A gift, waiting to be accepted
By Correspondent Therese Andrea Rosario in San Mateo, Rizal, Philippines
– With an undergraduate degree from one of the finest schools in the country and the confidence to get any job I want, I was on top of the world. I felt invincible—like nothing in the world can stop me from going after what I want in life. Have you ever felt that way? Like the world is ripe with opportunities and you just have to grab a spoon and join in!
That’s how I felt—until a few months ago.
You see, I’ve been seeing this guy for more than 3 years now, but our ‘relationship’—if you can call it that—has been complicated and rocky for the most part. Needless to say, we’ve been..physically involved ever since. I bet you already know what happens in this story. Yes, I got knocked up—at the age of 20, with no job, and no husband.
You must think it’s not such a big deal. But here in the Philippines, it’s one of the worst scandals a young, single woman could get herself into. What’s even worse is my family isn’t the liberal type, they prefer to keep things old-fashioned and traditional. It doesn’t stop there—I just enrolled myself into Law School, the tuition fee lent to us by many of our relatives who encouraged me to pursue a career in Law.
What you have to know is my parents are not wealthy; they want me to be a lawyer so I can live a better life (financially and professionally). They exhausted all their efforts just so I could get into one of the best Law Schools in the country. I am eternally grateful to God that I have been blessed with such a wonderful family, which is why I was determined to make them proud. I wanted to give back, let them benefit from all the hard work they dedicated to me.
That was the plan—until a few months ago.
Upon learning about the predicament I was in, I immediately sought ways to terminate my pregnancy as early as possible. They called it abortion, I preferred to call it a chance—a chance to have more time to prepare for such a huge responsibility, a chance to let my parents live to see me become a lawyer, a chance to continue living a normal life. With ‘abortion’ being illegal in our country, I had a really hard time looking for solutions. There’d been many postings on the internet, but almost everything was too scary—or too suspicious—to try.
My partner, he didn’t want me to try and find a “solution” to our problem. But at that time, I kept thinking to myself, what did he know? I’m the one carrying the..whatever it is growing inside of me. I’m the one who’s still studying; it’s not only his future, it’s also mine. I kept thinking, how on earth are we going to raise a child? He doesn’t have a job, I don’t have a job. Both of our families aren’t exactly well-off and are counting on us.
I simply did not see any other way to deal with it other than to terminate the whole situation. I tried contacting people online who were selling meds that can help terminate early pregnancies. I cursed and ranted at how limited we, Filipinas, are with our choices. Unlike women from other pro-choice countries and states, we have been deprived of the right to choose.
Many pregnant Filipinas, I read on the internet, have been hospitalized due to the desperate measures they have done in order to terminate the unwanted pregnancy. Some of them bought medicines online and ended up poisoning themselves. Some tried to go to “massage parlors” which helped induce a miscarriage by crushing the fetus inside with their killer massages. Most of these attempts resulted to an incomplete abortion—some parts of the fetus are left inside the woman’s system which may cause harm or even death.
I didn’t want to do anything that could harm me—or the baby, I realized. I thought to myself, I didn’t want my baby to be born with any damages brought on by my desperation to kill him. Strange, I thought. I want my baby to be safe despite my effort in researching thousands of way to terminate the pregnancy.
My partner convinced me that we can, and we will, provide the baby with a good life. I immediately dropped out from Law school—the stress brought on by studying was too much for me to handle. I went online to find jobs I can do at home such as writing, advertising, etc. My partner has been actively looking for a job so we can both save up for the baby. We haven’t told anyone else yet—only a few close friends who have supported us ever since. We decided we’d tell our parents and other people as soon as we both get decent jobs and are able to earn money on our own for the monthly check-ups and everything else.
I realized I was so scared of what other people might say that I went as far as almost taking a life that was not mine to take. I am ashamed of the way I reacted to such a wonderful gift! I can’t believe I almost refused it, almost threw it away. I know now that things that may seem like problems or obstacles are merely opportunities for us to become stronger and more open to love and happiness.
Now, I’m still researching—for ways to keep my baby healthy, and good baby names.
I am a 20-year old Filipina. A frustrated lawyer, and a future mother. I prefer to stay optimistic and just enjoy everything life has to offer.