Barbara was sitting at her kitchen table, drinking tea and talking when 2-week-old Kimberly, who was cradled in the crook of Barbara's left arm, let out a loud squeak.

"You don't like this story?" Barbara asked her daughter. "It's a very sad story for you. It is. It's a very sad story. If you could only understand this story you wouldn't like it one minute."

The story Barbara was telling was how she and her husband had considered and rejected abortion when they found out Barbara was pregnant with Kimberly, a second child whom they didn't feel they could afford.

The story Kimberly heard but did not understand was a story of the 70's, a story born of the dilemma posed by freedom of choice.

Ten years ago Barbara and Bill would not have had the legal option of ending Barbara's pregnancy. They would have considered it either bad luck, something to be cursed and resented, just as Kimberly might have become a cursed and resented child. Or they might have greeted the news joyfully. Either way, they would have had no legal choice.

But the Supreme Court's 1973 abortion decision changed that.

The resulting availability of legal abortion made it possible for Barbara and Bill to weigh the pros and cons of having a second child, to consider and debate the facts they love children, they wanted a second child at some point, a second child would make financial demands that would alter their standard of living and would restrict their freedom to act out the dreams of their youth.

"Kimberly was accidentally planned," said Barbara, explaining, "I was no longer using birth control but didn't think I'd get pregnant that fast. It could have been prevented; but it wasn't. So it was unplanned planned. It was an existential pregnancy.

"We thought it would be all right to have a second child," said Barbara, who is the mother of an 8-year-old girl. "We didn't think it would be the worst thing that could happen. I guess we sort of wanted it. We didn't plan on having an only child.

"I was very surprised and happy" when told of the pregnancy," she said. Bill "was surprised and happy, too. But we just didn't know what to do because it seemed like it would be a financial burden and a burden at this point in our lives."

Bill doesn't remember it quite that way. In a separate interview he said he was "very upset about it" when told of Barbara's pregnancy. "I didn't really feel prepared at that point to have another child.There are things I want to do with my life," said Bill, a writer who contributes to a joint family income of about $35,000 a year.

"We had gotten married very young," said Bill, who was 21 and Barbara 19 when they wed, "and I wanted the opportunity at some point to go off and do some of my own thing. I wanted to go to India. I guess I didn't want to feel like we both had to work to support the family."

Fulfilling those dreams seemed "a lot less likely with two children," he continued. "I was sort of angry about it. I probably blamed her too much . . ."

"For her getting pregnant" he was asked.

He laughed. "Uhuh."

Barbara and Bill went to Washington's Preterm Center for Public Health, which provides abortions for $175 to those who know what they want and pregnancy counseling for $15 for those who don't.

"They were very helpful and pointed out both sides and didn't try to push us into an abortion at all," Barbara said. "They were just there as a sounding board. It was a fine service they provided for us . . . They gave one freedom of choice.

"I would have had an abortion if I felt that I couldn't manage to have another child and if I thought my husband wouldn't support me (emotionally). I think the counseling session was more for him than for me. We both knew it was crisis therapy."

"I was very confused about what I wanted," Bill recalled. "I didn't want her to get pregnant but I hadn't done much to prevent it - I don't know what that means - I had very ambivalent feelings about it.

"I wanted her to have an abortion but . . . I want didn't believe in that for us. There was this person growing inside of her. The fact that it got there meant something. It was our child. I have trouble with the opponents of abortion because they're so strident about it. But there's a part of me that understands what they're saying about human life. But I didn't know where that begins.

"I told the woman at Preterm that I was confused about it and in some ways confused about it and in some ways felt very unprepared to have another child," Bill continued. "She recognized my ambivalent feelings about it and (seemed to say) that we probably shouldn't have an abortion at that point.

"I think it was resolved in the sense that it seemed so important to my wife. I had enough ambivalence about it, and I do like children, that I kind of accepted the fact of having a child.

"I've gone through a lot of stages" since the counseling session, he said. "After we made the decision I felt sort of free. I was excited about it. Right before the baby was born I got very nervous about it again. Since the baby's been born I've been feeling sort of unprepared sometimes."

The counseling session "didn't convince us, it helped us to be less fearful about having a (second) child," Barbara said.

"When you have an abortion, it's over with," she said. "But when you have a child . . ." She paused, "there's no day care . . . It's not easy being a working mother and having an infant. There are no special privileges.

"After you have a child," Barbara said, who had a fulltime writing job, there's very little done to support you. There're no rewards for having children. There's no rewards for having children. There's no day care. Schools are not what they should be." The Supreme Court held childbirth does not qualify as a sickness for sick leave, she complained. "Some schools still make children go home for lunch.

"Children are the resource of the nation but no one does anything to help you except give you $600 off on your income tax."

Both Barbara and Bill said money was their biggest consideration.

When asked what she felt Kimberly would cost, Barbara responded:

"A year Close to $5,000. I guess we'll send our other child to public school instead of private school. We won't go out as much. We'll stop fixing up our house, I guess." She paused and glanced at Kimberly, who was cuddled against her shoulder. "I guess we'll send you out to work," Barbara laughingly told her new daughter.

"Most women who died as a result of illegal abortions were poor women," said Tietzie during a recent interview. "These were ghetto women and other poor women who were treated by nonphysicians or self-aborted.

"The well-to-do woman who had an illegal abortion usually had it from a doctor," said Tietze, "and some of these doctors had very great experience."

Why did she want Kimberly?

"I don't want to have only one child. I like being a mother and I like children. I think it's very important for people to have children. I don't think you understand much about humanity until you have a child. But some people just shouldn't have children," said barbara, who said she participated in demonstrations in favor of legalized abortion.

Barbara said she did not want her decision to have Kimberly be interpreted as being an antiabortion decision. "It was a decision I made for myself I don't want to tell anyone else how to live their lives," she said.

"I believe the right-to-lives," she said.

"I believe the right-to-lifers want to make decisions for everybody. People do make mistakes and not everyone should have children. Seventeen-year-olds should not have children. A woman's body is her body and she should have the right to make that decision. They're (the antiaborion forces) taking away a human right by saying a woman can't have an abortion. It's like saying a woman can't have her appendix taken out."

Barbara was asked how she felt about having considered abortion now that she has Kimberly. "I never knew her then, so how could I relate it to her?" she replied, nursing the baby. "I would want her to understand that in fact someday she might have to make a decision whether to have a child or not."

Asked the same question, Bill responded:

"I've gone through the thing of saying, 'Here's this person and what if we hadn't had her,' and feeling very excited that she's here in the world and she's our daughter.

"It doesn't make any sense because if I didin't know her it wouldn't be the same thing," said Bill, "but knowing her and knowing that I thought about (abortion), I guess, upsets me a little