Okay – I’m getting so tired of men making these decisions for women I have to tell my story. My first child was conceived 2 months before my wedding and I found out 2 weeks before the wedding at one of my wedding showers when I began to cramp and spot. I was 19. I was pretty ignorant about these things – and didn’t really believe I was pregnant until I went to my first OBGYN appt. with my mom for my pre-marriage check up. I should mention here that this was 1970. When I told the doctor (my mom’s obgyn) about the problems I was having, he checked me out and told me I was pregnant. He told me I had two options: 1) have the baby in which case he would try to stop the miscarriage I was having, or 2) go to California for an abortion. My mom was very disappointed in me to say the least and we decided not to tell dad or anyone until after the wedding. When I told my fiance he wanted me to have an abortion – didn’t want kids that soon – but I would have to go to California and there just wasn’t enough time before the wedding and…being a Catholic I didn’t believe in abortion and…I was ready to have a child. It all fit into the dream that us girls growing up in the 50s and 60s were taught to believe in: get married and have kids. The doctor stopped the miscarriage with codeine (something they wouldn’t do now) I had my son in April of the next year at age 19 and separated from my husband 4 years later and became a single mother. During those 4 years my husband and I tried to have another child several times, each ending in miscarriage early on in the pregnancy. I am now thankful for that. Being a single mother of one was hard enough. This is also when I first got birth control even though I knew my religion was against it. I did not become pregnant again until several years later. Because of a liver ailment I could not take birth control pills but rather used a wonderful device called a diaphram. The only times I again got pregnant were when I accidentally did not use my diaphram because of some unusual reason. There were three incidents with the same man, my husband now, and the first two times he convinced me to have an abortion. The third time resulted in our lovely daughter. She too tried to miscarry, but bed rest and early delivery kept her in womb until she was grown enough to come into the world. I am 61 now and am happy that my daughter has the choice of when she will bear children. She and her husband are musicians and had wanted to wait a bit to get that career going and then have kids. They are now just playing it by ear as they want kids and if she gets pregnant then they will. They are afforded the opportunity to choose when to have children that all women should share. No man, woman, or religious organization should be allowed to tell a woman what to do with her body – even if that means having a child. I am writing this story to show a different side. A side where I would have had the babies most likely as I knew the man and myself would be together forever, but I had to give up two to keep him (to be fair he is younger than me) in order to have the 3rd. Sometimes there are pressures on a woman to have an abortion that no one ever may know about and that is why most of these stories are kept in their hearts. It will always pain me that I did not have those babies. I know it was for the best at the time, and I’m glad I got to make the choice the third time and have my baby girl. She knows the story and believes it was her each time and she just wasn’t quite ready to come into life yet. I like that thought. I no longer feel like I’m going to hell for having the abortions I had. I do not believe in hell, except that which we create for ourselves right here on earth. Shaming, or claiming that a woman must have a child conceived through rape or incest is creating a true living hell for that woman or girl. Please people. Don’t tell me what to do until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes.