She is scared and alone at her doctor’s office, waiting for her first ultrasound. She already has three children, and she knows she cannot afford to care for another. She used contraceptives but she knows that they are not 100% effective. She took a pregnancy test at home which was positive. She didn’t tell her children’s father because she knew he would get angry. They were finally in a better place, and she didn’t want to risk him moving out again. The last time they fought, he left her and the children and she had to find a way to support her family on one income. Married or divorced, it didn’t matter to him. Getting by wasn’t easy and she didn’t want to go back there again if she didn’t have to.
It had been a rough few years with layoffs from the pandemic, school closings, unaffordable childcare and now rising inflation. She worked full time at a local manufacturing plant where she made $15/hour, but her hours were not flexible. If she had to leave work to get her children, then she knew her next paycheck would suffer. Being able to control whether she had more children was vital to maintaining her employment. During her last three pregnancies she worked as a childcare provider at a daycare near her home. She made $9/hour. Her income was barely enough to make ends meet, but her job supported her during her pregnancies and she received a discount for childcare.
Her new job at the manufacturing plant requires her to be on her feet and active during her shifts. She knows that her pregnancies are difficult and she won’t be able to maintain her current position through a pregnancy. She cannot afford to miss work for the monthly and then weekly doctor appointments that come during pregnancy. Her family depends on her income. She knows that her relationship with the children’s father isn’t something she can count on. If he gets mad or they have a fight, then he leaves and with him goes the financial support.
She is brought back to the room when the ultrasound technician enters to do her first ultrasound. She silently prays that there won’t be a heartbeat. She waits. Then she hears it, the thudding of a heartbeat. With it, her heart sinks. She knows she can’t have this baby. She meets with the doctor who confirms she is 6 weeks pregnant. She asks the doctor what her options are. Without the protections of Roe, she is told she is no longer allowed to terminate her pregnancy in the conservative southern state she calls home. She also knows she can’t afford to travel to Illinois, the closest state where she can get an abortion.
She gets in her car, returning home to her three young children and their father. She recalls the home remedies to terminate pregnancy but is concerned she might put her own life at risk if she takes this route. She turns into the driveway and awaits the dreaded conversation with the father of her children. She prepares herself to be a single mother, again, and to be the sole caregiver and financial provider for her children. She turns the key and walks through the door unsure of her future and the future of her children.