If you haven't read my previous post, go read it before you read this one.
When I was 16, I got pregnant with a long-time boyfriend's child. (I say long-time, but really, how long could it be at 16 years old? It was less than two years.) Barely more than children ourselves, we were shocked and mortified. Neither of us had ever even considered pregnancy as a consequence of our actions. Why, I don't know. We were both above-average, smart kids. We struggled and suffered with the decision we had to soon make. We both knew if we were to marry and have the child, there was not a very good chance that we would have a happy, successful marriage and family. My boyfriend, Roger, was set on a 4-year college degree at the very least, and likely longer. He had big aspirations of being a successful, Wall Street stock market guy.
His parents were very different from mine. I didn't dare let my parents know what was happening. I'd rather die than have them know because I knew they would not have a reasonable reaction. They couldn't handle a little sass or a messy room without going completely insane, so I knew a pregnancy discussion was out of the question. So his parents knew what was happening and what our decision was to do about it. There was no screaming and yelling (or beating), just level-headed discussion about the situation we'd gotten ourselves into and what our options were. We made the decision to terminate the pregnancy. We both felt it was the right thing for us to do, and I still believe so today.
You know from reading my last post that I was the only child left in my parents' home. One day I was hiding behind the garage door when my father came home from work. I thought it hilariously funny to jump out and scare him as he walked in, and that was what I was planning to do that day. I heard his car come in the garage and was ready when he opened the door. I jumped from behind the door and yelled, expecting to scare the crap out of him and have a good laugh. Instead, he looked at me, his green eyes boring through me, and his expression was not a good one. I immediately knew something was terribly wrong. My mother was in the kitchen just a few feet away and in full view of both of us.
Daddy: "Sit down at the table, I want to talk to you. You too (speaking to my mother).
Oh, shit. (A girlfriend of mine knew what I was going to do and told her mother, who in turn told one of the deacons at our church, who in turn called my father and told him.)
Daddy: "I don't know how to ask this, so I'm just going to come right out with it. Are you pregnant?"
Me: I shook my head yes. I don't remember if I actually said yes verbally. I was in panic mode. All the blood was in my feet and my heart started pumping wildly. I look across the table at my mother and saw the look of horror on her face.
Momma: "After all we've taught you!" That's really what she said.
Me: "What are you talking about? You've never mentioned sex to me, EVER!"
My daddy got up from the table and walked about 30 feet away to the kitchen window.
Daddy: "Where were you when this happened?
Me: "Daddy, that doesn't matter."
Daddy: "You were a couple of pigs, rolling around in the back seat of a car!"
I can't give you anymore direct quotes from there. I don't remember exactly, but I do remember being called a "Whore" and a "Pig" by my father. I was asked by one of them what we were planning to do about it, and I told them of our plans to terminate the pregnancy.
Daddy: "I won't pay for it!"
Me: "I didn't ask you to pay for it. Roger is taking care of it. This has nothing to do with either you you. There was no reason for you to know any of it."
I don't remember any conversation after that. I just remember going to my room and shaking and crying and wondering if he was going to come and beat the shit out of me. I'm sure he felt like he couldn't with me in that condition, but I know he wanted to, badly. I have no doubt that's exactly what he wanted to do.
Later that night, I took a shower and tried to pull myself together. As I finished my shower and opened the bathroom door to go back into my room, my mother was standing directly in front of the door with that familiar look of anger on her face.
Momma: "How could you do this to your father! He's out there in the garage crying! I've never seen him cry like that before! You think you're a sexy little bitch, don't you, running around here in your short-shorts!"
I stopped listening at that point and pushed past her, went into my bedroom and closed the door. I hurriedly dressed, my hair still dripping wet from the shower, and grabbed $70 I had saved and hidden in my closet. I came out of my room and didn't see either of my parents, and I ran out the front door. And I ran and ran and ran.
I stopped at a complete stranger's house to ask if I could use the phone. A man answered the door and saw my disheveled look and tear-stained face. "Can I please use your phone to call someone to come get me?" He graciously agreed and asked me if I was okay and if there was anything he could do for me. I said I was okay and he led me to the phone. I called Roger's mother, and told her where I was and asked her if she would come and get me. She readily agreed. I left and hid on the porch of a nearby church and waited for her.
Long story short...I stayed at my boyfriend's house for three days until my 17th birthday. Thank God it was only three days away. I was afraid that my parents would force me to go to a girl's home and have the baby and give it up for adoption. That's what they wanted me to do, and they could have forced me to at 16 years old. But, in Texas, when you turn 17, you are considered an adult and can't be forced to do anything. I had called my parents during those three days to let them know I was okay. They asked me to come home, but I refused and told them why and that I would come home after my birthday.
That's what I did. I don't know why I remember that it was a Wednesday, but I do. I went home in the late morning hours and both of my parents were there waiting for me. I had no idea what to expect. They were both completely calm. I remember standing in the middle of the living room with both of my parents' arms around me, and me with mine wrapped around them.
Daddy: "This is the way it should be. We'll deal with it together as a family."
They asked me if I would agree to go to a well-known place in the Dallas area called Buckner's Childrens Home, an orphanage. They wanted me to agree to go speak to a counselor there about having the baby and giving it up for adoption. I thought it was a reasonable request and the least I could do was go listen. So I did. It did not changed my decision. I told my parents there was no way I could have a child and then give it up and never know what happens to it, and there was no way I wanted to have the child and keep it at 16 years old. I remember them not being happy about it, but I don't remember exactly what was said.
My mother ended up going with me the day of the procedure, along with Roger and his mother. My mother had told me my daddy didn't want her to go or have anything to do with it, but she wanted to go anyway and did. Neither of my parents ever spoke of it again.
My parents never went back to our church again. I always felt their concern was totally for themselves and their reputations. What would people think of THEM? What would people say about THEM? How did all of this reflect on THEM? They never considered the 16-year-old girl who was pregnant and scared out of her mind. I still swear that aspect never crossed their minds. Or maybe it did, but they didn't express it to me.
They forbade me to see Roger again, which I, of course, ignored and saw him anyway. There wasn't anything they could really do about it. I'm sure they knew that and several months later, they told me to bring Roger over to the house because they wanted to talk to us. He came over and they gave us the "wait until you're married" speech and allowed us to openly see each other again.
Less than a year later, we had broken up, graduated from high school, and I got a full-time job at Texas Instruments and moved out of my parents' house permanently. Less than a year after that, I was married to my first husband, who is the father of my two sons. We married about 6 weeks after meeting. My parents refused to give their blessing and did not attend the marriage ceremony at the Dallas County Courthouse on April 6, 1979. I was 18 years old.
This will be the last of posts such as this. Back to your regular programming. It felt good to write it all out.