There I stood, under the dim lighting of a gas station restroom looking at two pink lines on a stick. I was pregnant, had just barely graduated high school, and terrified.
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. 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”
“I’ve disappointed everyone I love”
My boyfriend of two years, Deon, was waiting for me in the parking lot. I slid into the car and broke the news. In an instant everything changed.
For him there was only one option- he was going to be a daddy. 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. And deep down, I was relieved. That’s what I wanted too…him, a baby, a family, a marriage to a guy I adored. I wanted my happy ending.
When I told my parents I was pregnant, they cried. Once the shock wore off, they loved me in just the way I needed. At first I was overwhelmed with how we could possibly make it work. But much to my surprise, we did make it work- support came (where I thought would be shame), and family and friends jumped to the rescue with practical help (where I thought there was no way we could provide for a baby).
That spring, our son was born.
Was it hard? Yes. Being pregnant at an early age is hard. Being a parent is hard. Choosing adoption is hard. Having an abortion is hard. There’s no easy choice- it’s all hard. But we chose ‘our hard’- being a mommy and daddy. And it was incredible. 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 when I told him I was pregnant 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, for the support I had, and for the experience of being a teenage mom, because it has made me the woman I am today.
If you are reading this and just found out you’re pregnant, I get it. And I am here to tell you that it is not the end of your world. The first step is telling someone. 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.