Personal Column: Witnessing teen pregnancy offers lessons about life

Personal+Column%3A+Witnessing+teen+pregnancy+offers+lessons+about+life

Kennedy Stidham, Editor-In-Chief
Kennedy Stidham, Editor-In-Chief
“Think about it.”

She just came back from the counselor, and I was concerned. One of my closest friends was obviously experiencing some sort of trauma. The “momma bird” in me needed to know.

“Are you having family problems?”

“No. Think about it.”

For a second, the thought crossed my mind. My eyes flashed to her stomach. Seeing no signs of a bump, I felt a pang of guilt for even considering the possibility that my friend was pregnant.

“Are you having problems with your classes?”

“No. Think about it,” she said, this time more insistent. “You haven’t noticed any changes?” She looked down at her stomach to confirm my guilty thought.

I was in shock, denial even. She couldn’t be pregnant. Honor students and student council officers didn’t get pregnant. But after 10 minutes of her repeating it, and seeing her belly with my own eyes, and hearing the history, I was convinced. She was going to have a baby. At 17.

A whirlwind of emotions hit me. I was afraid for her – her whole world was about to change with new responsibilities and challenges – but I was also overjoyed that she would have someone new to love. That I would have someone new to love.

Never once did I think about anything other than love. Teen pregnancy brings rumors, reputations and stereotypes. It’s enough to make some people (who I call petty cowards) run. I knew that she was going to need more support from me. I immediately began planning what I was going to buy for her bouncing baby girl and how I was going to help her through this tough time. My friends and I planned a baby shower. It wasn’t much – six teenagers, a few gifts and small games – but it meant the world to her. And when I presented her our home made baby blanket, I cried because that moment meant the world to me.

I’ve sent her many inspirational text messages and given many hugs and pep talks since then. I’ve attempted to be her hero, but in all honesty, she is my hero. She is facing great adversity. She could have ran from her problem by abortion or chosen the safer road by giving up her child for adoption. But instead, she is remaining strong for both her and her child. She’s going to the best mom she can be, and that’s all any one can do, whether they’re 17 or 34.

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“It’s happening.” I read the text from our friend, Karla, quickly in the middle of class. Confusion. What was happening?

“SHE’S IN LABOR.” “ANNABELLE IS COMING.” “I’M SO EXCITED.”

The texts flooded in. Confusion turned to excitement. The day that I had been waiting on since the day we found out she was pregnant was finally here. As soon as the bell rang, I darted out of class to meet up with our mutual friends. Squealing and jumping and blabbering began. We were absolutely tickled pink.

And then, we waited. And waited. Every ten minutes, we were asking for an update. Was she okay? Was the baby okay? Couldn’t it just end already?

Finally, at 11 pm, I put the phone down, said a prayer for the mom and baby, and attempted to go to sleep.

1:51 am: “SHE’S FULLY DILATED AND PUSHING.”

5:45 am: “Annabelle Jayne was born this morning at 2:34. She weighs exactly 7 pounds.” Accompanying this text message was a picture. Rosy skin, a long lean body, one open eye peeking, a yawning mouth and a head full of thick, curly, black hair. She was precious, and I was excited more than ever to meet her.

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As excited as I was, nothing could have lived up to the emotions I had when actually meeting her. She was so precious, light as air with the tiniest features (her ankles are seriously the size of my knuckles). She was less than a week old, but she was already smiling and making other facial expressions – each of which were caught on camera multiple times. I could already see her personality developing; she was going to have her mom’s sass.

Seeing my 17 year old friend hold and nurture her newborn child put life in a new perspective for me. As young and unprepared to have a child she was, she was a natural with her. Her mother’s instinct (more like a 6th sense) had already begun to kick in. Watching it all was like watching a love story unfold before my very eyes. My faith in God’s greater plan was confirmed right then. Annabelle was an accident, but she was no mistake. She was brought into her mother’s life, as well as my friends’ lives for some reason. So far that reason has been to bring us joy, wonder, and a little bundle of hope.