“Wow, your little brother is so cute” …said a couple of elderly ladies while peeping into the baby the carriage that I was pushing around during a shopping trip. I took a deep breath like many times before and said;
“Well thank you, but he’s actually my second child”.
And there it was. The expression of stupor upon these ladies faces. I’ve come to anticipate this reaction and have grown used to it.
Still to this day, 18 years after my eldest child was born, I still notice the ill concealed shocked faces when telling people the ages of my children.
By the age of 17, I was a mother to two children. Having had my eldest at 15 years old and 11 months. Her brother quickly followed 22 months after.
In those days, I’ve always seemed to be an oddity. Nowadays you will regularly hear about teenage pregnancies, they even make shows about them as if it has become normal and as if it’s a glamorous life. But when I was a young mom 18 years ago, it still was pretty much the scandal. I had people staring at my belly while waiting in line in the grocery store and I had kids yelling foul names at me in the street. It left me feeling ashamed, yet, I couldn’t wait to meet the little girl growing inside of me.
I’ve had many people come up to me and ask the same questions over and over and you can see that people stereotype teen parents. They usually think of us as stupid, irresponsible, selfish, promiscuous and more, regardless the situation we are in and without knowing us.
Here are some recurring questions (and answers) that people would ask me.
People usually ask first how old my children are and then ask me how old I am…then you quickly see them making the calculations in their mind. So I quickly tell them, yes, I was almost 16 with my first and 17 with my second —SHOCK!
- “Do they have the same father?”
This question really baffled me at the start. What does that have anything to do with anything? Or how could someone actually ask it, it seemed really rude to me and still does. The answer is yes, they do have the same father and someone actually responded “Oh thank God”…I’m still trying to figure out why, I guess it’s the assumption that we are all promiscuous.
- “Did you want to have the baby or was it an accident?”
I didn’t plan my first baby. I was on birth control, but apparently not taking it properly. I’ll save you the details. Our second baby came naturally, I wasn’t on birth control so I knew that I could get pregnant again. We (the parents) were by that time living together and the baby was welcome.
“Where you scared when you found out?”
YES! Plain and simple.
“Did you ever consider abortion?”
Others considered it for me. Being an adoptee and not having the best of experiences while growing up with my adopted divorcee mother, adoption was out of the question. Not an option I had to fight my mother allot , but in the end, it was my choice to keep my baby and no one could force me otherwise.
“How did the father react?”
I rather not talk about him out of respect for my children. He has always been a part of their lives but we separated around the time of the birth our second child.
“Don’t you feel like you missed out during your teen years?”
Missed out on what? The road that would/could have been mine, didn’t look that great. I was living with my adoptive mother who is an alcoholic and was very abusive. I needed to take care of myself since my parents divorced when I was thirteen. I had to take care of myself because ‘the mother’ was constantly in and out of psychiatric wards and when she was home, she was either in the local pub or passed out in the couch. I was planning on ending my life before finding out that I was pregnant and still to this day, I see my teen pregnancy as a blessing. I see it as an event that has saved and changed my life.
Because of my daughter, I had a reason to live. I had a reason to fight in life and that’s what I did. I didn’t feel alone any more because I had someone who was actually a part of me, my blood and whom I knew really loved me.
My kids and me (1996)
I am in no way, advertising teenage pregnancy because it’s not glamorous, it’s not easy it’s not something you should plan. I’m just trying to share with you, how I experienced it. I was scared, ashamed and emotional and unfortunately didn’t have the support I needed from my parents at that time. My father living across the ocean and my mother was just not capable and still isn’t. I felt like God hated me and that I would never be close to Him again, because there was no one around to explain to me that this is NOT how God works. Instead, people chose to judged me.
What I really needed to know then and what I would like share with other girls now is that no matter what, God loves you! It’s not because you made a mistake that God will leave you, He will be there on your new journey into motherhood, if you will just let Him. There is nothing that you can do that will make God stop loving you. Nothing. All children are blessings from God and He has a plan for each one (Psalm 139:13-18). Even if the circumstances in which they come may be less than ideal, that child is as precious and loved by God as any other.
And the pregnant girl is just as precious to God.
To you parents dealing with a pregnant teen, I want to let you know that God does give the best direction to follow. He can show you how to respond and flourish in spite of the less than ideal situations. He will guide you to make good decisions, He will work miracles that open up hope where none existed and through it all He will be a constant companion who will bring peace in your heart. I know this because He has done it for me and He made us a promise in the Old Testament : “For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never forsake you’” ~ Hebrews 13:5
Put your faith in God. You will never be disappointed!
God is a powerful God and He can even make a blessing out of our sin. The biggest blessing in my life are my children, He has made me how I am today, through them.
“and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” ~ Romans 8:28 (ESV)