I was 18 when I found out I was pregnant. I was a senior at a Catholic high school, two months away from going off to college. My parents always stressed how important it was to get an education, and raised me to be a good Catholic. They taught me that all life is sacred and I didn’t have the right to take a life.
Growing up, I was always the responsible one. My life probably seemed annoyingly perfect up until I got pregnant. Officer of the dance team, Vice President of National Honor Society, second runner-up for Homecoming Queen, good grades… you can see where this is going.
Yet, everything wasn’t as perfect as it seemed. I dreamt my whole life of going to the University of Florida. I was gonna be a Gator and everyone knew it, except for the Admissions Board. I did everything right, but that congratulatory letter didn’t come. My world came crashing down and I felt like my life had no purpose. Soon after, my mom went through a major surgery and had many complications in the following months. Even though my mom was struggling with her own battles, she was there with me every step of the way; constantly supporting me. My dad was deploying again, so pretty much everything was telling me to stay home.
Then I saw those two blue lines. I can’t tell you that abortion didn’t cross my mind, because that would be a lie, but I knew in my heart I couldn’t do that. I cared a lot about what other people thought of me, and I struggled with that until my daughter was born. I was so scared and unprepared for what was going to happen.
I can’t tell you that abortion didn’t cross my mind, because that would be a lie, but I knew in my heart I couldn’t do that.
My decision wasn’t an easy one, but it was so worth it. It took about 3 months for me to admit to myself that I was really pregnant. After that, I knew I had to keep the baby. I was a little bit in denial because the first test I had taken was negative. My boyfriend and I were completely terrified when the second test came back positive a month later. He still had a year left of high school. How were we going to raise a child — assuming we got out alive after telling our parents? He felt he wouldn’t be able to give our baby away so adoption was ruled out. We both sat in tears trying to understand why this was happening, and what we were going to do. He supported me the entire time and told me that this was my decision. He told me he would never leave me, and he would love me through everything — and he did and still does to this day.
Eventually we had to tell our parents. His mom was the first to know. She told him she felt like she was going to throw up. She knew what we were going through, she had her first child at 17. My mom was next. It was the day before my senior prom when she made me take the test. We both cried a lot. She said I had ruined my future and didn’t know how I was going to take care of a baby. She also felt like adoption wasn’t the right answer. Both of our mothers told our fathers. They both flipped their lids. My dad made us sit down as a family and have a family talk which pretty much turned into a family screaming session. My mom stood by my side the whole time, through the arguing and with my decision. My dad, who was deployed, wasn’t there for anything. It’s like he left me as just regular me and when he came back I had a baby. He said he didn’t care about the choice I made, but my younger sister made her opinion very clear. I don’t think the words she said to me will ever be erased from my mind. “Why don’t you just kill it?!” She literally screamed this at me. She was more concerned with what people were going to say about her and what her friends would think with a car seat in the car.
Apparently everyone had a say in my decision. Even strangers — Why didn’t I use birth control? I did. Wasn’t I a little young to be pregnant? Yes, I was. The judging stares. I can see you! In the end, none of that mattered. I wanted to keep her.
Fast forward a couple months and here I am terrified again. I remember looking around the hospital room thinking how am I going to do this? Can I even take care of a baby? That moment was brief though because she was coming and nothing was going to stop her now. In a few hours my life would change completely. The first time I saw her I burst into tears. She was so beautiful. My heart was so full. I honestly don’t even remember what happened the next hour of my life because I was so infatuated with her. I can’t tell you how many times I told her I loved her and how beautiful she was.
It’s a little weird the things you can remember about your children. The memories play like a movie in my mind. Her first word- my daughter, my boyfriend, and I were laying in bed trying to coax some words out of her. Repeating mama and dada over and over again. My daughter was always so chatty in the morning, cooing and failing her arms. And then she said it, dada. Slightly disappointing on my end, but she just said her first word!! We all laughed and kept repeating dada. I was so proud of her. The first time she walked- I was sitting on the couch and she was playing with this little blue football. Throwing it and chasing it. I was looking down and as I looked up, there she was holding that ball and walking around. At first I didn’t think anything of it, I was like aww she looks so cute walking around and then my brain clicked, walking around!? Oh my gosh she’s walking!! Then I scrambled for my phone so I could record her. One of my favorite things she does is when she thinks I’ve left her and she looks for me. She walks around the house going “Mommy, where are you? No leave me Mommy. Come back!” Once she realizes that I’m only in the next room she runs to me, hugs me, and says “Mommy I miss you! I love you so much” while giving me kisses.
I truly believe that my life worked out the way it did because I was supposed to bring my daughter into the world. She gave me purpose again. She made me want to live. I never knew I could love someone that much. My heart practically exploded when she came. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t have the “college experience,” or that my body would never quite be the same, because I knew what real love is. She has taught me so much more than I could have ever learned at any university.
Fast forward 15 months later and there I was again holding that stupid stick with the two blue lines. I always said I wanted my kids to be two years apart, but that was before I knew I would have my first baby when I was 19 (be careful what you wish for). I was so angry. I had just started going back to school, I only had a year and a half left. I was going to graduate before the rest of my high school class would. I was finally done breastfeeding. I was finally getting my body back. I was actually happy with one child, and felt like I was okay with only having her. Now this.
This time was even harder. It was harder not to consider an abortion because I felt like I was finally myself again, not just a mom. I would have to go through all of it again. Why didn’t I use birth control? I did. Wasn’t I a little young to have two kids? Yes, I am. Those people still stared, but I didn’t care. After I got over the initial shock, which took about 3 months again, I realized what a blessing another baby would be. I realized that some women don’t even get to have one baby, and I get to have two!
Luckily my mom made me keep every little thing from my first daughter, clothes, toys, everything! But that didn’t mean I was prepared for all this again. It wasn’t as difficult to go out in public, most of the time people were too mesmerized by my adorable daughter to even notice that I was pregnant. I also just didn’t care what people thought of me anymore, because I was actually happy with my life. I spent a lot of time with my oldest daughter, I barely left her side. I wanted to get in as much time with her as I possibly could before she became an older sister.
Now I have two of the sweetest little girls. I don’t regret anything. I still get to go to school, and I even own my own business. My dreams have significantly changed though. I want to spend all my time with my family and work at home so I don’t miss anything. Something I never would have wanted before my daughters were born. I want to show my girls that they can do anything they want to do. I want them to know just because life doesn’t work out like you planned doesn’t mean that your life is over. I really feel like being a mom is what I was supposed to do, like this what I was made for.
On the hard days, and trust me we have very hard days, it’s difficult not to wonder what my life would be like without them. The moment they smile at me, or laugh, or learn something new or say they love me, I know that I wouldn’t want my life any other way. Without them, I surely would not know the deepest, most pure love there is. My boyfriend and I feel like we got lucky. Some people spend their whole lives searching for the love that we have for each other and for our babies, and we are blessed enough to experience that earlier in life.
Loved Paige’s story? Read how Samantha handled her decision here.