There I stood, under the dim lighting of a gas station restroom looking at two lines on a stick. I had just barely graduated high school and was shocked and terrified. Those two lines kept staring back at me, screaming ‘you are pregnant’.
A baby was not in my plans. I didn’t even like kids. I was living at home, unmarried, working a part-time job making minimum wage, and planning my first semester of college. But those lines didn’t care about any of that. I would be lying if I said abortion didn’t pop into my head… along with “My parents are going to kill me”, “I know nothing about babies”, and “I’ve disappointed everyone I love”.
My boyfriend of two years was waiting for me in the parking lot. I slid into the car and broke the news. In an instant everything changed. For my boyfriend, Deon, there was only one option- he was going to be a daddy. And I was instantly relieved. Deep down, that’s what I wanted too. Him, a baby, a family, a marriage to a guy I adored… I wanted my happy ending. Just an hour before we were two naive kids in love cruising the back roads, music blaring, without a care in the world. Suddenly, we were a little older…and much busier, planning a baby shower and a wedding.
He was shocked, but to my surprise, he was actually excited. He had seen the mistakes his father made and wanted a chance to be better. A better husband. A better father. Better choices. A better life.
When I broke the news to my parents, they cried. Once the shock wore off that their little girl would soon be having a baby of her own, they loved me in just the way I needed. When I saw those two pink lines, I couldn’t imagine the shock and how we could make it work. Much to my surprise, we did make it work- support came (where I thought would be shame), family and friends jumped to the rescue with practical help (where I thought there was no way we could provide for a baby).
And that spring, our son was born.
Was it hard? Yes. Being a parent is so hard. Choosing adoption is so hard. Having an abortion is so hard. There’s no easy choice- it’s all hard. But we chose ‘our hard’- being a mommy and daddy. And it was incredible.
We were just two teenagers learning to live with each other every second of the day, mixing two different family values, pregnancy hormones, no money, and no idea what we were doing. There were so many struggles, it was such a wild ride, but it has been the best ride of my life.
Deon and I did decide to get married that fall. And 14 years later, we still are ❤️️. The boy who loved me so well as I broke the news in that parking lot, became the man I am growing old with (and the best dad in the world). Oh and we even added two more baby boys to our crew!
Today, I am thankful. Thankful I didn’t let fear keep me from sharing my secret. Thankful for the support I had. Thankful for the experience of being a teenage mom, because it has made me the woman I am today.
If you are reading this and you just saw those ((terrifying)) two lines, I get it. And I am here to tell you that it is not the end of your world. If a young girl like me who had big dreams and didn’t like kids and a young boy like Deon who didn’t have the best father figure can figure this out, you can too. And the first step is sharing your secret. Tell a friend, a parent, call Clarity (!), tell somebody!
I look back at that scared, young couple who just found out some of the hardest news of their lives and I am so proud of them. I think about the girl alone in the gas station bathroom and I want to cheer her on! And hug her! And tell her she is so strong and brave. And if you’re that girl, that’s what I will tell you too: you’re strong, you’re brave, and you can do this.