Holly L

Atlanta, GA

 I'VE HAD TWO ABORTIONS, AND I DON'T REGRET EITHER. THE FIRST FOLLOWED
        A ILL-FATED REUNION WITH A FINANCE WHO'D KEPT HIS STRIPPER AND HEROIN
        HABIT OUT OF SIGHT UNTIL I FINALLY CAUGHT HIM IN THE ACT OF BOTH. WHEN
        WE FOUND OUT I WAS PREGNANT, HE REFUSED TO PAY, SAYING I SHOULD HAVE
        IT SO I WAS BOUND TO HIM FOREVER. "I TOLD YOU YOU'D NEVER GET TO
        LEAVE," HE SAID. SO THE WAITRESSES WHERE I TENDED BAR POOLED TIPS TO
        HELP COVER THE COST OF THE PROCEDURE AND THE TWO DAYS OFF I NEEDED TO
        TAKE.

        THE SECOND CAME SEVERAL YEARS LATER. I LIKED THIS GUY A LOT, MAYBE
        EVEN LOVED HIM. HE HAD SOME ISSUES; A SIGNIFICANT COCAINE ADDICTION
        SURFACED A FEW WEEKS IN. BUT I THOUGHT WE COULD MAKE IT. AT FIRST, WE
        DECIDED TO KEEP THE CHILD AND TRY TO BUILD SOME LIFE TOGETHER. BUT I
        SOON STARTED HAVING SEIZURES ALMOST DAILY. THEY WERE VIOLENT AND
        TERRIFYING; I WOULD OFTEN QUIT BREATHING. I QUALIFIED FOR MEDICAID, SO
        AT LEAST I COULD HAVE SOME FORM OF INSURANCE, BUT THE DOCTOR I SAW
        SAID HE DIDN'T SEE HOW I COULD KEEP THE BABY AND MY HEALTH. WE FINALLY
        MADE THE CALL THAT THIS WASN'T WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN. HE DIDN'T WANT THE
        KID BUT HE DIDN'T SUPPORT THE DECISION. HE CLAIMED HIS CATHOLICISM
        MADE IT SO HE COULDN'T BE A PART OF A MURDER. SO I WENT IT ALONE
        AGAIN.

        I STILL SEE BOTH OF THESE GUYS, IN PASSING, SOMETIMES. I TRY TO NOT
        THINK OF THE CHILDREN I DIDN'T HAVE, BUT INSTEAD THE LIFE I HAVE BEEN
        ABLE TO BUILD INSTEAD. I WORK TO DEDICATE THAT LIFE TO OTHERS, AND
        HOPEFULLY I MAKE POSITIVE CHANGES IN THE LIVES OF THE CHILDREN THAT
        ARE LIKE THE ONES I WOULD'VE HAD - POOR, A DISCONNECTED FATHER WITH
        RAMPANT ADDICTIONS AND A MOM WHO HAD TO STRUGGLE TO SURVIVE.