“Are you done yet?” my best friend yelled at me through the bathroom door a few months ago. But I wasn’t – I was still staring at the dark pink line next to the light pink line and trying to figure out what it meant. Of course, I knew what it meant: I was pregnant. Nineteen and single and pregnant.
Keeping the baby and raising him alone was never an option. I work for a timeshare group and make $13 an hour. I live paycheck to paycheck, and share a three-room house with my aunt and her three kids. I’m not ready to be a mother; I struggle every day with taking care of myself. As selfish as it might sound, there’s too much that I want to accomplish to take care of a baby. Before I become a mother, I want to go to school, to be stable, and to be in a loving, mature relationship.
And I’m certainly not in one of those. I’ve always used protection, but apparently a condom failed somewhere along the line. The guy I thought was the father, D.J., is the tall, lanky, skater-badass stereotype. He was really nice when I told him I was pregnant, and even kept up with my BabyCenter email updates. Because they compared the size of the baby to fruit, he referred to the pregnancy as “fruit salad.”
But when I went in for my next midwife appointment, I was shocked to learn that I was twenty-six weeks along rather than nineteen. That meant the father was Brien, my ex-boyfriend, who I’d dated for a year and a half. He’s tall and skinny; he works on cars; he’s pretty self-reliant. And when I told him about the baby, he freaked out. He yelled at me, demanding a paternity test. He’d never liked D.J.
But whoever the father was, it didn’t ultimately matter: neither was prepared to raise a child. And I knew I wasn’t.
Still, I never considered abortion. (And after the appointment where I realized I was so far along, it wasn’t a choice I’d have anyway.) I’ve been pro-choice since I knew what abortion was. But when you’re in the situation, your views change, I guess. I thought for sure if I ever ended up in like this, that I’d just have an abortion and be done with it. And I’m still pro-choice; I think it’s important that women have options. I just realized that I couldn’t do it. I knew that there had to be someone out there who could take care of this baby, so I chose adoption.
I got lucky, because a coworker of mine knew a couple, Lisa and David, looking to expand their family. (Lisa has a seventeen-year-old son.) One phone call later, we had arranged to meet for dinner. Walking to the restaurant, I was nervous and hyper. In my head, all I could think was, “Holy-shit-what-am-I-doing?!” I’d met Lisa before, but never her partner or son. And yet, we sat down to dinner as if we were old friends getting reacquainted.