Everyone said ' It will be too hard '
Everyone said ' You'll be so broke '
Everyone said ' I could never do it '
Everyone said ' You aren't ready '
I said ' It will be the best thing that has ever happened to me '
and I was right.
I knew many girls that got pregnant in high school or college. I had my baby. I made a choice that was very public and visible, instead of an equally hard choice left for only myself to judge.
From abuse I banged out a disjointed young life, my own, metal edges and elbow grease, made in the frying pan, hopping into the fire; I slouched, moped, cried, feared and followed my way through my late teens,
Until the plus sign. The pregnant at 19 sign, which meant I was a virtual modern day outcast, here in suburbia where many women struggled in their late 30's and 40's to have babies, and here I was, skinny wretch, pregnant with a baby I didn't deserve and could never possibly appreciate enough.
So wrong, SO WRONG.
I have never appreciated anything more in my life, all you ladies. Lady 1 who stopped me in Vons and asked me if I was 15, and what was I doing with a baby! Lady 2 who stopped me in the ice cream parlor and told me I couldn't possibly be old enough for a baby. Ladies 3-1000 who looked at me and said nothing, but said all the same, ' You are a bad, irresponsible slut who doesn't deserve that baby. '
I didn't deserve him, or the next, or the next. I didn't deserve the beauty and joy and blessing and hope, Hope, that this child brought into my heart or my life. And I didn't deserve the heartache that came before him, I didn't deserve the abuse, the lonliness, the pain, the self hatred and the constant ever present sense of fear either.
I went to therapy for four years. I cried, I wailed, I coddled my child and the child in me. I read a hundred parenting books. I joined a club on AP parenting. I prayed, even though I don't have faith. What I never, ever did: Give up, Unforgiveably fail my child, or ever, ever fail to appreciate what I had.
I was a teenage mother. I breastfed my son when no one I knew was breastfeeding, breastfed him until he was two. Co-slept. Never spanked, or screamed- definitely raised my voice. In place I loved, I held, I snuggled, I laughed, I honored, I grew, I changed. I failed. I kept going. I never give up. I never gave up. I worked as a nanny so I could bring him with me, then as a preschool teacher, I went to school at night. I used my extra income (none) to pay for half of private school. In short, I was a parent.
I walked my son proudly to his first day of kindergarten, and ignored the fact that none of the other mommies would talk to me, or include me in their discussions on Jenny Craig and real estate prices. I talk about books, and internet, and movies, and subversive art, and I look Too Young, I suppose, and I'll never measure up in their eyes.
I was a teenage mother, Thank God I didn't get what I deserved, because I got a second chance at life, and was able to pass it on.
35 minutes ago