It’s taken years for me to decide to share my story. I’ve kept this story hidden for the duration of my career even though I was teaching students who might have profited from my experiences. Because I’ve always wanted to make my parents proud, I felt if I didn’t talk about it, then maybe it never happened. And for this reason, many years later I’ve continued to carry with me a certain amount of shame for the decision that I had made.
My parents, especially my mother, were so disappointed in what I had done and felt as though they had failed as good parents, which made me feel even worse. This was no fault of theirs because the decision I made was an uneducated one that will always stay buried in my heart. I’ve never apologized to my parents and wish I had done so, since one of the two most important people in my life, is no longer here so that I can tell her how sorry I am for the disappointment and disruption I caused in our family. So, here is my story.
When I was sixteen, in the eleventh grade, I met the smartest and cutest boy on campus. Ok, he was cute to me. I was in the marching band and he was the drum major. How great was that? I had the most popular boy on campus interested in dating me. Wow, for a teenage girl, this was a match made in heaven, not realizing just how true this would become.
Ladies, you know how you dream of your future with the boy you are dating. We write on our binders, our name using his last name. Then, we begin naming the children we are going to have. You know what I’m talking about. Not realizing how this could actually happen. Well, it did happen.
The love of my life and me dated at school for several months before I introduced him to my parents. They liked him a lot and then, I met his family, and not sure if they really liked me in the beginning, but later they wouldn’t have a choice.
We were rather popular on campus as the couple that had a future together. We would go to the movies, parties, the park, or wherever he planned for us to go. He always had an idea for something exciting to do. It was a great relationship and we were having the time of our lives, I thought. I loved him and he loved me. Some may have called it puppy love, but we were really in love and began to treat it like we were married. This is when a new direction for entertainment changed, not realizing how our lives would change forever.
At the time, my boyfriend was in the twelfth grade and I was in the eleventh and because I had previously gone to summer school, my credits allowed me to be promoted to the twelfth grade, allowing me to graduate at the same time as he. My last year of school was the most devastating time of my life. We were so in love that we had become sexually active and immature about making adult decisions, and yes, I got pregnant during a time when girls did not do things like this. So now, with my heart racing and my thoughts confused, how will I tell my parents they were going to be grandparents to their sixteen year old daughter’s baby?
I was so afraid and morning sickness had started and my mother had noticed that I was sleeping a lot when I would come in from school. She was the type of mother that you could not hide anything from. I knew I had to tell her soon because I felt it would have been better for me to tell her instead of her coming to me. She was so hurt and began to cry and that just broke my heart. I had twin beds in my room, and when it was bedtime she came to sleep with me; with her arms wrapped tightly around me. She never said a word; I just felt the love from her warm embrace. As a mother, she knew what I would endure for the next nine months, because I didn’t have a clue.
My dad had not come in from work at the time, and when he did after working long hours and tired, my mother, made me tell him. He cried as well. I was most distort and disappointed about telling my dad because he would no longer view me as his little girl anymore. A lot changed after this and I became withdrawn, staying closed in my room and not talking much. I just no longer wanted to be seen.
I was so embarrassed for the decision I had made and now I would be faced with telling other family members and also, it was time that our parents would meet. They met privately to discuss our decision; as a sixteen year old teenager, who was about to become a mother and wanted to keep my baby. Even at this young age, I did not believe in abortions. I stood very strong about keeping my baby and there would be no other discussion about it, other than the date our bundle of joy would arrive.
During this era, if a young girl was to get pregnant, the mother and daughter was known to leave town and when they returned, the baby would become the mother’s child. This didn’t happen in my case although I knew how hard it was going to be to face the public; I chose to accept responsibility for what I had done and to walk with my head up.
Going to school was very hard, with my peers looking at me and whispering. Teachers and the school nurse questioned my weight gain. The nurse also questioned me about going to the school for pregnant girls, but after visiting the school, my mother disagreed. The school could not force me to leave, so I completed the semester although it was very difficult emotionally.
My boyfriend was just a year older than me, but was very supportive and stood by me throughout the pregnancy and beyond. My parents were not pleased, but continued to let him visit. They respected the fact that he didn’t disappear from the situation and his responsibility. My dad always had questions about what were his plans, but he was young and trying to feel his way through as time passed.
My boyfriend still lived with his parents during the time I was pregnant, as I continued living with mine. The two of us graduated from high school in May of that year, then, during the summer he found a job; our daughter was born in September, and he went on to enroll in college. We were married nine months after she was born.
We moved into our own apartment with me trying to learn the ropes of being a young wife and mother. My plate was full as I was trying to be responsible and growing up too soon. Household chores was new for me since I had never cleaned the entire house and cooking, let me just say we ate a lot of food that wasn’t quite done, but we survived.
A year later, I enrolled in college, so now we were both trying to get our degrees, while he also worked to take care of his little family. It was a challenge, but both of us finally graduated from the same university. Times were very hard considering he was not making a lot of money and I didn’t work. We sometimes had help from our parents, but that wasn’t consistent.
I realize now this was a lot of pressure to put on a boy who was trying to become a man, but he did it and I am proud to say he is the father of my daughter and son. He’s a good dad to both of them. We were married for fourteen years and have since been divorced for many years, but together we raised two great children.
During our lifetime, when it seemed as though we’ve made the wrong decision about a particular situation, is it really the wrong decision? I am not saying that becoming a teen mother was the best thing for me, but if this had not happen, maybe I wouldn’t have been blessed with such a wonderful daughter. Maybe I would not have crossed the paths of people who were brought into my life or maybe I wouldn’t be the person God has made me at this time in my life.
Deciding to tell my story may not have come to surface if I had not crossed the path of the person who gave me the vision that if I could not come to appreciate my life as it is, then, how would it be possible for me to share my experiences in helping other young ladies?
When incidents happen in our lives, we must welcome it as a lesson God wants us to experience. A lesson maybe not understood at the time, but to know that God put us in places for what he has planned. I can smile now while looking back over my life as it has taken many years for me to accept what I thought was a tragedy, appreciating the family and friends who supported me during that time and most of all listening to God’s words.