I was only fifteen when I found out and sixteen when I gave birth. I was in a group home at the time, so I hid it from friend’s family, and my family teachers in my Boystown home. I hid it mainly because I was scared and didn’t know what to do about this situation. I never felt resentment towards my growing baby, but I did feel fear. Not fear of hoe to take care of my baby or fear of becoming a mother but the fear of what people would say. Fear of what people would think and the fear of my future. I had plans. I wanted to be a lawyer with my face on television. I wanted to study hard and go to the best law school that I could afford. How can I do that with a baby on my hip?
Being in Boystown put a lot in perspective to me about life and how you can make the best of it. Well I’ll say my family teachers in Boystown put that in perspective for me. They were an awesome couple that followed all the rules. My sister and best friend convinced me to take a pregnancy test. I cried for days before I built up the courage to tell everybody. When I finally told my dad and my family teachers I was already twenty weeks into my pregnancy and had already tried wrapping my own brain around my life. I didn’t think about the way my life would be in Boystown after they found out or at home when my friends from school found out. All I cared about was my future and what my dad will think. From that moment forward, I wasn’t allowed to attend any school dances, or fun functions on Boystown campus. It was almost like they wanted me to be a secret or maybe they just didn’t want the bad news leaked to other families from other students. Whichever the case it made me feel even worse because it was just the beginning of my understanding my new life. Boystown encouraged me to talk to adoption agencies and explore those options so I did. I was introduced to open adoption, as well as closed and it really sounded all good. I had such positive experiences in my Boystown home that I didn’t want to leave, however I couldn’t stay on campus and have an open adoption. I couldn’t even stay on campus and have a closed adoption with a family member. I was so confused about what to do that I asked if I could adopt out and come back and get my baby back. It wasn’t until one night that my family teacher sat down with me and said, “Adoption isn’t temporary, it’s not like give away and come back.” That simple sentence helped me understand that I’m the only person who wants to be known as Mommy to my baby, so I began to mentally prepare for my journey.
It was decided that once I gave birth I’ll return home to my dads with my baby. I had her July 4th, 2004, 7lbs 13.9 oz. I cried tears of accomplishment, tears of joy, fear but most importantly, I cried because I loved her, and it was my responsibility to always love her and teach
her love. When my dad brought us home I cried then to. My room was a mess and I had to bring her to it. My baby didn’t deserve to see anything but perfection, while I cried and held her my dad lifted my chin up looked at me and said, “Quit crying, you’re a grown woman now.” I wasn’t a grown woman at all. The most I’ve ever done with a baby was look at one, maybe held a few but not for long. I wasn’t grown enough to understand middle of the night feedings, sponge baths, fussiness from gas or anything else. This is my life now, so I’ll figure it out, I had to. I needed help bad. No one understood that part. My mom let me come stay with her for a few weeks and showed me some ropes, but I went back home to my dad’s when school started back.
The first few weeks back home was ok. Friends from school heard I had a baby and was home from Boystown so everybody wanted to come visit so at least I didn’t go insane with no company. That only lasted a little while. I’ll never forget the phone call I got from one friend telling me how her dad didn’t want her coming over because of me having a baby. I never told my dad and he never asked where or why he hadn’t seen her in a while. The same friend that was there when I took the test quit coming around. Her reasoning was because she didn’t want to be a bad influence on me now that I have a baby. Slowly but surely friends started to fade.
As time passed I got bitter. My dad was adamant about me finishing school, but I wanted more money besides what ADC helped with. I needed more money, I wanted my education too. Homecomings and proms weren’t in any budget the rest of my high school career. I graduated in May 2006, it was the greatest feeling in the world. To know I did it, I didn’t give up. I slept on the bus ride to school, my school counselor gave me an extra study hall, my sister and my dad baby sat so I could study. My daughter’s God mom made sure I took all credits and any extra credits needed my junior year so my senior year would be a breeze and I could get a part-time job. I hated receiving WIC and government assistance, I remained as humble as I could because my baby didn’t deserve for my prideful ways to make her life more of a struggle. Living with my dad and him paying our bills and buying her diapers, I was responsible for helping him anyway possible. We didn’t grow up rich, so I know my dad was going to struggle. I hated feeling like a statistic and I didn’t want to be that teenage mom not accomplishing future goals. My support system was amazing for that goal. Every other goal was on me.
Discouragement started to become a familiar feeling for me and it kept me bitter, secluded and overwhelmed. The fact that I recognized that feeling I began to teach myself how to deal with it. That’s the problem, discouragement should not just be dealt with, it needed to be handled. Handled so you’ll never feel it again. Giving up is easier to do than asking for help when your pride is high or if you feel ashamed of yourself. As a young mom you need support from friends and family. I did lose friends, but my family never left. Even as I became more independent they always answered my phone call. They enjoyed hearing me accomplish the things I wanted after they helped me get through the hard part. I was beyond blessed to have that. No, they didn’t wake up in the middle of the night, no they didn’t nurse her for me, and no they didn’t judge me. To those that did judge me it was almost like I wanted to prove them wrong and I did, and I still will. When I became a teenage mom, I realized that life wasn’t for me anymore, it was for her and any other kid I had after her. Giving up on my own goals would be giving up on life for her, and that’s unacceptable. Everything wasn’t perfect then and everything still isn’t perfect, but I refuse to stop being the perfect role model for her. Even if you feel like you have no support, or you don’t have any support, humble yourself and be your own support. Nothing is easy when you must grow up sooner than you’re ready too, but your baby deserves for you too. Life is what you make from it and not always sunshine with flowers, but I promise when the rain stops the sunshine and flowers will grow and blossom. Help your baby blossom. Never feel alone and when you do seek help. Nothing bad can come to you when you keep going to accomplish greatness.
Even if you begin to feel discouraged remember everything you’ve accomplished and want to accomplish. Your baby doesn’t mean giving up on your dream. It means you go harder and thrive to get to where you want to be. Babies laughter bring joy and love. Embrace it and never stop helping them smile.