Cementing a Relationship
Many of the women who chance pregnancy are entangled in relationships, and some believe that they can cement their relationship by having their partner’s child. They are lax about using birth control, often gambling as they forget to use protection in the passion of the moment. They also often tell the men that they are not on birth control, thus, in the women’s opinion, obtaining tacit consent.
Once pregnant, these women hope that the child will cement their relationship to the biological father and his family. Even though they cite their inability to have an abortion as the reason they have the child, the women are not necessarily pro-life. Rather, they see a particular child as a connection to a particular man. They choose not to abort and not to give this child up for adoption.
During her senior year in college, Rosalie threw away her birth control pills after she broke up with her boyfriend, Javier. She describes this moment as “a fit of stupidity and rage.” During their attempt to get back together again, they conceived a baby: Rosalie thought that she was using the rhythm method correctly the night she conceived, and she did not realize she was pregnant for two months. When Javier found out she was pregnant, they became engaged; neither of them believed in abortion. They planned to marry and raise the child together, going so far as to get blood tests for a marriage license before Javier, scared and overwhelmed, backed out of the engagement. They broke up for the second and last time. Rosalie, twenty-two with a nine-month-old, described how she felt:
Part of the decision to have him was yes, on the assumption that I would get married. But even if Javier weren’t in my life, I still would have had Antonio because of my religious beliefs. I’m not even just pro-life, I’m anti-abortion. I do not believe in abortions at all, whatsoever, in any case, and I’ve heard them all, and I still don’t believe in abortion at all. So I would have had him. I can’t say that abortion did not cross my mind, because I was very scared. And I knew for one second, when Javier and I were talking about it, he said, “Are you sure you want to do this?” And I said, “No, I’m not sure.” But it was that quick. It never crossed my mind again. And I just knew I couldn’t do it, I knew I had to have him. So that wasn’t the major part of the decision, it was just my belief.
When Rosalie first learned that she was pregnant, she believed that she would marry Javier, and felt relieved that she could have the child in the traditional context of marriage. However, when her boyfriend left again, she was scared but resolute: she held firm in her beliefs as this child tested her faith.
Women who pursue single motherhood experience a catalytic event that takes them to the threshold in their cognitive journeys. They can point to a moment where it becomes clear that motherhood has to be at the top of their agenda. It is no longer a choice but a necessity that needs their immediate attention. These moments force them to think outside the box of the expected ways to go about having a child. But even more, they feel their lives would be flatlined, that they would shrink, should they not act upon their wish to become mothers. The future can be full only with a child. Still, they do not blow which route to motherhood will bring them a child.