New York, US
It goes back to when I was married... around 1945. My parents didn’t approve of my marriage. There was a 13-year age difference, and they thought he was too old. Also, they didn’t want me married.
At that time, I became pregnant without trying. Because of my husband’s business, I was traveling with him. If I stayed pregnant, my husband was afraid I’d have to go back to my parents and that my family would break up the marriage. They had the power then to break it up. Therefore, when I got pregnant, we arranged for me to have an abortion.
It was not legal. It was a secret. I went through a very difficult time with the abortion. I had it done in Montreal—someone recommended this doctor, who proceeded to molest me after he was finished. I don’t know why it was done in two stages—I couldn’t figure that out—I had it done in two days, and once it was complete, I was on the table and he started to fondle me. It was terrible…
My husband waited outside, and I was terribly worried about him. I thought, oh my god, they’re going to arrest him— he’s going to be in jail forever. It was scary thinking about what could happen to him, and I was in such terrible pain; I thought I’d never get past this. The pain was excruciating for about 2 or 3 weeks. I never went to a real doctor to be checked, so I lived with this, but it finally passed. It was very frightening.
Anyways, some years later we decided that we wanted a child. I got pregnant and I have one child. Then, I think a year or two later, I got pregnant again—I was so thrilled—what perfect timing. But I had a miscarriage. I was heartbroken.
Then, around 1954, I got breast cancer. At that time—I understand it’s quite different today—but then, they told me not to get pregnant because with breast cancer it was dangerous to conceive and that I should wait. So I went on birth control. Later on, when I again tried conceiving, I was unable to.
Now, at this stage of my life, I feel very blessed with my daughter and my 3 grandchildren. So why should I not be happy and satisfied with whatever happened? It would have been nice to have more children, and I think my daughter would have preferred not to be an only child. It would be easier for her to share responsibilities as I grow older. So, I have some regrets.