In the Spring of 1995 things were going along chaotic in my twisted teenage life. I was skipping classes, failing many of them, getting in fights and general mischief, hanging out with the wrong crowd at times, getting busted doing things I shouldn’t be doing, not getting busted doing things I shouldn’t be doing. I was 15, and I was typical. The boyfriend at the time was a good rock for me, why that straight A, awfully introverted guy was attracted to my wild nature, I’ll never know.
We did what teenagers do sometimes, you experiment or whatever (note to my kids: Not until you’re married). Anyway, short story shorter, I ended up pregnant at 15 years old.
Fifteen. A decade and a half. The end of my Freshman year. I couldn’t even drive a car, but now there was this baby to take care of.
Everyone had advice at that time, abort, adopt out, you two should get married, you’re too young, my cousin in Iowa wants the baby, what are you going to do?
But it was never a question what I was going to do. Sure, a failing 15 year old with a hatred for the world had no business raising a baby, but there was no way you could have told me that all those years ago. I didn’t want to hear about any other options.
When I delivered Grace the entire world was for once in my life, peaceful. I had a clear focus, my mind was no longer raging, I didnt care for trouble, or even roller-coaster rides anymore, I wanted to be safe, grounded, and a good mommy to her. Her little smile is the reason I graduated a year early, with straight As, a complete polar opposite of the Fs that used to line my report card. I never got into trouble again. Never.
And things we’re never really easy back then on the outside, I didn’t have a drivers license or a car for her infant years, I wasn’t financially stable enough to buy her the cutest baby clothes, I was too young to know about attachment parenting, I couldn’t nurse her because of my classes. She didn’t get the life I would have wanted her to have. But she was my life.
Now that she’s almost 16, we talk about teen pregnancy a lot. And often times she tells me she was a mistake. Those words send choking sobs into my throat.
It’s such a fine line to encourage her to wait before she becomes a mother, without making her feel like her life on this earth was a mistake.
She sometimes tells me she was an accident, and refers to herself as the “oopsie baby” –I like to remind her that she was just a surprise from God.
A surprise that I could not have needed more. A surprise that likely kept me off the streets, away from drugs, and the only reason I graduated high school or went to any college at all. The first step in the direction of my life that led me to where I am today (which feels like a pretty good place).
Grace gave me the will to be something more than a failure. What I don’t regret, Grace, is you.