Helurrr all you beautiful souls! It’s me again, and this time I am going really deep by sharing a very personal experience with you (which is not something I do often – or ever, so please go easy on me).
If you have read my “New blog – who this” post (if you didn’t, don’t despair! Click here quick!) and you are a great mathematician, you would have calculated that I had my daughter when I was 17. I am pretty sure that a lot of people have their reservations about that and have already drawn some sort of conclusion about what kind of person I am/was. I am okay with that. I am mature enough to accept the fact that everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion, whether or not they have right to judge, it’s life. I have to start off by saying that I am in no way advocating premarital sex, nor am I condemning it. I am simply sharing my story with you, whether you need to hear it or not is up to you. I am also not discussing the father so please don’t ask me any questions surrounding that aspect. This is MY journey – my best one yet.
The year was 2008, I was in 16 and in Grade 11 – also I just missed a period. I knew exactly what that meant and I was absolutely terrified. It doesn’t matter what type of religious background or the kind of household you have, no parent is happy to find out that their 16 year old daughter is ‘with child’. I spent the first 3 months trying to find out as much as possible about being my age and being pregnant – the results were shocking to say the least. Pregnancy at any age is a risk – you may be unable to carry to full term, there may be complications/deformities, stillbirth or you could actually die from giving birth. The younger or older you are determines how ‘capable’ you are to give birth to a healthy baby and live to tell the tale. I hadn’t told anyone about it until I was 5 months pregnant – I was really skinny so I only really started to show around that time and I couldn’t hide it any more. My mother found out the day after my 17th birthday.
As expected, my family was devastated and heartbroken. I had my first ultrasound with my father in the waiting room and the gynecologist told us that my baby was a healthy girl. As much as he was hurting, he told me that he was so relieved that she was healthy. My parents (although divorced at the time) were an amazing support structure – sometimes I felt I didn’t even deserve that. As the months went by, and since I decided to continue with school (matric, yes), I was greeted with constant stares in the hall, mumbles and a lot of snickering. It was hard. It was so hard. As a 17 year old girl, I was still figuring myself out and had no idea how to raise a child when I was still one. Pair that with morning sickness and gherkin cravings – hot mess. I found myself crying for no reason while watching an episode of Spongebob. I was so afraid of what could go wrong and how I might not be able to give my baby the best life that she deserved. I can’t even begin to explain the dark thoughts that enter your mind when you allow that darkness in. It was really hard for my mother because she would constantly have to explain to family and friends and I could see how much it hurt her each time. This didn’t stop her from giving me the best advice and support that I needed – even when I didn’t know that I needed it. From my baby’s first kick to the nights where I couldn’t sleep because she just wouldn’t stop jumping around in my tummy – my mother was there. My father would accompany me to all of my check ups and tell me how having a daughter was his biggest blessing. Fast forward a few months, after a solid 3 hours of labour (It is definitely all it’s cracked up to be – and then some!), I gave birth to a beautifully healthy little girl. The moment I saw her little face, tiny fingers and toes, I knew that I would be whatever she needed me to be. This was my life now. She was my life.
Pregnancy and childbirth are not to be taken lightly. Whilst I believe that having my daughter was definitely one of my biggest blessings, it was rough. I don’t know where I would be today if I didn’t have that support and love from my family. 8 years later and I still don’t have it figured out but I can tell you that I am exactly where I am supposed to be today. As a parent or a prospective parent, you can’t simply ‘learn-on-the-job’ or ‘wing it’. You are responsible for a whole new life and you owe it to him/her to do your best. Research where you can and understand your child during their fundamental years and throughout their lives.
Did I grow up quicker than I should have? Yes. Have I acknowledged and taken responsibility for my actions? Most definitely. Do I blame anyone? No. Would I go back and change anything? Never in a million years. Each of us have our own journey that we are on called life, there are multiple paths which encompass different outcomes, but I am a firm believer that if you follow your chosen path through, you will be exactly where you are meant to be. It is never going to be easy, but boy is it worth it!
Thank you for reading, it truly means so much to me.