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IN THE SPRING OF 1954, while visiting relatives, Margaret was raped.

Raped by someone she knew. Someone who was considered family.

Margaret didn’t know what to do or who to turn to so she kept it to  



A few weeks later, she started feeling ill and came down with 

Tuberculosis. After being admited to the hospital she found out she was

pregnant. What would she do? What COULD she do? She wasn’t married

or didn’t have anyone to take her in and help. She decided to let the 

rapist and her family know. He wanted nothing to do with it and told  

her to get an abortion. Her family didn’t want to help her and her friends no longer wanted to be seen with her. She was all alone.


Noticing her situation, the state offered to pay for an abortion. Her doctor told her that because she had TB, her baby would get it too and die. He told her everything she would have to go through and that no man would ever want her. Despite the pressures to abort, she decided to keep the baby. Somehow she knew it would all get better.


Because she had TB, the state hospital allowed her to stay throughout her pregnancy and at 4:00pm on December 25th, 1954, Margaret gave birth to a healthy 7 lb baby girl. The TB and the labor took a toll on Margaret’s health and her body was in pretty bad shape. She had to sign over her newborn daughter to foster care until she got better. Three months later she was reunited with her baby girl. Margaret was happy and in love with her daughter.


However, life wasn’t easy for her in the mid 1950’s when being a single unwed mother was considered taboo. After learning who the father was, her family pretty much disowned her. Margaret did not give up. She continued to raise her daughter as a single mother and eventually married a nice man who accepted her daughter and raised the little girl as if she was his own.


I have come to love both Margaret and her daughter with all my heart. You see, Margaret is my grandmother and her daughter, is my mother. My grandmother loved my mom despite all the hardships she faced before and after giving birth to her. She gave my mother the greatest gift of all, life! How courageous and strong she must have been! I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my grandmother. She was, and will always be, the most influential person I've ever known.


My mother and I have a very close relationship and a bond that will never be broken. I now know just how valuable life is because my mother’s life was at stake and could have ended so quickly. Life is precious and my relationship with my mother is the best thing I have. One day I asked my mother what it meant to her that my grandma did not have an abortion. She broke into tears and said she never knew just how much she was loved until I asked her that question. It really put things into perspective on just how important and meaningful life truly is. My mom is forever grateful for her mother. Thank you grandma Margaret for choosing life!


Rena Camarillo

Visalia, CA.

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