Nicole Had Doubts About Her Ability to Take Care of A Baby

I was 19 and unmarried when I found out that I was pregnant. Even though I had been raised Catholic, I found myself living with my boyfriend, which I knew deep down was wrong, and now this!

I was angry.

At first, I wanted to, and did, blame him. Then I realized I had a part in the situation and I became angry at myself for being so “stupid” to let this happen.

I was not on birth control. Again somewhere in my upbringing it stuck with me that that was immoral. I knew if I went on the pill it would be like giving myself permission to have sex, which I honestly tried to abstain from. I was also drinking and partying, so that didn’t help!

I remember lighting up a cigarette after I took that pregnancy test in our apartment bathroom. When I came out, the two things my boyfriend said were “Are you sure?” and Oh, my G_d, I’ve ruined your life!”

At that time I had to agree.

I don’t remember when we went to Birthright. It was my boyfriend’s idea for us to go there. I thank God he did not suggest Planned Parenthood, for at the time he was not religious and had no reason, I can think of, to prefer one place over the other, except that Birthright was closer to where we lived.

The Birthright office was small. I remember two ladies working there. The first greeted us and the second was the counselor who gave me a pregnancy test—confirming what I already knew. She seemed surprised—almost impressed—that my boyfriend had come with me.

We were given a list of community resources. This proved very helpful, as I did not have health insurance, or even a stable job. I was able to get on Medicaid and find a doctor.

I still did not know what I was going to do with my baby.

The counselor from Birthright called me several times to check on me. I knew I avoided answering the phone at least a few times, but she left messages saying if there was anything she could do, or if I just wanted to talk, she was there.

I don’t know why, but I honestly can’t remember if I ever told her we planned to keep the baby. I knew abortion was wrong, but I was scared. I remember the thought crossing my mind that I could get out of this mess and no one would ever know. I wouldn’t have to face the embarrassment of telling my parents.

One day, we were driving downtown, and my boyfriend and I were talking about what to do. I expressed my concern about how I was going to handle having a baby, and then he got angry and said, “Why don’t you just have an abortion then?” I know that it was said out of fear and insecurity, but what he said hurt. I was indignant that he would even suggest that out loud.

Up until then, I had had a similar thought, but hearing it out loud—especially from my baby’s father—made it clear to me abortion was not something I could pursue.

Confirmation of this feeling came one evening when I was at work. I had a temporary job for a political organization canvassing neighborhoods for donations. I knocked on the door of a white mobile home with green trim. Two or three children opened the door. When I asked if their mother or father was home, they said yes and seemed excited to have a visitor. I didn’t normally enter people’s homes. I’m pretty sure that it was against policy, but the woman was friendly and invited me in so she could write a check. I think that I felt safe because she had children.

I remember the kids saying, “Our mom is a nurse!”

“Oh?” I replied politely.

Somehow I ended up sharing with her that I was pregnant.  That was when she motioned for me to come back to her kitchen. She told me, “I work for Planned Parenthood and I see a lot of girls your age. If I would have known my options back then, I wouldn’t have three kids.”

Wow! That was like a kick in the gut.

I couldn’t believe what I had just heard this woman say about her own children. It was then and there that I knew God was trying to tell me something, and it was through this experience that I was sure I would have my baby and never regret it.

I’d like to say that it was easy from then on, but that would be a lie. My boyfriend and I did manage to stay together, but we lived like roommates for most of the pregnancy. Our baby, a little girl, was born prematurely and had to spend six weeks in the NICU, and I had preeclampsia and high blood pressure, even after delivering her by emergency C-section. She weighed only three pounds and one and half ounces at birth, and it took her her a while to catch up. I blame myself at least in part for smoking those first three months of my pregnancy, but I finally quit.

My boyfriend became my husband a week before our daughter’s first birthday.
 
We have been married for almost 18 years. Our daughter is in college. We have six other children; another daughter age 15 ½, and five sons ages 13, 10 ½, 8, 6½, and two years old.

There have been many ups and downs, good times and bad, sickness and health. Gee, it sounds like our marriage vows! God has been good and faithful. He has always provided for our needs and helped us through the tough times. My faith in Him has grown with each child and each passing day.

I thank God for giving us the gift of life, which we did not deserve and did not “plan” for. Our daughter was and is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I cannot imagine life without her.