When you think of a woman who finds herself pregnant and single, you think of a poor, uneducated woman, probably under 21 and needing vast amounts of support. This is the prime candidate to scare into having an abortion, the kind of person Planned Parenthood “helps.” She’s supposedly the reason abortion is a beacon of light is for the underserved woman.
When you think of a woman who finds herself pregnant and single, you probably don’t think of an educated woman with a burgeoning career, like that of the 113 lady attorneys who recently declared that having abortions had furthered their careers. You don’t think of a woman who is white, early 30s, her entire life ahead of her, and a committed Christian.
Why don’t you think of the latter? Because it feels like an anomaly. But that’s the category I fell in just two years ago.
I had turned 30 in July, was about to make a move halfway across country to work in a new city with a new start. Instead, I landed in Dallas and realized I was pregnant just two weeks later.
I was a prime candidate to have an abortion. My career was ahead of me, with a brand-new, exciting job on the horizon, and I would have to make major adjustments if I was going to be a single mom. Having a baby at this juncture of my life would no doubt hurt me socially in a new town, I knew. It would probably make finding a home in a new church much more challenging. It could destroy my career, especially as a conservative woman. And what would my family say? My close friends? The father?
Career Women Are an Abortion Demographic
My demographic is part of what keeps the abortion industry in motion. Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups like to think they are in place to serve the poor woman, the women who find themselves pregnant without support, the woman without resources. They are going to save that woman from a life she shouldn’t have to live.
I am wholly convinced, however, that those aren’t the only abortions stealing away generations of children. It is also the 30-somethings, the career women who make their own life decisions without consideration for the lives they might create or the consequences of their actions. I can’t be the only single 30-year-old with a college degree who found herself pregnant. Yet I am the only single mom I know in that category.
Some statistics published by the abortion-supporting Guttmacher Institute help explain why I am the only one “like me” I know. According to a 2008 study, 49 percent of abortions are conducted on women over 25 and 31 percent of women who chose abortion make 200 percent or more than the poverty level, which is approximately $23,000 per year for a single woman with no children.
What’s crazy about that is when I discuss my situation with people who are pro-abortion or pro-Planned Parenthood, they like to remind me that I am privileged. They often don’t realize I was unemployed and alone in a new place when I found out I was pregnant.
Then, my situation got worse: I told my parents, who are Christians, and active in a local church and in the pro-life movement. A bunch of tears and hard phone calls later, I got the email. My dad let me know that I was about to bear a child into a life of negative statistics. He would be poor, probably a criminal, and live a life of pain. Therefore, my only option was adoption.
Three-Quarters of Women Who Abort Are Thinking of Work
Why was that so hurtful? Statistics on single parenting largely reflect a population who are under 21 (while that population represents roughly 18 percent of abortions), without college degrees, and bearing a baby into poverty. I defied all of those demographics.
Given all the talk about banning abortion and how abortion serves an underprivileged group of people, I began to think, is abortion serving the poor? Or is it serving the women who don’t want their lives interrupted?
As I told more friends of my pregnancy, I began to hear abortion stories. For the first time in my life, people told me about their personal experiences. I realized that in all of our pro-life talk, we overlook exactly the people that the abortion industry targets. Seventy-five percent of women say they chose abortion because they thought having a child would affect their work or schooling.
Should we reach out to poor women who might think they can’t afford a child, or another child? Yes! Of course we should! But we are missing women like me, the adult women who “can’t be pregnant right now.”
My Lonely, Public Choice
Well, you know what, I was pregnant. And as much as I didn’t want to be inconvenienced, I couldn’t choose abortion.
It was sheer will, trust in Jesus, and coming face to face with convictions about my pro-life background that saved my son. If I could have made my decision in a vacuum, I might not have chosen life. If I could have made my decision in a vacuum, I may not have chosen to parent.
But life isn’t lived in private. It is lived alongside people. Even if those people are strangers at a coffee shop or nosy neighbors or distant co-workers, life isn’t lived alone. I had to make a choice, and I would have to live with it.
The irony of this choice being so public is that it was so lonely. Again, loneliness is seemingly something I shouldn’t have experienced. I had support from my friends, from my church (I moved back to DC shortly after realizing I was pregnant—Dallas ended up being “home” for all of two doctor’s visits and six weeks), and eventually from my parents.
As you read this, if you have ever been pregnant, you know what I’m talking about. You are experiencing something so unimaginably special and amazing that forever alters your body, your life, your plan—and I was doing it without one person. There was nobody to go buy more bagels and apples when that was all I could stomach, nobody to help me tie my shoes when I couldn’t bend over anymore. I didn’t have a loving husband to explain the magic to or commiserate with. I didn’t have that person who would be a part of every phase and stage of my baby’s life.
I had friends. Friends who listened. Friends who were at the hospital when he was born. Friends who sent me gifts from all over the country (quite literally). Friends who held him when I needed to shower and pump or go to Target. I had all of this because I wasn’t shy about asking for help, and I let people help me when they offered.
I had chosen to have sex, and there was a consequence. I was no longer making decisions just for me. The decisions, even if I chose adoption, were for me and this tiny thing inside of me.
How to Help Women Like Me
The pro-life movement eagerly targets and attempts to care for young women who aren’t educated and have no means to provide. But we need to find a new and better way to care for the women who “shouldn’t become pregnant” and therefore end their pregnancies in silence, the women who need help understanding perspective and consequences, the women who should be rising in their careers, not inconvenienced by a baby.
These might be harsh stereotypes, but if I weren’t one of them, I wouldn’t know that this is a demographic to be served.
Now the question: how do we do serve this group of women? We make ourselves available. We help women see hope. We offer to throw baby showers and help them register. If you are single or not a parent, give your time or cook a meal! Free babysitting is the greatest gift a new mom (single or not) could ever be given.
So, where are we now? My son is 18 months old. I have a fantastic and flexible job that allowed me to work at home with him until he was about six months old. My son just started full-time childcare at 13 months old, which is definitely not the norm.
I work, save, and spend the first $1,000-plus of my paycheck on a combination of childcare, diapers, and other kid things. No one has made me any GoFundMe accounts. I have paid more than $5,000 in medical bills between delivery, a re-hospitalization, and a couple of ER visits.
I do this alone. I do this without his dad. I do this surrounded by a community of friends and family who don’t really get the hardships that come with being a single parent—but they try to help!
I am extremely committed to helping other women find the hope that I found when I chose life, when I chose to parent.
The pro-life movement can be frustrating for some. The pro-choice crowd loves to taunt that we are only “pro-birth.” Well, a lot of people around me were far more than just pro-birth, and if your conviction lies in the pro-life column, find a way to be that. Find a local crisis pregnancy center. Let local high schools, middle schools, or youth groups know that you are available to talk.
If you are reading this while single and pregnant, you can do this. It will be hard, it will be expensive, and you will have to defy a lot of “normal.” But defying normal with a little human is far better than the alternative.