Joanna's Story

When I found out I was pregnant, I was 35 and had broken up with my
boyfriend two weeks before.  I was only three weeks along and about to
get a biopsy for cervical cancer.

I'm very pro-choice.  At first I was sure I wanted to abort, because I
didn't want to tie myself to my ex-boyfriend for the rest of my life.
We had already broken up once before.  He could be the sweetest man in
the world, but he had a lot of emotional problems, especially when he
felt out of control of a situation.  At first he took them out on me,
but we went to therapy and that improved for a while.  Then he quit
therapy and started lashing out at strangers.  I know it sounds weird,
but it was because he was afraid I would leave him.  I could see the
fear and anger in him and it was scary.  But he never hurt me

The cancer suspicion made me wait.  They took three biopsies from my
cervix, and I decided to wait to terminate until I got the results,
because the treatment for cervical cancer is hysterectomy.  If I had
cancer, this would be my last chance to have a child.

In those two weeks, my boyfriend begged and pleaded for me to come
back.  He went to a psychiatrist and got on antidepressants.  He
finally half-heartedly tried to commit suicide, the day before my
cancer results were due, because I had said I didn't want to talk to
him for a month.  Because his family was so worried about him, and
because I felt I owed him a chance to be mad at me for leaving him, I
stayed awake at his house all that night and watched him sleep after
taking a whole box of Sominex.  I knew it wouldn't kill him because
he'd done the same thing six months before.

A day later, I got my cancer results and they were negative -- I was
OK.  Now I was about 4 weeks along, and I didn't feel pregnant.  I had
had a lot of time to think about what it would be like to have the
baby.  I talked to friends who said I could raise it on my own if we
weren't together, and I knew they were right.  And despite his
instability, I loved my boyfriend a lot.  He was the only man I'd ever
thought about marrying.  I felt like even though the relationship
would be very hard, I wanted to give it one more try, that maybe we
could make it and have a family.  He loved me and was very devoted,
and I thought his insecurity problems were solvable.  I wouldn't let
him move in or get married until I was good and ready though.  So I
told him and he was overjoyed.  He said he would do right by me and be
good to me and how much he loved me.  And he called everyone in his
family and said "I'm going to be a daddy!"

After it sank in for a few days, I talked to him very seriously and
asked him how much he really wanted this.  He had said in the past
that he couldn't bear to be a part-time parent, that that was a fate
worse than death for him.  I said that there were no guarantees, and
that he needed to live with that possibility if we were going to have
this child.  I said, I will consider not having the baby if you can't
accept that possibility.  He looked a little shocked, and said, what
do you want to do?  I said I wanted to stick with it and try to make
it work.  He said, OK, good, that's what I want too.

Now I'm 15 weeks along.  My belly is bulging out and we recently had a
very happy prenatal visit where we saw the baby on a sonogram.  My
boyfriend could see the head and feet and hands, but I couldn't make
them out.  My mom was there too and she was all excited.  We work
together and we told everyone at work yesterday.  They were surprised
but happy for us.

We fought all last weekend because he wants to see more commitment
from me.  I'm not ready to marry him, and nothing else seems to
satisfy him.  I can see the old fear and anger, and last night it was
worse than ever.  He said, remember that offer you made me, about not
having the baby?  Is that still an option?  I said, yes?  I was
shocked and didn't know what to say.  He said he wanted to consider
that again.  He was very mad at me at the time (I had refused to keep
fighting with him the night before) and I figured he was just trying
to make me mad, to provoke me into more fighting interaction.  He
couldn't be serious.

But he was.  When I said happily that I was 15 weeks along yesterday,
he said "you can't were just 13.5 weeks."  I realized he was
thinking seriously about aborting it.  I thought about it all evening
and that night I was quite depressed.  I didn't want to give up this
baby.  I'm very attached to it now...we've been buying all the books,
we chose a name, we talk about how we're going to raise it and how
much fun we'll have.  He saw it move.  And suddenly he wanted to kill
it because he wasn't confident enough in our relationship.  I am very
pro-choice but the idea made me sick.  It seemed so arbitrary.  He'd
had three months to think about that.

So last night I told him it was too late, and I wasn't going to abort
a healthy baby.  He went ballistic.  I said I would raise it on my own
if he doesn't want a part, but he wants to be a full-time dad, that's
the problem.  His own dad never showed his love, and he still feels
hurt and angry and bitter about it.  He was in an absolute
rage at me.  The yelling was so loud, the cops came and kicked him out
of my house.  It was their choice but I didn't stop them.  I was so
upset myself, and afraid for myself and the baby.  What kind of life
will we have?  I cried for hours.

I promised I would speak to him again tonight, and I have to go soon
and do that.  I don't know how things will turn out, but I don't want
to give up our baby.  I am so glad the law makes it my choice.
Sometimes I think it's not fair that both parents don't have an equal
say, but today I am grateful that it is only my choice.

February 22, 2007

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