I was a Junior in college when I found out I was pregnant -- just over 20 years old, with my entire future ahead of me.  I had been seeing the father of my baby for almost 3 years.  I was very deeply in love with him and at one time I thought that we would spend the rest of our lives together.  But our relationship had always been tumultuous.  He was emotionally unstable and verbally and emotionally abusive.  He cheated on me frequently and always picked fights with me, calling me horrible names and accusing me of awful things I never said or did.  Later he would drink himself sick and call me in the middle of the night to "take care of him."  Often times when this happened he would break down crying and tell me how much he loved me and how sorry he was for treating me so badly.  I believed him...until I got pregnant.

I got pregnant right after Thanksgiving 2007.  At that time, the father of my baby had been "dating" another girl for about a month.  I had been using NuvaRing birth control, but upon returning to school after Thanksgiving break I forgot to pick up my prescription on time.  The father of my baby didn't like to use condoms, and we hadn't used them for a long time.  But I thought it would be okay to have sex with him anyway, since my period had just ended and I had only recently gotten off the birth control.  I had always heard that it was rare to get pregnant under those circumstances.

 The very next day after I had sex,  I had a gut feeling that I was pregnant.  I became paranoid and started obsessing over it, especially when I didn't get my period 2 weeks later.  The father of my baby was going through one of his mood swings, giving me the cold shoulder.  To get his attention, I told him that I thought I was pregnant.  He was furious.  He immediately blamed me for everything, saying that it was all my fault because I wasn't on birth control like I was "supposed to be."  I responded by saying that I didn't see him reaching for a condom.  He accused me of getting pregnant on purpose to try to rope him into marrying me, saying that I was jealous of his other girlfriend and I didn't want him to "move on" from our relationship.  Despite all of his harsh words, he was inviting me to have sex with him and telling me he loved me again just a few days later.

At that time, I was on speaking terms with his other girlfriend.  We had met previously at a party when they were "just friends."  I told her that I was pregnant, and if I was I knew it was his.  She confronted him about it and he denied even having sex with me.  She believed him.

 I went home for winter break in early December.  I made a comment to my mom, hinting that I might be pregnant.  My aunt was visiting us at the time for Christmas.  She bought me two pregnancy tests.  They both had positive results, but I didn't believe the tests because the line was faint.  We went to buy another pregnancy test to make sure, and my dad spotted us in the HPT aisle.  He asked me if I was pregnant.  I said I thought so.  I took the other test and it too resulted in a positive.  My mom was in the room with me when I found out.  She held me while we both cried.

I immediately went to tell the father of my baby that I was pregnant.  He was outraged and demanded that I get an abortion.  My family is 100% against abortion, and so am I, so abortion was never an option for me.  He told me that he would leave me and never speak to me again if I didn't get an abortion.  He said that if I aborted our baby, he would break up with his other girlfriend and devote himself to me.  I knew that he was lying either way.  I told him that there was no way I was getting an abortion, whether he liked it or not.  He then asked me to look into adoption, but I didn't feel right about that either.  I thought it was wrong to burden someone else with my own responsibility.  I also felt like my baby was MINE, and I didn't want to let someone else raise my baby.

I begged the father of my baby to tell his other girlfriend and his parents that I was pregnant.  I at least hoped that his parents would be somewhat supportive.  His mother got pregnant with him when she was only 15 years old, so he is a product of a crisis pregnancy himself.  He finally admitted to his other girlfriend that I was pregnant, and after telling her that it wasn't his baby, he went back and said that it was his baby but that I got pregnant before he and his other girlfriend started dating.

He only went to the doctor with me twice -- for my first ultrasound at 12 weeks, and once when I literally had to drag him out of his dorm room to go with me.  He would see me in the school cafeteria and ignore me because he would be hanging out with his ex-girlfriend or his fraternity brothers.  Every time I went to his room to talk to him or see him, his fraternity brothers would harrass me, banging on his door to call me names and tell me to get out.  He never did anything to stop them.   When I was about 5 months pregnant, he got drunk and called my cell phone over 20 times.  He left messages screaming at me and calling our baby "that thing growing in my stomach."  He wanted me to meet him somewhere to talk, but I was afraid that he would hurt me or my baby.  He was walking all around campus trying to find me.  My friends hid me in their room so he wouldn't know where I was.

 To make a long story short, his mother only found out I was pregnant after I called my mom in tears and asked her to call and tell his mother that he had gotten me pregnant.  He had told his mother things about me that caused her not to like me anymore (she used to love me), so I was afraid that she would hang up on me if I tried to tell her myself.  My mom reluctantly did as I asked.  She said that his mother had no idea that he was even speaking to me anymore, let alone that I was pregnant.  She was in shock.  After that, I never heard from his mother again.  My daughter is now 7 months old, and her paternal grandmother has not even seen her a single time.

 My daughter was born on August 23, 2008, at 7:55am, a healthy 8lbs. 8oz. and 20 inches long.  I was so ready for her to come, and I am so blessed to have her in my life!!  She was born in the town where I went to college, so unfortunately my family was unable to attend the birth, but my mom called just in time to hear her granddaughter's first cries!!  In lieu of my own mother, I had asked the wife of my favorite professor to be with me at the hospital.  She and her husband have been like my second family.  I lived at their house for 6 weeks before and after my daughter was born, and my professor privately tutored me for the fall semester so I could enjoy my daughter's infancy without missing school.

 The father of my baby never showed up at the hospital.  He had a falling out with me about 2 weeks before I gave birth and didn't talk to m e again until my daughter was 1 month old.  He saw her for the first time when she was 2 months old.  She is now over 7 months old, and he has only seen her 4 more times.  None of his relatives have ever seen her.  They have never even called to check on her.  He never really calls to check on her either.

 But, thanks to the support of my first AND second families, my friends, and my college community, I will be graduating ON TIME with my class in May 2009.  I also completed my Senior Thesis (required for all Seniors) before its deadline, and it was 100 pages long.  In addition, I recently presented a research paper at a conference for students within my major, and I will begin my first year of law school next fall.

 I am a YOUNG, SINGLE, SUCCESSFUL mom, and you can be too!!  An unexpected pregnancy does not have to be the end of your (or your baby's) life.  As long as you have a strong support system, you can do ANYTHING, even if it means raising a baby and going to school or work all on your own.  Even if you feel all alone, you're not.  There are plenty of young women like me who have been in your shoes and have been successful parents, students, and careerists.   You can do this, if you want to.  Your child WILL change your life, but that doesn't mean that he or she will change it for the worse.  On the contrary, your child will change your life for the BETTER!!  Girl, if you can do this, you can do ANYTHING!!

 If you have any questions for me, want to know more about my story, or share your own story with me, please feel free to comment or send me a message or e-mail.  I would love to hear from you and help in any way I can.

 Thanks for reading my story!

- Tiffany

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