I came across your website while doing research for a school paper and I was inspired by the stories I have read. I wanted to share my story with you.
In 1991, as a sophomore in high school, I found myself a growing statistic. I was the proverbial pregnant teenager. The father and I had only been together for a few months, but none the less I was in love with him: as much as a 16 year old girl can be in love. I soon found out that his commitment to me was lukewarm at best. As most stories go, he did not want me to have my child. I use “my” because that is what she is… she is my baby, my angel, my life.
I was raised as a born-again Christian and had gone to a private school through 6th grade so I knew that abortion was wrong. But the paralyzing fear of my grandparents was far stronger than my fear of answering to God for taking the life of an unborn child. Doesn’t make much sense does it?
Anyway, God works in mysterious ways and I ended up getting into a fight at school. I am not a fighter and that is the only one I have ever been in: it just so happened to be with my best friend… whose father was a pastor at a local church. Well, the result of that fight had my friend and her mother at my house the following Saturday. It was a day before the scheduled appointment to terminate my pregnancy. We sat in my room with the door closed for 3 hours. Her mother, with Bible in hand, talked to me about the decision I was making, the alternatives and the repercussions. I know it was the hand of God that intervened because when I make my mind up about something, I don’t waiver: But I did. It was as if someone turned on the lights and everything was clear, “I am going to tell my grandparents,” “I am going to have my baby!” After 3 hours of talking, they called my grandmother into the room. My friend’s mother said “Shannon has something she needs to tell you,” and as I opened my mouth, words seemed to completely escape me. I could only cry, I could not speak. I was paralyzed by fear of what this woman would think and say. Before I composed myself and found the words, she said “she’s pregnant.” It was a bitter sweet moment. No longer did I need to fear her finding out but at the same time I was not prepared for the rush of disgust that would follow in her actually knowing.
Time went on and I dealt with the wounded relationship with my grandmother. It didn’t matter to me to be honest. You see, I was taken away from my mother when I was 5. That is why I was raised by my grandparents. I lived my life in the shadows up to that point. I hid from every one and every thing. I had been disappointed and hurt by every single individual that had been a part of my life. I did not understand life, I did not understand trust, and above all, I did not understand love.
It was the beginning of a new life for me. I was no longer the little baby that I felt like on the inside… I had to pull myself out of the shadows to be to my child what I never had. I never gave thought to how I would support her or what our future would be like. The details were irrelevant to be honest with you… all I knew is that it was going to be us against the world.
I continued with my high school education, however, I did not attend a traditional high school. Fortunately for me there was a Teen Parenting Program in my area. This was such a blessing, as I was able to finish high school and graduate without skipping a beat.
The school provided parenting classes and day care so after she was born I took her to school with me every day.
On November 28, 1991, two weeks before my 17th birthday, my beautiful 6lb. 11 oz. angel came into the world. It was official, I was in love. So this is what it felt like to truly love someone. I must admit, I was addicted. I could not get enough of this tiny little gift from God. Now, I am grateful for everything that God has given me in my life… Good times and tough times as well. I would not be who I am today without any of it. But, most of all, I am grateful for the blessing of my daughter. For my lack of experience with love, it came so naturally for me when it involved her.
This child, who is now 12 years old, has taught me more about life, trust and unconditional love than I could have ever hoped for. I have made mistakes, to err is human, but I have learned from every single one of them. I have not been able to give her everything that she wants but I can assure you that the one thing every child needs, she has in abundance… Love. With a capital “L!” This child is an extension of my heart, she is the walking, living and breathing manifestation of everything that is good in me and I couldn’t be more proud to be her mother.
I am now 29 years old and have no regrets at all about my choice, never once have I wished that things were different. She is very proud of the fact that I was 16 when I had her: proud because we have a strong family unit, and proud that we have done it on our own.
Now is when it gets difficult. Everything up to this point has been a cake walk in comparison to what I will now be going through. How do I teach my daughter how to NOT follow in my foot steps? She and I talk about everything that goes on in her school, what her friends are doing and what she is not doing. We talk a lot about her life path and how she can get the most out of it. I definitely try to lead by example. I have worked my way up the corporate ladder and recently took a position as a Marketing Manager for a great company. This is the direction I have always wanted my career to go and here I am. I am also a full time student with a 3.91 GPA. You better believe I bring home my grades to show my daughter. So, I will not sit back and tell her what I want her to do with her life without showing her the benefits. I tell her “if I had waited to have you, if I had been older and had already gone to college, we would not have had to struggle the way we have.” And my decision to go back to school had as much to do with proving the importance of it to her, as it did with bettering myself.
I sit here in a computer lab at school with tears in my eyes because I realize that this is what love is all about, she is what love is all about… After almost 13 years, I am as in love with her as I was the day we met. It is a funny thing, how God works. I have learned that I cannot expect anything in life, but I can accept. I accept what is given to me each day. I accept that today may be more difficult than yesterday. But I also trust that no matter how difficult today may be, eventually, the clouds will open up, the birds will sing, the sun will shine and I will have a good day. When is it not a good day, when I can look into the eyes of the child that God gave and tell her I love her?
Thank you for what you are doing, that you for caring enough to let these girls share their stories and not feel so alone.
You seem to have a bit of a quandry in “How to help your daughter not make the choices you did.” May I share just a couple of things you can do … you can do them together as you have the schooling and even growing together.
There is a site that I know and I will copy it to you. There is a site that sells “Purity Rings”. This is something that you both can agree upon … purity to marriage.
At 13 years old, she is headed for many trials, learning experiences,peer pressures and more. It’s different for these girls today than it was when we were teens and I really would love to help you find the tools to help
your daughter through these times.
I would also recommend allowing her to read the stories on this website about the women that have not chosen life. I would read them first before allowing her to read them. Some may not be the best for her at age 13 … but if she can see the pain that abortion has caused so many women, it may be something that would stick out in her mind to also help other teen girls.
Shannon – thank you for your encouraging and beautiful e-mail. It was a joy to read.
May God richly bless you.