An Edmonton Woman and an Unexpected Pregnancy
This story was first published in the Summer 2006 issue of 'In Defence of Life'. Names have been changed for reasons of privacy.
I still remember the last —"normal“ moment of my life. I was joking with a co-worker about not being able to remember when my last period was. When I flipped through the calendar, it was just like everything paused for a moment in time. I stopped laughing. I could literally feel my heart sink. I had never been late in my life and I just ”knew‘ that I was pregnant.
I told my boyfriend, Andrew. He wasn‘t worried and assured me that I could not be pregnant. But sure enough, two home pregnancy tests proved that indeed I was pregnant.
The feeling of devastation was unexplainable. Words cannot describe it. I was totally in shock. Andrew and a friend went out that night. He left right after the test. He was in shock too. I remember just feeling absolutely speechless and numb.
The thoughts kept me up many, many nights. How was I going to ever tell my parents? Even my best friends who I had known my whole life were shocked! How would my parents react? A friend of mine actually told my mom, when they had talked in secrecy. My mom knew something was wrong with me and called her. Then my mom told my dad and the rest of my family. They were horrified, ashamed, disgusted. We barely spoke for the first 7 months of my pregnancy. Even my dad, who was very involved in our church, told me that he would support me fully if I got an abortion. My whole family including Andrew believed that an abortion was in my best interest, the option to make everything ”normal‘ again. And to be totally honest, I did consider it for a few days, but I knew inside that I could never, ever kill my now developing child.
A few years prior to my pregnancy, I went with a friend to get an abortion. She was 18 and about 4 months pregnant. We waited in the waiting room for about an hour before she was called in. Some girl was crying and kept leaving to throw up, another was giggling with her mom about something. One girl and her boyfriend just sat there. There were no windows or they were all covered up, I don‘t remember. In fact, we had to go in a back entrance and they spoke to my friend through an intercom before letting us in. I still remember walking to the bathroom and the doctor who performed my friend‘s abortion walked by and smiled. A big, happy smile.
When they called in my friend, they took her to a room for about half an hour. Then they came out and told me that she wanted me to come in, and that it was up tome. I wanted to be supportive, even though I did not at all believe in abortion.
All I could ever tell anyone is that I witnessed this abortion soberly. People that have an abortion are drugged, usually heavily. They don‘t see or remember a lot of the experience. Believe me, it was horrible. The sound of the vacuum still haunts me. Watching the pain that my friend experienced was horrifying. They kept giving her more drugs through her I.V.
When we got up to leave the room at the end of it, my friend was looking at the dish that the baby was in. I walked over to her, and I swear, I tried not to look, but I couldn‘t help it. Totally drugged, she asked the doctor if that was her baby. He said yes, and even pointed out the head, arms and tiny little spine that were totally visible and clear to anyone. I assure you, a life had been taken. All that was left was a torn apart, dismembered tiny body.
I will never, ever forgive myself for going with her. I was young and ignorant, but that is no excuse. For letting a child get slaughtered and not stopping it somehow. I hate myself for just sitting there and allowing a baby to be torn from its mother‘s body. A child, which at its stage of development, already knew its mother‘s voice. I would never, ever support that now.
So, I really believed that the situation I had gotten myself into was my problem, a result of my own irresponsibility, not this child‘s. I refused to punish an innocent life for my carelessness. I remember feeling more hurt than I ever felt before, because everyone that ”loved me‘, had no faith that I could be a wonderful, loving and devoted mom. It was horrible that the people that loved me the most would encourage me to kill the precious life that grew inside of me. My friends, however, as well as Andrew‘s parents were the total opposite. They wanted me to keep the baby more than anything. I still remember my best friend saying, "I know you better than anyone knows you, better than you know yourself. Keep this baby. It will be really hard, but you will be such a wonderful mother. You can do it.“
Everyone began to accept the fact that I wasn‘t going to have an abortion. So the next suggestion they had was that I give the baby up for adoption. They strongly believed that I was not ready to be a mother. Being adopted myself; this was a really hard decision to make. For a few months I considered it. I even told a few people that I was possibly going to give the baby up for adoption. However, I couldn‘t bring myself to even call an adoption agency. After going for the ultrasound, I knew in my heart, that a pack of wolves couldn‘t take this child away from me. And it was then that my life changed.
I kept working, often 12 hour shifts only making 8.50 an hour. It was brutal. My legs would be so swollen at the end of the day, I couldn‘t even bend them. I‘d take the bus every morning to work, and shockingly only twice got offered a seat. Other wise, I had to stand because it was so busy in the mornings. I started to talk to my family more around my 7th month of pregnancy. I began to take pre natal classes with my mom as Andrew wouldn‘t make the effort to come down to my side of the city. It hurt a lot, since everyone else in my prenatal classes came with their husbands. Although we lived apart, we were still together. However, we fought a lot and only saw each other about once a week. He still didn‘t want a child and claimed that he wasn‘t going to be a father to her. It was lonely. I lost a few friends, since I couldn‘t really go out and party anymore.
But time still went on. As I got bigger, Andrew slowly began to really bond with the baby inside and decided that he did want to be in her life. I also began to worry a little more. I had no vehicle and did not want to take the bus with a child. I‘d gone to college before I was pregnant but never finished. I was now in a low paying retail job. I had no savings. I had to move into low income housing. But I figured that I had one year (the length of maternity leave) to figure it all out and promised myself that I‘d start my life over.
And that I did.
My daughter was born in February 2004. Words will never be able to describe the feeling of holding her in my arms after she was born. I cried so much, I could barely see her. That moment defined me and my whole life. I was blessed with an angel. This little child needed me as much as I needed her.
Andrew and I did move in together after my daughter was about 2 months old, but that lasted only 2 months. He was totally overwhelmed by everything, and refused to change diapers or help whatsoever. We fought constantly, the fights turning into scary scenarios. I decided to move back to my parent‘s house and I lived there for about a year and a half. I saved every dollar that I got. I bought my first car when my daughter was about 8 months old, and started working for Royal Bank when my maternity leave ended.
But I needed to get out on my own. So after a couple months, I saved up as much money as I could for a damage deposit and some new, good furniture. I looked around and found a nice apartment in the Oliver Area of Edmonton and moved in.
That pretty much sums up where I am now. It‘s not quite where I want to be, but that‘s okay because I‘m proud of what I have and what I‘ve accomplished. I did everything on my own. I know that things will only go up from here. I have something that I haven‘t ever had before… confidence in myself. I have many goals and dreams, and none of them are impossible. I used to hide my left hand when I was out with my daughter, because I had no wedding ring, I was really ashamed. But now, I‘m proud to be my little girl‘s mom. I‘ve built my life from the ground up. And nothing intimidates me anymore.
Writing my story hasn‘t been easy. It brought back a lot of tears of shame, hurt and of joy. It made me relive some times that I never wanted to go back to again. But I feel like I have to tell my story. I want anyone that is facing an unplanned pregnancy to understand that life does not end, it only begins! Abortion is not a solution. Everything happens for a reason. Believe that. It‘s part of the journey of life. The universe will help you, if you go with the flow. A soul is created the moment of conception and life truly begins at that very second.
There are many hard times, sleepless nights, and often lack of money, but if you believe in yourself, you can make a good life for yourself and your child! You have to work your way up though.
If you really believe you are not ready to be a parent, adoption is also an option. There are so many wonderful people out there that want to be parents more than anything, but for different reasons, they can‘t be. I‘m very close with my birth mom now, and I have never resented her for giving me up! She chose life and I will forever love and respect her for that!
I am so thankful everyday for the strength I gained during my pregnancy. Most importantly the strength to not listen to others. To listen to myself. Had I gone through with an abortion, my life would have been over. I wouldn‘t have been able to even look at a child again. Trust me. The only one who truly knows you is you. No one that really knew me and was truly looking out for me would have tried to encourage me to have an abortion.
There is nothing more powerful than watching your child sleep at night. To watch them breathe. To feel their chubby little arms around your neck and to know that you‘ve found true love. Although I‘m still single, I hope to one day find someone who shares my same respect for life. Someone who is ready to be a father. As for my family, my parents have really come around. They love my daughter so much. My mom actually thanked me on her 2nd birthday for giving her such a beautiful grandchild.
Life is a precious gift, even though it may seem hard to see it that way at first. Every woman has so much strength inside. Believe in yourself.
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