In this second story of my series on the power of the human spirit, I give you a young woman who had to face some very grown-up situations long before she was ready. To me, this story shows that no matter what we have done or what has happened to us, we can move forward and do something good with it. Our God is a God of second chances, of new beginnings, of transforming wounds into points of healing and redemption. I hope she can see that she is living this reality right now.
I hope her courage in telling her story inspires you as much as it has inspired me.
(warning: This story references abortion)
I remember being 11 years old, playing with my baby dolls while imagining how great a mom I would be when I grew up. I always thought of having a daughter who I would spoil. Not too much spoiling that she would become rotten, but just enough that she was happy. Being pregnant at the age of 25 was the dream, but at the age of 13, it became my nightmare. When I first realized that getting sick every morning for a week straight wasn’t just a flu, I decided to go to Walgreens. I went straight to the aisle with the pregnancy tests, grabbed one, threw some candy in the basket to try and hide it, and paid. I didn’t go to my house to check, I just went to the Walgreens’ bathroom. The test was positive.
My first thought was to not tell anyone. Why would I tell anyone? I was just 13. Where I lived, I thought if someone found out, I’d be bullied the rest of my life. So I decided to keep it a secret. It was hard to keep such a huge secret from not only my friends, but my family as well. Eventually, I built up the nerve to tell my best friend *Mira. She swore to never tell a soul, and I trusted her. Out of everyone she could’ve told, she ended up telling the school counselor. Obviously with good intentions, but not the best of outcomes.
The counselor, *Mr. Dewey, called me into his office. At this point, I had no idea why he called me in, but I had the strangest feeling in my gut. He tried to convince me to tell my parents, and when I said I couldn’t, he said he would call them. I begged him not to. He ended up calling them anyway. He didn’t offer any options, he didn’t give me a chance to build up the confidence to do it on my own. I know I was 13, but I felt I should’ve been able to tell my parents in my own way. They came down to the school where I met them in the counselor’s office. They looked so disappointed. I mean, I’d seen them disappointed when I skipped a class or got an F on a test, but their faces were unforgettable. In front of my counselor, they acted calmer than I thought they’d be, but as soon as we got home, the yelling began. They weren’t wrong. I was THIRTEEN. I made a stupid choice.
I went to school the next day like nothing happened. Not long after the day began, I figured out that everyone knew. I was told I couldn’t be on the basketball team because of my “situation.” A lot of my teachers knew, and the teachers’ own children knew. I could see the judgement in their eyes.
I thought out of anyone, my boyfriend would support me. But I was wrong. He blamed me and thought I should get an abortion. Like the school counselor, he didn’t listen to how I felt. He decided what he wanted me to do about the situation and told me it was my only option. I felt more alone than ever. To make it worse, he went behind my back and talked to my mom. They agreed to split the cost of MY abortion. I had done research on my own, but not enough to know that I didn’t have to be forced to go through an abortion. I didn’t know what I wanted at the time, and I wasn’t given enough time to fully think about it. My mom made the appointment, and I didn’t find out about it until a week before the surgery. That’s what I called it. Surgery. That’s what they made it seem like. I had no say in my own pregnancy. If I even brought up keeping it, I got yelled at. They even threatened to kick me out. I didn’t realize that there were other options, that there were organizations that could really help me. I was young, I didn’t think I could handle a baby on my own.
The day of the surgery came around, and I was so nervous. I had gotten an ultrasound of the baby about two weeks before, and he/she was about six weeks old. When I got to the doctor’s office, it was so full that some women had to sit on the ground. It was so sad. I looked around the room and wondered about everyone’s story. Everyone looked unhappy. That’s important. This wasn’t just something people do every day. About four hours later, my name was called. I walked in and they motioned to a chair. A nurse put Xanax in my IV and the world started to spin. Then, they did what they were paid to do. I have to emphasize the feeling though. The feeling of another life in my body that almost instantly was pulled out, was probably the most emotionally painful thing I have ever felt in my entire life. I kept my eyes closed. I felt empty afterwards. As soon as they finished, it was like a NASCAR pit stop. They put my clothes on for me as quickly as they could and helped me walk to the recovery room with a comfy chair in it. Did I mention my boyfriend tried to comfort me the whole time? I couldn't stop thinking, “you wanted this. How dare you?”
To this day, if I tell anyone, they try and criticize me. But I can’t change the past now. I have to suck it up and move forward. Telling a lot of people would be social suicide, that’s why I'm staying anonymous, but it’s good to share my story because there are girls who might find themselves in a similar situation.
If you have a friend or if you yourself are pregnant or are even scared about being pregnant, reach out. It’s one of the scariest things a teenager can go through, but there are options. Options like keeping the baby, getting an abortion, or putting the child up for adoption. Seek out one of the organizations that can not only provide information about these options, but also can provide resources. It’s hard to go through this alone. In Texas, minors are allowed to choose to not have an abortion, regardless of their parents’ wishes. Don’t feel pressured by family, media, politics or friends. Make the choice on your own because you have that right.
(The Featherduster, Vol 50, Issue 2)