This is impossible, I said to my reflection in the bathroom mirror. The pregnancy test was shaking slightly in my trembling hands. “I’m going to be a mother,” I felt excited and scared. I looked back down at the stick. Something so small, yet so powerful. I’m going to be a mother. The words echoed in my brain. I looked at my stomach, still flat, no one could tell, still small, but not for long. I was eighteen, with a part-time job, no money, still living in my parents’ house. I made this choice the moment I chose to be with him, the man who is the father of this unborn baby. I wasn’t in love. I was in pain. Years of neglect and instability pushed me into his arms where, for a moment, the intrusive thoughts dragging me down to my personal hell were silenced. I was faithful to my companion, though promises had never been exchanged. I was irresponsible. Yes, this was irresponsible. It didn’t matter who was to blame. I was going to be a mother. That’s all that mattered now.
I wrapped the stick in toilet paper and carefully concealed it below some trash in the garbage can. I looked in the mirror; my scared, youthful hazel eyes stared back, asking me what to do.
“You’re going to be a mom,” I replied to the unspoken question. “I’m going to be a mom.”
I walked out of the bathroom and went back to the living room, where the couch was my bed. I was the eldest living in the house, so my younger siblings got the bedrooms. I was going to need a better job, a better paycheck. Who would hire a pregnant girl, though? They would know I can’t work for a month or two after having my baby, I didn’t have money for daycare, and would my family be supportive? My mother?
It wasn’t just me anymore. It was me plus one. I sat on the edge of the couch and put my hands on my belly. I felt joy and fear. I knew it would be a roller coaster of emotions for a while. I wasn’t one person anymore; I wasn’t just responsible for my life.
I hadn’t heard from him since that night, three weeks ago. I had to tell him. How would he react? I didn’t want anything from him. I thought it through for a moment. It’s such a huge decision to make in less than five minutes. I would keep the baby, no matter what he said. I would raise it myself if I needed to. I thought about not telling him. He struggled with depression, drinking, and drug use. He had pain, like mine; we both used each other for comfort, like a drug, but that would need to stop, being friends with benefits. Well, I got the benefit right here. I chuckled uncertainly. I wanted my baby to have a better life than I had. I’d moved around since I could remember with my family, from house to house, job to job. It would take time, and I’d have to be patient, but I was sure I could get us an apartment and start a new life with my own family. I would deal with the challenges as they came. I wasn’t going to borrow trouble. I was going to have to change my lifestyle. No more late nights with friends, eat better, and reduce caffeine. It wasn’t just me anymore.
From this day forward, I will be this baby’s mom.