Editorial: This maze was Published in Mazes 2 in the 80's by Pilgrims. Fore more Mazes see HLT November 2006.
Maze: The Accidental Pregnancy
Marge Berer taught English as a foreign language from 1973 to 1982, working most of that time at Marble Arch Intensive English when it was a cooperative, and co-authored two TEFL books. She is currently editor of the international journal Reproductive Health Matters, which she co-founded in 1993. She uses her TEFL background regularly in editing papers by native and non-native authors.
Web (Elsevier): www.rhm-elsevier.com
Web (RHM): www.rhmjournal.org.uk
Your name is Laura. You are 30 years old with no children.
You have recently separated from your husband David.
Neither of you is sure it is the right thing to do, but your relationship has not been good and you feel it might help for a while. You had been together five years.
After he moves out, you both feel quite lonely. You see each other from time to time as neither of you wants to end things completely.
Several months later you meet a man your age named Mark. He has no intention of settling down with you or anyone else and after six weeks of seeing him, he tells you he doesn't want to see you again. At first you're upset but you decide to stop thinking about him. He was obviously not a person you could have had a relationship with.
Contd. On page ( 1a )
Not long afterwards you discover you are pregnant.
You and Mark had been careless. You hadn't believed it could happen to you.
2. You decide that the only sensible thing to do is have an abortion.
3. You decide to have the child.
4. You don't know what to do.
Abortion is only legal in your country under certain circumstances. It's often difficult to find a doctor who will do it - especially if you can't afford to pay a lot.
You go to see several doctor and they refuse to help.
They say your reasons don't fall strictly within legal definitions and they don't want to take any risks.
You begin to get more and more depressed with each "no". neither David nor Mark knows you are pregnant yet. You need some reassurance to help you through all this.
5. You go and see David.
6. You write to Mark and ask to see him.
So you are going to have yours and Mark's child, but you are still married to David. What next?
9. Try and go back with David.
10. Write to Mark that you want to see him.
11. File for divorce and try to make a go of it alone.
Though you thought you would have a child some time, you are afraid you aren't strong enough to have one on your own. You decide to give yourself a week to think it over before you make a decision. You:
12. Go away for the week to think alone.
13. Go to your mother whose opinion you respect and talk it over with her.
14. Talk to your four closest women friends.
24. Ask David for advice - he is the person who knows you best.
You are David:
She has just told you the situation. You feel incredibly hurt and jealous at the thought of her pregnant by another man.
7. You shout at her for being so careless and say your don't want to see her till it's
39. You keep these feelings to yourself and try and be sympathetic.
You are Laura:
You've written to Mark telling him you are pregnant and have had trouble finding a doctor to do an abortion.
You tell him you need some money but you are also badly in need of emotional support. You ask him please to help.
You are Mark:
Her letter shocks and scares you out of your mind.
How could you have let this happen? What does she really want from you? You're afraid she might actually want to keep the baby and might expect you to marry her!
16. You don't answer her letter
22. Your sense of responsibility is stronger than your fears. You write back.
You are Laura:
How could he act like that! You're the one in trouble and he's only thinking about himself. You sit at home crying and start thinking about Mark. He should really know - any pregnancy is the responsibility of both partners and so is an abortion. But what if he acts like David - only thinking about himself?
You take the chance and write to him. You really can't go through this alone.
In the meantime you hear about a woman doctor. You go to see her and she agrees to do it but for a high price.
GO TO CARD 6
You are Laura's parents:
She appears quite firm about keeping the baby despite the problems she will meet. You want to help but you are 60 years old and you wonder if you have the patience and strength needed to have your daughter and a child in your house. You know that you will have to look after the child while she is working. And you were enjoying having the house to yourselves again after all these years.
34. You say yes, she should come home, anyway.
35. You suggest she comes back to your home town but lives on her own with the
You go to see David, you explain everything that has happened and tell him you really want to keep the child. You make it clear that Mark means nothing to you and that you would like him to think about getting back together again. You say you know this means he would have to accept another man's child, but that in the long run this wouldn't be important. You feel that what matters is who looks after a child. You ask him to think it over.
GO TO CARD 15
You decide that as it is also Mark's child, he has a right to know about it. You hope he won't be difficult about it. Otherwise you aren't sure what you expect from him. So you write him a very brief letter and ask to see him.
GO TO CARD 18
You start looking for a job in a city where no one knows you. You find one but it doesn't pay very well. When they hear you are pregnant they sack you. The future suddenly looks frightening. you are beginning to think you've made a big nistake. Do you :
8. Ask your parents if you can come and live with them.
19. Continue with your original decision.
You can't make up your mind. You begin to feel desperately lonely - it's the hardest decision you've ever made. You know you can always have children later but this baby has become very real to you. You also know how hard it is for women alone with children - and that it is very hard on the children as well. At the end of the week, you still haven't made a firm decision. So you can:
2. Have an abortion.
3. Decide to have the baby.
4. Talk it over with somebody - go back to card 4 and choose someone to talk to.
You mother is quite sympathetic. She has known a lot of women who've been in this situation - including herself. Abortion was dangerous in her day, she says, so at least you have a real choice. You decide to do what ever she advises.
YOU ARE LAURA'S MOTHER: What is your advice?
3. Think realistically about the difficulties but have it if you want to.
2. Have an abortion. Either way you'll be sorry but you'll be sorrier if you keep the child and things turn out badly.
1. Decide on your own. No one can really help you in such a situation.
You talk it over with your four friends. None of them have kids. Two of them say get an abortion - it's too hard on your own. One says have it - you're going to be too old soon and may not have another chance. You hadn't looked at it like that before. One says have it - the two of you can share a flat together. She offers to share all the care of the child with you and gets very excited at the whole idea.
Your head is spinning:
2. You've been convinced to have an abortion.
3. The point about your age makes you decide to keep the child.
20. Your friend's offer makes you enthusiastic. You agree to go flat - hunting.
David is hurt and jealous and shouts at you for getting pregnant. He can't understand how you could be so careless or how you could do this to him. You start crying and leave.
YOU ARE DAVID: When you calm down and think it over, you go to see her and:
25. Tell her it has nothing to do with you and you can't help her.
26. Say you feel you must have her back with you, but not with another man's baby.
28. Say you want her back with you. You can see how much she wants the baby, so you are willing to live with it.
You don't want to get involved and you're fairly sure she'll be able to get help from someone else. You wish you didn't have to think about it. What a pain! You promise yourself not to let this happen with another woman.
Laura gives up on you in disgust when she doesn't hear from you. She goes to David and tells him you've ignored her letter and not written.
David offers to help.
GO TO CARD 40
YOU ARE DAVID:
25. You tell her there is nothing you can do to help.
28. You've missed her a lot. You decide to see each other again.
YOU ARE MARK:
The last thing you want is a baby to be responsible for.
You will certainly not give her a chance to talk you into it.
16. You don't answer her letter.
27. You write to her but.......
You become depressed. You are alone all day and don't feel like going out and meeting people. You wonder how you'll be able to look after the baby.
17. You go to see David.
8. You go to see your parents to ask if you can come home and live with them.
The two of you hunt for a flat. You spend the week looking through the papers and find something what sounds nice. You phone her and leave a message but she doesn't ring back. You wait three days and go round to her place - they say she's gone away for the weekend with her boy-friend. You leave another message - no answer. You panic - she's deserted you!
2. You feel too vulnerable and are suddenly afraid to trust anyone for help now. You decide you'd better have an abortion.
9. You think maybe there's a chance David would have you back with the baby. You decide to give it a try.
YOU ARE LAURA:
You are beginning to find it all too horrible and degrading to have to go begging unsympathetic doctors for an abortion. You wonder if you shouldn't have the baby after all.
In the middle of this uncertainty, Mark's letter arrives and you realise you are sure of what you're going to do. You send a sharp telegram and turn your thoughts back to getting through this heavy indecision.
GO TO CARD
You write to her quickly because you are afraid she'll turn up at your room and make a great scene. You say you are sorry this has happened and that she is having so many problems.
23. You tell her it's better for both of you if you don't see her and say you'll be sending money in a few days.
21. You offer to come and stay with her till the abortion is over but ask her please not to expect anything else from you. You say you'll bring the money with you.
YOU ARE LAURA:
You write him a polite but fairly cold letter refusing the money and telling him he's LUCKY to be out of it so lightly. You suggest he be more careful with the next woman. You feel bitter about Mark and very unsure of yourself. You are now no longer sure you want to have an abortion. You want to think again.
GO BACK TO CARD 4
YOU ARE DAVID:
You are very sympathetic when she tells you and advise her strongly to have an abortion. You remind her of women in a similar position who found it extremely difficult on their own. you think she's got to decide this without depending on you to go back with her.
You know she usually listens to you when she is upset and you hope to God she listens to you this time.
YOU ARE LAURA:
29. He's right as usual and you feel you want to start over with him.
4. You still aren't sure what to do.
3. You interpret what he says as meaning the two of you are finished no matter what you do.
So you decide to have the baby.
YOU ARE LAURA:
You feel David has let you down more than you would ever have expected. You write him a letter saying it is over between you - you have lost all respect for him. You are terribly upset and this is clear in your letter.
Being angry with David does not solve your problems. You decide to seek comfort from friends.
GO TO CARD 14
You've been wanting to talk to her about living together again and now this has got in the way. You say you've been terribly lonely and missing her but that that doesn't mean it will be easy for you both to re-build your relationship. You feel there are enough problems with out another man's baby complicating it even further. You promise that if she gets an abortion, you will be happy to think about the two of you having a baby in a year or two's time.
YOU ARE LAURA:
25. You're furious. This sounds more like blackmail than love to you. The baby is more important than him or anything.
You tell him to leave.
29. You want him back too and you can quite understand how he feels.
You tell her firmly that there is no way you will see her or help her. You've already made this mistake once and cannot make it again. You tell her you are soon moving and she won't be able to find you. You strongly suggest she will end up miserable if she has it and that she shouldn't be so naive. You say you're sorry to be so hard but you know what you are talking about.
YOU ARE LAURA:
31. You decide he is right even though his letter hurts.
3. You still want to keep the child, with him or without him.
You both confess you've been having a hard time of it without each other. David realises you will never give the baby up. When faced with the choice of losing you or gaining a baby, he swallows his jealousy and pride.
You feel very lucky indeed not to have lost your marriage.
For the first ten days it's ike a honeymoon, being back together. But then the old difficulties from before reappear. You start quarrelling and rowing again. You realise that being back with David will not work. So you decide to leave him and go away for a few days to think things over again.
GO TO CARD 12
You have discovered through all this upset that you are not willing to lose David. You realise that it would be asking too much of him to accept this baby. You have an abortion and the two of you take a long holiday and stay together.
There is a limit to what you can do in a hostile world.
You know that many people want to adopt children and you become convinced that it would be better for you and the child.
32. You ring a couple you met recently who you liked. They are childless and have been trying to adopt a child for two years.
33. You register at the government agency for adoption. You don't want to know the people who will be adopting the baby.
You are glad he was straight with you. You realise that you will have to fight the whole world if you have the baby alone and Mark's letter is only the beginning.
You go and arrange an abortion without thinking further.
Though you feel regret often, you know later that it was the best decision.
The couple are delighted to hear from you. You get together and talk all night. You arrange it in such a way that they will legally adopt the baby but you will be able to visit freely when you can. This won't happen often because they live about 100 miles away from you but you feel this is better anyway.
It's all arranged. You expected to feel relieved. In fact, you get depressed and the depression becomes steadily worse. One night you have a dream that the couple are standing in front of you. She is holding your baby. You reach out to take it but you can't get close enough. You try and try but you are unable to reach the baby. You wake up in a cold sweat and in tears.
This arrangement was definitely a bad decision. You call it off. The only way to have a baby adopted is to make sure you never have the opportunity to see it again afterwards. Having realized that, you give your head a rest for a few weeks before making the new arrangements. Then you go to a government agency and register there
GO TO CARD 33
As soon as you have registered with the government adoption agency you feel dreadful again. You can't imagine carrying your baby to term and then handing it over to a government agency.
You'll end up having lost David, Mark and the baby.
You change your mind again for the last time. You decide to keep the baby and look after it yourself. Too bad if it's sometimes going to be hard, it'll be worth it.
YOU ARE LAURA:
You are quite relieved they've said "yes" and move back into their house feeling that the worst of your problems is solved. A few days later your mum says she wants to have a word with you. It's about the neighbours - what should they be told? What do you tell her to tell them?
36. The truth.
37. That you are carrying David's child.
That you and he had decided to split up before you knew of the pregnancy and didn't want to get back together again even so.
YOU ARE LAURA:
30. You're disappointed and hurt at your parents' selfishness. You don't think that what they suggest will help you much. You feel helpless and unable to cope. You decide you will give the baby up for adoption when it is born.
38. You had hoped for more from them but you understand how they feel and do as they suggest.
So she tells the neighbours the truth. Several of them react very negatively - your parents tell you they would like you to leave the neighbourhood. You feel angry and abandoned. You decide to think the whole thing through again.
GO TO CARD 12
For the first ten days everything is OK. People find your story a bit odd but they accept it. Then some one starts a rumour about your deceiving your husband with another man. The rumour is round your parents' friends like wildfire.
Your parents quietly ask you to leave their house.
You feel angry and abandoned. You decide to go away and think the whole thing through again.
GO TO CARD 12
You look for somewhere to rent in your home town where you and the baby will be able to live. Nobody wants to rent a room or a flat to a pregnant woman on her own.
Your parents don't want you in their house - you can't get rented accommodation. There will be lots more difficulties bringing up a child on your own. You decide you want to think things over again.
GO BACK TO CARD 1
You recommend a doctor you've heard about. But you know she charges a lot because she's not strictly legal. You go round to see the doctor with her and the doctor agrees to do it. Now it's a question of money.
6. You tell her you think Mark ought to help pay for it. She agrees and writes to Mark asking for money.
40. You offer to help her pay for it yourself.You are still jealous and you don't want Mark back in the picture for any reason, no matter how small.
YOU ARE LAURA:
You had thought Mark really ought to pay for half since he is involved. But when David insists on helping, you sense his jealousy and don't want to risk his getting angry.
The idea of his paying for your abortion makes it horribly real to you. You suddenly feel you really want to have the baby that's beginning to be inside you. You feel you must reconsider:
12. You go away to think on your own.
13. Go and talk to your mother about it.
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