Pregnant at Seventeen


Pregnant at Seventeen
| published April 22, 2015 |

By Brooke Herrin Thursday Review contributor

When most girls get pregnant at seventeen their first thoughts are: “oh, crap, how did this happen to me” and “what am I going to do?”

Well for some reason I thought differently. My first thought was, “things are seriously about to change for me and I better prepare for it.” I’ve always felt I could be a mom and I guess that is why I had no fear about having a baby. I’ve always been the motherly type. I loved babysitting and watching other peoples’ children, and I always had a knack for soothing kids and making children smile. I already felt I was on the best path in life and just needed some tweaking to make everything right.

Granted, I was only seventeen, so my outlook on life was way different than that of a full grown adult. But I did think of myself as very mature for my age.

The first few months following getting pregnant I continued to work my fast food job and tried to patch things up with my then-boyfriend. I actually moved in with him because I strongly believed in staying together for the benefit of the baby. Neither of us was very happy about the situation, but we also felt that it was destined to work out. I went to my boss and told him what was going on and the changes that would be occurring in my life in the future. I strongly requested more responsibility and worked my butt off to prove I could handle whatever was put in my path. Soon I was promoted to manager in training with a nice pay raise and a lot more responsibility within the store.

But it was that first ultrasound that really began to change everything and make my situation seem so real. This was the exact point when I started to ask myself “why am I in this situation?” I cried for a long time after seeing that sweet baby’s heartbeat on the ultrasound monitor. It was so unbelievable to me that I was carrying a baby and very soon would have the responsibility of another human. I would have to raise, feed, teach, and guide this innocent being into adulthood. This child would be watching my every move and wanting to follow in my footsteps. The life I had once lived—going out with friends and going to the movies all the time—would basically end. I would need to buckle down in the realities of life. I would have to be home with the baby, up at night with feedings. It’s a very large responsibility to take the life of another into your hands.

Through those nine months of pregnancy things got rough at home, with a ton of fighting, lots of disagreement on how we should do things, and the sad possibility that my relationship with the father of my unborn child might not work out. I asked myself: isn’t it the right thing to work harder so we can properly care for our child and make their life better?

We continued to stay together despite the many emotional battles we were going through. With the right encouragement I was very certain that we could work things out, and I also felt that if we could get through the tough times, the experience would make us even stronger. I wasn’t thinking about myself—I just wanted a better life for my child. And I remembered my own childhood and the life I had with a single father. Don’t get me wrong: my childhood was awesome. I really enjoyed the experiences I had and appreciated all the effort exerted by my father to make my childhood the best he could provide. It’s just that I missed out on having both parents to grow up with, and I really did not like how my dad had to work so much and such long hours to bring in an income to take care of us. I saw each of my parents only occasionally, and then, a few years after my parents separated and my mom left, it was down to just seeing my father—and then only on those rare occasions when he was off from work. I wanted my child to have both parents no matter what I had to sacrifice. And yes, I do understand it doesn’t work out for some people for a variety of often complex reasons; but I was not willing to do it.

On June 18, 2010 our beautiful 8lb 4oz baby girl was born into the world at 6:12pm. My heart seemed to stop at the beauty I had just brought into this world.

My boyfriend and I got our own place together three months after our daughter was born. It was very difficult to do everything on our own: bills, groceries, taking care of a home, the care of our little family. But we were sure it was the right thing to do. The arguments continued and there were still struggles. But the next step in our life was to get married. It was the right thing for our daughter, and for the two of us. So when our little girl turned nine months old, we took the leap and got married in a small ceremony. We loved each other (or thought that what we felt was love) and we knew it was the right path for us. It wasn’t until we had been married for two years that we truly learned to love each other. Something just clicked in both our heads on how to trust each other, rely upon each other, and love one another.

Life so far has been a wonderful journey and I can’t wait to see the many more adventures that await us. Our choices—the sticking to it, the hard work, the leap of faith which was our marriage—have been among the best decisions I have ever made in my life. Couples often fall in love, get pregnant, and then, when things get difficult, they give up on each other. Of course it’s never a simple fairytale ending like in the movies. Sometimes you have to work hard for the things you want in life. This is exactly what we did and it worked out well for us. I would encourage everyone to do the same for their relationship. Stay strong and work hard for your significant other, and your child.

Related Thursday Review articles:

The Art of Joyful Living; Brien Sorne; Thursday Review; March 10, 2014.

Celebrating True Sportsmanship; Earl Perkins; Thursday Review; November 11, 2013.