I was in an abusive marriage.

by Phabala

July 12, 2022

I was in an abusive marriage, and was in confusion and denial about a lot of things.  The last time we had sex was more than a month before I left.  In hindsight, it was fairly obvious that I was pregnant, but I didn’t want to know.  I was 22 when I left in 1978.  I confirmed the pregnancy the day after I left.  I moved two states away to live with my parents, grandmother, and younger sisters in New Jersey.

I never considered keeping the child.  My ex was too crazy, and it would have endangered everyone involved.  He would have been kicking the door in at all hours of the night and god knows what else.

I did consider adoption, and even talked to an agency, but the rules at the time were not acceptable in several ways.  One could not, for example, meet the adoptive parents back then.

More important was that, unlike in the movies, my ex would have to know.  I couldn’t threaten, “sign this paper now or I’ll get an abortion,” because there was no paper to sign until after birth.  The marriage was legal, so there was no denying that he had some rights.  He was plainly unfit, and no judge on Earth would have given him custody, but he could still screw up everything for years or forever.

Also, if there were any kind of public assistance, again, he would have to know.  There would have been no way to manage without telling him that a child existed.

After years of rethinking, I can now imagine extra-legal ways to make an adoption work, but at the time I had nothing.

The existence of that child would have prevented my second marriage and the two very much wanted children I had when I was in my 30’s.

I have never had any regrets.

P.S.:  I don’t know how the abortion bill was paid.  Frankly, I’m wondering this now for the first time as I’m writing this (2022).  Maybe my health insurance was still good from the job had I quit a few weeks before?  Maybe my mother just paid for it and didn’t make a lot of fuss?  I was so wrapped up in my own horror that I didn’t think of it.  In hindsight, I’m grateful to whoever or whatever relieved me of that extra burden.  I had more than enough to deal with at the time.

The question of when life begins can not be answered by science.  It’s not just an argument between birth and conception.  There are many essential turning points along the way that have been recognized by various cultures through the ages, some before conception, some during gestation, and some long after birth.  No rational, objective standard can exist.

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