Jalia was pregnant at sixteen, chose to have an abortion, and now lives with regret.
Getting pregnant at the age of sixteen was not the route Jalia’s family thought she would land upon, but she did. “At the time, I was only thinking about how I would not be able to do this baby thing by myself. I’m an only child, so I never had a little brother or sister to look after. I was scared that I wouldn’t do it right.” As she was explaining this, she was holding a brown stuffed teddy bear against her stomach. When she was asked what this meant to her, she stated that she always felt better when she held that teddy bear. You could hear shaking in her voice, “I didn’t want my baby to be fatherless. Abortion seemed right but now I wish I could go back and do it all over.” Jalia was asked different questions about how hard it was to make the decision and how she felt while going through the process. She was also asked to give her initial feelings on how she feels today and how she copes with it. While answering all these questions she sounded as if she wanted to cry.
Jalia did not realize that she had so many friends and family members who would have been there to help her with the baby. Jalia stated that when she was going through the thought process, she felt as if she had no one to talk to, “I see how all my family would have been so supportive of me if I would’ve kept the baby. It hurts me to see other teenagers with their kids because it makes me think of what my baby would have looked like or what she or he would be doing right now. But, I’ll never know, unfortunately.”
It’s been over a year since Jalia had the abortion and she still remembers it as if it was yesterday. She said that it is a day she will never forget because that was the hardest decision that she has ever had to make. Jalia explained, “My cousin actually took me up to a clinic that she knows about, and I talked to one of nurse’s assistants there and she explained all my options and went through them thoroughly to make sure I understood. She also sent me home with some packets filled with information on each choice that I had. I felt a little better because I had information about each thing before making any decisions. The first packet I threw away was the adoption packet.”
Jalia was asked what her first reactions were when she found out she was pregnant and she said, “Well, I was already a month and a half, so it’s not like I was three weeks or something. I was really scared and I didn’t know what to do, but I felt like I had to share it with somebody so I could get some of the weight off my chest.” Jalia then said that she cried her eyes out that day because she didn’t know what she could do.
Jalia had decent grades and never had trouble in school, so it was a shock to a lot of people when she started sharing the news, even though it was only with her closest friends.
When she was asked what other options she was thinking about, like keeping the baby or going through an adoption, she said, “I knew, for a fact that I wouldn’t give up my baby. I couldn’t hand over my baby to some other couple. That’s too much. I know abortion doesn’t sound any better, but that’s what was going through my mind at the time.”
I asked a couple of Jalia’s friends on their thoughts when they found out that Jalia was pregnant. A friend named Jamiyah said, “Well, I didn’t expect that from her. She looks so innocent and goody goody, but things happen and no matter what, I was there for her.”
Another friend named Anthony said, “Jalia is great with people and she’s always so happy, even on her worst days. I knew if she did keep the baby, she would have been the best mother that baby could have asked for.”
Jalia’s sister, on the other hand, thought that the abortion was a good idea. “I don’t want people to think that I am saying I’m glad, because I’m not. She can still finish school and follow her dreams. She has more opportunities and it won’t be as hard for her to accomplish stuff. If she would have had the baby, it would only slow her down. She has a job now, and with the baby, it probably would’ve been hard to handle school, work, and a kid. Even if she did keep the baby, I would have definitely been there for her,” she said.
Now, Jalia wishes she would have kept the baby or went through an open adoption, where she could still have a relationship with her baby. Although Jalia has a lot of support, such as her family and close friends, she still regrets the decision. She found out too late that she had many different options. All of Jalia’s support like her family and friends just want her to know that she is not alone and not the only girl who went through this. They also want to let other girls know that they are not alone, and to really learn about all of their options so they will not have to live with regret like Jalia. Her family tries to do as much as they can to let her know that many other girls have gone through things like this, and it may be good to reach out to them, and attend group meetings to let all her emotions out.
Today, Jalia tries to make the best out of everything and be hopeful for the future. She currently works in a medical office with her aunt and she wants to be a social worker. She is taking college courses to pursue her dream and hopes that everything will fall into place. She wants to have a family when she gets older and even though she wants to put the past behind her, she will never forget that day. She is happy to see what the future has planned for her.
— Jazmin C., Age 16, The Windows Reflect Everything
“In this collection, 826CHI students have taken a young crack at journalism that aims to inform while engaging. They tell stories about people with hopes and dreams and fears and failures and where these people fit in the broader world.”
– Monica Eng
The Windows Reflect Everything was the major release of the 2012-13 school year and compiles long form narrative journalism from high school students who selected a topic of personal interest to investigate and report on. Featuring the works of students from Roberto Clemente Community Academy and Golder College Prep.