We came across a fantastic new blogger, Alyssa, and were so inspired by the positive spin she is putting around her teen pregnancy.
This girl is what Young Moms Club is all about and we’re so grateful that she offered to be a guest blogger and honestly and vulnerably share her story and advice.
Whether you’ve experienced high school motherhood or not, her story will inspire you and I’m sure you’ll fall as much in love with her as we did….
Sometimes life does not go the way you planned. I’m not talking about being late for work one day, or not passing your drivers ed test, or Victoria Secret running out of that super cute pair of underwear in your size. Sometimes life takes you down roads you never thought would exist for you. But often you’ll find if life leads you there, it’s where you’re meant to be.
In high school I had a pretty great experience. I had lots of friends, an amazing boyfriend, some wonderful opportunities to participate in musical productions, and so on and on. Life was amazing and everything seemed to be going the way I wanted. Until my life changed, literally for the rest of my life, my senior year.
The year had just started; my senior year in high school. The year you look forward to and cannot WAIT to experience. I was about 3 months into my Senior Year when I began to feel different. Something was definitely not right. I was tired out of no where and all the energy I was so used to having felt like it had been sucked from my body. It was a nearly IMPOSSIBLE task for me to get up and I had to force myself out of bed everyday. I was so confused. What is wrong with me? I started to think I had come down with some kind of flu or illness because in the days that followed I lost my appetite and felt nauseous almost daily. I had never been this sick or tired in my life. A week or so after, the nausea left, but the exhaustion did not. I would go to bed so early and still woke up feeling like I’d slept on a bed of nails. Eventually though the tiredness subsided as well, so I figured it was over and done with.
A month or so had passed and I was counting down the days until my 18th birthday. But I was also counting up the days my period had been late. At this point it had only been a week or so behind, which happened often since my period was usually irregular. But by the time two more weeks had passed and my birthday was around the corner, I began to worry. The daunting thought had passed my mind several times, but I wouldn’t bring myself to entertain the crazy idea that I could be pregnant, and not even 18 yet. I pushed the thought from my mind and promised myself if I turned 18 and still hadn’t gotten my period, I would discuss it with Steven and we would figure it out together.
Let me talk about Steven for a minute. You want a man who is unwavering and loyal, amazing and compassionate, supportive and loving, that’s him. Of all the fears I had with the possibility of a teen pregnancy, not once did I fear he would leave or refuse to help me, no matter my decision. He has been there for me since we were kids in Jr. High. A good friend, great listener, and always my secret admirer.
When most girls would be excited for their huge 18th birthday, I dreaded it. As the days crept closer, so did the horrific realization that I had been worried about the past 2 and half months. On the day of my birthday, Steven came over to my house and picked me up for a surprise Disneyland Day. He bought me a pair of jeans that I loved the second I saw. He knew exactly what I liked. They were the right color, fit, and size. I went upstairs to try them on and sure enough they were pretty snug, almost to the point of not buttoning. My heart jumped to my throat and my heart started to pound. What is happening? How can this be? I wiggled into the pants and changed into a looser top so no one would see just how tight these were around my mid section. The whole ride to Disneyland I was silent. I knew eventually Steven and I would need to find out once and for all, though deep down I knew what was coming.
After a day of fun at Disneyland, reality sank in. My 18th birthday had come and gone and sure enough I had yet to receive that long awaited visitor. We decided that night we would go buy a test. I waited in the car while Steven bought it. I couldn’t bear the thought of someone we knew seeing us both there purchasing a pregnancy test. After what felt like an eternity, Steven hurried into the car with a bag in hand. I couldn’t believe we were at this point. Right now in the beginning of high school and the prime of our lives. We went back to my house and I went straight upstairs to the bathroom. I will never forget that feeling of sitting and waiting for a couple measly lines to appear on a plastic stick to determine the rest of your life. Three minutes is an awfully long time to sit and contemplate exactly what you’re doing and what might change the minute I stepped out of my bathroom.
I grabbed the stick and took one glance. Did I really think it would be anything other than what we dreaded? I shoved it into my purse, along with the box and instructions and stepped outside the bathroom onto the hall banister. I gave Steven a look that only he could understand and we headed for the front door. The minute we stepped outside I began to cry. How could this be? We were always so careful. Steven never moved from that spot until I stopped crying. I pulled myself together and we walked down the street a long ways away from my house. We threw away any evidence in a trash can outside of a stranger’s house.
The walk back took an hour? Two hours? I’m not even sure. The amazing thing about Steven is he was my boyfriend and best friend all in one. We could talk about literally anything. We talked about our options, the pros, the cons, our family’s, etc. What would everyone say? How would I still go to school and have this baby? We eventually decided on an appointment to Planned Parenthood. I needed to find out how far along I was and talk to someone other than family.
Planned Parenthood is a scary place to say the least. All the workers are curt and make you feel uneasy. Everything is barred and locked and requires codes. The nurses are rude and to the point. I wanted to leave the second we got there, but I needed answers. When they called my name I asked if Steven could come back with me. A rude short nurse told me “No. No men. Put your stuff in the locker and come with me.” I did as I was told and reluctantly followed. I was taken to a cold, dimmed room and was told to strip and change into a cloth nightgown. I waited anxiously for what seemed like hours before a nurse came back with my urine test results. I was definitely pregnant. A little while later a different nurse came in, this one was licensed to perform an ultrasound. She asked if I wanted to know if it was twins or just one. Some women go in for abortions and don’t want any information. Of course I wanted to know, I was curious. She told me it was just one and I looked about 11 weeks. Then she looked at me very seriously and asked me “Do you want to see your baby?” This took me by complete surprise. It was the first time I had heard someone else say it. Baby. My Baby. Up until this point I hadn’t looked at it as a baby, but a nuisance and something I had been stressed about for weeks. I didn’t know what I wanted. I did manage to say that I DID want to see. This was it. She turned the screen to face me and there it was. This little alien that looked no bigger than a banana maybe. I could see it’s head, some little things that looked like fingers and toes. She let me look for a minute or two and turned off the screen. She left the room and told me someone would be in to talk about my options and I could get back in my street clothes.
Those couple minutes of waiting gave me a lot to think about. I had just seen my baby. This real living thing growing inside of me. I hadn’t intended for it to be there, but it was. Happy, and thriving, and absolutely beautiful. I cried to myself and managed to compose myself before the knock on the door. She discussed my options quickly and gave me her card in case I wanted to come back. You can guess for what. I walked right into the waiting room and straight to Steven as my eyes began to water. “I saw it.” I managed to choke out. “It’s 11 weeks and it’s beautiful”.
As we pulled out of the parking lot of Planned Parenthood we saw a small building not far from us. The banner above said “Pregnancy Resource Center”. We decided to stop by and see what it was about. We walked in to see the two smiling faces of older women secretaries. I told them I didn’t have an appointment, but I was curious what they offered. They had us wait for only a few minutes before an older woman called me back. She explained she was a sort of therapist and I could tell her anything I wanted about my situation. After I talked to her she explained that they offered free ultrasounds and prenatal vitamins if I was interested. I told her I would talk it over with my boyfriend and sure enough we went back a few weeks later. I had an ultrasound and they told me they had a good idea of the gender. I requested Steven to come in and they were more than happy to allow it. Steven held my hand as the nurse explained we would be having a beautiful baby boy who appeared to be growing and developing perfectly. The tears were no longer worry or fear, but happiness. They gave us a HUGE gift basket of little boy things. Blue teddy bears, diapers, a blanket that Jackson still has to this day, and several other little trinkets. For the first time this felt okay. I felt like it was going to be okay. Every thing I was afraid of melted away in that moment. I was carrying my child. My beautiful son. OUR son.
We kept it a secret for a long time. Mostly because we were afraid of what our families would say. NONE of them would see this one coming. I didn’t show for awhile. I got away with loose tops and sweaters since it was Winter and still chilly, but when February rolled around bringing the warmth and my fifth month, I began to grow. My stomach looked like a perfectly round basketball. Rumors had begun to spread around the school. “Alyssa looks bigger, just in her stomach” or “Alyssa is always sick and they’re never at school”. Obviously it spread like wildfire. As dreadful as it was, it was time to tell the truth. It couldn’t be just our secret anymore. We told my younger sister first. I was close to her then and I knew of everyone we would eventually HAVE to tell, we may as well have the first reaction be one of happiness and excitement. She was thrilled when we told her and she managed to keep it from our family and friends for a few days. This was the jump start we needed. As we told each of our families, I wish I could say it got easier. Our families were shocked. I was pregnant, almost seven months along by then! Not only was I telling them “Hey we’re having a baby.” it was also “And it’s a boy and he’ll be here in 3 months”.
After our families accepted our decision and this new member, it was easier to take on. We posted it on Face Book for all the world to see. Friends and students knew and were happy for us. I continued going to school, sickness, swollen feet, big belly, and all. I went to prom 7 months pregnant and Steven rubbed my swollen feet for hours afterward. I graduated 8 months pregnant, with Steven by my side. We planned a huge baby shower the week after graduation. So many of our friends and family came. Our boy was already so loved and spoiled, which made everything seem right. Almost a month to the day we graduated, our Jackson was born.
July 4th, 2012 was an amazing day for us. I gave birth to the most amazing gift and our lives began to shape from that moment on. We went from Steven and Alyssa to Mommy and Daddy to this new little stranger everyone had already fallen in love with. He was perfect. Long and healthy, and cuddly to boot.
It’s remarkable to me, to look back at all the choices I’ve made. All the things I did or didn’t do. The roads I did or did not take. Every one of those triumphs and obstacles eventually led me to Jackson. I’m convinced he was meant to be here. He is the light of my life, and Steven’s too. He didn’t make life easier, but he did make it better. He gave me something to wake up to, something to better myself for. This was not something I planned, but it’s not something I would ever change. He’s been with us for two years now and I’ve been the happiest I’ve ever been. Being a mother is such an amazing experience and it’s made me grow and become such a different person. He is not an easy responsibility and he gave Steven and I a lot to think about. We grew up earlier than most, but I can’t say it’s not worth it all. Because it is. When he holds my hand to show me something he’s proud of, when he sings with me in the car, when he wants me to kiss a cut he gets from the park. To watch him and Steven together is the greatest thing of all time. Their bond is inseparable and like nothing I ever dreamed of being a part of.
I mostly wanted to share my story because I know from my own experiences and others, it’s easy to make a choice that may take you down a path you’re not ready for. For girls my age, younger, older, or even boys, you are not alone.
Do not automatically choose the easiest path to break out of a difficult situation.
Consider your options and consider the weight you will carry with each decision. There are some amazing places like the San Bernardino Pregnancy Resource Center. They will make you feel at ease and comfortable with your situations because everyone’s teen pregnancy is different. In the end, make the best choice for you. I know I did.
Here are six very important things to remind yourself while you’re taking part in one of the most terrifying, painful, amazing, unbelievable, and indescribable adventures of your life- Teen Pregnancy.
Whether you’re a teen mom, a married mom, a single mom, a cool mom, or even one of the moms who swear they’ve got it all figured out… teen pregnancy is terrifying to say the least.
You’re suddenly responsible for more than yourself, and it begins even before they’ve left your womb. You’re going to get a flood of advice (sometimes- actually…. most times unwanted advice) but none the less you are more than likely to be bombarded.
1. OPTIONS. You as a mother and pregnant woman always have options. You are never confined to just one choice. People have different beliefs and different controversial issues that they feel strongly about, but in the end it is YOUR decision and YOURS alone to make. Unless the father of your child is in the picture and making choices regarding this pregnancy with you. Then of course, you should include him in your decision making process.
2. FIND A SUPPORTIVE FIGURE. If you don’t have a relationship with the father of your baby or someone who will give you good advice, look to a friend or a family member that you trust. Someone that you know will give you their honest and sometimes brutal feedback, but in the end no matter what you decide they will support you and be there for you. You don’t want to make a life changing decision on your own. It’s relieving to have someone behind you saying “You got this. You can do it and I’m here with you to help and guide you” whatever your choice may be.
3. TRUST. You need to trust yourself. Trust in your choice and that you made the right one. If you fully trust yourself and your decision, and you move forward with it you will find such happiness and peace at the end of your journey. If you trust yourself and your decision, you will fully be able to say “the decision I made was right for me, my situation, and my child.”
4. IRRELEVANCE. This one is ESPECIALLY for teen moms. I wish I could go back and tell my pregnant high school self, “These peoples opinions of you and your decision do. not. matter.” After all is said and done, YOU are living with your decision, not them. They don’t know your situation. They don’t know what’s best for you. Only you do. These people are irrelevant and after you graduate or after you move on from seeing these people, they are not relevant to you or your life.
5. SELFLESS. You have to remember, mothering starts the minute you conceive that child. Not when they’re born, not when they can ask you for things, not when you need to punish or reward. It starts the minute you become pregnant. You have to put yourself aside from now on and put that baby first. You have to eat right. You have to stop the drinking, the smoking, the partying. You have to grow up. It isn’t about you anymore. It isn’t about everything you want anymore. It’s about creating the best life possible for your child. The best environment. It’s about keeping them safe at all costs. This all starts with you. For those nine long, amazing months, YOU are literally the ONLY person who can feed that baby, you are it’s protector. You can’t ever forget that. Just because you can’t physically see that little human you’ve created doesn’t mean it isn’t there. It’s growing and it needs you to make responsible decisions for it to thrive.
6. ENJOY. As scary and emotional as pregnancy can be, nine months can go by pretty quickly (until those last few months; that’s when you’re ready to pop and the bloated misery sets in) It is such a beautiful and wonderful experience. Enjoy it. Enjoy the kicks. Enjoy the foot print you see across your stretched out belly, even if it’s only a millisecond. Enjoy getting to eat as much as you want because your cravings get the best of you. Enjoy people wanting to touch your belly. Enjoy picking the names. Enjoy never feeling lonely, always having that companion right below you. Enjoy it all. Soak it all in. It won’t feel like it, but you will miss it. You’ll look at your stretch marks as your toddler tells you a wild story and you’ll remember not long ago the small space he was crammed in. How far your tiny belly once stretched because it couldn’t hold all the love and life without being stretched to it’s limits- and then stretching further. Enjoy every moment because it will not last forever. The memories of how it once felt to feel the kicks and the sway of a little body beneath you will start to fade. You may be scared, and you may not think you’re ready, but who is ever really ready? Trust me it is worth it all. Every last minute. Every last stretch mark is worth all the love you’re about to endure. Enjoy.
Alyssa is a Southern California girl born & raised with a love for all things sparkly, pink, and fun! She lives for adventure, food, and fashion and has experienced a lot in her life. She’s a mom, a wife, a self-proclaimed beauty guru, a sister, a friend, a hopeless romantic, a personal therapist, a pageant queen, and now a blogger! You can read more about her and the rest of her fantastic blogs at her website www.lifewithlyssa.weebly.com