Pregnant People Everywhere

My mother had a friend who was pregnant.

She was thirty something, and single. Being pregnant without the benefit of marriage was so unheard of but more especially, it was something that a teenager like me did not expect to find in adult people she looked up to.

Her friend was a colleague, someone she worked with down in the city, a lawyer. I loved Janice. She was easy to talk to, she seemed very interested in my teenage ramblings, and she was often in the office on Saturdays when I (still) accompanied my mom to work to finish all that she couldn’t finish in her twelve hour days during the week.

Janice was a feminist, outwardly so. My mother, she just quietly went on her way and did things because she had to as a single mother with custody of three kids in the 80s. But Janice, she took my mother to lesbian comics that raised funds for battered women. She seemed like a sixties rebel in 1985 clothing, and in fact, she was just that. My mother was married with kids during the latter part of the 1960s. She often joked that she missed the fun part of the era. But Janice, she was ten years younger than my mom. She still didn’t wear makeup or put mousse in her hair.

I marveled at the path she chose. The man was not interested in being a part of the child’s life, but Janice still chose to continue the pregnancy. As a “radical feminist”, she’d marched for the right to choose, but she knew it meant exactly that. A choice. And as a stable woman in her thirties with a good job, she was choosing to have her baby. I couldn’t stop asking her questions, the same questions I’d asked B a year prior: what will you do, how do you feel, what changes are you noticing, will you need help.

My mother was so incredibly supportive of her friend, when others turned away. While everyone knew that single women dated and had sex, no one seemed to acknowledge that an obvious consequence of sex, was pregnancy. No one seemed to care that birth control had a failure rate. It was all Janice’s fault for getting herself “in trouble”. I found her thrill in the path now laid before her courageous.

I knew that my mother was thinking back to her own pregnancy that she hid in silence twenty plus years ago and marveling at how little and how much the world had changed.


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