Having to terminate one pregnancy can be difficult enough, but Priscilla (not her real name) went through two abortions before having her daughter.
Growing up, Priscilla was very close to her mother. “She was the only one who understood me, and always doted on me. I have no memory of my biological father, and was not on good terms with my stepfather,” she shares.
Today, the 28-year-old is also a mum to her daughter Chloe*, who is about two. Motherhood, however, didn’t come easily for Priscilla. Deciding to raise Chloe as a single parent was a choice she made, particularly after she had experienced two previous abortions.
The first time Priscilla discovered she was pregnant, she was an ITE student and just 17. She felt she was too young to be a mother and decided to terminate her pregnancy. “I felt very afraid as I did not know what to do,” she confesses. “I felt that falling pregnant at that time was a stupid mistake, and did not feel much of a connection to my unborn child. However, I was thankful to God that my mum was advising me back then, and supporting me emotionally.”
The following year, things took a turn for the worse: Her mother passed away, and her stepfather kicked her out of his house, wanting to start a new life with his new girlfriend. Left alone, Priscilla was out on the streets, struggling to survive.
At 21, she found herself pregnant again. Her then-boyfriend of two years agreed to keep the baby, and she was looking forward to giving birth to her child. However, during her second trimester, Prscilla’s boyfriend disappeared without a word. Losing her only source of support, she decided to terminate her pregnancy again.
“It was definitely harder to go through with my second abortion, as I had never wanted to abort my baby when I was 21,” says Priscilla. “Till today, I do not know the reason for my ex’s disappearance, and have not heard any news about him.”
HER MIRACLE BABY
The third time Priscilla became pregnant, she was 26. She was unaware of her pregnancy until she was six months along, as she suffered from irregular menstrual cycles. Her boyfriend remained silent when she broke the news, and Priscilla knew she would not be able to rely on him.
With no family to help her, Priscilla felt troubled and desperately alone. Though she considered having a third abortion, she eventually decided against it – especially since she was already seven months pregnant at the time.
“I felt more strongly attached to Chloe than my other babies,” she recalls. “I could feel her moving in my womb. I remember feeling lost at first, but overcame my fear as Chloe grew day by day, and my attachment to her became stronger.
“My perspective on my pregnancy changed, and I started to feel it might actually be something good to happen in my life. I felt it might very well be the time for me to settle down, and take responsibility for my baby girl.”
Searching online for a solution to her dilemma, Priscilla found Pregnancy Crisis Service (PCS), which is part of non-profit organisation, Family Life Services. She was assigned a case worker, Mary John, who helped guide her and support her emotionally, accompanying Priscilla to her gynaecologist appointments, and finding her shelter at Day Spring New Life Centre.
BIRTH AND MOTHERHOOD
In July 2015, Priscilla gave birth to Chloe (not her real name), who was one month premature and spent a couple of weeks in the NICU. “Of course, it was scary for me to see her hooked up to machines to help her breathe properly, as her lungs were not fully developed,” she says. “Still, I felt so much love for Chloe when she was born… I couldn’t believe that someone so cute could come out of me! I really did feel that instantaneous, maternal love people talk about when I held her for the first time. Chloe was underweight at birth, but she’s developed wonderfully and grown strong and healthy now.”
With the help of the PCS After-Care Programme, Priscilla continued to stay at Day Spring New Life Centre for about six months, where she received much-needed supplies like milk powder and diapers. Mary helped Priscilla apply for additional assistance from the Ministry of Social and Family Development, and visit employment agencies. “I was able to find a job, rent a place and secure a place at an infant care centre for Chloe while I was at work. It was a new beginning,” says Priscilla.
On her part, Mary admires Priscilla’s bravery in raising Chloe on her own. “When I first met Priscilla, she was very lonely and lost, and worried about being a single mum,” she says. “Over time, she’s definitely matured a lot, and she’s a very resilient lady now. I think she’s a very doting, responsible mother, and there’s a deeper meaning to her life now as she’s focused on providing for her daughter and enjoying time with her.”
Priscilla thinks life has been good with Chloe by her side, and can’t imagine life without her. She says getting married someday has never crossed her mind, as her thoughts are focused on caring for Chloe. “I still worry about our finances, but being a mother has brought me so much joy; it’s exciting to see Chloe grow up and hit all her milestones. For now, I’m working towards getting a house of our own, and saving up more money to better both our lives.”
To find help for an unplanned pregnancy, contact:
Pregnancy Crisis Service (PCS)
PCS has been helping needy mums for 31 years. In 2016, it helped support 16 mothers with unplanned pregnancies, helping them deliver their babies in their time of crisis.
Hotline: 6339 9770
Babes Pregnancy Crisis Support
This organisation helps mums aged 21 and below needing help with their pregnancy, guiding mothers through their options and offering long-term support.
Hotline: 8111 3535
Text: Lisa Twang, Photo: Pexels, posed by model
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