I have a story to share. A personal story.
I have carried a secret that not many have known for the past twenty-three and one half years. Not a terrible secret. Not a secret that I could not or would not share. But more one of those secrets that takes way too much time to explain to people who may not understand. This secret was not mine to tell.
And now, I can share it. I am ready to share it. And I feel that those involved are ok with my sharing.
I was just 16 years old, life as a normal teen. walking to the mall, homework, dances, and boys were regular in my life. I was not into sports or other extracurricular activities much but had my sights on my career as an architect and just enjoying life as a teen while it lasted.
My teen years were good and happy but I was a really painfully shy teen with low self- esteem. Not an uncommon thing at 16. High school was rough and I was having a hard time finding and keeping true friends. The best friend I had moved out of town when her mom remarried and another moved out of
The summer between my sophomore and junior year, I met a boy. A very handsome and well mannered boy. I often stayed the night with a friend of mine who had moved to a neighboring town, and we would hang out in the summer air in her yard. I met my now ex-husband that summer as he stopped by her house on the way to see a friend of his. I thought he was the cutest boy I had ever seen. After meeting him, and discovering that my friend was dating his best friend, we spent a lot of time together. We learned more about each other and it seemed we had everything in common. However when you are a teen, it is easy to have a lot in common as lives are not much more than school, possibly work and home life. Because his best friend was dating my best friend, we did a lot of things as a foursome. Life was good.
We really liked each other. We were in 'Puppy love'. Many of our friends were dating pretty seriously. In our community it is not uncommon to marry just after high school.
Young love is confusing. Feelings and emotions flood into your mind and body. You feel feelings that you don’t recognize. You feel feelings that you are not sure how to handle. I felt as though I was in love. I felt older than my age.I wanted to marry this man.
A few of my friends were sexually active. I was not naïve enough to think that having friends who are, made it acceptable. But he and I thought that we were in love and to be honest, I craved to be noticed. It seemed in my young mind, that boys never took notice of me and he did. We spoke of marriage, yes at age 16 we were planning our lives together.
Things went further than we thought they would between us. We felt as though we were being so mature. We were living the life of two people in love. We were having sex. Me at age sixteen and he at seventeen.I remember the first time. I was scared out of my mind. I knew I shouldn't do it. I was young. I was too scared to say no. I didn't want him to tell me he didn't like me. He was not pushy, he would have stopped if I asked. He probably wanted me to say stop. but we didn't. I have wondered many times since then why we did it. I cannot come to any conclusions.. just that we were curious, young and naive.
But we didn't stop. it seems that once we 'broke the dam' so to speak, there was nothing to stop us. We weren't safe. We didn't use protection. We knew about it. I would never want to ask my parents for birth control. Often I thought about it. I thought I should be getting some sort of birth control from a teacher or friend. I was too scared to ask for it. And honestly figured (in my young mind) that it would never happen to me.
After about six months dating him, I began to feel different, missed a period and eventually saw a doctor. My worst fear was confirmed. Just six months after I met him, I became pregnant, although I didn’t know it until well into my first trimester. The boy and I continued to date. We spoke about it a lot but we didn’t know what we would do.
We both told our parents and they were not happy to hear the news but all were supportive. Being supportive was about the only, and the best thing they could do. I finished out my Junior year of high school somewhat in denial and in fear. Although I was 5’7 and barely weighing over a hundred pounds, I didn’t wear maternity clothes and very few people knew I was carrying a child. I didn't show much, wore loose shirts and just didn’t fasten the top button or two on my jeans. I was scared people would talk about me. I skipped a lot of classes until school let out for the summer.
Throughout the summer, I didn’t feel as though I had to hide it as much. My closest friends knew of the baby and I didn’t see many other classmates that summer. I didn't have any side effects from the pregnancy and saw a doctor regularly.
But just what we were going to do when the time came to have this baby, we didn’t know. We were in love. We wanted to be together forever. But we certainly couldn’t take care of ourselves. How would we be able to parent a child?
To be continued…