Everything I had ever known in life changed the Morning of January, 13th 2003. I remember feeling like I came down with the flu, except it was a little different. My abdomen was tighter and I just wasn’t quite feeling like myself. I happened to be in class with my best friend and telling her how I was feeling. She said “maybe you are pregnant” in a joking manner. My heart sank instantly. Could that be it?
2 weeks after my 17th Birthday I found myself in the bathroom of a Burger King 2 blocks away from my high school taking a pregnancy test on my lunch break. It seems as though it showed a bright pink line almost instantly. I for sure thought I wasn’t reading it right. My friend and I went back to her house, ordered a pizza and waited for the urge to pee again. This couldn’t have been real. I was taking nursing classes at the Tech Center and I had plans. This was not one of them. To my surprise, the second test came back just as positive as the first.
All I could do was cry.
I felt so guilty. I was always a good kid. I didn’t drink or smoke. Never really went out with friends. I had good grades. How could I let this happen? Telling my mom and grandparents that I was pregnant was by far the hardest thing I have ever had to do. They were always so proud of everything I have done, I knew telling them would crush them. I remember my grandparents not speaking to me for weeks. It killed me. I didn’t even think about the impact being pregnant would have on my own life. I was so worried about what everyone else thought. And of course, it was the typical girl gets pregnant, the boy is nowhere to be found textbook teen pregnancy. I wouldn’t dream of having an abortion. Could I give my baby to someone else to raise?
It was a long 9 months, to say the least. I went into my senior year 8 months pregnant. Friends disappeared, people gossiped and stared. It was not easy, but I was determined to finish school and get my diploma. I was going to prove everyone wrong and show them that with hard work anything can be done. The morning of October 1st I remember having back pain. My teacher noticed I was in pain and called my mom. We went straight to the hospital and after 4 days of active labor, I delivered a beautiful 7lb 2oz baby girl.
Giving birth is a total miracle no matter your age.
I remember just staring into her eyes and thinking now what? I read the books, watched the movies, but to have her in my arms was a different story. A friend who came to visit us in the hospital changed her first diaper because I was mortified I was going to hurt her. She was so tiny and perfect.
3 weeks after giving birth I went back to school. That was when shit got real. Waking up every couple of hours to breastfeed and still waking up to get to class on time, coming home for lunch to breastfeed and then back to school. I have to thank GOD and my family that I finished my senior year with good grades and walked with my class. That was the first time in a really long time I was proud of myself. My 6-month-old baby was in the audience watching her Mom graduate. From there I got a job, an apartment and put myself through college.
God has blessed me in countless ways. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but it’s one I don’t regret. I learned so much about life and true love. Entering motherhood a little early has brought me so many struggles that I never expected to deal with. But at the end of the day, after wiping snotty noses and endless nights of listening to a crying baby, it’s worth it. My daughter gave me purpose. She helped me figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. Of course, it’s nowhere near ideal to be a teen parent, and I would never want that for my own daughter, but it’s also not the end of the world. I wanted to share my story in hopes to inspire and change people’s thoughts on teen moms.
Here are a few things I learned from being a teen mom:
- MTV has it all wrong
- Having a baby is the best form of birth control
- Judgment is harsh!
- Being a grownup and a parent is very expensive
- You trade the good for the bad and bad for the good.
- Friends aren’t friends unless they are there 100% of the way
- You can’t choose your relatives, but you can choose your family
- Teen pregnancy doesn’t mean your life is over
- Having high expectations is overrated
- This too shall pass
- God does not give you more than you can handle, it’s what you do with it that matters