I never thought I would be “that” teen – a mere number in the statistics of teen pregnancy.
I never imagined that at 19 years old, I would be contemplating the life or death of the child within my womb.
One night, in the parking lot of my mother’s apartment complex, my ex-boyfriend held me as I cried.
He handed me the pregnancy test, but I didn’t need to see it to know the result; I already knew I was pregnant.
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I hated him. He set me up to do something that went against what I believed. But I was hopeless and even with the decision I was confronted with, I found solace in his arms. I knew what I had to do.
The smiles my family showed me were not genuine, and at one point I even thought about keeping the baby.
I blissfully remember watching YouTube videos on Lamaze techniques and practicing breathing exercises with my boyfriend. We always believed the baby was a girl.
My family was never fond of my ex. They also blamed him for reeling me deeper into the frequent hazy nights full of peach-flavored Amsterdam and Mary Jane wrapped in a coat of promethazine.
Life was out of control for the both of us, and this was no life for a baby.
An article on Healio.com titled “Adolescent Girls and Abortion,” stated that “the most common reasons teenage girls report for choosing abortion are interference with school and/or career and difficulties with finances.”
I, too, worried about the financial burden. Neither my boyfriend nor I had jobs. We were both overindulged by our parents, and we were comfortable living off of whatever they would throw our way.
The chances of breaking free from the cycle of poverty is slim for children of teen mothers. As reported by the National Conference of State Legislatures, “Two-thirds of families started by teens are poor, and nearly one in four will depend on welfare within three years of a child’s birth.”
I did not want to be poor or to depend on welfare to raise my child. I tried to calculate what holding a job would mean for me.
If I worked, what would happen with my schooling?
I wondered if the outcome of my parents’ marriage, which ended in divorce, would become my own reality, especially because my family’s motives were to pull me away from my boyfriend, a soon-to-be father.
I did not want my kid to grow up with parents who would eventually break up. Flashes of custody battles played through my mind.
According to a study by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 39 percent of those who live as a couple and have a baby split within five years.
All these realities torpedoed my joy about having the baby.
I felt ashamed as I hurriedly swallowed the abortion pill in front of my mother. I did not want to think about what I was doing. Then, I went home to hide in my room, where I swallowed the next set of pills.
I later saw a gooey, thick clot of crimson blood on the toilet paper.
I stood cold, staring at a small malformed baby disguised in blood and planted on the palm of my hand. The doctor said I would not see it, but she lied.
The same nightstand where I placed the pills remains to the left of my bed. I hate that I sleep in the same room.
I have flashbacks of the miserable pain and my passivity as the process was completed.
I’m tormented as I realize that I did not raise my voice or fist to fight for my child.
What hurts most is that moment when the life of a would-be child passed through me and left my body forever.
Regret pierces my heart as I remember the day I flushed my baby away like it was nothing.
Andrea Figueroa Briseño is a journalism major at Fresno City College, where she writes for the Rampage, a student newspaper.