YM's Story
16 and pregnant - 9 years later

This is my story. I hope that reliving that most painful and dark experience will bring comfort and support to any woman who feels what I felt nine years ago.

Gosh, I can't believe that it happened so long ago. As I type these words on the screen my skin trembles and shivers as if it only happened yesterday. I was 16 years old, a junior in high school. At the time I was dreaming of prom, graduation, winning the play-offs for my basketball team, getting a trophy at the next cheer leading competition, ... and being the first of my family to make it to college. Then one day, all of these dreams, all of these aspirations came to a halt. I remember it so well.

I went through the agonizing monthly ritual of waiting the spotting on my panties. It didn't happen. Two weeks later it still hadn't come. I started to freak out but refused to give any attention to the possibility that I might have actually become pregnant. After all, getting pregnant was not in my plans. I guess I felt that if I believed it, then it might become true. (Hey, I was only 16 at the time and didn't have anyone older or experienced to talk to.)

Finally, on the third week my boyfriend and I made it to the clinic. I remember being so nervous about having to ditch school in order to make it to my appointment. (You see, no body knew what was happening to me. No body knew what I was going through. It was just my boyfriend and I. It was just us two 16 year-old kids with no money, no knowledge, nothing. I wanted to total control the situation.)

I took the pregnancy test and really never believed that it would come back positive. I remember that I didn't even fill in my correct information on the patient's sheet because I never thought that they would be calling me back. I think that at that point my boyfriend was more conscious of the situation than was.

Later that day he called the clinic for the results from a phone in the school hallway. I remember that they wouldn't give the results to him because of some liability issue, so I got on the phone. I was more worried about making it to my algebra exam than talking to this lady on the phone. She finally said, "The test came back positive." My body froze. I blocked out all the kids that walked past me, their loud voices, and broke down. I lost it. I cussed the woman out and told her that there was a mistake. "I have a competition this weekend! I have a game next week! This can't happen to me!"

I was fighting so hard to control the situation and suddenly I felt powerless. "What am I going to do? What are my parents going to say? What is going to happen to my life?" I knew that I could not handle being a mother. I knew that I couldn't live with the shame of facing my father. I am ashamed to say that suicide actually flash in my mind at one point. I decided on the only alternative that would work for me. Although I had been dating my boyfriend for a while, I knew that he wasn't the guy I wanted to marry. I knew that if I opted for adoption I would never be able to function knowing that out there somewhere would be my lost child. I knew that if I became a single mom I would never be able to provide an adequate life style for the two of us. I decided on what I felt was the most fair decision for me.

I never did tell my family. Until only recently, I was able to tell my girlfriends. That's when I found out that two of them had gone through the same thing but not at such a young age. I'm now 25 and have graduated from college. I succeed in pursuing my dream- I'm a second grade school teacher.

I know that I made the best decision for me but that still doesn't erase the pain that I lived through. I fought so hard to be so strong and not let it affect me but when it came down to it, I did need someone's shoulder to cry on. The best advice that I can give young women today is to protect yourself. Sex is such a big responsibility and unfortunately sometimes we are not taught how to deal with it. But if that advice is a little too late for you, I would like to remind you that you need to make decisions for your well being. Don't live for somebody else. Don't worry about making others happy. You need to look out for yourself and do what you need to do.

Gool luck. Be strong!

23 March 1999

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feminism = Being able to make choices about how you choose to live your life regardless of public opinion. You do not have to fit into anyone else's definition of a woman as long as you fit into yours.