When I was a little girl (well perhaps about 10 years old) I would always say to myself that I wanted to have my first child before my grandmother died; I guess I was not considering the fact that she would already be more than 90 years old by the time I was only 16.
I learnt about sex at an early age, not intercourse itself, but masturbation, relations with boys, fondling, etc I don’t think the fact I got pregnant at 17 years old surprised many people; but it did shock them when I became pregnant at 17 (pic below) only 3 months after winning the coveted title of “Miss Teen Cayman Islands”. I was heartbroken, damn well distraught when I missed my period; but I guess that’s the risk I was taking sneaking my 19 year old boyfriend, soon to be baby-father at that point, through my window almost every night.
The memory of learning I was pregnant is very clear but now as a mother of 7 children since then, the pain of ridicule, embarrassment, hurt and fear has certainly passed far away as I love and appreciate the beauty of motherhood more and more each day. I kept my pregnancy a secret for the first 4 months while rumors surfaced and spread. During that time I was weighing all my options – abortion, adoption, suicide… which one? I preferred suicide but I was way too scared of not being successful at killing myself to try it.
The first 4 months passed quickly, my stomach stayed rather small because I did not have much of an appetite. I knew my mother would be disappointed with me yet again – I had seemed to be such a promising child at a young age but then when I turned 15 and my teenage girl hormones started to flow everything changed. I snuck-out super often, meant up with guys, tried to get in to clubs (almost always unsuccessfully) so I had to wait outside until my friends who got in were ready to leave – never short of male company.
Anyway, it had to catch-up to me and it did in the form of my first daughter. Funny enough it was when I had “settled” down with my boyfriend, obtained a university scholarship through the pageant and decided to teach other young ladies how to not make my mistakes that I went on to make one of my biggest and most amazing “mistakes” ever.
Becoming pregnant at 17 can leave a young girl in a very tough position, it is hard to have to decide whether to step out of your teenage comfort zone and own up to your responsibilities or to take the easy way out. You have to consider a lot of things when you decide to go forward with the pregnancy and having your baby.
In my case those 14 years ago I had a lot to consider. I was not working, nor was the “baby-daddy”; I had never meant my father so he was not going to be around for emotional or financial support of the grandchild, my mother was already making ends meet, I would have to give up my coveted crown, lose my university scholarship, deal with embarrassing front-page headlines and overcome the fear of being seen in public with a baby-bump instead of a crown.
There was just no way out of it; hands down the pros and cons sounded a lot more like the baby should go; but looking back, THAT would have been my biggest mistake ever. My beautiful, talented, amazing, super-smart 14 year old daughter is now a teen pageant queen all in her own right (my princess, crap sorry, my queen baby girl is below in yellow) and making strides through life already that I could never have imagined accomplishing when I was her age. She is so confident and intelligent that remembering my distress when I found out I was pregnant with her makes me laugh at myself.
Pregnancy with my first daughter was far from easy, there were many hurdles even up until the early part of her life; coping with the relationship between me and her father, getting pregnant AGAIN when she was only 4 months old, escaping her dad’s domestic violence and drug abuse – believe me I have seen life from many angles – but I would not change a thing simply because it has all given me the actual experience so that I can impart my knowledge to all of my 7 daughters and give them truthful, first-hand advice in every situation.
Every mother has a different story, some are happy, some are scary and some are just plain sad – but the silver-lining in those dark clouds of fear and uncertainty is the beautiful gift of life that has found a safe and loving home first in your belly and then in your arms.
Teen pregnancy is scary, it is just plain scary. Diapers, formula and baby items are not cheap at all and children take serious investment of time and money in order to grow up to be successful adults themselves. It is so important that we take our parental roles seriously no matter what age we first become parents. I made many mistakes in my first years of parenting, but I always focused on giving my children the opportunities and advice that I never had so that really helped to guide my decisions.
What was your experience with your first pregnancy? Planned? Unplanned? How old is your first child now?