It all happened very quickly. I spoke, my father threw his cup of coffee at the wall and went for Michael, while my mother went for me.
As she repeatedly bashed my head against the wall, she demanded to know “how could you do this to me?” She repeated it again and again, punctuated by a bash against the wall. “How could you do this to me?” I didn’t fight back. She was my mother and I felt that I was in the wrong. I had just told my parents that I was pregnant at the tender age of twenty.
When I eventually got away, I went outside and my sister joined me. For the next few weeks I didn’t speak to my parents. My mother would intermittently come into my room and say: “what are you going to do about YOUR problem?” At one point she suggested that I go to Groote Schuur for an abortion as I had psychiatric issues. Abortions were not yet legal in Apartheid South Africa with the exception of psychiatric issues and German Measles in the first trimester.
As there didn’t seem to be too much support coming from my parents, I asked the private gynecologist to refer me to the state.
I first saw a social worker. The next week I saw the psychiatrist who confirmed I would get my termination on psychiatric grounds and moved on to see state gynecologist to confirm that I was indeed pregnant.
I told my father - mostly because there was a bill of R1000 that medical aid would cover. I asked him to tell my mother that I’d had a miscarriage.