My beautiful daughter turned 26 years old this year.
I remember the day she was born as if it was yesterday.
The life I was living before and during my pregnancy wasn’t good for me, let alone another fragile and innocent life. I was only 19 when I had her and while I was still an immature young adult in so many ways, mentally and emotionally. But, I grew way beyond my years when I decided to give her up for adoption.
Being a teenager in a completely dysfunctional and mentally abusive home set me up to be a prime candidate for ending up in an unplanned teen pregnancy situation. I knew I couldn’t take care of myself and I didn’t want my emotionally abusive mother helping me raise a child. So with the help and guidance of a former teacher in high school, I chose the open adoption route for the life of my unborn child.
Once I decided to place her for adoption, I never looked back or regretted it.
5 Lessons I Learned from My Unplanned Teen Pregnancy
1. Denial Doesn’t Make Things Go Away
When I first thought I was pregnant, I immediately went into a denial phase. Even once I went and had a blood test done and my worst fears realized, I remained in denial.
Thank goodness my denial phase didn’t last too long. My sense of responsibility coupled with my fear of what my mother would say and do brought me back to reality.
Things do not go away if you deny their existence.
2. Thinking on Your Feet
I had never experienced anything this scandalous in my life. I didn’t have anyone else who was or had been in a similar situation before to go to or base my actions on. At that point, I think getting arrested would have been easier.
I needed time to figure out what I was going to do since the “sperm donor” didn’t want to help. I found myself making a lot of snap decisions, like hiding from and avoiding my parents, which wasn’t hard to do since I was already doing it – I just had to step it up a bit more. I wore baggier clothes to hide any sign of being pregnant. (Thank goodness I was a fat teenager! Camouflage was easy.)
I actually lost weight at the beginning of my pregnancy, so that helped matters tremendously. Once I started to put weight back on in my tummy, I got to be a pro at thinking on my feet to avoid and deflect.
Being able to think and react on the fly without hesitation is an essential skill to get through life.
3. Advanced Problem-Solving
Going to, and trusting, my former art teacher from high school helped me come to my decision of adoption. I’m glad I was smart enough to go to her and not try to figure something else out on my own.
Once I decided I was going to give my child up for adoption, I had to get creative on how I would meet with my adoption counselor. I wasn’t a licensed driver until I was around seven months pregnant, so getting to my appointments had to be done in a clever way my parents didn’t suspect anything.
In the end, I had my dad to drop me off at the local mall so I could “look for a part-time job.” When he left, I walked across the parking lot to the Pizza Hut, where I met with my counselor. There’s always a way when you’re faced with a difficult situation – you just have to think, plot and plan accordingly.
4. You Are No Longer Your #1 Priority
Being a young adult in college, there were always clubs to go out dancing and parties to attend. While I didn’t give up going out and having fun, I did give up bad habits like smoking and drinking, even when I was in my denial phase.
I knew I had to watch out for my well-being, but my main priority was the child I was carrying. I wanted her to be healthy and perfect for her soon-to-be new family. I became more consciously aware of my actions and habits. I ate healthier, I walked more, and I started meditating because I knew I had to keep my stress levels down.
5. Selflessness = The Ultimate Sacrifice for the Greater Good
Once I looked at how messed up both my life and family was, the right decision was easy. Putting the life of my unborn child before my own was a huge sacrifice but it was the best decision I ever made in my life.
Sometimes in life, you have to make decisions where others lives are the spotlight, not yourself.
I look back and see the wonderful life my daughter has because I made that selfless decision, and I smile. She is all the wrongs of my life gone right. She is a beautiful, intelligent and talented young woman who has already run rings around my life accomplishments. I couldn’t have given her a fraction of the amazing life she’s had. If I had to do it all over again, there is no doubt in my mind that I’d make the same choice.
No regrets, ever.