Breaking the Cycle Starts with Having a Choice
By: Anonymous 

     Most people can only imagine what life is like inside the home of a child with an addicted parent.  If you know, you know.  If you’re among those who can only imagine, we’re happy for you. If you can relate, then you probably experienced life at a fast pace, you probably were spared from very little pain, and you likely learned early on what triggers could create havoc in your home. Whichever end of this spectrum you’re on, one thing’s for certain: childhood is rough! We all should celebrate how far we’ve come!

     Growing up usually involves learning at least some things the hard way. For children of addicts, most things come the hard way.  I was lucky enough to be sheltered from it prior to my adolescence, but not after my parents divorced when I was twelve. After that, life with my Mom was different. She confessed when I was 13 that she’d been using drugs since she was 17 years old and “probably wouldn’t have survived past the age of 19 had she not gotten pregnant with me”! But, after meeting a new boyfriend, she realized she still "loved it" – only cocaine, of course -- and there was no reason to hide it from me anymore.

    Life went on. As many will do, I tried to avoid home if possible; often killing time in the best ways teens know how! With that in mind, there was one lesson my Mom never failed to repeat: “The Crisis Pregnancy Center is on McCreight Ave. and they give free pregnancy tests, even free ultrasounds, and if needed a car seat or baby bed when the baby comes,” or so she’d heard. Just weeks after I turned 16, we made our ever-destined trip to CPC. 

     No shame could find my Mother as her daughter was presented with a positive pregnancy test; before her driver’s license, no less! (Yay, now there could be two mothers with no driver’s license in the home!) Who would have had the money to pay for Driver’s Ed anyway?  At least this test was free!  I, on the other hand, was overcome with shame as I told the Catholic caregiver, Claudia, “No ma’am. The father won’t be involved.” And I was terrified as I pictured myself caring for a baby!  Apparently, only I was worried about who might drive the baby to a doctor’s appointment.

     I tried to understand why I would bring a baby into a home where I was practically playing mom already.  Claudia cheerfully reminded me what a blessing and miracle this child was and that God wouldn’t have created such a life without great purpose. Nothing of my plight was of concern to my Mother or Claudia as my Mom guided me out the door. I took away that Claudia’s understanding was that my great purpose in the name of God must be motherhood; my Mother seemed to agree.
    I got the relief I was seeking from God weeks later, when in the middle of the night I was awakened with the most jarring pain I’d ever experienced.  I wrenched and clinched on pain wildly, as Mother Nature stepped in to save me from the trap that had been set for me.  A “spontaneous abortion” was my diagnosis, but it read rebirth to me! And I can tell you without one ounce of doubt that my life was saved when I lost the fertilized egg that neither I nor my body was prepared to care for! I am eternally grateful that Mother Nature and God made this choice for me when I was too vulnerable to do so for myself; when my future was being sabotaged and manipulated under the guise of parental care that was eroded by drug abuse.
    It never struck me at that time what a privilege it would have been if I could have even considered having abortion care. And though I will never relate to my Mother’s behavior, I am aware she was a product of an abusive mother and that she used drugs to deal with her own trauma.  She always promised never to abuse me. I think she felt that she succeeded in that by not beating me, and she couldn’t see the harm she inflicted otherwise.

     To my surprise, and by the grace of God, I’ve broken this cycle for our family!  My teenage daughter is not the product of trauma or abuse. An exciting new chapter of our family story has begun! But just as I recognize what a triumph this is, I’m overcome by the fact that we now face the risk of a fertilized egg putting her life and her future at risk in an instant, despite all the work I’ve done to break the cycle!  Our tyrannical government has now decided that if she finds herself pregnant, by her own choice or otherwise, that her fate is in their hands! And they’d prefer to override her ability to recognize on her own, or with her family and her healthcare professionals, whether her body is capable of childbirth or not, or whether she has the ability to raise a child safely! I say these politicians are crafting a new way to ensure the cycles of poverty, addiction, mental-illness, and crime that embattle our communities by creating more mothers with children whom they can trap into insolvency. If you agree that these cycles must be broken, I am begging you to rally against their oppression tactics! 

     Please show your support for the right to choose! Breaking the cycle of oppression, poverty, crime, and child abuse starts with saying Yes to Issue 1!