Babies we were told to abort : Lelia

Leila Wilcox 26 is managing director of a children's toiletries company. She's single and lives in Oxford with three-year old Troy

 W_CP_Babies abort_Lelia - Babies we were told to abort,...
 Lelia with her son Troy

When the blue line emerged on the pregnancy test I couldn't believe it. Part of me wanted to scream from the rooftops, "I'm going to be a mum!" But the rest of me shook with fear at the fact that I'm jobless and pregnant by a man I barely knew.

A few months before I'd given up a steady job in sales to pursue an acting career. I was living at home, so I hadn't worried too much about not having a regular income. What I hadn't expected was to meet Paul. He was tall with blond, curly hair, typical surfer looks and an infectious sense of humour. Although he was 14 years older than me, within a few weeks we started seeing each other. One night, three months after we'd met, we had a silly conversation about becoming parents. In a completely compulsive gesture I told Paul I was going to stop taking the Pill. I didn't really believe I could get pregnant as I'd always had irregular periods. But ten days later I felt horribly sick and a test revealed I was having a baby. I immediately confided in my close friend, Sarah*, who was a single mum to an 18-month old baby. To my horror she told me to get rid of it, "You hardly know this man," she warned. "And look at me stuck home with a kid. You'll regret it if you keep it."

Sarah had found it hard to give up working and travelling to look after her son, and she'd also had post-natal depression. But as a mother herself, I just couldn't believe she was sitting there advising me to get rid of a baby. And it didn't help that my GP echoed her words. I did realise my situation was less than ideal - I had no money, and Paul and I hardly knew each other. But we were united in wanting to have this baby, and even at the ten-week scan my heart was surging with love for my child.

However, Sarah wouldn't let it drop and as my bump got bigger she became harder to listen to. In the end I stopped seeing her or answering her calls. She visited me once after the baby was born but it was very stilted between us. She seemed to resent my contentment.

Although our relationship ended after Troy was born, Paul and I are still friends. Troy has enhanced my life in so many ways - and helped me to find my vocation. Struggling to find soaps that didn't irritate his eczema; I set up a company called Halos and Horns, which produces chemical-free bath products for children. Although Troy lives with me, Paul and I share his upbringing, and the success of my company means I'm financially independent. It makes me shiver to think how easy it would have been to listen to Sarah. But what saved me - and Troy - from her advice was the powerful bond between us.

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