I Survived Being a Teen Mom
I am a teenage pregnancy statistic. I don’t know what the statistic is but I’m positive I am one.
I’m not going to brag about being a teen mom. I’m not going to lie to you and say it was easy. It was the hardest time of my life. There is no glam to having a baby fresh out of high school. I didn’t get to do the things all my friends did. I was physically and emotionally ruined and if it wasn’t for the support of my family, who knows what other type of statistic I would be.
I graduated high school, was getting ready for university, and just ended my two-year relationship with my high school sweetheart. I was ready to move on and forward and have the best summer of my life. Before I knew it, I was in university trying to start my post-secondary career. Soon after that I turned 18, and I was finally an adult. I was living my "best life" (parties, outings and boys-ha!). I was just having fun. I let my studies fall aside and I was working extra hours at my part-time retail management job to afford partying.
After the first term I lost a little bit of myself. I didn’t feel like university suited me; I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere. I was looking for happiness in all the wrong places. I thought about the last time I was “happy” and ran into my ex. I thought this was what I needed; this is where I was supposed to be. It ended up not working out and we went our separate ways in life.
Shortly after, I found out I was pregnant. My ex had no interest in being a part of this life with me. He had a new girlfriend and his family didn’t want him to have a baby. I soon realized I had to figure this out on my own.
Let me tell you, that is very scary. My life had just begun. I was ready to take on the world, get ready for my future, and find myself. I wanted to travel, fall in love, grow and learn... but here I was. Pregnant and alone. I tried to ignore it and hope it would go away. The pregnancy was taking a lot out of me, I was sleeping often, and my parents were asking a lot of questions. I wasn’t ready to tell anyone. I wasn’t ready to deal with it. I knew I wasn’t ready. I made the call to the clinic to explore my options.
I felt like I screwed up. Here I was 18 and pregnant and alone.
I spent a lot of time during the initial shock, crying. I was so scared about what was going to happen. I didn't know what I wanted. I knew I didn't want to do this alone, but I didn't have a choice. My baby's father didn't want me nor the baby, and I was afraid to disappoint my parents again. I was already screwing up as a daughter with school and staying out late; I felt like I was failing at "life". I was just a kid and I was in over my head. I knew I had to get this handled and I told the baby's father I would handle it. I spent the better part of the next 10 days, basically sleeping and crying. Sleeping because I was pregnant and crying because I was scared.
After 10 days I got the call:
“Hi, may I speak to Allison, this is the clinic. I’d like to book an appointment with you to discuss your options.”
This was my moment, the day I was waiting for to fix what I screwed up. My mind raced on the phone and I was going to make an appointment for an abortion right then and there and my next words were “Sorry, wrong number”.
In that very moment I became a mother. I decided against all odds I would raise a baby by myself. I couldn't live with myself wondering what would happen if I decided to not bring a life into the world. I realized that I couldn't live with myself if I had given up this baby. I was going to be a single mother at 18 years old and I was going to have to tell my parents. OH MY GOD. I had to tell my parents. I’m not going to lie to you, they cried, and they were disappointed, but I thank God I had my parents. Without them, I would have never survived. I was alienated and judged by friends and family. I kid-you-not, one of my aunts suggested I run up and down the stairs and get rid of it. I was ridiculed. I was told I was just doing it for attention. I was told I would ruin my life.
Being pregnant when all of your friends are out and young and going to the clubs and lounges is hard. They had birthdays at the bar, and I stayed home. They went out for dinner and drinks and I was tired by 8pm. They were flirting, laughing, thriving, and experiencing life. I was home, crying, and trying to find someone to have lunch with me. I was trying to get enough hours that I could still afford my car insurance and cell phone bill while on maternity leave. I was leaving my part-time retail job to find full-time office work and make some extra money before I had a baby. My life was no longer "parties, outings, and boys". It was now "me, myself, and I" just trying to get by.
On September 28, 2008 I had a beautiful baby boy after a quick 7 hours in labour. I did it completely natural and I would not have changed a thing. I had my mother by my side and one of my aunts supporting me. I was saved. I had Aiden and I felt like my life had purpose and meaning. I may have been alone, but my heart was full of life.
Having a baby at any time is hard but having a baby as a teenager and without a father-- that’s something else. I thought I would lose my mind in the early days. I was depressed and alone. My parents were a huge help and both of them have this beautiful relationship with Aiden today.
I may have now been a mother, but I was also still 18. At a certain point I was tired of staying in. I would make them babysit for me all night. I went out all the time. I dated and wanted to be my 18-year-old self again. I made a lot of mistakes. I was being irresponsible and reckless. I would stay out late and my parents would be upset. I would go out for drinks and come home drunk. I wasn’t the mother I am today.
My parents and I fought often. I didn't see the error of my ways. I couldn't see what they were telling me about being a mom and trying to be responsible. I felt like I was in the episode of MTV's Teen mom. I thought I knew everything, I thought I was right all the time. I was immature, naive, and childish. I spent a lot of years fighting with the people who loved me and supported me most.
I lost friends having a baby, I lost family having a baby, and I lost myself having a baby. I lost contact with some of my best friends and have never spoken to them since having Aiden. Some of the people closest to me then are nowhere to be found in my life now. They were there when I needed them at the time and eventually, we faced what everyone does--life. I learned a lot about people being in your life at the right time and leaving your life at the right time after having a baby.
My parents are my number one supporters. I am so thankful to have them in my life. If it wasn't for them, I don't know where I would be. Not every "teen mom" is so blessed to have parents that will help support their kids and their grand babies. I come from a home where family is everything and my parents have shown me not only what it means to be loved unconditionally, but what it truly means to be a parent.
Fast forward to today. Even after having a baby, I was determined to reach my goals. I eventually finished post-secondary school, found a career, fell in love, and have since had two more babies. I know more about what it means to be a good mother and I know I am one. I know what it means to love your kids unconditionally, and I know what it means to rise through adversity. The odds were stacked against me when I got pregnant 12 years ago, but with a little determination, and love, I got through it all.
Today I get to be the mother I want to be, today I get to be a mother that is proud of her roots and even more proud of her journey. I have fought through all the tears and sadness just to come out on the other side, stronger and more fearless than ever. This is for the teen moms that don't know what's going to happen and don't think they can make it through. My advice is just to trust, to have faith, and believe in yourself. You will struggle, it will be hard, but you can do it, you can make it and you can do well. Trust in those that are guiding you and that are helping you along the way. It takes a village to raise a child, find that village and trust it. If it wasn't for my village I don't know where I'd be but I'm really glad I came out on the other side.