I feel like I am staring down this long hallway that never ends. Each door along the way opens a different chapter in my life. We may not always realize it, but these “chapters” in our lives are stepping stones. They pave a path, and this path is what makes us, “us.” The thoughts in my head are all jumbled around into one big giant puddle of confusion. Yet, even in all of this commotion, I see it. The first door, a door I really do not want to open. A place I really do not want to re-visit. Here I go anyway.
I am 19 years old. I am pregnant and I feel so alone. There is a boy. I say “boy,” because that is what he is. We are only 19. I am only a girl. He is my first love. My on again/off again since the seventh grade. At first, he wanted to marry me, by the next day he wasn’t answering my calls. That escalated quickly. I dropped out of school, and now I am looking for a full time job. I will do it alone, if I have to. After all, I am the pregnant one. At the end of the day I am STILL pregnant, even without him. I told both of my parents separately. First my mom, then my dad later on. They are very different people, and they each handled my news differently, but their reaction was exactly the same. Disappointment on their faces, and sadness in their eyes. I can see their concern for me. They never stop trying. They never stop being my parents, and they never stop loving me. Sometimes I fear they may resent me, but they help me push forward, and with their help, I do. The boy is sorry, and we get engaged. I have hyperemesis. I am very ill and cannot keep a job. The boy and his family help me. They help me obtain a great job, a career if I wanted. The boy continues school and I work weekdays. He works weekends. We find a place to live, but nothing seems right. Our engagement seems forced. We break up. He doesn’t call. I am naive, and I tell myself when the baby comes everything will be fine. Fast forward. J is born Sept 4, 2005, twenty four days before I turn 20. She is here, and my love for her is endless. I am a mother. This is what true love feels like. My life will never be the same, and I don’t want it to be. I take her to my parents house, where we will live until the boy comes around. Two weeks later, I was served papers. The boy wants custody and child support. The boy had a lawyer. Confusion. What is happening? What does this mean? How do I get a lawyer? Do I need a lawyer? I am hyperventilating. I am 20, with a newborn, in the middle of a custody battle. Fast forward. Judge rules joint-custody. Stop.
I became a mother at 19. I was so young, but so was the boy. He was a father, and he was 19 like me. He caused me a great deal of pain, but I hurt him too. None of that matters now. He was a boy and I was a girl. We were still growing, we were still learning and we were both clueless and scared. What matters, is we have a beautiful daughter who needs us both. We have made mistakes, but J is OURS. Not mine, not his, OURS. We have grown over the years, we have both changed. We have evolved into new people. Better people.
If you don’t get anything at all from this post, please get this: I would not be the person I am today if it was not for that boy. I would not have J, if it was not for that boy. Sometimes when you feel like your life is ending, it isn’t. It is actually beginning. Even though your life may not be where you expected it to be, have faith that it is where it is SUPPOSED to be.
The boy is a man now and he has a family, just like I do. We raise J together, and we do the best that we can. We are only humans after all, and being human is a complicated thing.