I could not shame my family by
carrying the pregnancy to term.
My story starts in the spring of
I was an under-grad at a
rather well-known university. I was foolishly infatuated with a married man
twelve years my senior. Since my final year in high school, we had been having
an affair off and on. The pill had been my chosen form of birth control. I did
use this method exactly as instructed.
After breaking off our
first time, I discontinued the
"pill", and was abstinent. Then, over Christmas break we met again unexpectedly.
The next thing I knew I had missed a
period. He had told me he was sterile so, of course, he denied being the father.
It could not have been anyone else's baby. There was no one else. He did feel
sorry for me and urgently convinced me that an abortion was the only answer.
After all, his sister had had one. Why, it wasn't any worse than getting a tooth
pulled at the dentist's.
At the time both of my parents were
deceased, my Mother the most recently, having only been gone eight months. My
siblings, to this day, know nothing about my
pregnancy and subsequent
of 1978 I was away at the university miles from my hometown. It was my best girl
friend I informed first, long distance, with the news. Through my tears, I
explained how the Dr. said he could perform the deed at the hospital nearby. It
would have required general anesthesia and an overnight stay. I believe the fee
was 300-350 dollars. This Dr. really had his act perfected as I look back on it.
My main concern was finances. My girl
friend suggested I come home to
have the abortion done at the clinic where she had already driven two of our
friends for theirs. Her husband was the only one to actually say, "Well, can't
you have it and we could adopt it?
To me that adoption option was
absolutely nowhere. I could not shame my family by carrying the pregnancy to
term! What would the community people think?
How would the father's
wife and three children react? What about my college degree? So
his suggestion of adoption was
There were only four others who know
about my condition and about my decision to abort. They were all female, all
college cronies, only one of the four seemed distressed by my choice but she
Why didn't one of these seven people
who shared my secret try to talk me out of an abortion? I think that my mind was
made up no matter what and they knew it.
If I may editorialize, it seems that
unmarried women and particularly teen girls who become pregnant view it as a
status symbol nowadays. They are proud to be single and pregnant. But you have
to remember that even back
there was still a stigma attached, I did not feel that I had any other
The pregnancy itself was a fantastic
one! No morning sickness, just frequent urination and these unexplainable
afternoon naps (until I knew why) that I could not resist. I also experienced
shortness of breath upon completing my walks from apartment to campus and vice-
The term at the university had ended. I
went home for the summer, The night before May 27th, the father of the baby had
visited me and had compassionately wished me luck. I remember thinking how sweet
he was to be so concerned. I went to bed that night all the more enamored of
him. Scared and nervous? Yes, I was that also.
Early on the 27th, my friend and I
found ourselves on the interstate heading for the city. Trying to be
lighthearted about it, we splurged at a
and ate a breakfast fit for royalty. Then on foot we headed for the clinic as it
was not far.
I remember thinking how nice the
waiting room looked. But then I saw all these girls and women and I was reminded
that we were all here for the same reason. You could feel the tension. One young
woman a boyfriend/husband(?) was sitting besides her holding her hand. I
thoughts, why couldn't that be my boyfriend and
He should be here -- Not my friend.