My life as a Young Woman

by Victoria Shorr

April 12, 2023

The first time I got pregnant by mistake, I was living in Montana.  I went to a local clinic in Livingston, and when I got the positive result, I expressed my unhappiness.  The nurses smiled understandingly, and asked me when I wanted my first prenatal appointment.  This was 1974 and I was 25.

I looked at them as if they were crazy.  “I’m not going to have a baby I don’t want,”  I explained to them, half-horrified that they would suggest it, expect it.  Even the thought that I would be forced to bear a child I didn’t want and go through an unwanted pregnancy, made my lose my breath.  Feel strangled.

I had to travel up to Missoula to get the abortion at a Planned Parenthood clinic, and what I remember from that abortion was my relief, and the fact that we got some blues records up there that got us through the winter.  I went on to have several more abortions over the next few years, all fundamental to my life as a struggling writer.  I was living in New York then, and leading a “downtown”  life that had no place for child rearing.  I was researching Joan of Arc, staying out late, living on gig work.  Years passed and I went on to have three beloved children, all at times when I could embrace them, as well as being able to realize myself as a writer and community activist.

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