The first time I discovered I was pregnant I was twenty-two years old, an art school drop-out on social assistance with no home in particular. I was couch-surfing, chain-smoking and imbibing illegal substances of all kinds. The father of my foetus was a man I had known for about two months. I was crazy in love with him even though my friends disliked him and seemed concerned for my well-being. I thought he was just intensely passionate. Turns out he was intensely abusive.
When I got the news from my doctor’s office that I was not just pregnant but four weeks pregnant, I stubbed out my last cigarette and ran excitedly to tell my boyfriend the news. I had been pro-choice for years and had never, ever wanted to have kids. I had no job, no money, no permanent residence, and had just been knocked up by a virtual stranger. Logically it seemed like a no-brainer that I would have an abortion; it’s not practical to be penniless and pregnant, but on the contrary, I was ecstatic, something I never would have thought I’d feel at the prospect of becoming a “welfare mom.” No one I knew was as thrilled as I was that I was pregnant given my circumstances but I knew that becoming a mother meant becoming an adult. It meant that I had to stop messing around, start taking care of myself, and grow the fuck up. No more Gen-X slacking, no more drugs, no more all night partying. Becoming a parent gave me a focus and drive to better myself, to make myself worthy of the person growing inside me.
The second time I discovered I was pregnant I was in my mid-thirties. I had left my son’s father just before my son turned four and had been more or less on my own ever since; occasionally being involved with incredibly supportive partners. I was about five years into a fantatic career in publishing that I had worked my ass off to establish, having put myself through night school while parenting full time. I was making a decent salary, my son was happy and healthy, we lived in a great child-friendly neighborhood. I was no longer a houseless slack-ass jerk, I was a capable, confident, career-minded sole-support parent and damn proud of it.
After a few months of casually dating an old art-school friend, I realized with shock that I was pregnant. Shock because I knew the exact moment that I had become impregnanted: less than twenty-four hours before vomiting as a side effect from the morning after pill. I had rushed to the pharmacy and dutifully read the instructions and took the pills as prescribed. I wanted to do the responsible thing; concentrate on my career, continue to parent my son, and keep enjoying my hard-won life. [Read more...]