I’ve never been a pregnant teen and won’t pretend to know what it’s like to find yourself in that situation, but I did have an unexpected, surprise, high risk pregnancy and find myself suddenly alone. I know what it’s like to watch that second line creep across the pregnancy stick and wonder how you will tell the man you’re with that he’s going to be a dad.
In my case, the dad was going to be a dad for the fifth time (sixth if you count the Baby who died due to a heartbreaking and painful ectopic pregnancy) but this didn’t make telling him any easier. I knew he wouldn’t be happy, and I was right.
I also knew pregnancy was hard on my body. You hear tales of women in third world countries working in rice fields until the baby just pops out, the women picking up their babies and continuing to work, but reality is that those countries also have high rates of infant mortality and maternal death during pregnancy.
In reality, a pregnant woman is a beautiful, but fragile being.
She should be treasured and protected and cared for. She should receive medical assistance, good nutrition, and parenting advice from knowledgable, caring role models.
But life’s “shoulds” seldom turn out exactly the way they “should,” and too often a pregnant woman is left to deal with the pregnancy on her own. I didn’t realize just how often this happens, not just for teenage girls but for older Married women like myself as well, until I was suddenly left pregnant and alone by my husband of 14 years.
As hormones rage and emotions cascade, tumbling around inside the head of a pregnant woman, she is left doubting herself and needing to believe in something. You can’t go through pregnancy in a mindless vacuum. Human beings were not designed to have empty spaces inside them under any circumstances, whether those spaces are in their minds or their hearts, emptiness eventually fills one way or another.
Messages That Fill The Vacuum of Pregnancy
When you’re pregnant and questioning life – your life and your baby’s life – you fill vacuums, but you’re often filling them with wrong messages.
People ask what you’re going to do about “it,” saying “it” as if “it” is akin to dog crap on the bottom of your shoe – annoying, messy, in need of prying out of crevices, something that stinks, something to be discarded and never mentioned again…
In the vacuum, people ask, “What are you going to do about (finishing school, finding a job, your other children…)” You can pretty much insert anything in this blank. Your mind begins to fill in with those questions and you begin to cast aside doubt instead filling it with certainty of the message that you’re not strong enough, not capable enough, not good enough, that you’ll never be able to handle a baby and your responsibilities, your dreams, your plans…
In the vacuum, others make comments they think are funny, “Don’t you know how this happens? You should get a TV! Somebody needs to teach you about the birds and the bees!” The vacuum in your mind begins to fill with messages that tell you how stupid you are, that you should have known better, that everyone is pointing at you and laughing or gossiping behind your back, that no one else would be in the same position you are…
In the vacuum, people question your intelligence, “What do you know about having a baby, raising a child? What were you thinking? You really think you can do this on your own?” You doubt yourself, “What was I thinking???” You believe those voices that echo in your head telling you you’re not good enough…
In the vacuum, realities slam down on you as people ask, “How will you pay for this? You know how much diapers cost? What if the baby gets sick? What if you get sick? Who will watch him while you…? Who is going to get up with him at 2 AM feedings or help him get into college?” Realities arise like stop signs in dead end roads, allowing no room for possibility to walk hand in hand with reality and your rising to a challenge…
In the vacuum, naysayers tell you to resign to a life of aloneness, that this vacuum is all that exists, “If you have that Baby, no man will ever want you! What kind of man would want to raise another man’s child? You obviously slept with him so you should sleep with me too. You’ve got a reputation.”
Vacuums Are Short Lived & There Are Alternatives…
The thing about a vacuum is that it exists for only a short time, and then we fill it. I’ve been there. I know. I’ve had some of these things said to me when I had my crisis pregnancy, when I had my baby alone.
I know the fear of wondering how to go through the pain of labor and delivery alone. I know the pain – physical and emotional and every other kind of pain possible – of giving birth without the Man I love by my side. I know the concern for a child who is at high risk for complications and thinking I’d have to care for him for the rest of his life. I know the turmoil that rages as postnatal hormones drop and breastmilk leaks and nursing is excruciating and you’ve been up all night and you need to be up early and…
And I know the disbelief when you see that Baby appear on the sonogram for the first time and you notice “it” really does have a cute little button nose, “it” really does have ten wiggly fingers with every joint countable as those fingers wave for the camera or move to suck a thumb, and “it” really does have a spinal cord with each vertebrae clearly visible twisting and turning as if teasing you and coyly hiding “privates” so you can’t determine gender for certain.
And I know the amazement as you realize that fluttering in your belly was not just the chili you ate for dinner last night but the baby, your baby, rolling over and stretching, opening his mouth wide in a yawn and stretching arms and balled little fists.
And I know the total Joy when you give that last push and the doctor places that Surprise Baby in your arms and he looks up at you with wide eyes and a confused and furrowed brow as if to say, “What are YOU doing here? This isn’t what I had planned? This isn’t where I’m comfortable. You’re asking too much of me…but You are my Mommy so I’ll Trust You…”
And I know the smile that can’t be suppressed when that baby smiles at you for the first time or tries strained peas for the first time and his face contorts into ungodly designs or when you walk in to a room unexpectedly and your child runs up to you, wrapping pudgy little arms around your legs and screeching for Joy, or when those first steps are taken, the first words are said, the first peepee on the potty is performed, the first…so many firsts…
And I know the Peace that fills your heart when you walk down the street and he suddenly takes your hand without realizing that he already holds your heart…or when he cuddles up next to you and asks you to read his favorite story for the 100th time today…or when the day has been crazy and work has been bad and friends have let you down and your home is a mess but you stand in his doorway then tiptoe silently to stand beside his bed and just watch him sleep and you realize all is right in your world as long as you have your Baby to Love.
And you realize that the vacuums that appeared and had to be filled could have been filled in many ways, but only one way would have resulted in challenging you to be the person you are Created to be, the person who rises to challenges, who learned to live for herself instead of accepting others who said she wasn’t enough, the one who decided to give Life a chance and who instead realized Life had given her a chance, a chance to experience disbelief and amazement and joy and a Smile and Peace and, most of all an incomprehensible Love and sense of purpose.
I understand the confusion and turmoil of a pregnancy you did not plan. I understand the emptiness, the aloneness, the I-don’t-know-what that comes along with finding yourself in this situation.
And I understand the voices that echo around you telling you you can’t do it. I understand how they fill the emptiness inside making you believe you have no options, that poor-choice really means you have no choice, that you are powerless, that you will never be more.
I am here to tell you, you are already MORE! You have been given this child for a reason. Yes, he will challenge you. Yes, it will be difficult. Yes, you will question your decision, but in the end…you will also have brought LIFE into the world. Only YOU have the power to do that for your child.
Embrace your power, and if you need help, please contact me or someone who can help.
And, as always, thanks for commenting, liking, following, and sharing!
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2 thoughts on “Pregnancy Vacuum – I’ve Never Been a Pregnant Teen, But I Know a Thing or Two…”
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All those words coming out of their mouths. @1MomAnd5Boys https://t.co/6hW4lODRk7
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