The mother must live positively in order for her child to live without gloom…
I first met him in 2005. He was a terrible drunk—he would hit me, break things, and verbally abuse me, but perhaps out of sympathy, I found it difficult to end it with him. On nights that he came home drunk, he wouldn’t let me sleep, but the next morning I would still have to go to work at the restaurant all day, without sleep, in order to make ends meet. Because my family was so strict, I couldn’t talk to them about my situation, and because he was so suspicious, I wasn’t able to meet friends to talk about it either.
I believed that he would change, that my sincerity would get through to him one day. I kept waiting for him to change, but when he took one step forward, he would then two steps back. When I decided to end it with him, he already knew that I was pregnant with the baby. Even then he continued to act irresponsibly and violently toward me. He would hit me and strangle me, yelling at me to get an abortion. He would even bring home escorts from the bars. He would constantly drink and gamble with the money that I earned at the restaurant, where I worked well into my pregnancy. When, a month before the expected date of delivery, I found myself without money or food, I reluctantly moved into Ae Ran Won.
He had taken all of the money that I had earned working, and he also left me with a huge amount of debt, after borrowing money in my name. With the overdue taxes and utilities added, it is impossible for me to start saving until next March. Although he had coerced me to get an abortion, he left me with no money to pay for any procedure. After I began to feel the baby kicking inside me, I couldn’t get myself to get the abortion, and the cost of the procedure was also too much for me. I decided that I should take responsibility for my actions, and had the baby.
Well into the pregnancy, I learned about Holt through a local paper, and they introduced me to Ae Ran Won. When I gave birth, I was staying at Ae Ran Won, hoping again that he would change, and we even tried to reunite, but his irresponsible and violent behavior remained the same, and he just wasn’t ready to be a father. So, through Holt, I moved into a group home for single mothers this February, and also received training to become a hotel maid. I wasn’t able to find a job, however, and remained unemployed until September, when I found a telemarketing job.
I was able to get support in raising my child because I was lucky, and because through God’s grace, I was able to receive help from social welfare institutions. Seeking employment, however, was not easy. Many times, working hours would not work out with the childcare hours, and since most childcare services do not operate on Saturdays, it was hard to find a job that offer a five-day workweek. Right now, I am working at an irregular part-time job, but I’m always suffering from anxiety about employment.
My biggest problem is the debt. Because it is such a huge amount, it is like trying to fill a cracked vase. I won’t be able to start saving until next March at the earliest. For now I won’t be able to finance an education, and with my move-out date approaching, I hope to extend my stay by applying for job training. I hope to receive training to become an auxiliary nurse, and in the afternoon, go through training to become a nursing home aid. I wish that I could receive support for living expenses–because my current employment is irregular, so is my income, and I’m constantly suffering from employment anxiety.
My child is my hope, and I have no purpose without my child. My child is my reason for living, and I hope that this child grows up to become a healthy person who is always grateful and considerate of others.
I believe that in order for a child to live positively, the mother must live positively. I will strive to live with such a positive attitude, whatever difficult situation I may face.
Translated by Yeonsoo Cho, Edited by Hee jung Kwon.
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This story is from "collective essays of unwed mothers" published by The Millennium Project in 2008.