H.G.'s Story

18 yrs. ago, I was a 14 yr. old teenage girl living in a very small rural town out of state. This was the sort of  town where everyone really did know everyone. I was a lonely girl with few friends, who was a victim of emotional and sibling abuse. My self-esteem was extremely low and I was desperate for affection.

I fell in love with a sweet 17 yr. old teenage boy - my very first real boyfriend. After dating for approximately 1 1/2 yrs., I ended up pregnant. I was 16 and a junior in high school. I had never had a job, and hadn't even considered following a specific career track following high school. I had no promises from my boyfriend and since I had such a distant relationship with my parents, I thought I could never even attempt to tell them, after all, they didn't even know I was having sex.

I was terrified at the thought of being pregnant. My thoughts were racing. What was I going to do? How could I tell my parents? How could I provide for a child?  I couldn't provide for myself! Yet, I was supposedly 'a good girl'. My reputation would be crushed! How could I finish high school - no way could I do it PREGNANT! Could I consider the options: keep the baby, adoption or abortion???

I spoke with my boyfriend, who wanted me to seek abortion. I told him to go ahead and call the clinic for information. That same night I was talking with my sister and the topic of abortion came up (she was unaware that I was pregnant). I'll never forget what she said when she gave me her view, she said, "most of the time it is easier to do the wrong thing than it is to do the right thing".

I really thought about that statement and realized how true it was. I recalled that every time I had been challenged in my life prior to this, I had always quit. I had quit basketball because I didn't want to practice. I had quit the school newspaper because I didn't feel I was good enough and didn't want to make an effort to be better. I could give other examples at this point, but I won't waste space - the point is I painfully realized that I was a Quitter!!

I prayed to God to give me guidance. I telephoned my boyfriend the next day and told him to forget about the abortion. It was difficult, but I decided to tell my parents (I was now 5 mo. pregnant). My parents were disappointed and hurt, but they tried to do what they could. I knew this child was my responsibility and I tried to accept that. My parents had had 6 children and were now in their 50's, I couldn't ask them to help raise another child, so I decided to give my child to a family who could provide best for him and hope he would understand my decision in years to come. I cried every day with the thought of giving up my child - I truly loved him! I knew that I had a long road ahead of me and it was going to be hard, but I wasn't going to quit anymore.

I continued to go to school while I was pregnant, growing ever larger during what should have been a great time in my life - my senior year. I was embarrassed and ashamed of myself, but somehow found the strength to go on. The staring and nasty comments subsided luckily after about a month after school started that fall. I was just looked at as a familiar oddity - I am thankful for this now.

The night I went into labor, I thought, " I'm never going to see my baby again after today." I was wrong. My boyfriend and I married 1 month after the birth of my son. Everyone said our marriage wouldn't last. We were very poor and suffered from the ills of poverty, but he eventually finished college and found an entry level job. 3 yrs. later, we had a second son. I was motivated to take care of my children. 3 yrs. later, I went back to school and became a registered nurse. I have the highest degree attained by any of my immediate family members. My husband and I have a good jobs and a bright future. We recently celebrated our 15th Anniversary.

Now I can say I am proud of my life, and of the hardships I suffered because I can truly appreciate my prosperity today. I am very proud that I overcame my fear and found that being pregnant as a teenager, although not ideal, did not scar and ruin my life - in my opinion, it was most likely a gift from God.

Please share my story with other teenagers in the same position as I was all those years ago.

16 Jan 1999

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In 1970, Washington State voters legalized abortion through Referendum 20, three years before the Supreme Court handed down the Roe v Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide.