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I could not shame my family by carrying the pregnancy to term.

 

My story starts in the spring of 1978. 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 relationship the 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 abortion.

Spring 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 quickly squelched.

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 remained silent.

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 in 1978, there was still a stigma attached, I did not feel that I had any other alternatives.

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- versa.

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 nearby eatery 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 me? He should be here -- Not my friend.

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