By ANGELICA MEDINA  |  Moonshine Ink

I remember being in school when the principal called me into his office; I knew why he wanted to talk. “Are you having this baby?” he asked. And all I could think was, how dare they ask me such a question. Never had I thought of having an abortion.

When I found out I was pregnant I was 16 and scared. Scared that I wouldn’t be able to support my unborn child, scared of what my mother would say, and mostly scared of what my partner would say. When I told my mother she cried. It hurt me to see her cry, because I knew she was scared — she too had been a teen mom, and later a single mom. When I told my partner, he was surprised and happy, saying he would be there for me every day for the rest of our lives.

Pregnancy Perception

There were times when I was pregnant and just wanted to move to a place where no one knew me; many days I didn’t even want to go to school. I remember all my friends acting like they were excited for me. But really, I knew all the bad things they were saying behind my back. Eventually, all these so-called friends stopped talking to me.

As more and more people found out I was pregnant, the comments became increasingly negative. People would say things like “You’re actually keeping this baby?” and “What about your education, your future?” They would ask hurtful questions such as “Are you with the father?” or “Is he actually staying and helping you?” But I was strong; all I could think of was my baby and its health.

One day, I remember going to church with my mother-in-law, and the moment I walked in I felt uncomfortable. There were people staring at me and saying things like, “Don’t worry, God will forgive you for your wrong-doing,” and “We will pray for you today and ask God to forgive you.”

When I heard those words I wanted to run. It seemed like everyone was against my pregnancy. Everyone except my partner, his family, and mine. And while I tried not to care what people said, there were still days when all the stress would come to me at once and I would feel down. But, I was able to prove everyone wrong and graduated high school on time, with my partner also graduating that same year.

The First Months with Isabella

The first few months of having Isabella were stressful. I was stressed about being alone all the time. After I gave birth, the doctor recommended that I have 40 days of rest to heal properly. Unfortunately, my partner didn’t engage much with us at that point. Even though we lived together, he was more on his own schedule. I needed an extra hand to help during the day, and without him I had to do everything on my own. Everything. Daily chores, taking care of my newborn, and taking care of my self.

Not having my partner around made things difficult. I think he was absent at first because he was scared of physically hurting Isabella’s small and fragile body. As she grew and got stronger, he began to help more.

Our Life Now

I am 19 now, and Isabella is 2 years and 8 months old. She is full of adventure and gives me new experiences every day; she is engaged in all kinds of activities. She is a total chatterbox and everything she does amazes me. I have learned a lot, but it is still hard.

I currently live with my partner’s mom in Truckee and work Tuesday through Friday. I have the weekend to rest and spend quality time with my daughter. Isabella’s father and I have been together for four years and eight months now. We are still together as a family and raise our daughter together. He’s a wonderful man who teaches her and makes sure she has everything she needs. We do not want more kids right now; but maybe in a few years.

Do you have a parenting story to share? Contact Carol Meagher at director@kidzonemuseum.org. To learn more about KidZone Museum, visit kidzonemuseum.org or call (530) 587-5437.