When I was just 15, I ran away with my boyfriend, we went right up the coast from SA to QLD. I started working in a small Gold Coast café. No proper place to live but we didn’t care, we were happy camping. 2 months into our relationship I suspected I may be pregnant so I got a blood test done. I visited the doctor to get the results.
The first thing he did was hand me a pamphlet to an abortion clinic in Tweed Heads. I guess this was his way of telling me I was pregnant!
I don’t remember anything else of that visit, just him telling me how to contact them. I was a bit perplexed as I’d never thought about pregnancy or abortion before.
The next day at work I told my female boss I was pregnant as I thought she’d be sympathetic, being a woman and mother herself. She said it was important I got an abortion as soon as possible. I was never again called back to work.
We moved onto a quieter QLD town and decided to let family members know I was pregnant. I was estranged from my parents whom had divorced some years prior, my dad didn’t actually believe me and thought it was a plea for attention. Another close family member said to both of us: “Get rid of it straight away.”
We were confused but deeply in love with each other and still loving life’s surprises. We were staying with an eccentric woman, who said she was a Christian and she spoke to us about the Bible. My boyfriend started reading it while we were there. I briefly said one day during horrendous morning sickness: “I’ll go to the hospital tomorrow and get an abortion!”
My boyfriend jokinly said, “I won’t let you.” I’m not sure if it was because he knew I didn’t really mean it or because he’d started reading the Bible and had a different perspective on life.
When I was about 5 months along, we knew we had to start getting serious, so we moved back home to SA, found a permanent place to live and my boyfriend got a job.
We had a son when I was 15 years and 10 months old.
The day after he was born the child services agency came to visit me in the hospital. They were so short and sharp with me. They said “You’re too young to have a child and don’t have enough family support, we’ll be placing your child in care and you can visit him once a week!”
I was so dumbfounded! I had just had the most perfect miracle enter the world, a part of me and my boyfriend and now to have him taken away!
We quickly called family members who came straight away to talk to the agency. Our baby was put under hospital arrest as it was the weekend and they were unsure how to proceed. It was the longest weekend of my life. We contacted out-of-hours lawyers, talked with family members and had people praying for us.
On Monday, there were new social workers who came to visit us at the hospital and said we were free to go home WITH our son, they just wanted to check that our home was ready for a baby. I was so incredibly happy and overwhelmed with gratitude. It took a whole year though to overcome the almost disastrous events that happened those days after he was born. Why did they automatically assume that I was incapable of caring for a child with my boyfriend, because of my age?!
Three years later, now at 18 years old I found out I was expecting again. I had morning sickness but this was nothing like what I’d had last time. I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. I started doing research and saw that some women had abortions because they couldn’t cope with the disease.
A few months later at 18 years old we welcomed our 2nd child, a daughter. Same hospital, but this time with no nastiness or age-related judgement. They were so eager for us to go home that I never actually went from the delivery room to a recovery room, the baby was born and we all went home some hours later!
At 19, we were still so very much in love and we discovered we were expecting baby #3. We had found a lovely home interstate and were closer to my boyfriend’s family.
On my 21st birthday I managed to smile through the photos as I was struck down for a 2nd time with hyperemesis gravidarum, we were expecting baby #4.
We were invited to The March For The Babies in Melbourne city by family members and decided to attend. It was then that my interest in abortion really perked. I started doing research on women aborting for reasons such as hyperemesis gravidarum, age, convenience, and came to the conclusion that there was never a medical reason for abortion. Ectopic pregnancy could be argued to be one, but that can become a grey area as you could argue that a mother would give up her life for her child or more than likely the baby had already passed away, as they usually do quite quickly in the case of an ectopic pregnancy.
A year later we moved again, became Christians and joined a local church. My boyfriend and I married immediately.
We went on to have baby #5, then a year later I was pregnant with baby #6.
At 12 weeks gestation, I started bleeding and an ultrasound showed the baby’s heart had stopped.
I didn’t want to get a D&C as this made me cringe, thinking how this was the same method used for abortion. I ended up in hospital, haemorrhaging as I had cervical shock. I needed doctors’ assistance to remove the baby but thankfully they didn’t need to use a vacuum. The doctor and nurse both starred at each other speechless when I asked to keep the baby. When looking at the baby, it fully resembled a human being and I was so shocked at how big they are at even an early stage. The baby had stopped growing at 8 weeks but was still quite large. We buried our baby at a secluded beach the next day.
It was through many tears and heartbreak that I pondered abortion again. I though how? Why? Just why!? Don’t they know what their babies look like, how big they are, how they are your own flesh and blood.
At this point I got into contact with a pregnancy help agency and formed a friendship with them. I started sharing all that I’d learnt and any new information on abortion to as many people as possible. We would distribute flyers, talk to people personally, send messages to MPs, put up stickers and signs and do as much possible to raise awareness.
We currently have 7 children and I am so happy to be married to my best friend, by my side all the time.
We are so grateful that we weren’t influenced by anyone else’s opinions on my young age pregnancy and their suggestion to abort.
Sometimes I wonder what the doctor’s reaction would be if I were to take my eldest son in to see him and tell him this was the baby he suggested to abort. That’s a bit fair out there, but sometimes I do just wonder.
My husband and I are the exception, not the rule. I do understand that a lot of teenage pregnancies end with a single mother. But I want all single mothers, young mothers, ALL pregnant mothers to know that you can do this! You’re not alone. There are so many people and organisations who would love to help and support you through your journey.