Ok, Roscoe and his Frakenfinger(the new nickname I gave it, that let's me try and lighten a pretty heavy experience) are doing pretty well. He and Sophia are finally feeling better from their sickness, AND their Dad took them out of the house, as part of an ongoing apology for being a jerk that night. Hey, we were all over burdened that night... he has apologized to me and the kids for his outburst...so we are all healing here. So now I feel like I can get to...
The rest of the story:
At the end of the last post about this situation I was back in Seattle, but hadn't called my family or anyone else yet... and I had just found out I was pregnant.
Everyone just knew that I needed to get rid of the problem.
It's no big deal... it's ok... I went down to welfare and they would even pay for it... the worker told me "hey we'd rather pay to get rid of the problem than pay for the rest of the kid's life..."
wow... that's a heavy and sad statement.
Even my awesome friend was like, no way, you can't have a baby... you can't even take care of yourself. I can't be the person you depend on with this... it's too much responsibility for me to take on...
( now before anyone feels harshly about that... I think it was totally reasonable... it wasn't his problem, and although we were young he is about 6 years older and was recently divorced with a young baby in another state because of pretty sad circumstances... he was broken and sad and me having a baby was not something he needed to remind him of everything he had lost...so I got it...and was NOT upset with him (ever) for being honest with me about that.)
He got another mutual friend to come and talk to me about how she had done it... and it wasn't so bad... I would be able to start my life over and move on and away from this bad situation.
I think that it is important to note here that I did not have an incredibly religious upbringing. So as far as religious beliefs to make the decision for me... I felt like I did have choices. My mom was an atheist and my dad, at one point, wanted to be a protestant preacher... so you could say that I made my own way as far as my faith goes... I went to Sunday school.. but had not absorbed or felt a part of any particular dogma, as far as this situation goes. I have always (and am even more convinced because of my situation) felt that it should be a woman's choice as to whether she has a baby.
no one else's.... you can't legislate morals... it just doesn't work.
I don't think that women who don't want to have babies... should be forced to have babies... I mean do we really need more unloved and unwanted children in the world?
I realize that this might not be a popular stance, but I feel very strongly about it.
I don't want to bog down this story with my personal feelings about such an explosive debate.. but felt like I should throw it out there... because it effects my personal story greatly!
I had everyone around me telling me, that the only reasonable decision was to get rid of the baby... and my automatic reaction was honestly the same. My friend was right... how the hell was I going to be some one's mom... I couldn't even take care of myself... how could I be responsible for another life?
So I made the appointment. I went into the clinic and had a few appointments to talk with the ladies at the clinic. They were actually the least persuasive of anyone in my surroundings. They never told me what I should do. They gave me all of my options without opinion. They gave me numbers of people to talk with, for any decision. They, of course, gave me brochures for everything... adoption, abortion, and programs to help new moms get started.
The law there is that you have to talk with a social worker before the state would pay for it... to make sure that you would be ok. That was such a joke.. the woman asked me nothing about my feelings at all... she asked me a few rote questions...
Was I with the father? no. check
Did I have any family support? no. check
Did I have a strong religious base? no. check
Well, then it seems like this is the best decision for me then right... um I guess so... yeah, ok whatever, check.
So the day was set. It was two weeks away. I had found out right away... I've always been fairly in touch with my body... so I knew right away....
TWO WEEKS to wait? are you serious? well I guess you have to be a certain length along to make things safe... well in my head I was thinking... yeah but the longer that I breath knowing that my breath is for two people.. how can I possibly "get rid" of this baby?
I knew what I wanted to do.
I knew what everyone else wanted me to do.
I knew that logically it was the only responsible decision I could make. I was only 19 years old with only a high school diploma... what was I going to do?
So, I took a lot of walks. I went to the park and stared at the beauty of the world and cried. I thought about how all I'd ever wanted, but hadn't FELT was love. I am a very spiritual person, and have always had my own special relationship with my higher power (whom I don't choose to label, I feel like we know what's up with each other and I don't need anyone else's approval or judgement... can you tell I never had much trust in the church? power breeds corruption regardless of church or government... fodder for another post though!).
So, I prayed. I sat with myself or with my friend, who gave me his opinion once, but didn't pressure me about it... just let me come to it myself. I decided I should call my mom the night before I did it. I don't know why, but I was feeling bad that she didn't know where I was or what was happening with me. I hadn't mentioned that I missed my sister's college graduation yet.. but that was one of the many lame things I did when I bolted.
I called her and told her that I was ok, just wanted to tell her, oh and I'm pregnant and getting an abortion tomorrow. ok. bye.
what?!? ...I can't even fathom my own daughter doing this to me now... after months of not knowing if she would ever even see me again... I call saying I'm pregnant and getting an abortion. man, I should call my mom right now and apologize(again!). : (
well, even at the time, I thought that my mom handled it really well. My mom was not one known for emotions... she still gets uncomfortable with the fact that I end every call with an "I love you"... her response is usually .."Ok, bye" ... I am comfortable with this btw... just for background here ;)
...so there was no emotional response... no tears... she hung up, called a family friend, and called me back, a few minutes later... " ok, I'm not telling you what to do, but I called Sally, and she thinks that you should rethink it. She says you can come stay with her, in (place middle-american state here, sorry just don't remember...Nebraska?) and get a job and have the baby. She has horses, you know(like this was a selling point or something?). ok. just think about it."
me: "hey mom, do you think it matters in Nebraska that the father is black?"
mom: utter silence
me: "oh, shit, does it matter to you?" (dawning on me for the first time...)
mom: (immediate answer) " no, no of course not, why would it? I have to go... I'll call you back."
five minutes later:
mom: "Sally says, you can come, but you should think about how the people in her small town would react... to you... to the baby..."
me: " are you serious? wow... well whatever... I'm getting an abortion... I gotta go..."
Ok I have to say here...after this many years... words are really just the gist of things...
The next day I get up... take a shower.. walk to the clinic.
crying... and crying...
I get there... sign in on the clipboard and go sit down.
I'm just sitting there, waiting...
and then I realized... if it is making me feel this awful... it's just not right for me.
I got up, and walked out the door.
As of that moment, as far as I'm concerned I became a mother. By getting up and making that decision, I started thinking about someone else... other than myself. From that moment on, I was completely committed. I had gotten a job, where my friend worked as soon as I had come back to Seattle, but now I got another one... cleaning a hair salon at night. My friend said I could stay until I was able to save enough to get my own place. I got back in contact with my mom and a few select friends...and decided that I should move back to Tucson...and did. My friend didn't meet me at the bus station... which was one of a long list of shocks when I returned. It turns out that people were really angry... and my amazing friend in Seattle was one of the only people who was able to easily forgive me my mistakes. My guess is that they felt betrayed and worried, and didn't know how to reconcile that with a returned PREGNANT, young friend. And I was not nearly as strong and confident at that time as I have become through this journey. I wasn't able to verbalize how I had felt to them... I just hid away... because I didn't know what else to do. There was also the matter of skipping out on my half of the rent when I bailed... but I'd like to think that feeling mattered more than the money... although truth be told, I'm not convinced that is true, sadly. Regardless, all of my friends thought that I was making a huge mistake. I was all alone.
I poured over books about pregnancy. The day that I had walked out of the clinic I quit smoking(kind of a big deal for me since I smoked almost two packs a day then...yuck!!) I ate as healthfully as I could, and I put my entire life into this little person growing inside of me. As scared as I was, I had this inner calmness and knowledge that everything would be ok. I knew that I had made the right decision... I could just feel it.
I LOVED being pregnant. I was young and healthy and it was easy... and amazing!
When I went home, I discovered that not everyone was able to forgive me like my friend in Seattle. I still don't talk with the girl who was my roommate at the time, and there are still people who hold resentment towards me for the way that I left. It took me YEARS AND YEARS to be ok with that. My friends were like my family and it killed me that I had lost so many over something that had truly felt out of my control. But as the years have passed I realize that I did what I had to do... and if the people who still hold a grudge after all these years can't let it go... well, I'm sorry for them actually. It was a lifetime ago and I personally don't have room in my heart for hatred.
And like so many things that you understand later... it was actually the very best thing for me at the time anyway... with no support system I had no one but myself to rely on. I found out through that experience that I really could do anything. I depended on myself...and did a great job. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.
I'm not naive enough to believe that this could have happened this way for anyone. I know that I am lucky and blessed... and it is one reason why I try to be as thankful as I can.
I have lived a different life... and I so much prefer this one... full of love, forgiveness, gratitude, and joy!
All of this brings me to my point about choice. The fact that I felt able to make this decision, all on my own, with no one making me choose one thing or the other, has made all the difference in the world.
I had a friend who had a baby right before me who never felt like she had a choice, in the matter... being Catholic... she had to... and she was the saddest and most regretful person. She was bitter and angry and even thinking about it now makes me sad for her... and her kid. I think that if she had been able to come to the decision on her own it could have been different for her. And if she hadn't made the same choice as I did... then maybe there would be two less tragically lost souls in the world. I know that for myself... I could never have made another decision... and if I had, I seriously doubt that I would be alive today... but I would never say that my choice was the right one for everyone... I've known too many children who came into this world without the love that my children have... and seeing them makes me wonder... how is that better than the alternative?
I stayed with my mom for two weeks... that was so not fun or comfortable, but it was necessary. I found a tiny little house... it was a cottage really... but it was nice enough. It had a kitchen, a living room , and a bedroom with a bathroom in it. It was right next to a laundry mat and a grocery store, so that was convenient. I ended up getting a job about a mile away at a convenience store, working nights... and that was the beginning of my new life. I worked 50 or more hours a week for the whole time, until the day I was due... then I quit. I decided that I needed a quick break before I had the baby...and I ended up getting really sick and having to be induced... my birth story with Emily is not pretty. I've already stated that I was not full of confidence... but that is for another time.
The entire time I was pregnant, my biggest fear was that I would suck as a mom... but luckily the second that I looked into my beautiful daughter's eyes...all my fears melted away. I knew then, like I do now... that everything would not just be ok, but would be really great. Not every moment is amazing..and some really suck, but for the most part... my life is full of joy, all because I made that very important decision...so many years ago. It is the hardest and best decision I have made, in my whole life!
Today I am grateful that I was blessed with my amazing daughter.
I am grateful for the ability to see my good fortunes and appreciate them!
I am thankful that my husband is such a good father!
I am grateful that I had such a very good friend in Seattle(still!), because without him, none of this would have happened!
And finally I am grateful to the people who read my blog, writing out these things is very therapeutic for me... and I love being able to share these stories with you! Thanks for reading!