I remember being five or six years old sitting on the floor of my grandparents’ house and watching an episode of Sesame Street about adoption. Suddenly, the thought popped into my head, could I be adopted? I blurted out the question, “Am I adopted?” Everyone in the room burst into laughter. I was confused by the response and then my grandmother said, “Trust me, you are not adopted.” Why would everyone laugh at that question? As an adult, I now understand why that was so funny. You see I was sitting in my grandparents living room because we lived with them, and we lived with them because my mom was only 15 years old when I was born.
Yes, my mother had an unexpected pregnancy, and was a teen mom. To me however, she was just mom. I did not know that my mom was a teen mom and that my existence was unplanned and unexpected. My mom was scared that her mother would make her have an abortion and hid her pregnancy for almost five months. Were my grandparents upset when they found out my mom was pregnant? Of course they were, she was only 15, but they quickly got over that. They loved me. I was their first grandchild. They helped take care of me and kept me safe, just like any other grandparent. My mom said she had only seen my grandpa cry twice, and one of those times was because she was taking me away (we were moving out.) I ended up having a very close relationship with my grandparents.
Later in life my mom told me that she was scared her mother would make her have an abortion. Because of this, she kept her pregnancy hidden for almost five months! She did not know that this could have been dangerous for her and for me. She did not know that there were pregnancy centers where she could get the medical care she needed for free. There was a place she could get a free pregnancy test, and a free ultrasound. She did not know that even though she was a minor, no one could force her to have an abortion.
Thankfully, my mom and I were ok. She had a normal delivery, and we were both healthy. If you find yourself in the same, or a similar situation with an unexpected pregnancy, there are a few things that I want you to know.
First, you can do it!
It isn’t always easy, but you are perfectly capable of bringing a child into this world and raising your baby. My mom and I had some rough patches, but she truly is my best friend. It sounds funny to say I owe my life to my mom, since we all owe our lives to our mothers, but the fact that she protected me from abortion makes me love her that much more. Maybe you are thinking that there is no possible way you can raise a child. I have to say that even if my mother would have made an adoption plan, I would love her simply for giving me life. There was a plan and a purpose for my life. Choosing adoption is one of the most selfless and loving acts in the world!
Second, you are not alone!
Heartbeats is here to help you. My mom wishes she had known about places like Heartbeats. You do not have to keep your unexpected pregnancy a secret like she did. Heartbeats has client consultants and nurses that truly love every woman that walks through their doors. Not only will you receive a free pregnancy test and ultrasound from a trained nurse, but you will have someone that is there for you. A client consultant that will listen to you and offer you hope! Not only do they provide free medical services, but they also have parenting classes that you can take to earn free items from their baby boutique! You need diapers, wipes, clothing, and they have it. Heartbeats has the resources you need to get off to a healthy start with your pregnancy and to care for your baby.
Lastly, no one can force you to have an abortion.
You need to know your rights. You can say no! My mom did not know that her mother could not force her into an abortion. That caused her to hide her pregnancy and put us both in danger. Remember that no one can force you into an abortion, not your parents, your guardians, or the father of the baby. The choice is yours alone, but don’t think that the choice only affects you. If my grandmother had forced my mom into an abortion, she would have missed out on her first grandchild. My mom and my dad would have had to live with the pain and regret of losing their first child. I now have two children of my own and I may be a little biased, but I think the world is a much better place with the two of them in it! The choice of abortion is yours alone, but it does not only affect you.
Services at Heartbeats are confidential, so no one will know about your appointments until you tell them. If you currently find yourself in an unplanned or unexpected pregnancy make an appointment today and explore all of your options!