Around 2001, when I was 27, I became pregnant. At the time, I was earning $5 an hour – a wage that barely kept me clothed, housed, and fed (in fact, I have no idea how I was able to be self-supporting on that amount). I had no health insurance and no family to help.

It was impossible for me to imagine how I could raise and support a child when caring for an infant would prevent me from being able to work. There was no job available to me that would have covered childcare, in addition to living, expenses, plus medical expenses… How would we survive?

My boyfriend at the time and I had only been together for a few months and I was his first relationship ever. He was not supportive of me having the baby, and was barely scraping by financially himself. It was a difficult decision, but I terminated my pregnancy at the earliest possible date, even in the face of worries that something could go wrong or that this would possibly be my only chance to have a child (which was something very important to me).

But another piece of the story is that I have struggled with depression for as long as I can remember. At age 27, I was just beginning to figure out how to heal myself and awaken the kind and loving person within. But this person within was able to tell me that I was not emotionally ready to be a loving parent, regardless of how much I yearned for a child. Yet I knew that if I carried my baby to term, I would never be able to give him or her to another family.

My inner wisdom knew that even if my external circumstances had been better, I was not internally ready to be a parent at that time and that my child would suffer the same sort of emotional abuse that I had suffered as a child. Because I had not yet healed myself, I would pay that abuse forward. I chose to love my baby by refusing to bring him/her into a chaotic existence of poverty, anxiety, depression, abuse, and resentment. And I have not regretted it once.

Without the additional financial, emotional, and time pressures of parenthood, I was able to make a lot of (albeit, slow) progress on bettering myself. Six years later, I was in a much better external and internal environment. I had a true partner and my wounds were much further healed. Together, we have two beautiful children. While I am still not the perfect parent, I am able to raise them with love, kindness, and presence. I often think of how lucky I am to raise my children from where I am now and that I wasn’t forced to do so when I would have failed them miserably. I truly believe that most of the evils in the world arise from children being raised poorly – as in abusively or neglectfully. It creates so much pain, suffering, and turmoil in the world as those abuses are amplified outward. I truly wish our entire planet focused on the quality of life of children instead of their quantity.