My parents had recently gone through a horrific divorce. My mom and I moved out of my father’s house 4 days after I turned thirteen. I was just starting the eighth grade. My twin brother and my older brother chose to live with my dad. (They would go back and forth between house until they turned 18, when they were finally kicked out of my father’s house, and they then moved in with my mom and I.) My parents had lived together for 2 years before the divorce became final, but it was not amicable. My mom slept in the basement. My father, an alcoholic, would often tell me what a horrible person I was, just like my mother, because I chose to live with my mom. I was 11. Needless to say, I never spoke to my father again after I moved out. I’m now 40.
The summer before I went to the 10th grade, my older brother pushed me to go on a date with a friend of his. I did and it was fun, but I wasn’t interested in him romantically. We hung out a little and I was clear that I didn’t want to be his girlfriend. One day he called me and said he had a gun in his hand and he was going to kill himself if I didn’t agree to be his girlfriend. I had no reason to doubt him, so I agreed.
I don’t know what happened that summer. He was stealing money from his parents, but telling me he was doing something illegal to earn it. We would go on spending sprees and buy clothes and go out to eat. It was exciting and I really had no guidance or supervision at all. My mom was busy with her job and boyfriend and I was left to myself most of the time. I got good grades and was responsible, so I was allowed to pretty much do whatever I wanted. I got pregnant the first time I had sex. I knew it right away, though it wasn’t confirmed for several weeks. Meanwhile, he had been caught stealing all this money, thousands of dollars. But somehow he still convinced me he earned it through illicit means and that we had to go on the run.
We ran away. He was so smooth, he somehow talked American Express to give him a credit card in his brother’s name. That enabled us to fly from New York to Chicago. We stayed at a Hyatt and went shopping. From Chicago, we flew to Seattle. The plan was to start a new life and finish school. There I broke down and said I wanted to go home. We had been gone a week. I missed the first three days of the 10th grade.
After we got home, I confirmed I was pregnant. I was 15. I thought this was finally my opportunity to get away from him. I knew I wanted an abortion from the start. I had an older friend take me to the clinic. I didn’t expect the protesters. That made me cry, but when the front desk lady asked if I was ok and told me I didn’t have to do it, I was 100% sure I wanted to. The protesters just made angry.
The abortion itself went fine. It ended a week long bout of morning sickness and I was thrilled to get away from the guy. He continued to harass me at school. He made a suicide attempt during school by taking pills and the administration called me to the office to talk to him! Super inappropriate. Eventually he dropped out of school and I have no idea what happened to him, 25 years later. It was the best decision I ever made. I have a master’s degree in special education, two beautiful children, and a husband of 15 years. I realized later, that my parent’s divorce and the rejection I experienced from my father had a lot to do with how I was able to handle (or not handle) that relationship and subsequent pregnancy. I’m thankful I had the choice, however, to end a pregnancy that resulted from a fucked up relationship/ time in my life. A woman’s right to choose is a paramount issue facing our society today.
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