Aborted Women: In Their Own Words

People who would help became fewer and fewer

by Chandra H
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When I was 17, I got pregnant and had a child with a 22 year old that I had known for a month. We were married three months later after my parents gave us 3 choices: marriage, abortion or adoption. At first, many people said that they would help us because it was going to be hard. Dan got a job at a gas station making minimum wage. The day after I revealed I was pregnant, I was fired from my job. I gained a lot of weight with the pregnancy and became very depressed. No one would hire me because I was obviously pregnant. We stayed with my folks trying to save up. Our daughter was three weeks late and the doctor had to induce because I was very sick.

Once she was born, the state put us on food stamps and gave my daughter Medicaid because we did not have any money. Dan got a job that paid $6.35 an hour in 1996 so he left the gas station for the tiny pay raise but began working long hours and all nights. Our parents and grandparents helped us move into an apartment we could not afford and his grandmother subsidized the difference. I was alienated from my friends; they did not understand what it was like to be a young mother. Our family survived for two years before we separated because of domestic violence. The hitting, pushing, shoving, smacking and breaking things began during the pregnancy and eventually escalated to the point the police showed up.

For many years after he left it was hard for me to take a normal job. I could not afford to pay for daycare and relied on family members to watch my daughter. The people who said they would help became fewer and fewer as time passed. In the end, the only person I could rely on was my ex-mother-in-law until she moved to California. I worked in fast food and then later on as a server. I tried going back to school but working full time and going to school did not leave any time for my daughter. I am 27 now and I have watched all of my friends go off to college and most graduate school. Two years ago, I began temping in order to obtain office skills. This allowed me to get experience and better paying jobs. In tax year 2003, I made a little over $13,000. I was working one full time and two part time jobs. We had to live with others and share a bedroom because I could not afford to live on my own. A year and a half ago I landed a job at a large corporation and doubled my pay. I now make $28.5k but still cannot go back to school because my schedule requires me to work 9 hours a day.

At the beginning of the year, I got pregnant again. There was no question in my mind of what to do. I went to the doctor to take another pregnancy test. When it came up positive, I asked for a reference to an abortion clinic. The man who impregnated me this last time was someone I have known for 5 years but had only been intimate with for 4 months. I have ravaged my youth and there is no going back. While all my friends made good choices and were able to be successful, because I have a child I gave that up. I do not regret the decision I made regarding my abortion. You can manage your future with wisdom from your past. If you're considering an abortion don't let anyone force you into the decision you make: it's your life and you're the one who is going to fully deal with the consequences of any of your actions.

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Posted 26 Jun 2005.

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