Friday, April 30, 2010

Thoughts on Being a Teen Mom: Part 2: Pregnancy

So there I was at Planned Parenthood, just having found out I was pregnant. My friend that was with me was freaking out, much more so than me. I think I was in shock at this point, but I was determined to deal with the situation. The next thing I had to do was tell my boyfriend.

This wasn't easy, we had only been dating for 6 weeks at this point. I didn't know him that well and didn't know how he would react. He already was divorced and had a 3 year old daughter. He didn't see her that often and the relationship was strained. As soon as he got off of work I met him at his house. I just told him and then proceeded to cry my eyes out. He handled it well and reassured me it would be ok and that he would support me whatever I wanted to do. I told him both abortion and adoption were not options for me, I couldn't go through with either one. Adoption is one of the most selfless things a person who is not ready to be a parent can do, I just knew emotionally I couldn't have lived with myself knowing I had given up my baby.

Then we made plans on what to do next. He was renting a room from someone and it obviously was not enough space for both of us and a baby. I was already planning to move out due to the situation at home so instead of moving forward with moving in with friends from work we started looking for apartments. We found a brand new 2 bedroom apartment in a nice area of town and moved in the next month.

My troubles weren't over yet, I still had lots of people to break the news to. Lots of people who I knew would be very disappointed in me. I knew I needed to tell my mom but I couldn't bring myself to do it at first. I ended up waiting almost 2 weeks and I was miserable the entire time. It was eating away at me inside and I knew I had to just tell her. She was upset, she cried, and she was disappointed in me. She even asked me if I considered abortion which shocked me considering my Christian upbringing. I told her my plan and I think she slowly came to terms with it. She helped me find a doctor and we scheduled my first appointment.

Things weren't all rosy from here on out either. My boyfriend was a "bad boy", he had been in trouble with the law his entire life, he jumped from job to job, he lied, he cheated on me, it truly was horrible. Of course I didn't know this going into it and here I was pregnant and determined to make the best of it and do what I could to keep our little family together. I scarified and strived to make this relationship work only to be lied to, cheat on, and be emotionally destroyed time and time again. At the time I thought I didn't really have any other options. I was 17, pregnant, and there was no way my mom could financially support me, plus I am very independent and was determined to take care of the situation on my own.

The relationship problems started early on. Within weeks of moving into our apartment my boyfriend was in trouble with the law again, this time he was driving without a license. He probably was cheating on me from the beginning of our relationship but I didn't find out until I was 38 weeks pregnant. When I found out, it was in a big way, finding out he had not only been cheating but he was in trouble with law again. This time much more serious, though he covered everything with lies and reassurances that it was no big deal and that everything would be ok.

I was already working full-time and gong to school full-time, remember I'm independent and stubborn. Once I found out I was pregnant I knew my job as a waitress, even though it paid ok, wasn't going to cut it. I needed something with regular hours and health insurance. I followed up on a job lead through my friend's mom's company but it didn't pan out. I started applying a various banks and took a position as a teller when I was about 20 weeks pregnant. I put in my notice at my current job went through all the training to only find out they didn't realize I wouldn't be 18 for another 6 weeks and they could not hire anyone under 18 due to bonding issues (a bank thing). I was devastated to say the least. I had quit my waitress job and here it was, not long before Christmas and I was jobless. I amped up the job search and kept looking, knowing no one would want to hire someone who is obviously pregnant, so my window of finding a job was closing as my belly was growing. I was teeny, tiny before I was pregnant so it took forever for me to show. My belly at 24 weeks was barely bigger than my belly now (sad I know) but around 28 weeks I just popped and looked huge! I was starting to get discouraged when I got a call from one of the banks I had applied at over a month ago. They were still hiring and wanted me to come in for an interview. I had scored the last bank job, so I knew I had to ace this interview. Thank the lord, it went well and I started the next week. My job at the bank was a Godsend. It paid decent, had great benefits, and I loved it. I worked my way up in the company and was successful, I stayed there for 6 years and only left when I went to pursue my bachelor's degree full-time.

Thankfully for me, I was a good student. I honestly had never gotten a grade lower than a "B" before my Junior year and then I only received 2 "C"'s all through high school. The graduation requirements at my high school were ridiculously easy. Even without taking a full course load junior year I had enough credits to graduate after first quarter except for 1 P.E. credit. My counselor allowed me to do this as a home school P.E. where I logged fitness hours and my mom signed off on it. I finished my two required classes 1st quarter and then stopped going to school because I was working full-time.

I didn't tell my friends I was pregnant until after the first trimester and we didn't tell my boyfriend's family until I was 4 months along. He was scared of their reaction and wanted to wait. I was kind of uncomfortable with this but thought it was his place to handle not mine.

We briefly discussed marriage but I was determined I was not going to get married simply because I was pregnant. My boyfriend had been married previously when he was 17 and his girlfriend was pregnant and that marriage barely lasted until the baby was 6 months old. After the initial shock wore off I began to get very excited about this little person growing inside of me. My love for her or him was growing by the day and even when I was pregnant I could hardly believe how much I loved him already. We talked about names and decided on a girls name, Brenna Riley, before we knew we were having a boy. The boys name took months longer, but we finally agreed and settled on B's name for the first name and my boyfriend's first name as the middle name.

Work was great and my pregnancy complication free. I honestly loved being pregnant and worked on my feet 9 hours a day up until 2 days before I went into labor. I didn't even get to that uncomfortable stage until 38 weeks, when I started to feel huge. My friends threw me a great baby shower and we made B a beautiful nursery decorated in a Winnie the Pooh theme. I really was happy and confident that things would work out.

Even after all the drama that ensued with my boyfriend right before B was born, I was determined to hold it together and make the best of things. I didn't tell many people, if anyone, about our problems. I have this bad habit of trying to be perfect. My B, who will be 10 years old tomorrow told me just yesterday, "It is silly to try to be perfect because there are only 2 people who are perfect, God and Jesus, no one else is perfect." Well said B! I still struggle with trying to be perfect but have learned with time it is ok to let some of your flaws show. B is right, no one is perfect. God, how I love that little boy!

More to come in Part 3: The Baby is Born

If you missed it: Part 1: How I Became a Teen Mom


Unknown said...

Michelle, what a story, I am so amazed at your determination and strength. Looking forward to Part 3.

Margaret said...

I can't wait to read part 3!!!! I am hooked on this story.

Gina said...

I always knew you were strong, but after reading the first two parts, I am even more sure of it! WOW!

Jessica said...

Im so excited to hear the rest of your story! I just know it has a happy ending!

Evolving Mommy Catherine said...

"Bad boy" is right and not really in the good way either. It is really interesting to see these events from your point of view.

I remember coming to your apartment and you being so excited about getting your job at the bank. You were so excited and positive I couldn't help but feel so hopeful for you too.

Jillian said...

You have such an amazing story!

Marla said...

Can't wait to read the next part

Jessica McFadden said...

You are so courageous! I'm getting into this story and will be reading the rest today!

(I haven't been so into a blogger's story in a LONG TIME.)