Ev­ery day I strug­gled to but­ton up

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - FRONT PAGE -

Ebony Dance, 20, had her first baby, Ruby, when she was 16, fol­lowed by son Archer at 18. She is cur­rently at univer­sity with hopes to grad­u­ate a crim­i­nal de­fence lawyer. “The news that I was preg­nant spread like wild­fire around our district — I think the en­tire (area) knew about the baby long be­fore my par­ents ever did. But telling my par­ents took some con­vinc­ing from the school prin­ci­pal and coun­sel­lor. Dad got an­gry and Mum didn’t want to be­lieve it. Even af­ter I showed her three pos­i­tive preg­nancy sticks, she took me to the doc­tor to do a fourth. It was only then that she ac­cepted what was hap­pen­ing and told me they’d sup­port me no mat­ter what. Although I be­gan ex­pe­ri­enc­ing pres­sure from ev­ery­one around me to get an abor­tion, I think I au­to­mat­i­cally knew the mo­ment I saw the first two lines on the test that I would keep the baby.

Try­ing to fin­ish your school­ing while you’re preg­nant is a chal­lenge and although my school was sup­port­ive, they did have to ask our priest if I could con­tinue my ed­u­ca­tion there. For­tu­nately he’s a lib­eral guy who said preg­nant girls need an ed­u­ca­tion too, so ev­ery day I strug­gled to but­ton up my blazer and head to class with ev­ery­one else. Of course, as I be­gan to show, gos­sip mounted, so it made a dif­fer­ence when Bernie (Ber­nadette from Brave) came to speak at our school. I must have been six months along by then and I re­mem­ber the line that re­ally struck a chord with me was ‘The jour­ney might be dif­fer­ent, but the desti­na­tion can re­main the same’. It was ex­actly what I needed to hear.

In the end, I stayed in school right up to the very end, gave birth to baby Ruby dur­ing the Easter hol­i­days and came back to school for the next term when she was just six weeks old. It was a tough pe­riod. My boyfriend and I

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