The Choices We Make

The Choices We Make

Case Study: “Jill Nolan”

I was still 19 when I got pregnant living with a boyfriend (who is soon to be my ex-husband) in Detroit. Suddenly I was faced with “the CHOICE”. How I’d wished I could’ve been like the wholesome looking mother-to-be on the T.V. commercials. The one with a cute maternity dress and a nursery all made up ready and waiting and a warm protective husband coming home, putting his arms around her saying, “Honey, I can hardly wait.”

My boyfriend wanted nothing to do with a future with me. A baby implied a future, commitment. He had already gotten the cow for free–why raise the calf?

Yet in the face of abandonment, I did not look at reality and use my courage to squarely tell him what I wished to do. “I’m going to have this baby, whether you stay and meet my emotional needs or not.”

As human beings, we have two basic needs: love and worth. You need to love and to be loved, and you need to feel worth about yourself and the security of knowing someone else sees worth in you. In desperation, to meet these needs in my life even temporarily, even imaginarily, I clung to my boyfriend and gave in to his desire that I have an abortion. Thus I sacrificed my firstborn to the idol of temporary emotional security.

It was so easy to be swayed, despite vague moral convictions that abortion was murder. For I felt so immature, selfish and unready to have a child.

Are mothers ever ready? Babies and children bring out the best and the worst in us. Yes, we have the potential for learning of a noble, self-sacrificing, forbearing kind of love, but, more often than that, children on a daily basis, also expose our own innate selfishness. The power both to train and scar our children lies in our hands. And there is little support in our society to help a woman choose to keep and raise her child. Parents, many from scarred backgrounds, need education on how to train and love their children and this is not readily available.

My boyfriend and my family insisted that there was no way out but to choose abortion. I chose to be verbally manipulated to carry out their point of view, rather than thinking through the choice. I was given no alternatives. A clinic was quickly found to take care of our little “problem.”

At the clinic, the doctor seemed so abrupt and angry, so tense and under pressure. I felt like the only difference in his eyes between me and the unborn child in my womb was 19 years. Had I been 19 years younger, unable to speak and helpless, I too would have met the same fate in his office, the death penalty. The crime, being a “useless” member of society. My life seemed so valueless in the doctor’s sight.

A person’s self esteem (the worth they feel about themselves) determines the value they place on the lives of others. “Love others as you love yourself.” Yet how do you love others when, deep down, you despise yourself?

The Nazi movement didn’t start with Hitler. He just jumped on the bandwagon of a movement originating in the 20’s by groups of doctors and psychiatrists in Germany. They proposed “mercy” killing of elderly or mentally impaired members of society. These dear peoples lives were valueless in their sight. Hitler just extended this kind of thinking to the Jews (the apple of God’s eye) and other minority groups. I believe that this same kind of thinking (which stems from zero self-esteem) is what is behind abortions in this country.

At the clinic I learned a shameful lesson I wished I’d never learned, perhaps the same lesson Nazi soldiers learned when they were “just carrying out orders” in concentration camps. I too, was just “following orders.” I wanted to be a “good” girlfriend. I pray that from now on I can be a woman of conviction, instead of a spineless robot, the gutless wonder.

In the weeks, months, and years following the abortion, I fell in and out of depression, which was only masked at times by bursts of desperate hyperactivity. The sadness over what happened hangs about me like the hovering scent of funeral flowers that linger in a room after the funeral has come and gone.

I later got pregnant. But this time, I battled with my own selfishness and fears, and with my boyfriend, and stood up for my right to be a mother and for the rights of my unborn child, who is soon going to be nine and is very beloved by us all.

I am now being divorced. I never enjoyed sex for years and this damaged my live-in relationship and short-lived marriage to this same boyfriend. Whenever we made “love” I saw the CHOICE of abortion looming behind every expression of “love” between us.

Now, I am engaged to be married to one in whose eyes I am loved, one who sees me and all human beings as pearls of great price. His name is Christ.

Now I am truly pro-choice. I’m determined not to let anybody but Christ (through the common sense plan of conduct transformation laid out in His word, the Bible) influence my moral choices anymore. I want to be an independent thinker and not let anyone do my thinking for me. If you don’t “do” your own thinking, someone else will “do” your thinking for you.

Originally published in The Post-Abortion Review 4(1) Winter 1996.


The Choices We Make — 4 Comments

  1. Wow I’m truely touched! I wish I had had the determination to stand tall and say no! I had my 2nd abortion in january this year 2012. It was the worst experience I’ve ever been through and I wish I had kept my little star. I hope he or she knows that if I had had more depth in my soul that was soo very broken at that time, I’d have kept that star and done right by that star x

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I too feel under immense pressure from the babies father and it hurts me to hear it but me and our baby are more important.

  3. its been a year & 8 months since my abortion. may 12th 2011.
    i wonder when itll stop hurting; it doesnt affect me every day but it certainly comes to
    haunt me when i see young children holding their mother & fathers hands &
    i wonder how i could of been so selfish & stupid to let a man
    make me choose between him & my unborn child.

    My story is as follows; after being in a relationship with a non violent
    alcoholic for over a year & a half at 21 years old i was
    deluded enough & silly to think that we could have
    a child together (when really we couldnt even have an evening
    together without him ending up unconcious) we werent
    using protection for a year & a half & by the end of
    the relationship & paticularly when i met & fell in love with another man
    id started to worry that i may not be able to have children.

    so after 3 months of being with the new man & being happier than id
    ever been aged 23 & living in my own flat which he had just moved in to i went
    to the doctors and asked if they could check me out, they took
    a blood test & told me to come back in a week, meanwhile
    & every day up until i was so anxious, people knew how
    in love we were & said they hoped one day we would
    have a family together.

    The day arrived, the doctor said the hormone levels in my blood
    were fine for conceiving one day, she asked me when my last
    period was & i genuinely couldnt remember so she said lets test you now,
    i thought it pointless but agreed.

    she said “youre pregnant” and for 10 minutes she had to
    convince me, i was so shocked.

    for weeks after i was in pain & scans showed the baby wasnt growing
    and that there was a chance it wouldnt survive & by the third scan i almost
    hoped it would all just stop because the bumpy road was making me so sad.

    my parents immediately said they didnt want me to have it, my nan wanted me to. one of my two sisters supported me and the other shouted down the phone that abortion was my only choice.

    his parents were so supportive of us but he filled me with a sense of unease, the father, as the weeks progressed.

    on the 14 week scan my fears were confirmed. i lay on the bed as the sonographer instructed me on how to lie & wiggle my hips so they could measure the baby & he sat in a chair, never held my hand or said a word. they confirmed that from here on end the baby would be fine.

    we went upstairs for the downs test, i clutched the picture of the scan in my hand as i was called in for the blood test; the kindness of the nurse blew down my defences & i burst into tears; she asked me what was wrong & i told her that i was afraid my bf didnt want the baby. she said he may feel better once he knew the downs test result so she said she would rush it through.

    on the walk home, i stopped in my tracks, turned to him and said “i cant take it anymore, do you want this baby or not?”

    he said “you know i never have”

    i went back to our flat (my flat) and he went to a friends house, when he came back to ours he saw that id got the spare bed ready (i couldnt face us being together that night) he got in it & cried his eyes out and asked what id do because basically it was him or the baby. he said i love you so much you could have the baby & id have nothing to do with it. i didnt want that for my children i said.

    i had the termination the next day. we were made redundant late may, he moved out in the september and he left me in the october.

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