Skip to comments.The "A" Word: A Mother's Abortion Secret
Posted on 10/24/2006 10:02:53 PM PDT by Lorianne
Between Sandy Hingston's teen years and her daughter's adolescence, "abortion" became a dirty word. It was time to tell her child a secret from her past.Theoretically Pro-Choice There were 20 little girls in the Brownie troop that I took over from another overstressed mom when my daughter was 7. Twenty girls, fat and thin and pretty and plain and brave and timid, shilling Thin Mints, earning badges, going camping, and saluting the flag. It was on one of our first camping trips that I looked at my co-leader, Jeannette, and said, "Who do you think will be the first one to get pregnant?" She stared at me for a minute, then laughed.
I was only half joking. Girls mate young in this blue-collar town outside of Philadelphia. College isn't much on the radar; kids graduate from high school (or don't) and go to work at Wal-Mart or the supermarket or Jiffy Lube.
The first Brownie got pregnant at 14. "She's due in six months," my daughter, Marcy, told me.
I gasped in spite of myself. "She's having the baby?"
"Well, what else could she do?" she asked matter-of-factly. I looked at her, surprised. "She could have an abortion."
Something flickered in my daughter's eyes. "Nobody I know would ever do that," she said.
It was my first glimpse of the enormous gulf between Marcy and me on the subject, and I was stopped cold. She knew, had known all her life, that her father and I are staunch supporters of a woman's right to choose. She'd even professed her allegiance to the concept. But clearly, it was all theoretical to her, something we believed some imaginary women somewhere ought to have the right to do.
I wanted so much to say more to her. But she was so young: She was only 14. There was plenty of time.
The second Brownie who got pregnant was 15. "She's showing," Marcy said knowingly. "Her mom is giving a baby shower for her." I was dumbfounded.
"I can't believe she's having the baby."
"Like she has a choice." Marcy was curt.
"She has a choice."
"She could get an abortion."
Marcy's back went straight. "And kill a baby?"
"It's not a baby. It's a fetus. And if she got an abortion, she'd still have a future."
"Nobody gets abortions," Marcy said. Again, that abrupt dismissiveness. My throat was aching with what I longed to tell my daughter. But I couldn't figure out how to couch it. I was suddenly seeing the issue not from my comfy old political perspective, but from a different angle: that of a young, naive, kindhearted girl who wouldn't hurt a kitten, much less an unborn child.
Not to mention, she still believed in happily ever after.
"I think they can make it," Marcy said of the ex-Brownie and her baby's father. "They seem really solid."
"They're 15," I said.
"But they're in love." Speaking Up About My Abortion We are all products of our times. I am 50, and in the time I grew up in, good girls didn't have sex. I was a good girl. For a while. I lost my virginity when I was 16. I would have died before I let my mom and dad find out. Teens who became pregnant when I was growing up never kept their babies. They were discreetly sent off to group homes, or they managed to get themselves abortions. Either way, the pregnancy didn't permanently alter -- at least outwardly -- the arc of their lives. Now, girls my daughter's age were having babies and showing off their bulging tummies like Britney Spears on the cover of Harper's Bazaar. What had happened to shame in those 30 years?
Don't get me wrong. I'm no particular fan of shame. I didn't want my former Brownies branded with scarlet letters. But I did want some sort of -- what? Acknowledgment that their choices hadn't been wise? Warning to those coming up after them that this wasn't the way to maximize your potential? Sure, there's a Planned Parenthood outpost in this town -- but there are three places with heartwarming names like Golden Cradle, eager to reassure reluctant moms-to-be that, as long as they stay pregnant, everything will be all right. Marcy sees the cute onesies at the showers. She sees the babies toted to football games and fawned over. Nobody is telling her the other side.
So I do it. I tell her that I had an abortion. It takes a long while. I start the conversation a dozen times without finishing it. I'm terrified that I'll stop being Mom and become Mom-who-killed-a-baby. I explain that I was 19 and in college at the time. I tell her how frightened I was to go into the city to the clinic, but that I was even more frightened my parents would learn I'd had sex. I tell her I've never regretted my decision. We are driving in the car, at night. I can feel her beside me taking in what I'm saying, feel it altering her perception of me, just as I'd feared, like a kaleidoscope that shows one pattern, spins and blurs, then clicks into another pattern.
"Wow," she says, a little breathlessly. "I didn't think anybody really did that ... I mean, anybody I knew --"
And that, of course, is why I had to tell her. Who else was going to speak up, to witness to her? Movie stars? They were all trying desperately to get pregnant or adopting babies in Africa. Female musicians? Athletes? Politicians? Ha! There's no shame at all in Katie Holmes bearing Tom Cruise's child out of wedlock. But when's the last time you saw a headline saying "Star Aborts"?
"Did you ever feel guilty?" Marcy asks me.
"No," I tell her, honestly. "I was too worried that Pop-Pop and Nana would find out." She takes that in too. Then she says, "I guess I won't be afraid to tell you."
I wrote a magazine article about our conversation and got dozens of e-mails in response. Some said I was a murderer, a selfish monster. I printed those e-mails out and showed them to Marcy. "You're brave," she said, knowing perfectly well that I'm not, really. The rest were from women who'd had abortions. They told their stories, different stories with a single theme: I had a choice, and my life is better because I did. A lot of them said, "I've never told this to anyone before." The writers spoke of secrecy and shame.
I showed Marcy those e-mails, too.
The third Brownie to become pregnant was Marcy's age -- 16. When the news reached Marcy's lunch table, she spoke up loud and clear: "She could have an abortion." Her friends didn't argue politics with her. They weren't aghast. They just blinked and stared, she said, "as if they'd never thought of that."
Sandy Hingston is a senior editor and parenting columnist at Philadelphia Magazine. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and their teenage son and daughter.
Originally published in MORE magazine, October 2006.
Her daughter knew the truth of the matter. Abortion kills babies. It took her mom's propaganda to convince her that killing a baby was just another choice. This woman faces God's judgement for her abortion and for corrupting her daughter. I pray she comes to repent and know the great wrong she did.
Lie: "I tell her I've never regretted my decision."
Proof: "I'm terrified that I'll stop being Mom and become Mom-who-killed-a-baby."
Now why be terrified about a decision you made if there are no regrets?
Very sad. It's also a reminder for us to be careful about who we allow in leadership roles for our girls.
This mother is ill. I can tell her where shame went. (SHE HAS NONE) Her group of people killed it on the alter of MEMEMEMEME and secularism. And this woman must have grown up in a urban area. I am her age. There were a few pregnant girls in school. They got married and had their babies. I know. One is my sister in law. She got pregnant at 15. She has been married for 33 years. She had two children. They have so far 3 grand children. She and my brother and the rest of both families would not trade them for one ounce of her so called better life.
"I tell her how frightened I was to go into the city to the clinic, but that I was even more frightened my parents would learn I'd had sex."
Her abortion affected her more than she realizes. Assuming that this is a true story, prayers for her .
If it is true, it is good that the pregnant teens in this town hardly consider abortion. Abortion is an aberration from hell and normal, decent, healthy people should not consider it. If anyone does find themselves considering it should definitely not be as easy as this lady seems to think it is. No matter how nonchalant she is about it, it doesn't negate the fact that she murdered her child.
I heard a blip on the radio about how the pregnant woman who survived the Amish schoolhouse shootings "had said she believed her fetus saved her from being shot," because the killer had let her go because she was pregnant.
I'm sure she phrased it just like that, too: "You know, I'm pretty sure my fetus saved my life."
Translation: I'd kill not to have to tell my parents I had sex.
What happened to ADOPTION? As an alternative? Especially for 14-16 year olds......
Very sad. This woman has now excused any behavior that her daughter may do in the future regarding casual sex and possible pregnancy. She asks where is the shame? She has no conscience and, now, neither does her daughter.
I don't believe this bee-atch who wrote the story - this is just propaganda. And if it is true...
"What happened to ADOPTION? As an alternative? Especially for 14-16 year olds......"
Adoption is far and away the best way to deal with teenage pregnancy. Baby doesn't get killed, mother doesn't screw up the rest of her life, some people get a child they otherwise couldn't have.
I think she should have saved her confession to her daughter until a few more decades have past.
Ummmm... I have no idea what area this woman is talking about. Anything outside of Philly is expensive suburbs until you get halfway to Lancaster, PA.
"I had a choice, and my life is better because I did."
Too bad the same can't be said for the child that never got a chance to experience it...
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