Birth Story: Chicago, IL
Submitted to Abort73 by a 38-year-old woman on April 21, 2011.
I got married a month before I turned 21 to a man who had told me from the start that he didn’t want any children. That was okay because I didn’t want any either, or so I told myself. I wanted a career, a house, and freedom to do whatever and go wherever I pleased at a moment’ s notice, and a child would only hamper that. I had been on birth control pills for several years, so I wasn’t worried.
Four months after we got married, my father took me to the ER because I couldn’t stop throwing up. The doc suspected appendicitis, and ordered an ultrasound. The ultrasound tech called someone in and asked them, “Does that look like 5 weeks or 6 weeks to you?” My heart dropped and I said, “What do you mean ‘six weeks’?!” He told me he couldn’t talk to me about the results. I had to wait to speak to my doctor. But I knew what the tech had said, and I knew what it meant. I started to cry. I was not surprised when the doctor told me that I was pregnant, even though I had thought I could not get pregnant on the Pill. The doctor wanted to keep me overnight at the hospital for observation, since I was very dehydrated. My husband came to see me after he got off of work. I had been crying almost all day, and I cried when I told him. He looked angry and said, “Well, you already know what *I* want you to do.” But deep down, in a place I never would have even admitted existed, I already felt a bond with this little tiny blob that was making me puke my guts out. I had always been pro-choice, even coming from a very Christian, pro-life family. I couldn’t keep this baby. We were barely married. We had a tiny, one bedroom apartment that we struggled to afford. He didn’t want it. I didn’t see how I could raise it alone, and it might end my marriage. But, it was my child. He and I had created it. It was half my DNA. I was so conflicted. I just wished it wasn’t here and I could go back to my normal life. But it existed. And I had 3 choices. Abortion, which terrified me, and I couldn’t quite justify morally. After all, I *was* married, and an adult, and had a supportive family. Adoption, which I knew my husband would fight tooth and nail because he was adopted and (according to him) had had a miserable childhood. And keeping the baby, which scared me out of my wits, but was also strangely attractive to me. I had never thought of myself as a mother, or even a motherly type. But there was no denying that I had life growing inside of me. An unplanned, unexpected, unwelcome little life, but still a life.
I cried all night and only slept when exhaustion took over, but woke up crying often. I cried all the next day. I couldn’t come to a decision, or even a conclusion. I just felt numb, frozen, stuck. My husband couldn’t pick me up from the hospital until after work, so I got dressed and waited, my eyes red, my head clogged, and tears welling up every few minutes. An older woman, maybe in her 60s, came in to re-make the bed and empty the trash and tidy the room. She saw me sitting in the chair, stifling my sniffles and asked me, in broken, Italian-accented English, what was wrong, why was I crying. I burst into fresh tears and the whole story came pouring out of me.
She handed me a box of tissues and said, “You should keep your baby. I had four kids, but I only have one left. One son died in the war, one got a blood disease, and my daughter had cancer. I don’t know what I would do without my youngest daughter. She takes care of me. If I had not had all of my kids, I would be alone today. Have your baby.” When she told me that, I felt a sense of peace come over me and finally was able to stop crying. She gave me a hug and I thanked her.
When my husband arrived, I calmly told him I couldn’t have an abortion. I knew I just couldn’t live with my conscience for the rest of my life if I made that choice. He was clearly not happy, but said it was my choice to make, not his, and he would be there for me. He left when our daughter was 2 months old, and was gone for two months. I begged him every day on the phone to come home. When he came back, we tried to work it out for the baby’s sake, and stayed together for several more years, even having a son together. The day that I told him I wanted a divorce, he suggested we have another baby. I don’t think I ever forgave him for wanting to abort our little girl. I’m sure it contributed to our unhappy marriage.
That little girl is now almost 17 and an amazing young woman. My ex moved 1200 miles away when she was four and has had little to do with either of his kids. I am remarried to a wonderful man who loved my kids like they were his own from the very beginning. We have a little girl together and are expecting again. My pro-choice views have evolved completely into being unequivocally, unapologetically, and vocally pro-life. I am so thankful that God, or fate, or karma, or chance put that woman and I in the same room at the same time. Without her, I might still be crying.
Location: Chicago, IL
Date: April 21, 2011