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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 17. 19th July 1972

i "...$600 to Make it All Better..."

i "...$600 to Make it All Better..."

When did you get pregnant?

[unclear: I] was 17 at the time. I was also a Catholic, a school leader [unclear: nd] a frightened little girl. How could I possibly be preg-[unclear: ant] Everything had always gone as I'd planned. I was to [unclear: raduate] in two weeks and go on to college in the fall.

Certainly I couldn't tell my parents. There would be a [unclear: uick] and quiet shotgun wedding for sure abortion wasn't [unclear: ven] in their vocabulary. And to my friends I represented [unclear: II] those fine Catholic values: purity, honesty, goodness, [unclear: te]. I was determined not to marry John, and I was even [unclear: ore] determined not to lose face.

[unclear: Did] you think about having an abortion?

[unclear: I] had absolutely no contacts for abortion whatever. I'd [unclear: eard] of trying bars, but the second-hand tales of butchery [unclear: id] rape terrified me. As a fluke, I decided to see a doctor [unclear: I] one of the "looser" sections of the city. It was a lucky [unclear: choice]. Although his nurse eyed me disapprovingly, the [unclear: doctor] was very helpful. He said he would simply give me a [unclear: rw] "shots" to make me start bleeding, and in three or four [unclear: ays] I'd be back to my innocence. Seven days later I [unclear: returned] to his office; nothing had happened. He soothed me. Well, sometimes it lakes a stronger injection." he offered. [unclear: and] I waited another week.

The bleeding never came. And the little thing inside me [unclear: as] about eight weeks old by then. So on my third visit to [unclear: am] (I still hadn't learned), he examined me again. This [unclear: me] he began fondling my nipples and telling me that it [unclear: as] no wonder I was in that condition—I had such a lovely, [unclear: rm], shapely body. I was afraid to leave, afraid to run—I [unclear: seded] his help so desperately. I just lay there while he con-[unclear: nucd] stroking me and talked about the possibility of, for or so, "making everything all better."

How did you get out of there?

Finally I regained some sense of control. I got up, dressed myself and told him that I'd think about it. But I knew I could never get that much money without compromising myself.

When I got outside, I barfed. I was disgusted with that horrible lecher inside, with men in general, with the round lump inside my belly, and most of all with myself. I barfed until even the phlegm was gone.

In September I began school as planned. I knew I'd have to do it myself. I rode horses, ran up and down stairs, jumped, climbed, twisted, shook; finally I began pounding.

I pounded my abdomen until it was bruised first with my hands, then against bedposts, chair-backs, anything. Hut nothing worked. I starved myself until my body began to take on the look of an undernourished child with a distended stomach. Then I began begging John to hit inc. But he wouldn't. I pleaded and sobbed until he gave in. He'd hit me hard with his fist, and his eyes would fill with tears, begging me not to ask so much But I was determined to abort it and he was going to help, goddamit—he was responsible

Did your parents have any idea of what who going on?

Well, by Thanksgiving I was five months pregnant I was sure my friends suspected, but no one said a word. My fantasy of coming out of the mess unscathed remained unshaken until Christmas Eve. My mother couldn't take it any longer; she hysterically accused me and I denied everything. I still don't understand why she believed me, but she must have wanted to. And for the first time I faced reality. There I was, six months pregnant with a child which was certain to be deformed or brain-damaged, if born.

So what did you do did you go back to school?

Yes, I returned to school after Christmas vacation more determined than ever to get this "thing" out of me. I began the beatings again. On the day of my first exam I went into labor As I was leaving the classroom I felt a warm surge of water rush down my legs. At first I thought my bladder had collapsed from all the pounding and pummeling. Then I knew it was the sack that had broken.

Was John there to help you at all?

Yes, he drove me into the country. He tried to comfort me and persuade me to see a doctor, but I raved about how could he dare ask that of me when it was so close to being over. That night I slave.' in the basement of the dorm, praying (I still prayed) that the pain wouldn't make me scream for help until John could take care of mc again.

The following night the thing was born. And it let out a cry. A seven-month-old baby born in the parking lot of a men's dorm on a freezing January night.

I sneaked back into the dorm a few minutes before closing time, wrapped in a dirty car blanket to hide my blood soaked clothing. I braced myself against the walls and worked my way up the four flights of stairs to my room.

The next day I asked what had happened to the little thing. And John said, "Don't worry, honey, I took care of it." I pressed him more, and he told me no one would ever find it. It was buried in cement at the bottom of a stream two hours' drive away.

And I couldn't even cry.