She wasn’t a bad kid. She was seventeen, an all-American girl, pretty, the daughter of a Baptist pastor.
She got pregnant.
It happened so fast that it confused her. She thought she was in love. She wanted to marry him. She envisioned a small house, a decent neighborhood, shutters, hanging ferns, and a swing set in the backyard.
He told her he wanted to to have the pregnancy “taken care of.”
It broke her heart. She wanted to keep it. He pleaded with her to end it. She refused. He pushed.
He drove her to the clinic in a bad part of town. They sat in the car. She cried.
“I can’t do it,” she said.
“You HAVE to do it,” he said.
And so it went.
A big argument erupted. She jumped out of his car. He sped off.
She never told a soul about the baby.
In fact, she even managed to hide her pregnancy from her parents that summer—she left town to live with a friend and worked a summer job.
She went into labor one July night. She remembers it
like yesterday. She drove herself to the hospital.
It was a boy.
“Soon as I had him,” she said. “I wanted so bad to touch his face. That was an instinct, I think.”
But she wouldn't. She told nurses to take him away, or else she'd never say goodbye.
She called an adoption agency. She signed papers. They took the baby. She left the hospital the same way she came. Alone.
It was the hardest thing she ever did.
She grew up. She went to college, she pleased her parents. She got married to a man who loved her. She had three kids. She drove an SUV. She lived her life.
And it was a good life, she should’ve been happy.
“I always hated myself,” she said. “I mean, how can anyone give up a…