Welcome to the end of your life
Too young to be a mother-to-be
It was the year I turned 16, I remember taking a trip to the beach with my friend and her boyfriend in his convertible on the last day of school. The smell of the waves, the ocean breeze, the sand between my toes and the immensity of the ocean have always been my refuge, my medicine on difficult days, my happy place. Something about the way the colors change in the sky as the sun sets and watching the sun rise without fail every morning gives me hope of new beginnings.
That same month of June, I decided to call him and before I knew it he was knocking on my door. No one was home, he knew both my parents would be at work at that time; he knew because I told him. It was not the first time we had been intimate, so of course we both understood why he was there. Except this time it felt different, I felt a rush run thru my body that I had never felt before. I felt like my heart was going to explode, I was sweating like crazy and I let myself feel everything until I climaxed. Then my heart beat went back to normal, i was not sweating anymore and felt like I had not eaten in days; I was starving. When it was over, he gave me a kiss and left.
After I grabbed a bite to eat I thought about what I had felt and came to the conclusion that I was pregnant. I thought, "that is what it must feel like when you get pregnant." Panic, was what came next as I began to count how many days I had left until I got my period. 21, 22, 23, 24,...29, 30. First of the month and no period. Morning sickness. I thought "maybe if I exercise hard and run fast I'll get it." I remember I did every exercise and summersault I knew in reps of 20 each then waited until the morning and nothing!
I asked a friend of mine to go with me to get a pregnancy test. She flagged down one of the guys we went to school with and asked him to give us a ride. He dropped us off at the clinic and we started to walk toward the front door. I was still thinking.... maybe I am just sick, or late like so many other girls with irregular periods...except my period was always regular, always on the same day each month. We walked in and asked for a pregnancy test. The ladies there were very sweet. They asked that I pee in a cup and bring it out to them, I thought that was gross and didn't understand why but I did it anyway. As they inserted the stick into my urine, they began to ask what I planned to do with the baby if I tested positive. I was not quite sure what they meant by that. There was only one thing that could happen if I tested positive that was f my parents did not kill me first. I would have a baby in about 9 months.
The thought of it had not completely sunk in when the nurse came in and said. Congratulations honey! Your test is positive! My friend and I broke down in tears, never in my life had I been more afraid or felt so alone as I did at that moment. I asked that they do it again please just to make sure. The nurse did it 4 times and said she could not do it again. I then had to wait to see a doctor to confirm how far along I was and if in fact I was pregnant. I had never had anybody's hand in my body before and I was sure what he was doing had to be illegal. He checked my cervix and said "oh yup! you sure are nice and pregnant, you're around 6 weeks! you can get dressed now." I quickly got dressed and walked out. I don't remember how I got home that day or if my friend was still with me or not. I remember another friend suggested I had an abortion. She said she knew of a lady who could fix me a tea and boom! the baby would come out just like that and that everyone would think it was my period and no one would ever know... I can't say I did not think about it but how could I? why would I punish this baby for my actions and sure, no one would know except for me. Me and God would know what I did and that was not something I could not go thru with. It was a coward move, no one forced me, I knew what could happen, I was not responsible and this was the consequence. I was ok with facing my consequences. I was going to be a mother.
I called him and told him the news, he came over as soon as we hung up the phone and hugged me and kissed me as if I had accomplished something extraordinary for which I deserved a prize and praise. I felt confused. How could he be so happy when we did not have jobs, we were not even supposed to be dating at all, my parents did not know about us. Everyone always said this pregnancy would be the beginning of the end of my life. When you are young, the things adults say are scary because you believe them. Now came the best part, telling my parents they would soon have a bouncy baby who would call them grandma and grandpa.
He came over with his mother and shared the news with my parents, my mother of course cried and did not believe them. She grabbed me by the arm and told me to tell her the truth. What she had heard was the truth. My father stayed quiet and asked me if I wanted to go live with the baby's father I cried and said "no". My father walked out to the Livingroom and told him to leave and that he did not want to see him around me or our house ever again. He obeyed my father's orders and I did not see him thru my pregnancy.
When the baby was born my father went to tell the baby's father about the birth of his son and asked that he waited a month before visiting. My son met his father when he was 1 month old. Teen pregnancy is frowned upon, everyone makes sure they let you know you "fucked up". Everyone from the aunt you never met to your mother's childhood friend who always says "I remember when you were a baby", says to hold on for dear life because you are in for a hard, ugly, poor, life. There is no quality of life for a teen mom, there is no good job or opportunity for teen moms. All a teen mom can aspire to be in life is a maid, a cleaning lady with a minimum wage job, nothing more.
March 4, 1994 was the very first time I saw my son's face. His tiny toes, and tiny hands, his little nose and ears; he looked so fragile and defenseless. I nursed him for the first time and the way he cuddled with me and found comfort in me made me realize that I had a whole human in my hands. That he was perfect and beautiful and that I was his mother and he was sent to me from heaven because God knew I could take care of him and that was exactly what I was going to do. All the negativity and the fear I felt during my pregnancy faded. Nothing any of the adults in my life said mattered. Their opinion of me and my life with my son was not a reality I had to live. I was determined to graduate from high school. I graduated early from a continuation school for teen mothers which worked out great. I had time for my son, I took him to school if I needed to. I then went to a private college and earned an associates degree in paralegal studies. I had to have something under my belt to support my child. I was not sure if his father and I would work out, if he would be around or not but I did not have time to think of those things because that also did not matter. At that moment all I knew for sure was that I had my baby and he had me and we would make it, I would never let him go without or want for anything and I would protect him with my life if it was necessary against anyone.
My son's father stuck around, we got pregnant again with my second son three years later and got married. We then had 2 girls. His father was always good with computers and loved everything about that field. He got hired during the Y2K madness and moved up the ladder, the company he worked for merged with IBM and our future looked brighter. Yes, it was scary and rough at times but not one day have I ever regretted having my son. He saved my life, he came to me during a phase of life that was nothing but darkness and chaos. He kept me grounded and became my reason to get straight because now I had him and he did not ask to be here. It was my responsibility to make sure he had a good life. He graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor's in Civil Engineering. He was my very first unconditional love. I would do it all over again if I had to because knowing him has made me a better person and his existence filled my black and white world with color. Life doesn't have to end because you are young and pregnant. Life is and always will be what you make it. Stay focused on your goals and create a life that you love waking up to every morning. Stay true to yourself. All the people who spoke evil of me and my child and the people who suggested abortion were never a part of my life but for that moment when they had to spit their venom at me. My son on the other hand is still here, I got to raise him and watch him grow up and enjoy him. I never had to wonder what sex the baby would be or when it would've been born because I chose life. Everyone talks but no one walks with you, this is your journey remember to always take decisions that you will be able to live with because you are the only one who matters.