11/02/2012 09:25 am ET

It Happened To Me: I Was A 'Lazy Welfare Mom'

It was 1974 when my marriage ended. I was young, only 24 years old. My husband refused to pay child support and I couldn’t force him -- I couldn’t afford a lawyer and he threatened to sue for custody of our son if I went after him. My parents, who hadn’t liked my husband in the first place (probably because he had braids and lived in a schoolbus), who didn’t approve of my having children so young and who didn’t want me to be a bad influence on my younger siblings, refused to let me come home.

I had no job. I had no savings. I had no health insurance. I had a 1-year-old son, and I was pregnant.

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