I got pregnant when I was 17 years old. Fresh out of high school, I was your stereotypical pregnant teenager… except I wasn’t. Not every young girl who gets pregnant is the same. We all have stories to tell, and each one is different. Here are five things I wish you knew about my teen pregnancy.
1. It wasn’t just a teen pregnancy
Yes, I was a teenager when I got pregnant. But what about her father? “Around two-thirds of the male partners of teenage females are older than age 20.” My baby’s father was 24–that’s a seven year difference. My pregnancy wasn’t just a result of two dumb kids. It was the result of a relationship between a man and a young girl. I take full responsibility for my actions, I chose to enter the relationship, but I was still so young, and in some ways I feel taken advantage of.
2. I’m not a dropout
I had my baby in the middle of my first semester of college. I stayed in school, and am now getting close to my degree. I chose adoption, but even if I had parented, I could finish college. There would have been enough government resources to help me do that. Having a baby does not have to halt your life. I am continuing my education to make her proud.
3. I’m not stupid or irresponsible
Lots of teenagers have sex, and many of them have sex without birth control. Most of those kids don’t happen to get pregnant, but some of them do. Obviously, I should have been smarter. I should have insisted on using birth control, even if the man I was with was against it. But one irresponsible decision does not make me an entirely irresponsible individual. Other teens I know did use protection and still ended up pregnant. Contraception is not infallible, and that failing does not make them irresponsible.
5. I’m not a slut
I deal with the stereotype that girls who get knocked up must sleep around. This simply isn’t true. I had only been with this one guy, and I thought I was in love with him. I thought he was going to marry me, and we would live happily ever after. My child was not a result of a one night stand. She was a result of what I thought was a meaningful relationship.
6. I can still be successful
Being teenage and pregnant makes things harder, but it does not make things impossible. I’m 20 years old and a junior in college. I have good grades. I work three jobs. I’m making it. My little girl didn’t ruin my progress, she motivated me to make more. I got through my teen pregnancy, and I’ll get through everything else life throws my way.
Teen pregnancy is not something I recommend. It is difficult, but not impossible, to get through. I had to grow up too fast. But now that I’m here, I wouldn’t change it. The love I have for my little girl and the strength I had to gain have given me the tools to have a happy healthy adulthood.