First of all, I had been taught that good girls don't "go all the way" and good girls wait for marriage. Raised in a good Catholic home, by two very devoutly Christian parents and attended Catholic school for 6 yrs. I knew right from wrong.
I graduated from high school early in June of 1970, at the peak of the "Free Love" "Flower Power/Haight Ashbury" era.
Everything I was taught...the way I was raised was in direct conflict with the social climate and message of "free love" and "if it feels good do it" attitudes of the late 60's. While all my friends were visiting planned parenthood for condoms and birth control I was avoiding premarital sex until marriage. I was determined....that is until Graduation...and I started to dabble with alcohol and smoked a little "weed," expirementally. I had thought about having sex with a boy that I was casually seeing right before graduation...but by God's grace, he had a premature ejaculation and saved me from giving myself away to no one special. Although I came close, I was still a virgin.
Two weeks later, a friend and I were being kind to a friend of her boyfriend, who was in town for a court case. He had been arrested for vagrancy and a minor drug charge, so he was back in town for his trial. It was his birthday, so my friend and I brought a cake over and we sang happy birthday to him.
He was a lot older...I was young and naive.
He supplied the pot and the alcohol and we supplied the birthday cake. After I drank a little, he brought out a radio and turned it on, but the batteries were dead. He suggested to my friend and her boyfriend to go get some batteries so we'd have some music.
At some point, he must have slipped something into my drink, because the next thing I remember was waking up on the bathroom floor, naked. He assured me, it was my idea...I do remember telling him I'm not on birth control and I'd never had sex before. He said that it was ok...not to worry.
My friend showed back up and came in and helped me dress...I was dazed and in a stupor for several hours...processing what had happened...wondering if I had indeed suggested or encouraged sexual intercourse. I just didn't remember the details...it was all such a blur. He was acting like I was his girlfriend, when we all went to the park...holding my hand and putting his arm around me. It was like a bad dream.
Later, my friend and I went to her home....I told her I was afraid that he got me pregnant. She assured me, that since it was my first time, it was not likely.
For weeks, that is all I thought about....then I went to visit my grandma in Illinois. That was my graduation present. To go see my grandma and my cousin, who was my best freind.
The thought that stayed with me the entire time, was that I got pregnant and he raped me! I knew I was pregnant and I hadn't even missed a period.
By the time I did miss a period, I told my grandma what had happened. She offered for me to stay there and offered to help me find a home for the baby. I hadn't even seen a doctor or confirmed I was pregnant, but we both knew. She promised not to say anything to my mom or dad..that I would tell them when I got home...so I really didn't want to go home.
When I finally decided to go home, it was after I had a supernatural experience, which made me determined to come home. I got home on August 29. A few weeks later my dad went into the hospital for heart surgery.
On Sept. 11, 1970 he died, never waking up after open heart surgery. I thought it was all my fault...that God was protecting him from knowing I was unwed and pregnant! Now I realize how silly and immature that thought was....but then, it was like a knife through my heart.
I hadn't told him or my mom, anything about what had happened. I kept my secret. I started Jr. College, hanging onto my secret.
Another friend, talked me into going to Planned Parenthood, for a pregnancy test. She suggested I might not even be pregnant.
The pregnancy test was positive and the first thing PP, suggested was for me to get some money together and they'd send me to California for an abortion.
They said, since I was technically raped, I could have an abortion in California, for around $500 and the cost of a bus ticket.
I told them I'd think about it, but in my heart and mind I already knew that wasn't an option. Terminating the pregnancy....sounded so simple, but it meant killing the little life growing inside ofr me. I knew that much. Although abortion was an unfamiliar word to me, I learned quite quickly and decided just as quick that wasn't for me.
Something in me kept telling saying, the baby didn't do anything to deserve being killed and besides it was part of me, too.
Our family had just buried my dad and I still held onto my secret. Until the night after the burial and I told my brothers and sister in laws. My grandma already knew. My brother who lived in town said he would be with me, when I told my mom, but to wait for a while. She had just lost her husband, which was trauma enough.
It was the beginning of October, my brother and I sat down with my mom and told her that I had been raped and was pregnant. She fainted...then cried....then hugged me.
Since I hadn't had any prenatal care, she said I'd need to see a doctor.
Since my dad had just died, I didn't have any health insurance. We were working poor....so I went to the county to see if I could get help there. They denied me. Said I was my mothers responsibility, even though I was 18, I lived at home.
A friend of my mothers worked at St. Elizabeth of Hungry clinic. Which was funded by the Catholic church and assisted those who didn't have insurance or could qualify for county assistance.
My mom talked to her and she got me an appointment right away for screening. For $250 I had prenatal care with a private OB/GYN MD in the community and delivery at the Catholic hospital.
They counseled me and I was certain, I would give my baby up for adoption. The kindness and care I received was beyond anything I could ever imagine. No pressure, no condemnation.
The day I delivered my little girl, they did come with the papers to sign to place her for adoption. My only request was to see her before I signed.
My mother had already seen her but hadn't said anything.
One part of this story that i should mention, is my mother, a diabetic, had lost a little girl, my sister, when I was 6 years old. She died during childbirth and she never was given the chance to even see her. So, my mother was determined to see this little girl.
After they placed my daughter into my arms, and our eyes met, I knew I could never say goodbye to her.
She was tiny and perfect. She was innocent. She was mine.
I told my mother I was thinking about keeping my baby and asked her if that was okay. She said whatever I wanted to do was okay with her.
So, we brought her home.
That little baby, didn't do a thing. Her father, was the guilty party. He is the one that took a young, naive girl and took advantage of her, when she couldn't say yes or no.
This was before they had a name for it....."date rape."
Had I listened to PP, I would have ended the life of a spectacular human being....she played softball from kindergarten to college. She was the athlete of the year, her senior year of high school.
She grew up to get married, was a youth leader for a "Life Teen" program at her church. She taught religion at the same Catholic school we both attended. She has given us 2 beautiful grandchildren....she is a police officer now.
I cannot imagine the void there would have been without her.
Ericka will be 40 in March 2011.
And I don't regret for one moment the decision to say "yes" to life....her life.
It was really tough being a single mother in the early 70's. But my mom's friends from church never let us go without. Several times they would show up with boxes of baby clothes and food for our family. At Christmas, they would bring us Christmas presents and food. My mom was the best. She helped me raise my daughter....while I went to nursing school and worked. Then, one day, I met a very nice young doctor while working in the ER. He was of the same faith, had strong family values and liked me for me and accepted my daughter. We met, when Ericka was 10 and married when she was 14. We waited to marry when he was finished with his training.
When Ericka was about 4 she asked me where her dad was...I told her that God was finding her a special dad. She said, I hope he doesnt' wait too long! Well...he was worth the wait. He loves her as much as if she was his own flesh and blood. I know, we have another daughter and he treats them both the same!
So that's the story....if you can use it, great! If it will touch one heart and change it....then God be glorified! It was all worth it!
There is no good reason to end a babies life by abortion...God is the author of all life and His will be done!
I believe we each have a God given potential...only He knows what it is...we live our life discovering it. What a shame to know that this year 1.3 million babies with a potential to do great things will never have that opportunity.
God bless you Juda in the ministry God has called you to!