When you discover your pregnant, you should be excited! You share the news with your significant other and family. There are baby showers, gifts, decorating a nursery and waiting with anticipation for that glorious moment when you hear your child’s first cry. The first cry that says “I’m here!” – you are my momma! Unless you are 17 and its the very last thing you planned on. I never got to experience the excitement of being pregnant, just the unexpected, scared and unknown of it all. I was that scared 17 year old. I am now a 45 year old woman with a birth son who is almost 27 that I met 4 years ago and two young daughters just entering the teen years… who are adopted. I love all my children beyond words.
I think of my daughters and someday they will have boyfriends. I want to say “Don’t have sex until your married!!” – but we all know the reality of it all. I will say “Don’t have sex until you are old enough to understand the magnitude of it all – make sure you are in love and it is with the person you want your life to be with”. It is not an act to become popular, to make a boy like you more or even to prove you are someone you are not. It’s not just something you do because everyone else is doing it – it doesn’t mean anything or it’s no big deal. Even using birth control of any sort doesn’t guarantee you will not get pregnant.
I was fortunate – in that my parents were there for me. They helped me with important decisions. They didn’t shun me, kick me to the curb or make me feel shamed. Were they thrilled their 17 year old daughter was pregnant? absolutely not. It was something that we went through and got through. It was life changing and emotional. Many emotions that I am experiencing NOW 27 years later. Because the “plan” I had knowing my son would have a better life with a couple that was READY to be parents got me through it. I knew that he would be loved, taken care of and given everything he needed – everything I wasn’t capable of at 17. Knowing my decision made sense and that my love for him would give him a better life, I was able to cope emotionally.
Some young girls are not so lucky. I am currently reading a book now about woman back in the late 50’s and 60’s that we shunned, sent away and were told there was NO OTHER CHOICE but to relinquish their rights to their child. No one talked about it. You were considered a “bad girl” or “used merchandise” – who on earth would want to marry a girl that had a baby out of wedlock. Thank God times have changed. But have they changed too much?? Now you can watch a show on MTV called Teen Moms…REALLY!?!?!? A show that glamorizes it all – they get paid to show their loves on TV – get covers to magazines ??? Don’t get me wrong, some young woman (and men) choose to keep their babies at young ages and it works out – they DO survive and have a wonderful life – my son had that with his father and his father’s wife…my child’s mother. But most teens do not.They have no job, quit school or rely on the grandparents to take care of the child. They struggle.
I want to say to teens that find themselves in this position that they have choices. That your child’s needs are so much more important that your wants. For some it is hard to understand that. But I am here to tell you, yes it is hard to go thru. You feel alone, scared and like your life may be over. There is always someone that WILL support you, help you and guide you. My hope that it is your family like I had. If it isn’t, then find someone who it is. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
To parents….No parent wants to learn their teenage daughter is pregnant. You bring up your child with love, morals, faith and it can still happen. Do you want to have a pregnant teen? Of course not….but if you do…you need to put your feelings aside and BE THERE. Again – putting the needs of your child first so they can do that for their child. Be the support they need – find them a doctor, a counselor and be the support they need – the love and support you promised to give then when you had them. Parents – it is ok to feel disappointed, scared and upset…but BE THERE for them…help them.
To the young teens that it worked out for to keep your baby and you could give it all that he/she may have needed – I am envious and proud of you for doing it. It… is…hard. My son’s father did that. At the time I thought my plan was so much better for him. But he grew up to be this amazing young man with parents who did give him what I couldn’t. they are my heroes – as corny as that sounds… I admire them, I respect them and I also feel saddened that I thought my plan was better. I believe that they raised him to be a loving forgiving person – which allows him and I to have a relationship now in life.