traced to abortion
by Peter Baklinski
Charlotte Dawson, a famed Australian TV personality known for her beauty and bright personality, was found dead in late February, hanging in her apartment. While international mainstream media blames her death on her depression caused by social media bullying, Charlotte herself identified her abortion 15 years ago as the thing that introduced her to what she called the “depression bogeyman.”
“When I got home [from the abortion], I felt that something had changed. I felt a shift. Maybe it was hormonal, but I felt the early tinges of what I can now identify as my first experience with depression,” Dawson wrote in her 2012 autobiography Air Kiss & Tell.
Australians were shocked to learn of Dawson’s suicide. Only hours before her body was discovered by a real estate agent, Dawson had appeared on a show looking calm, composed, and on top of the world.
Dawson’s is a story of tragic loss, betrayal, and depression. She married Olympic swimmer Scott Miller in 1999, one year before the Summer Olympics in Sydney. The newlyweds were considered to be one of the most glamorous celebrity couples in Sydney at that time.
Dawson soon became pregnant with her first, and as it turns out, only child. She wrote in her autobiography:
I knew I was pregnant; I didn’t have to have the test, I could just feel it. It was the most brilliant but terrifying feeling and the test did, as expected, confirm it. We were going to have a baby. I was actually going to be a mother. If there had been room to have butterflies in my stomach, I figure I could have managed that as well, such was my ability to multi-task.
But Dawson’s husband Miller was not supportive of the pregnancy because the upcoming Summer Olympics would conflict with the due date.
I could sense some hesitation in Scott. My due date would clash with the 2000 Olympic Games and this was very concerning. Everything Scott had done was leading up to this moment and nothing could stand in his way, so it was decided that we would terminate the child and try again later.
Who needed a developing fetus when a gold medal was on offer, eh?
But Dawson could not reconcile the decision to abort with her inner self. She knew that somehow she was not being true to herself as a woman and mother who was carrying a new life within.
Inside I was in total turmoil. I wanted the baby. How long would we have to wait? Were there even any guarantees that I would fall pregnant again? Of course, I accepted without question that the Olympics was Scott’s number-one priority—I had been told that by him and a number of other interested and invested parties.
Things went from bad to worse for Dawson when her husband refused to stay with her in the abortion clinic.
Scott accompanied me to a local clinic, but he couldn’t cope with the atmosphere so he left me there alone. I was struggling with the decision and trying not to appear emotional or distressed about it so that Scott could maintain his focus. I was trying to train myself to think of my baby as an inconvenience, like a sneeze in a news broadcast. It was difficult.
In the abortion clinic, Dawson began to experience a difficult mix of emotions.
I then had to reconcile myself to the personal responsibility of having a termination. Should I be feeling guilt and shame? I was challenging my idea that motherhood was an uncomplicated and blissful time, especially for newlyweds.
I considered the possibility that I might end up being a childless woman, which was a frustrating and demoralizing prospect for me, as I very much wanted to be a mother. What if I couldn’t have another child? What if I’d blown my only chance of motherhood by sacrificing this one?
Abortion for Dawson was not the liberating self-fulfilling experience that abortion advocates said it would be. Having lost her baby to abortion, she tried to focus on what she still had.
It was a horrible, sad time for me, but I had to keep reminding myself of what I had. I had a husband, and we were building a life and a home together.
I wanted our baby, but I felt greedy, like I already had too much, that the termination was a compromise I should make.
As brave as I was trying to be, and as much as I tried to reassure myself that we were doing the right thing, it was still a gut-wrenching time.
It was not until Dawson returned home from the abortion clinic that the gravity of what she had just done came crashing down on her.
When I got home, I felt that something had changed. I felt a shift. Maybe it was hormonal, but I felt the early tinges of what I can now identify as my first experience with depression.
I should have bought a couch especially for the depression bogeyman right then and there. If I had known he was going to visit so often, I would have at least have had somewhere for him to sit…
Dawson’s sacrifice of her only child for the sake of her husband’s Olympic career did not pay off. Sex tapes emerged around this time of Miller being filmed committing adultery with a female swimmer. He was also caught on tape doping to enhance his performance.
He did not even make the team for the Sydney Olympics.
The news of her husband’s betrayal added even more devastation to the already shattered Dawson.
If I’d started to feel pangs of depression after the termination, the shock of receiving this news barely six months into my marriage was too much to bear. Something inside me completely broke that Sunday, something that is beyond repair, something that has never come back.
I was a broken mess. I had to pretend that nothing was wrong at work and at social functions while people were whispering behind my back…
It was around this time that I learned the gentle art of drowning sorrow with bucket loads of wine.