As some of you know, I was a teen mom. I was 17 and just starting my senior year of high school when I found out I was pregnant. I've been watching the MTV show 16 and Pregnant. My hubby hates the show and just thinks it is more reality TV nonsense but honestly the show makes me sad for the girls and their babies. To me it really highlights how the girls take on the brunt of the responsibility while most of the boys take on little or no new responsibility. It has also caused me to reflect back on my experiences as a teen mom.
My road to being a teen mom is probably different than most. I was raised a Christian. I went to church and was very active in youth group up until my Junior year of high school. You see our youth group was really cliquey and although everyone was nice on the surface I really wasn't friends with the in crowd at youth group. I began spending more and more time and growing closer to my school friends and less and less close to my church friends.
About halfway through my Sophomore year I went to my first party. I was such an innocent, good girl, I couldn't believe people were drinking at a party I was at. Needless to say, the party friends continued. Up until my Junior year, I had dated a few guys, but very informally, and very short lived (2-6 weeks). My junior year that all changed as well. I dated one guy I went to homecoming with for 6-8 weeks, but honestly wasn't that into him. Within a month of breaking up with him I was dating a guy I considered one of my best guy friends. That only lasted about 5 or 6 weeks. After our break up a friend and I ended up at his house on New Year's Eve. He had always been interested in my friend and he introduced me to his friend, my first "serious" boyfriend.
Growing up Christian I had always thought I would wait to have sex until I was married. Some of my friend's started having sex as young as 14 and I thought they were completely crazy! As I approached 17, more and more people were doing it (or so it seemed). My boyfriend and I ended up dating for about 6 months. We said we were in "love". Looking back I don't know how much he loved me or how much he was just interested in getting some. This guy was bad news. My friends called him "the devil" and he treated me poorly. He was quiet and anti-social and rarely wanted to go out and do anything fun. He rarely took me on dates or bought me flowers or really did anything to show his "love" for me. About 3 months into our relationship I got tired of his crap and broke up with him. I quickly moved on and this made him very upset. He came crawling back, professing his love for me and telling me to give him another try. Of course I did but our relationship was more of the same and he ended it a few months later with no real reason.
After our break up I became jaded, I thought all guys were jerks and after one main thing, sex. I was over the hot guys who thought they could treat girls like crap. A guy who hung in our circle was really interested in me. I wasn't interested in him but my friends convinced me to give him a chance since he was a good guy and would treat me well. It didn't last long and I broke off that relationship.
I continued on my path with my jaded view of guys and continued on with my party friends. We all hung in a circle of friends that included guys and girls. I had dated one of the guys casually sophomore year and still really liked him. He had a reputation for jumping from girl to girl and really was no good for me. We again casually dated the summer before Senior year and when another girl he was dating found out it was more and more drama. He really wasn't worth my time but something kept drawing me back to him. After a month or so he broke things off with me.
A month later I found out a guy at my work was interested in me. Honestly I would've never paid any attention to him. He was almost 5 years older and while my workplace was a lot of fun I wasn't looking to date anyone from work. Another female co-worker worked on hooking us up. We often didn't work the same schedule but soon enough our paths crossed and he got the nerve up to talk to me and give me his number. I was home alone while my family was vacationing and I was having some friends over. I casually invited him over and guess what? He showed up! If I would've known now how this relationship would shape my life forever.
After that night we were inseparable. We saw each other most days. He hung out with my friends, I hung out with his friends. My parents had recently separated and things were not going well for my mom financially. She had to sell our house and her and my sister were moving into a tiny 2 bedroom apartment in not the nicest part of town. I was working full-time and fiercely independent. I figured I would just move in with some of my co-workers. My mom didn't have money and I could support myself.
All that changed when I found out I was pregnant. My period was late, always was. My cycle seemed to come ever 6 weeks instead of 4 but I was pretty used to it at this time. I had started on the pill earlier that year when I had my first serious boyfriend. He was always very careful about using condoms on top of the pill so there was no chance I was getting pregnant. I stayed on the pill after we broke up but figured I didn't need it so never went back for another prescription. Once my boyfriend and I started dating and I realized things were getting serious I went back to Planned Parenthood to get another pill pack. They told me to start my new pack on the Sunday after my next period. Well that period never came. I guess I was stupid. I knew we were chancing it. I knew we should've been using condoms. I even said so a couple times. My boyfriend just brushed me off and I went with it. I guess being a teen you really think you are invincible and stuff like this will never happen to you.
The day I found out I was pregnant, one of my friend's had just delivered her baby. I remember visiting her in the hospital while she was in labor and after she had the baby. It had a different significance knowing in 9 months that would be me. I took a friend with me to Planned Parenthood to get a pregnancy test, just in case, so I could start my pill pack. I was in denial and thought there was no way I could be pregnant, though deep inside, I already knew. Sure enough the test was positive. There I was, September of my senior year of high school, 17 years old and pregnant.
More to come in Part 2: Thoughts on Being a Teen Mom: Pregnancy