When I was twenty, I became pregnant. Impregnated. With child. This also happened when I was eighteen. I had decided that time to have an abortion, but miscarried before I had to consider it seriously. This time, there was nothing to consider. I was going to have a baby. I thought no further than that. There was no fear. No anxiety or trepidation of any kind. I was at complete peace.
It was simply not bad news to me. I have no idea why. I barely even liked children. In fact, when I walked by children playing, I would shudder. I’m not kidding. I hated babysitting children when I was younger. I had no desire to have a family. No desire to even have a husband. I didn’t really have any plans, but my desire for my life was basically to have a job, a car, an apartment, and lots of freedom!
So why wasn’t this bad news? Again, no fucking idea.
The ONLY bad part was that I would have to tell my parents. My parents would DIE. I was sure of it. They didn’t have any specific plans for me, but as parents, they certainly knew that having a child would set a tone for my future that would probably make for a great hindrance.
From the moment that child was born, my life was changed. That instant. That terrible and hard delivery brought forth a child that created a force in me that has not stopped stirring since.
The delivery was so exhausting, and I had been so ill with toxemia, that the nurses couldn’t even hand him to me. They had to set him on a stand next to me. I feebly reached out my hand to hold his and the energy of that touch was the greatest thing I had ever felt. I was nearly twenty-one. And that will be twenty-seven years ago this July 10.
He is my first born son. And he is amazing. He changed my life. And I have never once… not for one moment… thought of him as a hindrance to anything. Quite the opposite, in fact.
I have a close friend whose daughter became pregnant at sixteen. She was struggling with whether or not to get an abortion. She asked me what I would do if I were her. I said, “You know what I did when I was you!” But I went on to tell her plainly that there is nothing in the world as wonderful as rocking your baby. Nothing as amazing as watching her become a young lady and get ready for her first prom. And nothing as horrifying as finding out she was killed in a car accident that night. I told her there was no one who could tell her what to do, because these were things she herself was going to have to choose, and she herself would have to live through. That whatever she decided to do, I would support her in her decision. She spent a good month talking with friends and relatives about her options. She chose adoption.
The movie JUNO brought all of this back to mind. Very emotional for me to watch. The thing that happened to my little friend was almost identical to what happened with Juno. The people backed out, six weeks before the baby was due. She was devastated. She would not even attempt to try to find another family she felt she could trust to deserve her precious gift. So she decided to keep the little one. And precious she is. Adored by so many.
When my youngest son, at eighteen, told me his girlfriend was pregnant, how could I respond with anything but supportiveness? That baby has changed his life.
All of these children changed lives. And will continue to do so.
Does this mean I encourage teenage pregnancy? That I think the pact that the girls in the news made to have babies en masse is a good idea? Of course not. In fact, if you sat down and talked with me, you would soon discover that I do not encourage pregnancy for anyone at all! I still am not of a mind that everyone should have babies. That every woman should think of herself as incomplete until she’s a mother. That every man should think himself incomplete until he has a family. What wretchedness that sort of thinking brings. I’ve watched people fall to pieces in agony, just hoping for offspring. Children do not complete us. They are the manifestation of creative energy. They are the continuance of life. The outpouring of spirit.
And they are themselves. Not an extension of us.
Buy New $11.95