After my boyfriend left my confidence was shattered. His words and his actions bruised my heart, my mind, and the deepest parts of my soul. I still constantly think of the threats he made, which constantly push me to think of my future with Hanna.
Lisa (or Becky): About three years ago Lisa helped me through the beginning months of my pregnancy. Since then, the choice to keep my child has opened so many doors for me. I wanted to send along a newspaper article that my local paper did on my daughter and me. I thought you’d enjoy reading it since Lisa helped me make such a bold decision. Also, I am a member/volunteer for a local agency called Options for Women (against abortion,) and, they are doing a story on my daughter and me to be used to help raise donations. I wanted to submit my story to you guys with the hope that you would post it to the website as well. It is a great story of hope, especially for those women who find themselves alone and pregnant, abandoned by the father. Please email me if you’re interested in a copy of the story. Enjoy, and know Standupgirl.com is a good place.
Hi Melissa, My name is Rachel and I work with Lisa and Becky at Stand Up Girl. I am so glad that you wrote to us to tell about how you and your daughter are doing! That is so great! 🙂 You’re a Stand Up Girl!! Congratulations on your daughter! 🙂 Love, Rachel
Hi Rachel, here’s my story.
I was 24 when I finally developed my own voice, the voice I promised myself I would never allow anyone to muffle again. I attended college full time at the University of Southern Maine, and I worked full time as a nanny.
I met my boyfriend in September of my senior year. He lived in Connecticut and I lived in Maine; and we saw each other on the weekends for a brief period in time, a period that, for me, will never seem so brief. I loved him. I loved the way he looked at me, the way he protected me, his flaws, his arrogance, his deep anger toward, “something;” I loved it all. I would have done anything for him, the person I thought I loved; but when push came to shove I didn’t do what he asked me to do, and I quickly learned something about him, about finding my inner voice, and most importantly about love.
When I was 19 and 20 I had abortions, both pregnancies were unwanted and the father wasn’t happy. I didn’t let my first two children live because I was worried about how the world around me would view me with a child and no man to back me up. I was young and ignorant, and the last thing I wanted was to be a single mother. Not to mention the father was adamant and persuaded me to listen to him, instead of my inner voice. My ignorance coupled with limited resources – not even from my church – resulted in two very selfish decisions and, rightfully so, I suffered the consequences of those decisions as the years went on.
But this guy was a man that I trusted in a short period of time, who I believed in, who I thought believed in me. I let him into my life immediately, without reservation, caution, or self doubt, and I had unprotected sex with him without even knowing him. I will never forget what it felt like to open my heart to him as fast as I did, or what it feels like now to close my heart to everyone but the child he left behind.
He and I had talked about the consequences of our irresponsibility but he always said the same thing to me, “you can’t keep the child if you get pregnant.” He didn’t want to hear my opinion on the matter, and I didn’t have the inner voice to speak up about my true feelings. I never got the chance to tell him that I didn’t know what I would do if I got pregnant; I was too much of a coward to ever say how I felt about anything, let alone being pregnant. Even more disturbing, I didn’t say a word to him when we continually slept together unprotected, I ignored it and prayed that I wasn’t pregnant. When the situation presented itself I was open to his request for me to have an abortion, and I even made an appointment for the medical abortion in Greenland, NH; but I couldn’t ignore the strong force inside me, screaming to me that abortion wasn’t the answer.
When he and I learned I was pregnant, he told me that he loved me, that no matter what I decided to do he would stand by me, and that everything would be okay. I was so excited to have a man finally stand by me. I told him that I needed to make an informed decision, and that I needed to know more about all of my options. I thought he was okay with that decision, but, little did I know he wasn’t okay with much. I contacted Options for Women and made an appointment with Lupita. Lupita counseled me and gave me a pregnancy test.
After the positive result, Lupita and I sat down in a private room and talked. We talked about my past, my relationship with my family, and my relationship with him. I informed Lupita that I had scheduled an abortion on November 5, and let her know why I felt an abortion was the best thing for me to do. I was still in college, I didn’t have health insurance, and he wasn’t exactly thrilled about the pregnancy. Lupita asked me a lot of other questions that forced me to dig deep within myself for the answers. We came to realize that each choice I made in the past, to abort my first two pregnancies, was based solely on how I thought others would view my pregnancies, and what the father’s needs were. My first two pregnancies didn’t end because I felt abortion was the answer, they ended because I was scared to follow my heart and listen to my inner voice. Those abortions had long term effects on me, and Lupita and I discussed some of those effects.
Lupita then gave me a book about adoption, which I think was the most helpful bit of information that I received from Options for Women. It never occurred to me that I had the choice to give my child up for adoption, and, sadly, for many women it isn’t an option. Had I known then, the things I know now, I would have given my first two children up for adoption instead of aborting them. I would have humbled myself and carried the children to term and allowed another family to have the children that I didn’t want, or didn’t feel I could support. When I read the adoption information that Lupita gave me; and I mulled it over for a few hours at home then shut my mind off completely, I woke up the next morning with the realization that abortion truly was not the answer for me, and it shouldn’t have been the answer in the past, and it shouldn’t be an answer period, for anyone.
Now that I was pregnant, my boyfriend and I had little contact, as a matter of fact, contact started to diminish rather quickly. I knew how he felt about all of it, and I knew he really didn’t want me to seek advice from other people.
The Friday following my meeting with Lupita he drove to Maine. I will never forget his reaction when I informed him that I wouldn’t have an abortion. He stood next to my living room door with his hands over his face, he looked scared, alone, sad and hurt. He tried to explain to me that our lives were not “conducive” to having a child because he was a subcontracted “commando” and spent three months at a time overseas in a dangerous environment. He stressed that there were numerous kids in the world who were products of unmarried parents, who have “screwed up” lives. He told me he would be mortified if I kept his child, that his family would be disappointed, that his family could never know I got pregnant.
My heart hurt for him because I understood he didn’t have a choice in the matter, and my mind constantly said, “abortion, abortion, abortion,” just to make him happy. But something deep inside of me managed to make peace with this, and so many other things, and I was finally able to truly follow my heart. I knew what I was telling him now was what I truly believed in, and I made it clear to him that I would consider adoption if that was something that he wanted to do. But he told me there was no way I was going to give “his” kid up for adoption, especially if someday he and I got married. He also tried to explain to me that the child “doesn’t even have a heartbeat,” and that an abortion would be a “piece of cake.” That night in the living room of my small one bedroom condo, he and I had our last real conversation.
He left the next morning because he had to “do some thinking;” those last moments stand vivid in my mind as I remember his hug, the kiss on my forehead, and those words, “I love you.” That night he didn’t call me like he usually did, so I called him. He was upset and he didn’t have much to say to me except, “I think you’re making a big mistake.” I tried to apologize for the way he felt, and to let him know that I understood, but he had changed; he was no longer listening to me. His anger had taken over and nothing, except an abortion, would ever change that. I didn’t hear him say “Goodbye,” as he slammed the telephone down and hung up on me. I didn’t hear anything but my heart slowly breaking second after second, and the “off the hook” tone which sounded through my receiver. I tried to call him a few times after that day, but he did not answer his phone.
Having still not heard from him, it had been nearly a week, I wrote him an email on November 3 and told him I still stood the same ground. I was not going to abort our child the following Friday, and that he too had the choice whether he wanted to be a part of my decision. I told him that the child I was carrying was special, and whoever got the chance to raise it would see how special he or she was.
If any period in time was going to cause me to break down and have another abortion, it would have been the events which occurred the night he left me for good, pregnant with his child. On the morning of November 4, 2004 I received a text message from him that said he was on his way to Maine because he had been asked to leave early for work on an overseas assignment. He wanted to “talk about things.” My initial thought was that he had come to his senses and we were finally going to be able to work something out. I quickly realized, however, when I got home from work to find him sitting in my driveway brewing with anger, that this would not be the happy ending I hoped it would be. When I got out of my car he began walking toward me with pure anger in his eyes and his hand waiving in the air, pointing at me. As he stood in front of me making his demands and his threats, he informed me that he had spoken to his attorney and she said if I kept his child that he could get full custody of it and he would make sure I never saw it. He threatened to use my previous eating disorder, past recreational drug use, and a previous driving offense to take the child from me if I kept it. He accused me of trapping him into getting me pregnant, and he told me he always knew I wanted nothing else in life than to be a stay at home mother.
He told me that my dream to be a lawyer was now shattered, and it would be impossible for me to go to law school with a child, let alone graduate with my bachelor’s degree. His major argument was that I didn’t have health insurance and I didn’t have a decent job to support the child once it was born. He even made it a point to tell me as he pointed to his shiny turquoise colored BMW, “I didn’t work this hard in my life to give it all up for some ‘f—ing’ kid.” I was scared, standing in front of a man who was no longer the man I thought I loved. I couldn’t say anything to him except, “take care of yourself.” The very last words he said to me were, “I’ll see you in court,” as he got into his car. At that very moment, while my heart was slowly breaking into a million little pieces, my world felt like it was shattering and all I could hear my mind scream was, “abortion, abortion, abortion.” I was more lost than I’d ever been. I cried for someone, anyone, something! That night my pillow muffled my screams, my hands pulled at my hair, and my tears could have filled the sag in my mattress; but, my world became silent and I slowly brought myself back to my time with Lupita, and by early morning I was calm, my mind wasn’t screaming anymore, and the only thing I knew for certain was that a babies heart was beating inside of me.
The coming months were the most depressing months of my life. I didn’t enjoy being pregnant, and often times I felt angry because I kept the child. There were a few months that I thought for sure I was going to give the child up for adoption. I had not heard from my now former boyfriend, I was living with my relatives, I didn’t have a job or health insurance, and I didn’t think I was going to be able to take care of the child the way he or she would need to be cared for. Many nights I would cry and tell myself that he was right, that everything I ever dreamed of was now shattered, that I had in fact made the biggest mistake of my life. I fought to get through college before the baby was born; I even contemplated quitting college all together. But I stuck it out and my last semester I carried 18 credits and worked 30 hours a week. I had applied to numerous jobs but never received a call back on many of my applications. By April I was nervous because all of this was real now; I would be graduating in May, having a baby in June, and I would not have a job to support it. My daily thoughts consisted of me being single, pregnant, abandoned, jobless, living off of state health assistance and a doorstep away from homeless.
By the end of April I accepted a job with a bank’s home office in Boston. When I received the call that the job was being offered to me, it was one of the happiest moments of my life. I was shocked that the company would choose a pregnant woman; and, that they would offer me a position and the ability to start three months after my child was born. I was even offered a decent salary, obviously something more than I’ve ever made up until that point. I knew the road ahead of me would not be easy, but I felt like God was watching over me, and God knew that the only person who would ever be able to give the child I was carrying the life she so rightfully deserved, was me. By the time I graduated from college my heart was set on raising a child and I began to make plans to be a mother, until the end of time. I wasn’t prepared for everything to come over the next few years, or decades, but I was certain that I wanted to make my child my number one priority and as long as I did that I felt like everything else would work itself out.
I gave birth to my daughter, Hanna, on June 21, 2005. It had been 8 months since I last heard from him, and my heart still hurt, a lot. I found it difficult to love Hanna the way a mother should love her first born daughter, and at times I wished I wouldn’t have kept her. She was a constant reminder of someone I trusted and believed in, and now that I had to see his face everyday, I couldn’t get the memories out of my mind.
It didn’t take me long to learn to love her, six months at the most, but often times I wondered what was wrong with me; why a mother couldn’t love her child the way she was supposed to. I learned through others at my church that my feelings were normal, especially because of the circumstances. Thankfully, I got through the pain, and now when I look at her I love her like I’ve never loved before. She is the one person who has taught me what true love is, and all the times I ever thought I loved a man, she has taught me to know that it was never truly love. I don’t look at her anymore and feel sorry for her that her father abandoned her; and the anger doesn’t linger anymore like it did every time his name came up, or I saw his picture, or Hanna made a face similar to his faces.
Now, when I look at my daughter, there are brief moments that I feel sorry for him and for his family. I feel sorry that he chose to ignore his responsibilities, and has missed out on some of the most beautiful moments with his first born daughter. I feel sorry for his family because they too are missing out on her; I have offered them opportunities to get involved in her life and they have failed to respond. Every day of my life, however, I wake up to her beautiful brown eyes, and I see her smiling face. I thank God that I was given the choice to be her mother. When I drop her off at daycare in the morning I smile, and I thank God that I have the best childcare provider in the world, who loves my daughter, and who’s family loves my daughter. When I go to work each day, I go to work for a purpose, and, when I attend law school at night, I attend school for a purpose. Hanna is a simple reminder that God is good; that my life has a purpose.
After my boyfriend left my confidence was shattered. His words and his actions bruised my heart, my mind, and the deepest parts of my soul. I still constantly think of the threats he made, which constantly push me to think of my future with Hanna. The threats pushed me to fight for everything I believe in now, and forever. They pushed me to listen to my inner voice, and to ensure that Hanna always has the stable life that he said she wouldn’t have. The threats have further pushed me to fight to accomplish the goals I set out for myself when I was 21. Thankfully, however, I’ve realized that the reason he ever threatened me to begin with was only to scare me. I don’t think he ever thought I would keep the child; only because his words and actions were so scary that most other women would have done what he wanted to do simply out of fear. He probably thought that he could scare me, abandon me, and hopefully I would weaken and end up having an abortion.
He may have shattered my confidence for a short period in time, but the last three years have proven to be the most painful, best years of my life. I learned to listen to my inner voice and accept people’s advice; and to cry, to be angry, and to get past those harsh feelings. I learned to accept help from other people, and I realized that accepting help doesn’t mean I am weak, it means I am strong. I also learned to forgive him and to be thankful for every circumstance, big or small, in my life. I can honestly say that I would not be a mother to the most beautiful, talented, and intelligent child I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, if Options for Women had not been in the phone book. Had the resource not been available I would have aborted Hanna and I wouldn’t have gone through the struggle and the pain, which, clearly, has made me a much better person today. I never dreamed I’d be where I am at 27 years old, having already been through some of the toughest times in my life; and it is hard to imagine the only reason I am here is because of him. It’s amazing how a man who left me standing, alone and scared in a dimly lit parking lot, can be the catalyst in the life his child and I lead today. One single choice opened up so many doors for me, one choice, that, for the first time in my life I made all on my own.