When I was pregnant, I had three choices - ALL BAD.
I had broken protocol and read my own tarot cards - never recommended - and had gotten the ten worst cards in the deck in one reading. Statistically impossible, but happening nonetheless.
My three bad choices were:
1. To have the child and keep her/him. This meant moving back to the country with my parents and enduring their reaction to the whole situation. I was twenty-two, and the last time I had gone home for Thanksgiving, by Friday my mom and I were arguing so bitterly I asked her to drive me to the bus station so I could go back to school. All of my younger siblings would be home when my child was born. My youngest sibling was thirteen at the time. We lived in a two bedroom house, so that meant there would be FIVE of us in one bedroom - one of the five being my newborn out-of-wedlock child. I didn't know how to drive, and would be living in a village of 1,000 people in the middle of nowhhere with no means of transportation.
2. Have this baby and give him/her up for adoption. At least that way, he or she would have two parents who loved and wanted him, instead of just one depressed and brokenhearted basket case - me.
3. Have an abortion. The father was pressing for this one, of course, selfish prick that he was. He was also notoriously cheap, so probably was looking for a way out of child support payments. Pretty much all of my girlfriends supported this option. Some of them had already had an abortion, and they lived, they said. "Look at how you are suffering," they said. "Get rid of it. Let me make an appointment for you. I will go with you and hold your hand."
I retreated to my tiny room and lay on top of the huge pile of laundry that took up most of the space there. I lay in the laundry pile on the floor of my room, not eating or rising - just going through the options over and over again.
#1 - No. #2 - No. #3 - Oh, Lord, please no! I grew feverish, and twisted in the soft cloth all around me. #3. No. #2. No. #1. Oh, God, NO!
After the third day, I made my decision. I would have this child and give her him it up for adoption, though it would rip my very soul from its moorings. I wanted to keep this child SO BADLY! I would allow my child to live. I felt that he wanted to live. And I would make sure that my family didn't know anything about it.
I rose, clear-eyed, on the third day and took a long bath. I got dressed and went out into the world to put my plan into action.
And, here's the thing. All of these options really sucked. But, I had THREE of them.
Now, fuck Susan G. Koman Foundation all to hell, because they were colluding witht he misguided bastards and misogynists who want to make sure that no young woman in my situation ever has three options.
I wish, in a way, that I had chosen option number three. It would have been easier on me, I think. But, I stand by my decision as the right one. My son lived, and is a wonderful young man. I have two marvellous grandchildren, and a loving daughter-in-law. My son's adoptive parents, especially his mother, have been incredibly generous with me and welcome me into their family. My family has welcomed him into ours. I am sure that my son cannot understand my decision. But, he has been loved and wanted by his stable family and that is what counts the most to me.
I was poor when I was pregnant, as I am now. I was working as a waitress in a diner until people started making fun of me at work when I started showing in the sixth month. It was the seventies, and it wasn't like it is today. I went for my ob/gyn appointments to Planned Parenthood, where I received good care. I went on welfare, and that provided my health insurance. None of the doctors or hospitals in town would accept the government's insurance for the delivery, so the husband of a friend of mine who was a physician in a neighboring town provided my care, and arranged for the adoption.
The availability of that third option is important. I will work to keep it available for any young lady who may be, even now, wrestling with herself and the world in a laundry pile.