*Editor’s note: Today on the blog a girl shares about how her meticulous planning completely derailed and she found herself desperate to get life back on track. An unplanned pregnancy finds everyone in very different places. No matter where you may be, you’re not alone. We’re here for you.
**Names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.
I was 14 when I met him and I can still remember the way the sunlight glistened in his hair as we talked in the school courtyard on that first day. His name was Chris** and he was 16. His family had just moved to town, he had two younger sisters, a black cocker spaniel and he was adorable. He was athletic and smart – like honor roll smart – and he was a junior leader for his church’s youth group. Literally, this guy was everything my wholesome dreams were made of. Everything I wanted for my first boyfriend…
We were “just friends” for a while, a long while actually – almost a year. My parents had a rule, I couldn’t date until I turned 15. Truthfully though, Chris and I weren’t really thinking of dating – we were just hanging out and having fun. We had the same group of friends and we spent a lot of time together, we just seemed to click. We had the same interests and shared a lot of the same goals. I’d always been a planner and I basically had my entire life mapped out. I was going to work hard, get on the fast track to success – have an amazing career, get married, buy a house, have 2.5 kids – the whole American dream. Chris was the same. We’d spend hours talking, planning out the finer details of each other’s lives. One day along the way, we somehow switched to planning our lives together. And just like that, I had my very first boyfriend. It was all so perfect, exactly like I’d always planned…even my parents adored him.
[bctt tweet=”It was all very PG…until it wasn’t, and I found myself staring at a big fat positive pregnancy test.” via=”no”]
Chris was sweet and funny and romantic, I cherished every single moment. We went on group dates, walks in the park, picnics in the backyard, and even dinners with the families. We were so proud of our self-control, boldly declaring that we were saving ourselves for marriage – only holding hands, maybe a quick hug good-night. We were planners after all, and so much smarter than finding ourselves in some sticky teenage situation. It was all very PG…until it wasn’t, and I found myself staring at a big fat positive pregnancy test.
Somehow, I was completely calm while I called Chris and told him I needed to see him. Inside I was totally freaking out, but I knew Chris and I knew us – I was confident that we would figure this out together. Chris sat in stunned silence as I explained that I was pregnant. He held my hand and promised me he was 100% behind me – whatever I chose.
We cried together, got mad together and then we got logical together. We had a plan and a timeline, goals to achieve, dreams to fulfill. Would it even be fair to bring a child in to the demanding and intense atmosphere we had planned for our future? Did we put the plan or hold, have the baby and then make a new plan that included the baby? Or should we maybe find people who desperately wanted a baby and give them ours? So. Many. Questions. And it didn’t really matter because at the end of the day we knew we couldn’t tell our parents, they’d kill us. And on top of that, both families were prominent in the church, we ourselves were quite involved…this kind of scandal, the looks and stares, the quiet whispering, the self-righteous condemnation we’d be served…no thank you. Chris and I agreed we’d terminate the pregnancy. There’d be time later for a baby – it was still in the plan.
I was a wreck; how could we have been so stupid? Chris had to do everything for me. He made the appointment, came up with the cover story and made arrangements for me to stay with his friend’s sister at her apartment. He was so sweet and encouraging – telling me how much he loved me and that we’d get through this. I was in survival mode. I just needed to get it over with. As far as I was concerned, no one knew I was pregnant and soon I wouldn’t be, so it’d basically be like it never happened. I was thankful for the option to erase our mistake, start fresh.
I was in survival mode. I just needed to get it over with. As far as I was concerned, no one knew I was pregnant and soon I wouldn’t be, so it’d basically be like it never happened. I was thankful for the option to erase our mistake, start fresh.
Unfortunately, our appointment was 11 days away. I had to wait 11 whole days to fix this, but 11 days was better than 9 months. It was really important to me to keep all my normal routines the same, as long as everything was just as it always had been, I felt like I could slip back into my pre-pregnant life without missing a beat. So every morning I would sit at the kitchen table – chatting with my dad, just like every other morning before. Then one morning when my mom put my breakfast in front of me, my whole stomach lurched – I bolted from the table and barely made it to the bathroom before I threw up. I didn’t think much of it at first, but three days later when I was throwing up because I heard a food commercial, I came to the realization that I was dealing with morning sickness… That was a problem. Not so much because I was sick all the time, but more so because morning sickness was something you dealt with when you were having a baby – and up until that moment, my brain hadn’t connected my being pregnant to me actually having a baby.
Somehow I made it to appointment day. Chris and I had talked about my concerns – exhaustively, but we both still felt like termination was the most logical decision. We really needed to undo the last month and return to our previous perfectly scripted lives. I was nervous, or maybe I was scared – one thing was certain, I was definitely confused. Chris kept telling me that he was there for me, no matter what, and that he loved me. We checked in at the front desk and were called back right away. Sitting there, I was overcome with the realization that I couldn’t go through with this. I just couldn’t do it. I looked at Chris with tears in my eyes and said, “I’m so sorry – I can’t do this.” He put his arms around me, told me we were in it together, we’d figure it out. Then he drove me home, walked me to my door, kissed me goodbye and I never heard from him again.
I unraveled pretty quickly from there. I was either super sick, bawling my eyes out or steeping in a burning rage – most days it was all three. My parents started getting concerned, asking questions…and I overheard the term “teenage angst” tossed around more times than I cared to count. Every time someone asked where Chris was, I’d mumble some version of our breakup and dissolve into a puddle of tears. My dad thought it was a girl thing, my mom wanted me in therapy and somehow they met in the middle and I ended up at my doctor’s office, my mother nervously beside me. I was emotionally and physically exhausted. There weren’t really any options left – if I wasn’t going to end it, I was obviously staying pregnant – what was the point of even trying to keep this secret anymore. So when the doctor came in and asked how I was, I shakily mumbled pregnant without even looking up. My mom was incredulous at first, but then the doctor confirmed that I was indeed about 15 weeks pregnant.
In some ways I was totally relived that my secret was finally out – I didn’t have to hide it anymore. In other ways, I was petrified for what would come next. I tried desperately to formulate a plan, come up with some kind of answers, but the thing is – there’s no plan for unplanned pregnancy. You don’t expect it and it knocks the wind out of you, sucking away the innocence you so naively believed you still had. It leaves your life in a disheveled heap of questions that you don’t have the answers to…at least that’s how I felt. My parents were angry at first, completely outraged, and then disappointed, but they didn’t kill me. They did tell Chris’ parents, which was awkward and weird and awful. To Chris’ credit, he never denied getting me pregnant, his parents never doubted me. The parents supported me the best they could, shared their opinions and helped when possible, but ultimately I had a lot of tough decisions to make about what I was going to do – they couldn’t do this for me…no one could.
I had the baby, and I kept him. Nothing about it has been easy. It has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done actually, but I don’t regret it for a second. I went to school as long as I could, which was until I was about 8 months pregnant. My parents were ok with me and the baby living with them – which was incredibly helpful, but I needed to figure out the child care arrangements. They made it very clear, they were willing to help, they were not willing to raise my child for me. So I also got a part time job, to help save some money and then applied for correspondence classes so that I could continue with my high school education after I had the baby. I finished high school and I’m on a slower track to career success, but I’m getting there. I’ve taken a lot of night classes and I don’t take on a full course load. My life looks different than it did all those years ago when I had everything perfectly planned and organized, but it’s still the life I wanted. I’m still working towards achieving the same goals I’ve always had. I’m still me.
My life looks different than it did all those years ago when I had everything perfectly planned and organized, but it’s still the life I wanted. I’m still working towards achieving the same goals I’ve always had. I’m still me.
Having a baby didn’t ruin my life, it just changed it. Planning looks different these days, but I’m ok with that because I made the decision that was right for me. I’ve had to take a lot of help along the way and that’s ok too, because unplanned pregnancy is never something you should try to do by yourself. You need people, you need support – that’s what makes it doable. You really do need that safe place to land when it feels like everything is falling apart, because believe me – there will be days like that. It’d be lying to say my pride wasn’t bruised along the way. There was stares and comments and friends I didn’t hang out with anymore, but I got over it and at some point, so did almost everyone else. There’s still some nights I wonder if I can really do this and I really never did talk to Chris again – he transferred to a different university and eventually he moved away. My life will never fit into that perfectly planned out box I thought it would, instead I have an amazing little boy, people who love and support me and I’m always one step closer to achieving my dreams. Truthfully, it’s totally different than anything I ever imagined for myself…it’s better.