Catherine* was 21 when she discovered she was pregnant.
It was an accident.
When she told the father of the baby, he announced he was going overseas, and would be away for the birth. Catherine, now 54, gauged it was also unlikely he would be around for her and the baby when he returned. In fact, she was fairly certain he was seeing someone else.
“I think I was in denial for the first couple of months,” she says. “So by the time I thought about making a decision about whether to terminate, it was too late. I think I may have done that on purpose subconsciously…
For Catherine, almost 30 years ago, a single parent family wasn’t an attractive option. “I could see I would end up as a single mum and I didn’t want that,” she says. “So as soon as I told my parents, I announced I was going to give the baby up.”
While she acknowledges her ideas have shifted since then, she says she thought at the time that “a single parent family was a ‘lesser family,’ and I wouldn’t be able to provide what a child needed”.
Catherine recalls feeling very strongly that a baby would be “disadvantaged” with her, and “would not have as good a life with me as with two parents”.
For the next several months, she spent most of her time at home. A select few friends and family knew she was pregnant, but she didn’t want everyone to know. She wanted to be able to get through the pregnancy, give her child up for adoption, and move on.
I asked whether once she gave birth and saw her child, it was painful to give him away.
"It was..." she said. "But at the same time I think I was prepared. It was my choice and I had detached emotionally I think."
"I had convinced myself that I had made a mistake, and the way to fix it was to give this child a chance with a mum and a dad who really wanted a child."
Over the following weeks, months and years, she never second guessed her decision. "It may be weird," she said.