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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Teen Mom

I want to talk about adoption. When a girl learns she is going to become a teen mother, the first thing everyone asks is "are you going to keep it"? I'm not even going to approach the subject of abortion, I'm just going to say that it never would have crossed my mind in a million years to end the life of my baby. The moment I became pregnant it became my duty to get that baby safely to the next stage: life.

Whether that baby was to be raised in my home or not, that was my decision. I've written about this before, but I have a friend who is going through this right now and I've decided I could go into more detail for her (and anyone else this might help). Brief recap of my situation: I got pregnant my senior year in high school. I was seventeen years old, with a serious boyfriend, living with both my (LDS) parents. I was not surprised, as I knew what might happen, but I was surprised when my boyfriend at the time leaned toward adoption as the best option. I know he was just being as logical as possible, knowing he wasn't ready to take on a family, but at the time it felt like a personal rejection of our baby. Many people suggested I look into adoption options, and I told them all "no" because it was obvious to me I could never give this part of me away. That would be too hard, I could never look at my son and then hand him over to someone else and never look at him again. I never even considered it for more than a moment, knowing I should follow through with this thing I'd put in motion.

Here's the part I don't talk about.

When Joshua was a few weeks old, I recall the overwhelming feeling of "I CAN'T DO THIS. What made me think I could do this? I am just a kid, and I can't even stay awake at school, let alone raise a PERSON." (I couldn't be sure what age he was exactly, because I was sleep-deprived and completely overwhelmed. My guess is he wasn't more than five weeks old.) He cried all night, I never got any rest before school the next day, and I could not for the life of me convince him to breastfeed. I felt like a total failure. Suddenly the people who told me I could never do it seemed to know what they were talking about. Maybe I should have listened to them? Maybe I am ruining his life by selfishly keeping him to myself?

If I didn't have my parents' full support, I'm positive I would have made the wrong decision and given him up. I started secretly looking into LDS Family Services, a free adoption service. I had even picked out a family for him. I told myself I was doing what he deserved. He didn't deserve such an incompetent mother. He was so perfect and gorgeous, he deserved everything good the world had to offer, and I wasn't it. My future was bleak at best, how could I say that's what was best for my sweet baby boy?

I finally admitted it to my parents. I cried and cried, feeling like an enormous disappointment. Their reaction SAVED MY LIFE. They were adamant we were not letting go of our Joshua. He was ours, he was meant to be in our family, and they told me I COULD DO IT. Even if I never got married, even if it was the hardest thing in the world, I WAS GOOD ENOUGH FOR HIM. They knew I was no where near prepared for motherhood, yet they knew I could rise to the occasion.

As soon as I heard this vote of confidence from my own mom and dad, all my fears felt manageable. They were right, it was up to me to do this, and I WAS strong enough. This baby didn't need perfect parents, he just needed HIS mom, and his grandma and grandpa. His future was up to me and, although scary, that was empowering.

Here's the part that matters: JOSHUA WASN'T BROUGHT TO ME BECAUSE HE NEEDED ME. HE WAS BROUGHT TO ME BECAUSE I NEEDED HIM. I can't tell you how may occasions being his mother has kept me from succumbing to the depression that tries to swallow me up. His presence in my life has been the best thing that ever happened to me. Not only is he an angel, he made me want to have another baby, and without that I never would have had my Asher or my Max.



My Joshua is notorious for doing sweet, considerate, thoughtful things. He has always been extremely compliant, good-natured, and complimentary. He has always been a mama's boy, and he frequently says, "Whatever my mom tells me to do, that's what I'll do," or, "Wherever my mom goes, that's where I'm gonna be." This usually refers to the spot at the table he gets at a restaurant - he always, without fail, asks to sit by me. Since he was only two years old, he has been complimenting me and telling me how much he loves me. (The day he stopped saying "Lover you" and started saying "I love you" instead made me so sad - I loved that.) He is a joy to all who know him, and I am so proud to say I made him - although I know I didn't have much to do with it. He was given to me by God, who knew I was going to need an angel in my life.

Joshua, Age 11

Adoption is the right choice for many, but I want people to know that you don't have to be the perfect mom. If you are willing to let go of your adolescence and it feels right to keep that child in your arms, do it. YOU DO HAVE IT IN YOU. You ARE stronger than you think you are. And parents of teen moms, please, have faith in your kids. Help them through this time. They will be better for it, and I dare say so will you.

*Disclaimer: IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING ANY SORT OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE OR ABUSE, SEEK HELP IMMEDIATELY. IF YOUR BOYFRIEND/HUSBAND HURTS YOU, HE WILL HURT YOUR CHILD AS WELL. YOU HAVE OPTIONS, YOU ARE NOT STUCK! FIND A LOCAL CHURCH OR SHELTER TO HELP YOU. YOU DON'T NEED A MAN TO BE A MOTHER.

3 comments:

  1. beautifully written. So glad that your parents were there as your supports. It's wonderfult to have that kind of encouragement.

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  2. I am VERY proud of you and I think you're a great mother to all three of your children.

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  3. my kids help me stay above the darkness too, it is amazing that I need them as much as they need me to provide for them. I am glad your parents were able to speak the truth and give you the strength you needed to not give up.

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