Maureen’s Story

I always instinctively believed in the right to abortion, as a concept. Now that I am a mother, with actual experience in parenting, my passion for that choice has exponentially increased.

When I was pregnant the first time, I was an unmarried 24-year-old with an incredible amount of debt, a low-paying job, and no health insurance. My boyfriend would have supported me no matter what my decision. I knew, though, what kind of parent I would be—I knew I’d inflict the same psychodrama on a child as my parents had inflicted on me. Both great people, over the years my parents had come to regret the mess they had both been while they were raising my siblings and me. I knew what it felt like to be an unwanted child, to be made to feel as if my very existence was a huge inconvenience—it was the way my parents had been raised as well. Repeating that cycle was not an option, as far as I was concerned.

I was about 5 weeks along when I had the procedure done. I felt really guilty for feeling so relieved but after a while I just felt relieved. I later married that same boyfriend and 6 years later we decided to have a child. In those 6 years I did a lot of work to become a happier and more emotionally balanced person. I spent 2 years preparing for my daughter’s arrival in practical ways as well—working 2 jobs so we could pay off our debts and build up a savings account, reading up on infant development, educating ourselves on all the options we could think of so we’d be in the best possible position mentally, emotionally, and financially, when our child arrived.

My daughter is strong, smart, healthy and happy. Her father has been supremely supportive since day one, changing diapers, getting up in the middle of the night, all that.

But you know what? Parenting is still the most bone-crushingly difficult thing I’ve ever done. It’s emotionally and physically draining, exhausting beyond all belief. Instant gratification on the parenting timeline takes about 6-8 months. Every now and then her father and I look at each other and shake our heads, thinking of what a mess we all would have been if we had decided to allow the first pregnancy. I shudder to think of mothers who have to do the hard work of parenting without the emotional and financial support I have—because I was raised by a mother who had neither of those things and I know beyond any doubt that my daughter is exponentially happier for my having waited till I was good and ready. And I am so grateful that she and I were both allowed that grace period.