I was 23 and already had two children.

by Chris Ann

October 20, 2016

I was 23 and already had two children. We were doing okay, but it was hard. I couldn’t take hormonal birth control because it made my clinical depression worse. I asked my obstetrician for a tubal ligation and was denied because of my young age and not having yet married. I told them I wasn’t interested in any more children and likely won’t financially be able to support another, married or not. The doctor replied, “what if you marry someone else down the road and he wants to have children?”

My first child’s father had gotten another girl pregnant as the same time as me, and wasn’t in the picture at all. My boyfriend, the father of my youngest was a like a third child himself. I had experienced single motherhood with my oldest for 4 years and I knew I certainly didn’t want to be a single mom of THREE. I didn’t even want to risk it. But since the doctor didn’t feel I was wise enough to decide on a tubal ligation, I resorted to using over the counter foams and inserts…which are obviously not fool proof, and indeed, I ended up pregnant.

I immediately knew what I wanted to do. Adoption wasn’t an option. It would be too difficult to be pregnant at my job, a factory/warehouse which supported my kids. I called around, and all the clinics were at least a two hour drive away. Because of my depression, they said I needed to get a release from my doctor. My general practitioner works at a Catholic based office. My doctor told me that legally, she couldn’t deny it , but she strongly disapproved. So I was given a huge guilt trip but granted the release. My insurance from my job covered the procedure and I was very grateful, as money was tight.

I quickly made my appointment, made the drive and was relieved when it was over. I’ve never regretted it a day. Since then, I have married and am now in the process of divorce. I have suffered several major depressive episodes and have needed to hospitalize myself three times. I have gotten years of counseling and psychiatric treatment. I bought a home by myself, at 26 years old, and then lost that home along with just about everything else. My daughter lives with her father in another state now, and I reside with my parents along with my adult son. I cannot take care of myself. I work part time and a lot of times, I can’t handle that.

I didn’t know that life was going to be this hard, but I did know that I absolutely could not handle having a third child. I am so grateful that I had a safe place to go to have the procedure done, instead of having to resort to dangerous methods like other women have in the past. Every woman should have choices, and the right to make them on their own. By the way, when I got pregnant at 17 with my oldest, I considered abortion. I even made the appointment. But I couldn’t go through with it. And I am glad I did not. I love both of my kids fiercely. I loved them enough not to scar their lives with a third, when they already had an overwhelmed mom. Every person is different, every pregnancy is different. Everyone should be able to make their own choices. If you don’t agree with abortion, don’t have one!