65 "Child Afraid"
She was still a child.
There has been so much talk about abortion with pro-abortion, anti-abortion and pro-choice. Maybe pro-abortion and pro-choice are considered the same, though there is a very big difference.
Anyway, this makes me think back to something that happened in my life and decisions we had to make as a family and how the whole thing could have ruined the family if we had not stuck together and made it a family decision.
I believe that young people, teens and even into their early and late twenties, maybe not so much the latter, have a fear of ridicule, embarrassment, or even punishment if they do “happen” to get pregnant because of all of the way the so-called “adults” discuss and handle the situations today.
I am going to tell about my experience with this situation. By the way, I am pro-choice. Always have been, always will be. I feel it is the woman’s body and whether she is really ready to carry a baby to term. It is also the woman who has to live with the choice she makes mentally. And I have to say that I am very proud of the choice my daughter made in this situation.
It has now been over 30+ years and she has never once regretted the choice she made. Another choice she made was to not to have anymore children.
“The Way it All Began”
There was a 15 year old girl and she was a good friend of an 18 year old boy that lived a few doors down the street. She felt it was love, and in their own right, maybe it was. The girl’s father was a little old fashioned and wouldn’t even let her wear makeup until she was 16. She had never been on a date before. Her mother was a little more lenient with and understanding of the daughter.
One day the daughter asked the mother if she could go to a high school football game with the boy on a Friday night. Together they talked to the father. At first he was adamant about not letting her date. They convinced him that it wasn’t really a date, it was only two friends going to a football game together. Even though he could see something in the way they looked at each other and knew there was more there than just friends, he gave in.
The agreement was, that since it was her first “date”, they were to be home by 9:00, whether the game was over or not. And they did get home a few minutes after 9:00, but not late enough to get upset. And no, the dad wasn’t sitting up cleaning his gun, as the song goes.
Several weeks passed and everything seemed to be going just fine. Then one day the father received a phone call at work from the mother. She was crying and very upset. The girl was missing and when she called the boy’s house his mother said he wasn’t there.
Since the two families lived only a few doors apart the boy’s mother was at the house when the girl’s father arrived home. The first thing they did was call known friends, but no one had any idea where they might be. They called the police and their predicted response was, “We have to wait 48 hours.” Since they were “boyfriend and girlfriend” they could be just runaways.
For two days the parents looked for the two kids. The boy’s parents didn’t seem as concerned as the girl’s parents. They kept calling friends, some 2 or 3 times and had them looking too. No one had a clue about where they might be.
On the third day, just when the parents were about to call the police again, there was a call on the phone. It was a collect call with the girl on the other end. She wanted to know if the two of them could safely come home.
Excited just to hear her daughter’s voice and without even thinking twice she said yes. The daughter said there was one more thing, they needed some money to get home. They were in Palm Springs and had no money. The mother said, “We will be there to pick you up, where are you.”
The reply was, “We’re at the bus station and ran out of money.”
She found out that she was more than likely pregnant and was afraid to tell so the two of them decided to run away. To this day they have no idea where they were going to go or what they were going to do when they got to where ever they didn’t know they were going. They just know they were both scared, especially of the girl’s father, and especially since it happened on the night of the football game and the father was against her going in the first place. He was strict, but not mean or abusive.
The girl’s parents along with the boy’s mom, to protect the boy, drove to Palm Springs to pick them up and bring them home where they belonged. During the drive home is when the girl explained that she was probably pregnant. Which they found out later that she was.
Now, at 15 years of age, that is a very young age to be pregnant and she was looking at some very important decisions that had to be made. The boy was 18 years of age and he was not going to graduate because of bad grades. The girl was an “A” student, very smart and always did great in school.
There was a choice to be made first about the baby, once they found out for sure that she was pregnant. The girl and the parents talked a lot about the choice that had to be made. Was she going to have the baby or get an abortion? [Some people told the father later that the decision should not have been hers. “But it was her body and her life and she was mature enough to make that decision”, was always the father’s reply.]
Both of her parents worked and they lived payday to payday. They weren’t poor, but they didn’t have a lot of money either. The girl still had two years of school and she loved school. She didn’t want to give that up. The boy wasn’t going to graduate high school, so it didn’t look like he was going to have very good opportunities for jobs.
“The First Decision”
The first decision was made, and they did include the baby’s father on this and took into consideration and discussed how it was going to effect the girl’s future. They decided that the girl would have the baby.
The boy said he would get a job and help with the medical bills. His parents never offered anything and were never asked to contribute, though it would have been nice of them to contribute something.
The girl’s parents said it was nice of the boy to offer that, but if he was going to be the baby’s father, he should finish school. That was going to be hard for him because his grades weren’t good enough and he didn’t have enough credits to graduate.
The girl was determined to finish school and kept going to school. She talked to some of her teachers and was able to get some special assignments for the boy. With the special assignments and the girl tutoring him, the boy did manage to graduate, barely, but graduate he did.
After the baby was born and the girl’s parents had paid some of the medical, the bills were mounting. The boy had managed, after all of the hard work and help from the girl, to get a couple of odd jobs, but he hadn’t offered the girl’s parents one penny.
The girl’s parents tried to talk her into applying for some assistance from welfare. The girl refused because they would go after the baby’s father for payback and she didn’t want to get him in trouble, so the family limped along. There two other younger children in the family, and it was hard to make ends meet, even with both parents working. The girl offered to go to work but the parents felt it was more important for her to go to school.
Then the girl’s father was laid off from his job and she finally agreed to apply for the assistance from welfare. When she did apply they immediately went after the baby’s father.
A short time later the girl’s family received a summons to go to court for blood tests. The baby’s father was saying the baby wasn’t his.
Very upset now and wishing that he had beat the crap out of the kid when they first found out, the girl’s father said, “OK, if that’s the way he wants to be, he has no claim to the baby. We will make it without him or welfare assistance, somehow.” The girl, now broken hearted and very hurt, agreed with her father.
The girl was so hurt that she grew to hate the boy. One day she saw him and some of his friends riding motorcycles on a street and she made the statement, “I hope he has an accident and gets killed. It really wouldn’t bother me.”
Her dad was called back to work and as time went on and they did manage, and the girl finished high school. While in high school her last two years, her and her sister, 18 months younger, played on the boys Junior Varsity soccer team.
After she graduated her parents separated and then divorced. The divorce had nothing to do with the pregnancy. There were problems before that between the mother and father, which, looking back, may have had something to do with what she did because of the arguing. But the pregnancy and the baby pulled the family back together, even if just for a short while.
The girl put herself through school to become a registered dental assistant. (Ever since she was little she wanted to be a dentist. She at least came close.)
The girl got a good job and raised her son. She never married and never had any more babies. The son grew up and now has 3 children of his own and the girl is putting herself through school to be a teacher of special education children.
By the way, she is also living and has been for about 20 years, with a man, older than herself, who she helped kick a problem he was having with alcohol.
The girl could have elected for an abortion and her life would have been a lot less complicated, as it would have been for her parents. But, she elected to have the baby and for a time it even brought her parents closer together, despite the hardships.
I do want to say that I am very proud of my daughter and all of her choices through life.
I will also add that, she never hid from her son who his dad was and she never put him down to her son. When her son was 14 years old he asked to meet his dad.
She went to the trouble of locating his father, contacting him and setting up a meeting. The father said OK at first and then backed out the day before. Her son, to this day, wants nothing to do with his birth father.