened was broad yeah spontaneously at any point and I had no when is going to happen so speaking to people to actually make the decision to be induced in the end was was a really important decision for me and if I hadn't have been induced it could have really been difficult and the whole process of having that pregnancy tissue being removed from my body I I think we were both surprised actually how much bleeding that involved firstly and secondly how much weakness it actually caused after that whole process was over so I was really glad that I had actually chosen to be induced so that I had some control over when I would have to go through the the process of that little trauma rather than it having happened spontaneously while I mean I've been home we may have been abroad we may have been on an aeroplane and it would have really been a lot more challenging to deal with that at that point so what would you say was the biggest challenge going through that the the biggest challenge for me I think was just the unknown not knowing whether the pregnancy was continuing whether it had terminated waiting for results so generally because we have two beautiful boys already it wasn't I wouldn't say that it was a huge trauma for me for somebody who emotionally even yet because I was it was early enough and I were I knew that there was a risk of a miscarriage anyway and because we have a family already we have children there's no trauma I can imagine for somebody who suffers a miscarriage who doesn't have children the whole process of going through that miscarriage and having to give birth to that little sac is actually quite a traumatizing experience if you haven't given birth before because I've already given birth to Dubois relatively it was is a small experience but for somebody who hasn't been through that process it's it's unexpected actually how much of a process it can be I think that's an important point that because you had had given birth before because you'd had children you to some extent knew what what to experience so relatively it was easier but I think we're looking back at it now one of the biggest challenges for me was actually seeing how big of a process miscarriage actually was and I remember that final day when when it was all happening it was just you and me at home and the amount of bleeding that you went through and like you said the amount of weakness that you experienced was genuinely quite shocking for me and I remember feeling almost quite helpless because I had to somehow support you going through something without actually being able to do anything there was no doctors there's no one around we just knew that we had to go through this privately at home so that for me was was something unexpected because I you know maybe you had spoken to to some of your friends who had gone through miscarriage I literally had no idea what to expect so it was still an ordeal but yes it probably wasn't emotionally as a traumatic an ordeal but still having said that you you can't deny the fact that you go through a range of emotions I know for me one of the thoughts or feelings that I had was that I didn't really want anyone to know about it afterwards and not because there was any kind of shame or guilt involved I just felt that this was something that was very private for us so of course our immediate family knew that the pregnancy had been terminated but I didn't want to some extent even for you to talk to your friends about it I remember going through that feeling and I didn't want certainly because all of your friends their husbands are all my friends so I I didn't want to even face that or deal with that but it's only later on when I saw how useful that whole thing had been for you for you to talk to other women for you to get their advice I've realized that actually it was nothing to do with me you needed to speak to someone regardless of whether I wanted their husbands to know about or whether I and the fact that I I still till today that have no feeling that I want to hang around with a group of guys and talk about that like I don't have that feeling but because of that there was a part of me that didn't want anyone to know so I felt that that was quite quite emotionally a struggle for me the other thing that surprised me is the fact that even after have gone through that induction process and the sack had been expelled from my body there was at least two or three months afterwards where I had to continue to go for scans afterwards because actually what they found is there was still remnants of pregnancy tissue in my womb so even though the bulk of it had been removed it took several periods but for the rest of it to actually come out and the whole time they advised not to get pregnant again because it can complicate any further pregnancies that you have so you think it's again once that the process is done and the sack is out it's all over it's not it takes several months and I remember it's a very different kind of period because it's not liquid blood it's very like clotting kind of blood and it's very it's a very different process so again it was interesting experience to know that he just continued for many months afterwards so that was the first failed pregnancy in 2017 but that wasn't our only failed pregnancy we had a second one as well so tell me a little bit about that process so I think part of the reason why I wasn't very emotional or upset after the miscarriage because I knew it's okay we can just try again it's fine so after all the scans to confirm that everything was back to normal again after a few months we tried again and got pregnant again later on that year and again waiting for that 12-week scan to confirm that everything's okay and I was really relieved as I got closer to that date because I hadn't bled and had miscarry and I was really glad and hopeful okay great with this one's actually going through and so what was what was the results of that 12-week scan so I went along to the 12-week scan and as usual they use the the ultra ultrasonic ultrasound unit and what was unusual about this one is it just went on for quite a long time so I went on the scan process so she just kept taking more more measurement so she kept looking again and just kept it went on for quite some time where you could tell that something was not adding up where she kept taking more more measurements of things over and over again so it went on for quite some time and then when she finally finished they to take a seat back into the waiting room and then some senior member of staff and more senior lady came and took me and art took me to a separate room a private room to have a conversation and that's where they informed me that there were some findings on the the scan that alerts them that there's a risk that this there's some possibly some problems and they'd like to do some further tests to see if there's any any problems if there is actually any further problems and so at that point you had to set up allow them to take more tests to find out whether there was a risk to the baby and whether the baby was going to be okay yeah so the first thing that they arranged was for me to have a blood test to check to see what the risk level was and then based on that blood test then they would decide if there's any further tests that would be needed so the blood tests I went ahead for and I remember getting the phone call where they informed me that the blood test results have come back and the blood test does confirmed that it is high-risk and then based on that high risk if I remember correctly that the risk was the fact that the baby was going to be born with some severe disabilities yes they had a suspicion of that in the first scan but then they had to do some blood tests to check whether there was something in the blood that confirmed that and that's the phone call that you received said that there was gonna be these the the very high risk of the baby being severely disabled yep so what they're looking for is chrome is a chromosomal abnormalities so they could see that there was some genetic defect that was causing the baby not to be developing properly so the blood tests confirmed that that was the case and so now there was the option of doing further tests to confirm for sure whether or not there is a genetic defect or chromosomal abnormality and so I was not willing to terminate this pregnancy without knowing for sure if there is actually a chromosomal defect and so we went ahead and arranged a CVS which is a diagnostic test they put a needle into the placenta take a sample and do genetic testing to see if there is deformity and so I think a few was a few days or a few weeks later and again you got the results back for that yes and that confirmed again with more certainty this time well that concern that that confirmed to 99.9% certainty that there's definitely a chromosomal baby is not going born normal and there's going to be some sort of abnormalities and defects yes in the baby how did you feel at that home because because I I remember that you wanted this third child and after that first first miscarriage that we'd been through I think you were quite determined that you you know you wanted this to be successful as any as any normal mother would so when I got that phone call confirming that it was 100% confirmed that there is a chromosomal defect and there is a genetic abnormality I I initially took it quite well knowing having had the week or two previously to prepare knowing that this is the way it looks like it may be going there's a chance that this is not developing properly so I was prepared and I took the phone call and they gave me the options and left that with me and over that last week or so I had been quite strong I knew that okay there's a possibility of this I can't do anything about it it is what it is it's developing us it's developing I can't change that and I was about to go into work that day I got this phone call first thing in the morning and I had when I picked up the phone to call my practice manager I'm I'm at work as a dentist so I had to cancel my patience for the day if I needed to not go into work and I as soon as I picked up the phone to call my practice manager and I that's when all the emotion just came in and I actually just couldn't speak I actually couldn't I couldn't talk to her on the phone I literally it all came to me just at that point and this practice manager she's a little bit of an older lady so she's like like a second mom to me at work and the thought of having to explain to her that this is what I'm going through and that is actually what's happened I couldn't find the words to tell her I literally like for a few minutes she just she was just on the other line trying to you know trying to get something out of me and I couldn't actually say anything once you found out that you were pregnant and it was confirmed that there was going to be complications with this pregnancy and the baby wasn't developing world what were our options at that point there was two options really one option was to terminate the pregnancy and especially because it was so early on it would not have been a complicated process to do that and the other option was to continue with the pregnancy and allow whatever happens to happen if the pet if the if the baby continues to grow to the point where it develops to birth then then you live with that so so that was an option when and and I think for us the decision-making process I remember was it was quite clear in our head well how did you feel at that point when knowing that we were both probably without even saying anything thinking that we would opt for an abortion yeah I think again in our life circumstances in an our situation having already had our two boys and this was almost the the icing on the cake that I wanted a third child but for a child to have a life of disability if even made it to birth that we instinctively almost knew is not something that we felt would be responsible to do considering it was so early in the pregnancy and the fact that we have a choice to make I think for me it was always quite clear that as you said because we had a family already because we had children already we were looking to grow that family and get really more of what we already had a great life with great children the idea of us having a disabled child and and the responsibility in the lifelong commitment came with that and whether or not that disabled child would survive or whether whether that would be something that we would want to live with I think both of us went through the same sentiments that we just knew that this wasn't what we were trying for and so emotionally what would you say that decision was like when both of us concluded that we knew it wasn't right for us to carry on with this pregnancy emotionally again I almost saw it the same as the miscarriage that we had previously that year because it was so early on in the pregnancy I felt like the baby hasn't developed enough to be able to know any better or feel anything and it was just best to almost terminate it quickly rather than allow the baby to grow any more but I think one of the conclusions that we'd come to because of the fact that you and me are now like we're in our late 30s because we had already had two children and one miscarriage I think one of the big things that was weighing down on your head was the fact that we knew that this was going to be our last chance and once we decide to abort this pregnancy we weren't really going to try for a for a third child again off for a second failed pregnancy and I know that that was quite emotionally draining for you yeah that that was the that was the most emotional part for me is just when it was confirmed that this pregnancy is not going well the most upsetting part for me was knowing that this was probably my last chance of having a third child and if it wasn't for that if I knew that we could just do try again then I probably would again like the miscarriage have just been more cut more comfortable with it but knowing that even though this pregnancy is not continuing and I can't I'm not going to really have an opportunity to do this again and I had I had agreed with that and that was the most upsetting part for me what was the actual process of the abortion like for you so again very fortunately for me it was early enough that it was a relatively simple procedure I didn't need to have general anesthetic they didn't need to knock me out for it but as soon as I had the diagnosis to say that it was confirmed that there was a chromosomal defect I had a rush a clock against time because I had to I only fell into the window of doing the simpler procedure if I was something like 11 weeks plus four days or something like that as soon as it went a day over that you would automatically they would presume that the bones have started forming and the development was more and then you would have to have it under general anaesthetic so as soon as the diagnosis came through I had to make a decision very quickly that and the fact that by that time I had started showing even when I was going to work I was already wearing maternity trousers so again if this pregnancy wasn't going to continue I didn't want more and more people looking at me and knowing that I'm pregnant and having to explain to them why I'm not pregnant anymore for me the procedure was about going to a clinic which was actually surprised me how hidden it was so I can understand why maybe there are people who are campaigners against abortion so that clinic isn't but it was quite difficult to find actually it was behind closed locked gate that you had to beep to get in and things like that so again it's something that is not openly visible or available going into the clinic I was given some medication to help soften and open the cervix and I had to wait for that to work and it was a very quick simple suction where they literally within about three seconds the the whole fetus and fetal sac and everything was removed and then as is normal you have a period for the next five days or a week or so was it a painful or traumatic experience for you again for me the whole process was minimally traumatic because I've already had kids for somebody who hasn't had the experience of having children yes I can imagine the whole process of going through process that is gonna be quite dramatic being quite spiritual and having a spiritual outlook on life do you think that at any point you went through this feeling of questioning why this was happening to you did it change your outlook on your view of God or spirituality I would say no because as far as I was concerned being an older woman having a child I knew that there were more consequences of that the fact that the over the age of 35 you are more likely to have congenital abnormalities you're more likely to have conflict all sorts of complications in pregnancies and so I don't feel like it was something unfair being done to me it is the consequences of the fact that I'm in almost you getting to 40s and that's that's a natural part of what happens if you're going to have later babies at a later age some people probably argue that we should at that point have accepted the will of the universe call it hokum and we should never have even entertained the idea of having an abortion at that point did we consider some of the spiritual ways of looking at this and what was our conclusion to that so if you look at hukum my understanding of hokum is acceptance but that doesn't mean that you don't act so hokum and acceptance is in retrospect whatever is your situation in life whatever is happening you have a choice at that point as to what you can do to make changes but hokum is about the whole purpose of hukum the whole mechanism that guru ji has given us is a way to ease your suffering and to stop you from dwelling in sorrow and unhappiness and pain having thinking about what should or shouldn't have happened or what could have been different you know you can drive yourself into a really miserable life if you think about things like that and acceptance of hook'em is about understanding that what out however life flows however it unfolds it's okay it's it's it's it's part it is how it's meant to be and even the whole process of making a decision to terminate that child the the decision of that what was in our thoughts what the circumstances were now that is hook'em in retrospect everything is hook'em i think that's a really important point because a lot of times people talk about hukum as though we have to accept god's will but really our understanding of hukum is everything that is happening from the macro to the micro level is really this universal system so the fact that the first pregnancy had failed and the second pregnancy looked like it wasn't going right was hokum but our response to that was also hokum so the way that we both thought about that situation and we both instinctively knew this wasn't this isn't what we want we don't want to carry on with this anymore that we understood as hokum as well we weren't sitting there dwelling on this idea should we carry on though should we not should we be accepting life or should we be trying to get to carry on with this pregnancy we knew that it wasn't right for us and that knowing was very was very straightforward for us it wasn't something that we needed to dwell on or on too much at all yeah it all comes down to instinctively you listening to your inner voice and knowing and being able to listen and recognize what that's saying and it shouldn't be based on a fear of judgment of other people or a guilt of what other people are going to think we'll say for me the fact that the diagnosis was given quite early in the pregnancy it felt it felt to me the same as the miscarriage so I wanted to just terminate this pregnancy as the miscarriage has had terminated without allowing it to progress and I think that's how we saw it we saw the fact that this fetus had not developed properly as though it was another miscarriage so it wasn't really our decision to abort this baby just as we had had the first miscarriage and nature had naturally decided that this wasn't going to go ahead in the same way we almost saw it as nature had decided that this wasn't this baby wasn't forming properly yeah so as as a medic myself or as a dentist I know that as in my career there's always medical developments to help improve the quality of life to help processes to help things work better so in the same way it is known over the age of 35 there is more risks and complications in pregnancy that's why these stands are there if we were to have these scans and then not act on them when they tell us that things are going wrong what is the purpose of the scans why do we go to these scans then and it's a different situation years ago when you didn't know once until a baby is born if there's any abnormalities or defects with disabilities and that is a completely different process once a child is born even on layman's terms let alone anything to this previous spirituality if you kill a child once it's born that is murder but until that child is born while it's in the womb it is more at risk there's a chance the pregnancy may terminate spontaneously anyway but if you can check with these scans before the child is born how its developing that gives you an opportunity to make responsible decisions about that pregnancy and the reason why they do these scans so early on is because you can terminate a pregnancy at a very early stage before the baby's really had much of a chance to develop an acceptance of hocum doesn't mean that you don't act it doesn't mean that you don't do things to remedy the situation if it's possible so for instance if you're diagnosed with cancer does that mean you don't seek treatment the fact that you've you've have cancer now there is a possibility with treatment you can be cured yeah nobody actually tells you to accept hokum and stay at home everybody in any medical condition they say will go and get it fixed and in some ways we also saw this as a medical condition it wasn't something that we have to just sit home and accept we just thought well there's medical procedures available to treat this so that's that's the option that we went for I think you raised this really important point about judgment a lot of the time certainly within the Sikh community whenever anyone talks about abortion it's almost always infused with this idea of coolie mod or female infanticide and that's for those of our viewers and listeners who aren't familiar that's the idea that historically and even up to the present day certainly more so in India than in the West there is this culture certainly within Punjabis that if you know that you're having a girl sometimes there's a lot of pressure on the mother to abort that pregnancy and certainly there's been this culture of killing babies once the baby is born if the parents realize that it's a girl there's a huge burden that is considered that you're giving birth to a girl and there's a dowry system involved and all of those sorts of things my biggest issue with that whole conversation is why conflate those two issues like we didn't have an abortion because we just felt like it or there was a slight preference for a boy over a girl for us this was a huge commitment as a family and I really don't see the connection between wanting to abort a baby because it's a girl and wanting to think about what the quality of your life is going to be for the next 3040 years both for yourselves but for the quality of this baby as well the life of this baby as well so I really don't see this as being the same same issue at all what are your views on that so again with the whole concept of female infanticide yes I believe the Guru's were right to condemn that because if you look at it from a bigger perspective on a population level you're skewing the the proportions of men to women and that has a knock-on effect on everything it has a knock-on effect on on generally how many males and females there are available it will affect and it has a knock-on effect in a lot of ways for a society and for somebody to kill off females and have a preference for males a very narrow perspective way of looking and the gurus wanted us to have a bigger perspective to look at the bigger picture it's really interesting for this episode I was doing some research on what are some of the common sikh views on abortion and I'll just read one or two things out several directives have been issued by Sri akaal that type so that's the head of the decision making for the Sikhs the sikh supreme authority to stop pre-birth scannings to tell parents the gender of the child to ensure that the rights of the child and the mother is usually born to insure rights of the child and the mother who is usually bullied into abortion so again here whenever you try and look up this conversation around sickie and abortion it always comes back to well you're not allowed abortion because we don't kill young young young female babies here's here's another quote that I found online most Sikhs accept that life begins at conception so if conception has taken place it would be a sin to destroy life and deliberate miscarriage or abortion is forbidden for Sikhs the Sikh code of conduct however does not deal with abortion or indeed any other bioethical issues despite this theoretical viewpoint abortion is not uncommon amongst the Sikh community so here we're seeing this almost hard-line stance of a blanket rule saying Sikhs should never consider abortion should never consider miscarriage even though miscarriage is not something that you would even voluntarily do but on the other hand there is this admission that regardless of this hardline viewpoint that is actually quite common and I think people often almost like an abortion to murder so is it murder I think there's a couple of things to discuss here so generally I think it's quite immature for for people to have a rigid stance on something that is such a sensitive subject like this to say that as a blanket rule abortions should not be allowed I think it's it's it's really immature to kind of think every single person who has a decision to make like this it is a difficult decision for them and so based on their individual circumstances based on their personality and their life issues whether they have family or support what their situation is there's so many things to consider so many photos bringing a child into this world there's so many things factors to consider to make a blanket rule and say no you're not allowed I almost feel that that's quite insensitive did we ever think about the spiritual aspect of the child have we considered this idea that all human beings are here to connect to the divine and being born into a human body is really that opportunity to meditate and connect with this oneness some people might think well have we taken that ability away from that child have we taken that child's ability away to meditate and connect with the oneness I think based on Gurbani my understanding is that life is seen as as an opportunity it's such a blessing to be blessed with this opportunity of life and it's such a miracle you see if you see from two selves what can develop life is a blessing is a miracle and so whatever the the path of every individual is going to be in their life that's what it's going to be and like good Bonnie says every every breath is written whether it's going to be three breaths or a million breaths it's not in our hands actually and the whole spectrum is the journey of life it's not that there's one way to live well and there's one way to live properly the whole spectrum is is hokum it is all part of that oneness I think this is one of those subjects where it's so easy for people to get emotionally riled up and hold very strong emotionally driven viewpoints one of the views that I take is that regardless of whether you agree with abortion or not whether you think it's a murder or you're pro-life or pro-choice ultimately one of the core fundamental tenets of seek spirituality is compassion so regardless of whether you disagree with somebody else having an abortion or not your primary responsibility is to show compassion towards that person and deal with that person in a non-judgmental compassionate way which means exactly what you've said is to consider their viewpoint and what you would do in their particular can put their shoes or this in their situation there's no point you looking at it purely from your perspective and you can never really know another person's perspective you can have empathy for their position but you can never truly put yourself in their place so for that reason I don't like to have judgment of anyone else based on their understanding of their circumstances they have to make the best decision that they can for themselves in their life and their family and to judge anybody else in that way I think again is quite immature this is really such an important point that people often forget this this thing that what decision you make is based on what understanding you have been given at that point and if we almost just step back a little bit and think that everybody's way of thinking is based on what the Guru allows them to think at that point what the universe allows them to think at that point is a result of all of the experiences that they've had in their life so at that point they're only able to make that one decision so you almost have to step back a little bit and not judge someone and say well what you're doing is against goalmouth or against the Guru or against the universal laws actually what you're doing is exactly according to universal laws because you can only act the way the universe has allowed you to act and that's a far I think more healing way to think about life and to think about all different perspectives of life I really want to just read out a shower that I found which a lot of people will be familiar with in sukhmani sahib that starts to deal with this idea that are we in control of life and death or is life and death already predetermined or at least being controlled by some higher system or some higher power this is in super-nice a brushed body number 14 and it says Monica dick bill T sub John David co-occur Bhagavan reliance on people is in vain know this well the provider is only the one revered divine just get the ax just get the air her hair a guy born attritional log a I by who use gifts one remains fulfilled and desire no longer comes close mother akka echo up Monica care kitchen nahi heart killing and preserving is all done by that by that oneness itself nothing is in a person's own hands this car will come a booj Sukhoi this car Nam Iraq Canterbury by understanding its divine order one becomes peaceful so keep its name embedded deep simmer simmer simmer Prabhu soya nanak began illogic we remember remember remember that being nanak says then no obstacles shall afflict you this is such an eye-opener for me because Gurbani is very clearly saying that killing and preserving of life is not in a any human beings hands it's all in the hands of this system and as long as you understand the system hokum booj when you understand this system then you yourself will be at peace and as long as you don't you're gonna have this internal conflict did I do the right thing did I do the wrong thing am i guilty am I gonna be punished for my sin and really absorbs all human decisions away from the individual it's really saying but you're very decision making process is not in your hands it's all in hokum and it says that naam is to remember this hokum being in a state of naam isn't God remembering it's remembering that this whole system is God we refer to this whole divine system of life and all the permutations and all the different varieties of life and all the various decisions that people make this is the system of life that's called oakum as long as you can accept that knowing hokum is knowing God when you think on an individualistic level you feel and you take everything personally this is happening to me this is mine this is this is so again hook'em is about remembering and seeing it from the perspective that it is unfolding and as it unfolds you're seeing it unfold and one of the the most useful month is for me over having experienced any kind of difficulties over the last few years is I don't mind what happens when I have an invested interest and I want something to go a certain way I there's more chance that I will struggle because if it doesn't go the way I want it to then there's potential for me to have a story about suffering and about a regret about the way I wanted it to go so it's like if there's a stream that's flowing if you flow with the stream you will be at peace as soon as you turn the other way and you're going opposite to the stream you inevitably will be struggling and suffering and I think that's literally the key of having a spiritual outlook on life and a meditative way of living on a day-to-day basis is this idea that you do what you need to do in life but you don't have any expectations for how that's going to turn out you do what you can you do what the best is but in reality don't hold on to a idea of what life is going to turn out like and have these kind of expectations that when life goes your way that everything is great and when it doesn't go your way then everything is terrible and somehow you're living in awful life for a question like abortion whether it's right or wrong you'll see a hundred arguments which are very good arguments for and against you have the whole pro-life campaigns and then you have pro-choice campaigns and they both hold a lot of ground they both make a lot of sense but again it just comes down to having the compassion to allow people to make individual decisions you know for for somebody who is pro-life saying that it's wrong for abortions full-stop you know to have the audacity to tell somebody who has been raped to say no you should have that child I think it's again very insensitive and and you you're not having any empathy or compassion for somebody in that situation yes there's lots of things to consider you have to look up everything and don't feel like you're cornered that you feel like you feel incapable you know that there is always support and there's always a lot of a lot of things that you may not even think of that can unfold if you'd make certain decisions but ultimately the decisions and the decisions have to come down to the individuals who are involved and whose life will be affected by the whole process and if somebody does have a miscarriage or somebody does abort what's really interesting is the very outlook that society has placed on that it's almost as though you're supposed to see it as a tragedy you're supposed to be upset you're supposed to see it as the worst thing that could possibly have happened and when I reflect back on good Barney like this I understand that I don't have to have that emotional connection to it I don't have to react the same way as society tells me to react if I can take that slightly back step and if I can take a step slightly back and look at life in this way that everything is happening according to a higher power then it really does bring you that peace in life and and and it really does give you this compassion that allows you to say what we did was okay for us at that time and what anybody else chooses to D to do in their circumstance is fine for them so again it comes down to the individual in terms of how they feel about it if having if having choosing to have an abortion means you're going to be riddled with guilt for the rest of your life because you trinsic li that it's wrong then that's your understanding and that's your hokum that maybe not have that abortion whereas if you feel that intrinsically this is what the universe is telling me that this should not go ahead I need to stop this now then that is the understanding that you have and that is that the the step that you take to then live life according to that life is is an artwork it's not a book of rules of this and that of do's and don'ts it's it's it just it's a it's like it's like a painting but we are the paintbrush we're not actually the painter we feel that we are the painter and we control but we are the paint brush and it is unfolding and being painted on the canvas as it is and there is something behind us that is the painter that is painting looking back now do you think that we regret that decision or did we at that point have some second thoughts about what we were going to be doing I don't think we do well on what happened and if I was to stop and start making a little story in my head about oh this happened oh that was you can you can emotionally drown yourself in whatever emotions you feel like going into but I feel that there's no part of that story that lingers in my head and I could choose to do that but I there's no part of me that feels that there's an emotional attachment to that time or a guilt or any kind of raw emotion that that pulls me back to that and I think that's been the real sort of saving grace for both you and me is that we don't identify with that event it's not something that we talk about again it's not something that we're suppressing but we just don't identify with it it's not it's not become part of our life story it's not something that we continue to repeat on and on and on about so that it starts to develop emotional pain for us it's just something that we don't identify with and I think a lot of people who may be watching or listening are probably thinking well it's easy for you to say that you don't identify with it but how do you actually do it but I don't think I don't think it's easy I think it's something that happens with the spiritual outlook and something that happens over time but no matter what happens we don't take ownership of that event we don't take ownership of that decision we just see it as something that happened and even the decision that we made was also just something that happened and it's gone it's in the past and we've moved on from that the fact that we already have two children I think does change the situation hugely if we had no children and we had suffered a miscarriage or had to make the decision to have an abortion because of genetic abnormalities that would be a very different situation and that does change the the weight or the gravity of having to go through that experience I think it's also important that we experience both failed pregnancies at all so very early stages of the pregnancy and we don't have any personal experience of being 7 8 9 months pregnant and then your expectation is so much greater and then having the the pregnancy failed or even some people have still births so we can only really kind of talk about it from our perspective regardless of what the situation is the wisdom that Gurbani gives us is to have that detachment firstly the the not having the expectation during even a pregnancy knowing that at any point it can terminate of pregnancy is such a miraculous development of something and I was thinking about this the other day if you think of how perfectly everything has to develop that what the chances of how much it actually goes right is actually shocking the fact that most of the time it does actually develop to full completion that's the mindset that we have to have is seeing what a miracle birth really is is that we shouldn't take it for granted we shouldn't assume that every pregnancy is gonna be is gonna have this entire miraculous process happen perfectly in fact it's probably safer to consider that things aren't gonna go well and then when you prepare yourself for the worst then it's just a blessing when when the best happens I think the perspective that Gurbani generally gives us is to appreciate life as a miracle and as a blessing so looking back at it now why do you feel like this is an important conversation for us to be having and a conversation that should be hired more openly in the public I think this is really important because the way I see it everyone is getting married later our generations are getting married at an older age and having happy children starting families at a later age so I feel that it's inevitable that more and more people are going to have similar experiences of miscarriage of having being told that the baby is not developing properly and there is a genetic defect because as you get older over the age of 35 the chances of the happening is much higher so anybody having a child under the age of if the mother is under 30 generally the chance of miscarrying is 10% as soon as you're between 36 to 39 it's now 20% and over the age of 45 it's 50% and most people are lucky if they get married by the age of 30 nowadays so it's likely that this will become more and more of a common thing and I think in terms of speaking about it and making people aware that you had gone through it is going to be then helpful for other people who would have now realized that if they're going through it they've got someone that they can speak to yeah it really concerns me that people may feel compelled or feel forced into having going ahead with a pregnancy when there is such a diagnosis like a chromosomal abnormality because they have heard that Sikhs don't believe in abortion and that it's wrong and that it's a sin and they it's a murder and it really concerns me that people will feel like they feel obliged that they should continue with the pregnancy although they've got no one to speak to about it or on the other hand where they feel that they want to continue with the pregnancy but they have to hide it because they don't feel that they have the support and understanding of the Sikh community because they feel that they'll be judged and they'll be made to feel guilty because abortion is not allowed so I feel because of the increase in age of women having children into a later age there is more chance of this happening so that's why I think it's really important that we actually talk about it until I had my miscarriage and until I had these experiences I was unaware of how common it actually is and people don't realize how common it is until you have until it happens to you and then you reach out and ask for people for support and and for their advice and their experiences on it I think for me if I was to try and summarize my thoughts about it I would say that the biggest issue around this whole conversation of miscarriage and abortion is not the guilt or the shame it's actually the judgment and the closed mindedness of other people and the more that we can have conversations about this and even make it okay for families to get together and talk about this and share their experiences with others the more we're going to hopefully create a more tolerant society where people can understand this isn't a simple issue this doesn't have a straightforward answer in fact there's a lot of complexities that are involved in so many different opinions and so many different factors that need to be considered before anybody makes such a serious life-changing decision and it's not even just a decision that will affect you it will affect your extended family because anything like a disability where there is some severe disability it has a knock-on effect and the you need extra support of everyone else so we were quite fortunate when we told our parents that this was the diagnosis they were of the same opinion having experienced other people who had disability in their families how much of an impact it has well I can only hope that anybody watching or listening to our show today can try to start to now overcome any of their own personal trauma if they've gone through this I hope that they can benefit from our own experience and again anyone watching today please do let us know if the kind of conversations that we're having in life talk are being useful to you please do send us your messages if there are any other topics that you want us to cover that are of equal importance and better of concern to you then again please let us know and as a final conclusion I just want to say thank you so much to everyone who has given the live talk series so much support and encouragement and as much as possible we're gonna be here to try and bring out these difficult conversations have have have our viewpoints on it and hopefully share the spiritual wisdom of Gurmukh and bring that good math perspective to these very real day-to-day issues so thank you again for supporting nanak naam and we'll see you next time

18 Replies to “Abortion and Miscarriage – Life Talk (Episode 3)”

  1. Some more interesting info here: https://read.amazon.com/kp/kshare?asin=B00MPY3QJQ&id=ftpFx-gYTgGJGGqz3-JY3A&fbclid=IwAR1TIV0etpedjIFmuYj21OzrsW7X6xEEA4cyRypyvZei4C1seihDSVgfbZ4&reshareId=DR9784JRZHEP8XX5SXPW&reshareChannel=system

  2. Thank you for sharing! Talks like these open up talking for others that may feel to afraid to. You’ve posted this at a good time as there’s a campaign going around #abortionishealthcare (Miley Cyrus is licking a cake) as if say for instance you lived in another country it wouldn’t be your choice. Such valid points, I used to work with severely disabled elders as though it had its beauty, their quality of living was low and back when they were born there where no early scans etc. Also good points on Hukam as some Sikhs could say ‘Well it’s Hukum so you’ve got to do it!’ When you don’t, it is about awareness, acceptance and your own body!! Pregnancy is a journey and yes I agree to with the last point, I was nervous about my first and right till the last moment in theatre I didn’t have any expectations (as I knew anything could happen at any time) till she was out screaming then slept then came home!

  3. With all due respect and love, but I believe you are being politically correct. There are 1 million abortions per year in the United States. Less than 1% of situations are rape/incest and what you guys have been through. And please don’t get me wrong I sympathize with that and people who go through that. But a large majority of people get abortions out of convenience. You guys did not differentiate because you didn’t want to be “insensitive” We have to be responsible for other areas of life. So why not suggest to take responsibility sexually? Men are not off the hook either. Both are responsible. I think you’re young listeners get the wrong message. It communicates to a majority that ALL abortions are okay. But these small situations are being conflated and as a result making abortion okay all across the board. I was disappointed that you did not condemn the 99% of abortions. God bless you two 🙏🏽 really enjoy your videos.

  4. Theres a massive difference between a miscarriage and abortion. Its not the same. Please dont see having an abortion the same as a miscarriage happening. Massive difference. The miscarriage wasn't a choice, the abortion was. In sikhi abortions are not allowed. Life begins at contraception, yes? Penji, what you have done is a sin. Stop trying to justify what you have done is right and acceptable because it isn't. END OF.

  5. There are women who wish they can give birth and have children, but their bodies are weak and reject it, they are sad and wish they could have their own children. And there are women who abort children because they were immature and lack responsibilities.

  6. You are both so brave. Thank you for sharing your story. I really love how you listen to each other and your points of view. I wish you all the love in the world xx

  7. Thank you so much for this video. It's so hard to find guidance within our community when we're going through such traumatic events in life. Pregnancy loss is such a hush-hush topic in desi communities that it adds to the frustration of an experience that is already emotionally draining. Thank you both so so much for opening up–I would love to see more videos related to this topic because it's avoided by most katha-vachiks and parchariks, but is something that impacts a wide spectrum of people in our community.

  8. Thanks so much Nanak Naam, video production was great and the topic was very useful for my future. Great modern perspective.

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