My boyfriend was living with a couple who had 2 daughters. The woman was a stripper in her 40’s, and her boyfriend was this goofy guy who would use the bathroom with the door open. The stripper was intimidated by me, I think, however, I was in awe of her. Shortly after I moved in with my boyfriend, he went to jail for drug trafficking (Pot). The stripper then told me I had to move out. I couldn’t move back to my guardian and had nowhere to live. I was working, but this was minimum wage. I ended up moving in with a couple, who were just odd. Looking back, they were just this young couple with a young child, trying to make ends meet. Here I am, this awkward teenager, who didn’t want to be there any more than they wanted me there. My boyfriend spent a short time in jail, and we lived with his mother for a short time and ended up getting a small apartment together.
Shortly after my boyfriend got out of jail, I found out I was pregnant. I was 20 years old and didn’t know what to do. I knew abortion wasn’t what I wanted. That’s what my boyfriend wanted me to do, but I didn’t want that. So, I decided to give the baby up for adoption. My guardian was totally against me having a baby, and essentially told me the only option was adoption. I always wanted children; in fact, I wanted tons of children. So, I caved to the pressure and started looking for an adoptive family. I met them and knew they would be good parents for my baby.
However, when I delivered my baby, I decided at that moment, I was going to keep him. Even if it meant living under a bridge, no one was going to tell me otherwise. When I went home with the baby, I had nothing. No crib, clothing, diapers, nothing. I still remember feeling like, what have I done? My immediate family didn’t really give me anything, my guardian certainly didn’t. However, my boyfriend’s mother, who was on social assistance gave me a bunch of clothes, a neighbour gave me things like a bathtub, clothes, and diapers, and another friend gave me a bottle of perfume, which I cherished for a very long time. At that time, we were living in a Jewish Building. When I would take my baby for a walk to the park, all the other women would leave. I was so lonely. I told a neighbour this, and she explained, that because they are Jewish, they cannot talk to you. I was so green, I asked “How do they know I’m not Jewish?” I laugh at myself now. I knew so little about other cultures and religions, even though I grew up in a multicultural city. My family did come around and helped me out, but I do remember those early days getting home from the hospital with a newborn.
Our son was 3 weeks old, and my boyfriend and I got married in a small civil ceremony at one of the CN Hotel properties. I borrowed a white dress with these little buttons on it. We were so poor, and I couldn’t buy nursing pads, I just used an Always menstrual pad, cut it in half and used them. We got married and went to the CN Tower restaurant to celebrate. I had to go to the bathroom to nurse my son, and my half-sister-in-law who was 8 at the time, wanted to come with me. As we were coming back, she turned to me and asked, “why do your boobs say Always?” I was like “What do you mean?” She then pointed out that the tag that I didn’t remove from the pad, was showing through my dress, so each boob clearly said “ALWAYS”. I asked my then-husband,” Did you notice this”? His reply “Yes, I thought that was your gift to me”. PRICELESS