Draw the Line

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Topics: Abortion
Area of Life Affected: Family Relationships, Safety

That’s When I Knew

I sacrificed most of my youth helping my mother raise her youngest two children. Our father was dead weight, and my role intensified after he left when I was 15.

“He wasn’t the father my child deserved.”

My mother met a man that she (quickly) decided to marry. He had a strong habit of talking about my ass, and convincing her I was horrible. So I rushed into a relationship with a man I worked with who had a drinking problem. I moved in with him but stayed within a five-minute drive to my mother’s house in case my younger siblings ever needed anything.

The drinker was in and out of jail. Drugs, DUIs, probation violations. I found out I was pregnant on September 13, 2011. September 14, he was locked up again.

I didn’t know what to do at first. I had agonized over it endlessly, and decided to keep it. I worked 95 hours a week between three different restaurants trying to cover our bills and pay for his lawyer. Whenever he called, all he asked about was money. I had no health insurance and barely enough money for food, but he needed money for commissary, phone calls, fines, and money to fix his car for when he got out.

One night he called from jail just after I’d gotten done working with some of our mutual friends, and he talked to one of them about going to the bar after he got out. That’s when I knew. He wasn’t the father my child deserved. Nothing was going to change him. And I was in no way, shape, or form the mother that I wanted to be and knew I could be for my child, especially with this grown man expecting me to be his mother, too.

I was 22 and I’d been raising kids since I was 8 years old. When was it time for me to have my life? How could I put my child through a worse life than the one I’d been living?

Two weeks after I had the abortion, the drinker got out of jail. Within two days, he got hammered. He’d never laid a hand on me before, but that night, he lost his mind. He threw lamps and dresser drawers at me. He threw me against one wall, picked me up, and threw me against the other; he punched and slapped and screamed and pushed and I’d never been so scared in my life, for my life.

Had I still been pregnant, the baby would have died that night. Would that have been more acceptable?

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