Panic sets in. Fear takes control. Rational thought abandons ship and ‘ABORT MISSION’ becomes the primary goal. In crisis situations people tend not to think through their options. Emergency responses kick in: “Fight!”, “Flight!”, “Act now!”, “Run and hide!” Our greatest fears become the focus of our reality. Survival instincts can betray us when we’re in this mode. We get so caught up in the moment. We may solve an instantaneous problem; however, we may also cause long term issues we regret.
Unlike most teen pregnancies, I planned my daughter. I was 15 when I got “knocked-up.” I was not under duress. This was not an accident. Nor was I ignorant of the consequences of unprotected sex. With full understanding of my actions, I sought out becoming pregnant. It took me a whole three tries, and ‘voila!’ – I was with child.
My boyfriend of a couple years was also a willing participant. He and I were “in-love”. We were going to be the exception to the rule. We were going to stick in there, make this relationship last, and we were going to defy the odds. All this except…. we were not doing anything different than anyone else. We did not have some amazing skills and relationship tools. We did not listen to wisdom and healthy advice. We were independent.
We were arrogant, self-sufficient, and cut off from genuine accountability. Like most teenagers, we thought we “knew it all”. However, in our culture today, even adults act like this. We have become so good at telling others what to do, how they should live their life, and pointing out their shortcomings. Yet, we isolate ourselves. We walk in pride, thinking we do not need others who have knowledge, wisdom, and expertise in any area.
We then reproduce dysfunction. We cultivate and perpetuate the need for right and wrong, fear and punishment, living in secret and walking in ignorance. We demand respect, but do not give it. We want freedom and independence without responsibility and covenant relationships. We do not want to be bothered and burdened. Most certainly we do not want the stress of learning how to have self-control and deal with conflict.
We want all the pleasures and no difficulties. We act like self-centered toddlers demanding our way. We are perpetually in the “mine” stage. As essentially very large children ourselves, we consequently view having our own children as an inconvenience, as an annoyance, and as a noose around our neck, like some necessary evil. They get in the way of the “mine” and the “me time.”
Even those children who are wanted can be strenuous. They can (and will) expose our core beliefs, our insecurities, our unpreparedness, and our own immaturity. Why then are they called a blessing? Why then desire to have them? Why bring one into this horrific and broken world in the first place?
You see those cute little faces and your heart melts. Something inside softens. Most people want babies, and most people have an intense fear of teenagers. Yet, even with babies, we get afraid. What about the cost? What about “my dreams”? What if I suck at parenting and I ruin their life? The “What if’s…” screw us every-time!
We don’t think about solutions. We don’t problem solve. We simply respond to our fear and trample faith beneath our feet. We dig a hole deep down and we bury possibility. We cover it with the dust of the ground and live within the rot of hope and the loss of joy.
My high school sweet heart and I did not make it. After many years of a co-dependent relationship we separated. In our wake, two amazing, devastated children. It would be over a decade later their father would pass away, leaving more heartache and trauma. I learned, as most of us do, no matter how much as we plan life isn’t always smooth sailing. At times we have to batten the hatches, but no matter what storms we weather the most important thing is that we remain true to our destination.
My beautiful daughter grew up, and at the age of sixteen she surprised me. It was not exciting. It was not bliss. And it was not welcomed with happiness. As we stood together in the bathroom, her body fell to the floor. She began crying in emotional agony. She felt she had made the biggest mistake of her life. With two blues lines on a pee stick, I was now going to be a grandmother and she a mom to an unwanted, very unplanned pregnancy.
It was all I could do not to carry her shame. Riddled with guilt, she clung to my body all night long. Being passionate about life I encouraged her to believe in herself. I held her hand and whispered in her ear. Though I was disappointed, it was not in her. I felt I myself had failed as a parent. I came to terms with being a young grandmother, but she could not get over the fears of raising this child “alone.”
Her dreams were so big. Her imagination so wild. And her better judgement did not get control of her. She entertained all the truths that are subject to interpretation. “It’s going to be harder to date.” “It is going to be harder to finish school.” “It is going to be harder to pay for things.” Suddenly, all she could hear was, “Life is going to get really HARD!”
Several weeks into her pregnancy she made a decision. A decision she later regretted. A decision she can never take back. We had already been shopping, preparing, going to classes, etc. I was so proud of how she was handling herself and the predicament she was in. I had embraced becoming a grandma. I was even going to be known as Glam-ma. I had gone to all her doctors appointments and had even been talking to her belly.
All the while she was dying inside…
She never got past her fears. One mistake and everything changed. But two wrongs don’t make a right.
Quietly, she laid in a clinic convinced she was doing what was best. Behind my back she got rid of this ‘tissue’ as if was some cancer growing inside of her. She justified her actions as morally responsible. Knowing I would be grieved, she hid her secret from me. Trying to save me from pain, her from condemnation, and us from from conflict, she fabricated the loss of her child to my face.
Betrayal was beyond what I was feeling. My daughter was engrossed with sadness. She felt alone. She gave up her baby for the sake of the greater good. Why then did we both feel so bad? I bonded with my grandchild. I was mad at my daughter. I was trying to be sensitive to her pain without condoning her actions.
We sat in our driveway as she explained her heart the best she could, while I mourned the loss of my grand baby. It was such a helpless feeling. I wanted so badly to reach into her situation and change things. Her life was going up in flames. My power was in maintaining self-control and by not adding more fuel to her flaming, crumbling infrastructure.
I watched as my little girl drive off in my car. She had kicked me in the gut with her words and was now leaving because she did not know how to deal with the intense pain we were both enduring. I prayed for peace. I prayed for comfort. And I prayed for wisdom.
With the impression that the baby was going to be a girl, Trinity Honor was going to be her name. This precious human being that now resides in heaven with her grandfather has never left my heart. More-so, she has haunted her mother ever since she departed.
It took over a year for my daughter to attempt to get over what she had done. She turned to substance abuse to drowned out the noises in her head. She shut out everyone she loved and was close to. She abandoned the dreams she sacrificed her daughter for. And she herself no longer lived but simply existed waiting for time to pass her by…
I am not saying planning a child when you are a teenager is a good thing. I am not supporting nor am I condoning my own behavior in that area. I love being a mother and I adore all of my children. I also do not support or condone abortions. I know many people who have had one and I still love those people.
In life we make mistakes. Hopefully we learn and grow from them. I do not expect people to be perphect, nor do I demand perphection out myself. It is not my place to judge others actions. I do not have to, nor do I get to live their lives. What I can say is:
Most people’s consequences for their own actions condemn and shame them enough.
When we pull others from their self imposed guilt, we empower them to walk in their destiny. People are pretty amazing. Given the opportunity, most will choose to walk in the light.
How can we impose our values and beliefs on others when we ourselves do not view children as a blessing? How do we “make” them believe they should want their children when we do not “like” our own? How do we show people that generations are to be enjoyed when we ourselves avoid the vulnerability of messy relationships?
Today my remarkable daughter started beauty college. I am so proud of her. She has gotten healthy. She has forgiven herself and she is pursuing her dreams. Though she is learning how to let go and how to manage her emotional pain, she holds dear a little girl who is forever apart of this world.
May we never give up on our dreams, and may we never ABORT our blessings even if they do come by accident.
CareNet Pregnancy Center
Loving Our Kids On Purpose