Elisabeth's Story

My story begins about 12 years ago. At age 16, I was in a relationship with a man who was 22. He was my first sexual relationship. He forced me to have sex with him and held my head during oral sex. My parents were more than financially comfortable, and he saw me as a ticket to the good life. I thought I was protecting myself by forcing him to at least wear condoms. He however was sabotaging the condoms. Needless to say I got pregnant.

I was a happy honor student, member of the debate team and swimming team. Then my life crashed in on me. Until then never having to face a decision like this, my mother was pro-life As soon as we confirmed it, she did a 180, and I truly thank God for that. She loved me and wanted me to have a life, at that age I did not understand that, I only understood fear, and I was truly afraid of this guy. He threatened to get an injunction against me, and my mom was able to convince him that she would have him put in jail for rape.

I remember the procedure, I remember talking to a woman who had three children and just could not afford another, and I remember thinking, "Gee, if I was an adult and was pregnant I would not be here." After the procedure, I was sent to my Grandparents house for a few months, because I was scared of this guy, and when I came home I slept in my parent's room. I was 16 years old and my parents set up a bed in the corner of their room because I was afraid to sleep in my own room.

How can anyone say that carrying this man's child and having to deal with him for at least 18 years was in the best interest of anyone? People have asked me why not adoption? My answer is very simple, in order to put the child up for adoption he would have had to agree, he wanted the child, he would have gotten it one way or another. Could I have lived my life knowing that a monster was raising my child?

I have since gone on to enter adulthood. I now have 2 amazing and adorable little boys. My husband and I divorced when the youngest was 6 months old, so I have spent 3 years as a single parent. It has been hard, but I did not compound that by being a single parent when I was a child. When my husband and I divorced it was for the best. I have a great job and skills to be a parent. I have always been able to give my sons what they need and do not regret any decision I made.

Do I sometimes wonder what that child might be like? Would I be human if I didn't? But that is a far cry from regretting a choice I made. I live in a suburb West of Philly and everyday I see single mothers with babies, mothers who are still babies themselves, and I think this is so unfair. My sons go to private schools, they have a mother and a stepfather who adore them, they get fed and bathed every night, they go to the doctor regularly, they have not only their basic needs met, emotional, nutritional and financial, but also their wants and desires. They have the best education and opportunity money can buy, how can these children with no opportunity compete? I do not think I am a better parent than a single teenage mother, although chances are very good that I am, I just think my children have a better opportunity.

It truly infuriates me to see the stickers that say aren't you glad your mother is pro-life? Just because a person is a parent does not mean they have never made the choice. I am and I have. I want to commend all women who have realized the most unselfish thing they can do is not to bring another unwanted child into this world. And I condemn people who never faced the choice who stand in judgment and say we made the easy choice. This choice is perhaps the hardest choice a mother will ever have have to make.

And to some there is no choice, the alternative is unthinkable.

22 October 1999

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The U.N. has figured out that $16 trillion worth of women’s work -- in the home, in the family fields, in child care -- is unpaid and undervalued when computing global economic statistics.