16 and pregnant: my own story.

I’ve been digging through the posts from my old blog and came across this one that I feel like sharing with you fine folks today. My very best friend in the world is pregnant and right now is potentially miscarrying, as I type this. While waiting to find out what her doctor says today, it has me thinking about the time I had a miscarriage… when I was 16 years old. Keep in mind that I had my daughter when I was 19 (she is 8 now), so the lesson here is that I was a slutty teenager that didn’t learn from her mistakes. Enjoy!

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I have historically done and learned things the hard way. I’m hard-headed, I don’t heed good advice and of course, I’m a glutton for punishment. We’ll call these character flaws and keep it moving! I’ve done some mental digging in my closet of skeletons and would like to share this story with you. If you’re secretly hoping it’s as juicy as the tasteless reality show on the same subject, I need you to click the damn X in the corner of this browser window! There is nothing exciting, entertaining or glamorous about teen pregnancy. Sickos. What you are about to read will be pretty serious, but I hope to shine a light on a side of teen pregnancy that doesn’t usually get attention. Aside from the fact that I made a horrible mistake, and still didn’t learn from it… I still had feelings and was still a person trying to figure out my way. Keep this in mind next time you see a sassy ass girl with a baby bump. You never know what is happening in her life.

The story actually starts when I was 14, just starting my freshman year of high school in 1999. The internet was rapidly gaining popularity and I was fortunate enough to have it in my home. I met this boy in an AOL chat room (Places: Delaware to be precise). We did the instant messaging flirting, then exchanged emails and pictures (of the non-dirty kind), and eventually phone numbers. Then he came over to meet me in person! I can’t remember the bogus lie I had to tell my mom about where I met him. It must have been damn good though because before I knew it, he was my boyfriend!

He was 16 and could drive (between the hours of 6am and 9pm), he had cash flow from a part-time job, didn’t go to my school, and made me feel warm & tingly in places I didn’t know existed. I had hit the ruin-the-rest-of-your-high-school-experience jackpot! High school relationships are complicated though. Our claim to togetherness was an on again/off again, I hate you/I love you, drama-filled 2 year production. At that age you could practically be considered married after 6 months, and I was totally loving all of it.

The climax of our show came in my junior year of high school, 16 years old. I went to Florida in February 2002 for a marching band trip (I was in color guard! Laugh all you want, I was one of the captains and I rocked that shit). While there, it dawned on me that my period was way late. I wouldn’t have been as concerned if I used birth control or condoms.. ha – that “wasn’t my style.” Ohhh 16-year-old Amanda, you were an extreme dumbass. I couldn’t figure out how to get away from the chaperones and to a pharmacy to buy a pregnancy test.. so I spent that entire week anxiously weighing the possible repercussions of a pregnancy, and calling my boyfriend every chance I got to whine hysterically about wanting to be home so I could find out! On February 24 I finally sat down in his passenger seat, shamelessly forced him to buy the test, and watched that stick covered in my piss tell me that there was a baby inside me.

Words can’t describe what happened next, I cried… and cried and cried. It was the first day that I could drive without an adult between 6am and 9pm so I took to the wheel and we drove for hours. Going on and on about “what are we going to do?!” “How the hell am I going to tell my mom?!” “What about school?!” I was terrified. I didn’t know how the two of us idiots were going to raise a baby when we couldn’t even have cooked ourselves dinner if the need had ever arisen! I waited a couple of weeks to break the news to my mom. I tried different scenarios out in my mind and finally decided to just tell her one evening.. I was getting more pregnant with each passing day and I needed her help. I needed to know her reaction, and what to do – I was so truly lost and alone in that time of silence. When I opened my mouth to tell her, nothing but sobs came out. And she knew. She quietly asked me, “Are you pregnant?” And then we cried together for what felt like days.

Pause. Breathe. I’m realizing that I haven’t rehashed these details in a very long time. As a mother myself now, it breaks my heart to understand what my mom must have felt that night. But, life had to go on.. I went to the OBGYN, started prenatal care, and slowly adjusted to the reality that I was due to have a baby on my 17th birthday. October 24, 2002. My boyfriend was having an easier time with it, having dropped out of school before his senior year there wasn’t really much that was changing for him. He had a hard time understanding what kind of nightmare was developing for me. At my school, news spread like wildfire and before I could blink, so did the rumors.

I heard I wasn’t pregnant, just making it up for attention. I heard I was pregnant but didn’t know by who. I heard myself get called many mean & nasty names.  My friends started slowly disappearing. My teachers looked at me with sad or judging eyes. I felt tired and sick all the time. Suddenly passing tests and doing homework seemed so extremely insignificant.

My mother had looked into a local school for pregnant chicks & those that had just had babies. Turns out that there were enough girls like me out there to build such a school in our very own district. We took a tour, gathered the necessary paperwork to be filled out for the following (my senior) year, and we began the “planning” period. These were really tough times at home.. the pregnancy put a huge strain on my mom’s marriage with my step-dad. They had a child together a few months before I got pregnant and were still very much dealing with their own baby stuff. Talking about buying furniture & diapers… the biggest issue was that they would obviously be paying for these things. I had a part-time job but quit because I didn’t care anymore. I didn’t have any income, there was no way that social services was going to offer enough money to really provide for the kid. I mean, who else but my parents to provide financially? It was an AWFUL situation to be in.

Everything in my world came to a halting stop on April 12, 2002. I woke up that morning for school, went to the bathroom.. and was bleeding heavily (this is TMI, sorry, get over it). Mom rushed me to the OBGYN, I laid down on the table for an internal ultrasound, and was shocked to learn that there was no baby growing inside me. A “blighted ovum.” That meant that although my body was developing as if I was pregnant, the fertilized egg never developed an embryo. How’s that for irony. Technically speaking, I was never actually PREGNANT. I was scheduled for a D&C, briefly visited by my increasingly uninterested boyfriend, and spent the next few days holed up in my room.

I didn’t want to see or speak to anyone, I didn’t want to go to school. I didn’t know how to process what had just happened. How do you go from becoming a teen mom to going back to a “normal” teen? The answer is – you can’t. Once that mentality has become part of who you are, it never really leaves. In my mind I was years older than my peers, experienced things they couldn’t even have nightmares about. I felt out-of-place, disconnected, and once again – alone. My boyfriend broke up with me 2 weeks after the  miscarriage, clearly he had only stuck around out of some perceived obligation to the  baby that didn’t exist anymore. Once again the rumors started.. I had never been pregnant at all, I had an abortion, more mean & nasty names, etc.

I missed the try outs for my senior Color Guard captain position, wasn’t allowed to do it late, and decided to drop out of it altogether. I set up my schedule for the following year to take only 4 classes at school and to do “part-time college” for the rest of the day. I didn’t want to be there anymore, there was nothing left for me in high school but the diploma that waited for me in June. I regained some semblance of a social life but it was never the same. I didn’t want to go to college after high school and only conceded to a part-time schedule after threats to be kicked out if I didn’t. I finally, barely, graduated high school and went to live in the “real” world.

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Fortunately, I still turned out okay. I got pregnant again when I was 18 (uhh I did mention I’m hard-headed right?), and now have this beautiful 8-year-old daughter to show for it all. I have since not had any more children, but I’ve grown up & learned a lot. To look back at these vulnerable years in my life both brings a tear to my eye and a smile to my lips. As you know, the things that we experience in our pasts shape who we are in the present – I wouldn’t change any of it at all. I just hope that one day my daughter is not as stubborn as I was, and will learn from my mistakes.

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2 thoughts on “16 and pregnant: my own story.

  1. Miracles indeed… I can’t even imagine what kind of emotional struggle that must have been for you both! The age thing… I get that a lot (obviously). I’m 27 and most of my daughter’s friend’s parents are MY mother’s age (somewhere in their 40s). That’s part of a struggle I face constantly to try and make new friends in VA after moving here 3 years ago. People my age around here (DC suburbs) are young professionals who aren’t married or have kids. People that do have kids in grade school are so much older that friendships aren’t appealing from either side it seems. It’s been interesting. Doesn’t help that I’m also 4’9″ and still look like a 16 year old! ;)

  2. Wow, it takes a story like that to make even Mr. Bitter here shed a tear. We were on the opposite side of the this equation and when it comes to children and people’s difficulties I am actually kind of a softie. My 8 year old was only after a 6 month struggle with inseminations, right when we were about to give up she came along. My son came along when we tried for two years finally got pregnant and then my wife miscarried. We adopted him after a great struggle and he came along right when the miscarried one would have been so we consider both our children little expensive miracles. It’s amazing that our daughters are the same age, but I’m 40 and you are…much younger. What matters is how much we care for them….

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