I recently read a blog post by someone saying that they felt that a teenager who chooses to parent her child is making a selfish decision. Someone else said that it ruins the life of the baby and the teen mom. Here’s the thing, I’m 31, and my daughter is 14. So yes, I was a teenage mother. Let me start by saying Tammy’s father “N” is a great man. It took us years, but we are finally to the point, after all the hurt, mean words, hate (yes, I said hate), after everything, we are friends. We are good friends. That being said, here is my story.
I was 15 when I got pregnant. I was with someone who I thought I loved and who I thought loved me. When we thought I might be pregnant we had a conversation about what we would do if I was. We decided to get married. So even before I knew for sure I was pregnant I/we had decided to parent. Fast forward a few weeks. I found out that this guy who said he loved me and wanted to marry me, had been unfaithful (with someone I couldn't stand no less). That same day I started having some pains in my stomach, and I called the Dr. They asked if I could be pregnant. I said yes, they said I needed to come in immediately because I could be having a miscarriage or it could be an ectopic pregnancy. So my boyfriend called his work, told them he would be a little late and took me to the Dr. I walked in, they had me to go to the lab to take the test. We sat there waiting for the results. He asked if I could forgive him. I said I didn’t know but that I would try. He said he didn’t have an excuse but please, forgive him. I told him that I couldn't marry someone that I couldn't trust. He cried and said he understood. I told him that if he could prove to me that I could trust him, we could get married after the baby was born. He said he would prove it to me. I don’t know what made me say this next part, but I told him that I needed to break up with him for a while. He was crushed. Right after this the nurse came out and called me over telling me that the test was positive and I was pregnant. She took us both back to the Dr. so the Dr. could make sure everything was o.k. Everything was fine, perfectly healthy. The pain was probably just stress. “N” cried the whole time. The Dr. left the room for a minute and “N” said he had to go to work and asked if I could get a ride with my mom or something.
So there I sat in the Dr. office, no boyfriend, a baby on the way. And now, I had to tell my mom. I called her and asked her if she could come get me. When she got there I couldn't look at her. I just blurted out, Mom, I’m pregnant. She was shocked. She hugged me, and I ran to the car. After she got in she asked me what happened and where was “N”. I told her we broke up and I cried and cried. I decided I had made a terrible mistake and I called his work, he wasn’t there, he had called in and said he wasn’t coming, so I went to “N”’s brother’s house because that’s where he was staying at the time. He wasn’t there either. His brother “T” was there and he invited me in to wait. His wife “C” walked in, dropped her bags that she was carrying, dropped to her knees and said, you’re pregnant. I nodded and cried some more. “N” came home shortly after and asked what I was doing there. “T” and “C” told him they knew. He was angry that I had told them, I explained that I hadn’t, they had guessed.
I felt empty and abandoned. I had almost no support and I knew I was pretty much on my own, especially when the next day at school I saw “N” holding hands with the girl he had cheated with, I knew I was on my own. This girl had convinced him that because I broke up with him, I had cheated on him (which I didn't, but that's neither here nor there). My mom didn’t know what to say to me (after all, what do you say to your daughter when she tells you she’s pregnant). My whole family didn’t know what to say, or what to do (my mom and my whole family were supportive, they just didn't know what to say). My school asked me to go to a teen mom school and leave the regular high school. I told my bishop. He never once did he said anything to me about LDSFS or adoption. The only person who did in fact was “C”. One day she asked me if there was any way that “N”’s claims where true, was there a way this baby wasn’t his. She said that if there was any way the baby wasn’t his and I told her now, she would support me no matter what the DNA tests showed. I had been faithful and yes, the baby was definitely his. She asked me if I had thought about what I would do, did I want to parent, or place the baby for adoption. The ONLY thing I knew about adoption was what you see in the movies, where when you get pregnant, you get sent away, some nun takes your baby and you never see him or her again (silly to think that is what adoption is, I know) So having no one to talk to about adoption and what it was actually all about, I told her I wanted to parent, she said o.k. whatever she needed to do, she would do. Looking back on it, I think a part of me was hopeful that “N” would come back and we would get married and be a happy family. This was not what happened. “N” and I had tried to be friends, that lasted for about a week. Over the next several months I ran into “N” a few times. Each time we fought. Each time I got so upset I almost miscarried. I didn’t start showing until I was 6 and a half months along so all sorts of rumors were going around that I wasn’t actually pregnant. That didn’t help matters any.
Shortly after having Tammy I moved out of my mom’s house. I ended up leaving school because I had to work full-time to pay the bills, put a roof over our heads, and food in our mouths. (I went back a few years later and got my diploma.) When my friends were going to prom, I was changing diapers. When my friends were walking across the stage at graduation, I was planning a 1 yr olds party. When my friends were out dating and getting married, I was hoping and praying there would be someone out there who would actually want to be with me for me, and except Tammy as their own. And not want to be with me because they thought I was "easy" (trust me, I ran into plenty of guys like that, one even admitted that he wanted to "date" me for that reason).
Having said all that, do I think my life was ruined? I know it wasn’t. It changed me in so many ways. Do I think her life was ruined? No. Ask her, she will tell you no. Would her life be different if I had placed her? Yes, absolutely. For one, she would actually be baptized now and would have an eternal family. Not to mention she would not have to go back and forth between her parents all the time (thank goodness we get along, that isn't normal though, most teen parents, don't and the kids see that fighting, it took us years, and I do mean years, to become friend again though.) Every decision we make changes what could have been. Do I think I was selfish for choosing to parent her? No.
I made the decision I felt was best for my daughter and me with the information I had. Having no one to talk to about adoption (remember, I didn't even know LDSFS existed), I chose what I thought was best. There are two things I wish were different. When I had Tammy and chose to parent her, I was “active” in my church, but I wasn’t ACTIVE in church. I went to church every Sunday, but that was it. I didn’t have a testimony of the Gospel. I didn’t care about Temple Marriage. I didn’t care about any of it. I went through the motions. That was it. It wasn’t until years later that I actually gained a testimony. Tammy isn’t baptized in the church. Her dad and I have joint custody of her, and because we have joint custody we both have to give permission for Tammy to be baptized. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that “N” was willing to consent to her being baptized. Tammy is now at that age where she doesn’t know if she wants to be baptized into the church, so she isn’t baptized. She also is not sealed to Jacob and I. In our church we believe that Family's can be together forever, this is commonly known as sealing. Not only is Tammy not sealed to us, she isn’t sealed to anyone. This breaks my heart.
Is single parenting for everyone? No. Is teen marriage for everyone? No. Is Adoption for everyone? No. Each person has to make the decision they feel is best for them and their child. To say teen moms are selfish, or that I’m selfish for choosing to parent is unfair. You don’t know me, you don’t know what my circumstances were at the time I made my decision. To say that a birth mom is taking the easy way out (I've heard this before) is completely and utterly false. I have a lot of birth mom friends. Trust me, it's not easy. If you think it's easy, you obviously don't know a birth mom. It is probably one of the hardest things, anyone on the earth has to do.
I have only shared a small portion of my story, I don’t feel I need to share the rest. Someday, when we are chosen by a Birth Mom, or when a Birth Mom is considering us, if she has questions and wants to know more, I’ll tell her.
Sorry this was so long, I just felt this needed to be said.