At 15, I found out I was pregnant with my son. I had heard of girls getting pregnant and having babies, but I never thought that would happen to me…that is until one month my period didn’t come.
My period had always been irregular ever since I got it and sometimes it didn’t come for several months at a time so at first I didn’t think anything. But then the month passed and another and finally I just took a pregnancy test. It was positive. At that moment an overwhelming feeling of shock and numbness came over me. This was not at all in my plan.
I had been with my boyfriend for 2 years at that time and we decided we were going to parent. My pregnancy was not at all an easy one. And what made it harder for me, unlike many teen moms, I had no parents around for support. My mom passed away a few years earlier from a car accident and my dad was in Vietnam.
Sent to Bed Rest
During the first few months of pregnancy, due to unstopped bleeding, I was diagnosed with placenta abruption which is a serious pregnancy condition where the placenta peels away. Usually the baby has to be delivered or else it could become deprived of oxygen and nutrients and in the worst case, be born a stillborn. I was not far enough along to deliver so I was told to go on bed rest for the rest of my pregnancy. I was worried and the thought of my baby not making it crossed my mind constantly.
Finally, my bleeding stopped a month later and when I went back to the doctors to check my diagnosis, there was no trace of it. It was a misdiagnosis. I was so happy and so relieved, but little did I know, I was about to get some more bad news. My son had abnormal cysts and a portion of his brain wasn’t growing. The doctor gathered all the signs and concluded that my son had a rare brain malformation called Dandy Walker Syndrome which affects motor skills. They were unsure of how well he would be able to walk or talk. We had to wait untill birth to see. I felt like it was going to be a long waiting game.
“How was I going to handle it?”
In the meantime, I started meeting with a therapist for special needs children on a weekly basis and they prepared me to learn how to handle seizures which is common in kids with DDY. I started looking up all I could on DDY and of course the symptoms to diagnosis were what I had. I was so devastated and depressed. If my son was going to have regular seizures how was I going to handle it? What if he couldn’t walk? What about his speech? Raising a baby as a teenage mom – without my parents – was going to be a challenge enough, let alone raising a special needs baby.
Then I learned about a vitamin called omega-3s that studies showed taken throughout pregnancy increases your baby’s brain development and I just had to take them because I figured if my son was going to have a brain malformation then I might as well make the best of it along with the best possible diet.
To my surprise and everybody else’s, months later my son was born and completely healthy. The doctors couldn’t explain it but either way I’m just happy and that is the best thing that could happen is for my son to be healthy.
Growing Up Fast
I had a hard pregnancy but I had no idea what I was in for after he was born. For awhile I didn’t get a good nights of sleep. My relatives stopped talking to me and began looking down on me. It was hard to see my friends living their life and going out hanging out on a Friday night while I stayed home. During your teenage years, it’s the time to have fun and discover who you are, but I had to grow up extra fast.
My boyfriend has been a great help and at times we have we had our ups and downs but he has never walked out. I don’t know if I could have done it without him. One of the stereotypes about young mothers is that they won’t finish school, but I am in my last year of high school and am getting my diploma soon and can’t wait for college!
Finding a Balance
Things would have been a lot easier had I waited to have a baby and obviously I adore my son, but if I could rewind I would have waited a bit longer. Being a teenage mom I learned that you have to grow up and give up your youth in order to be a mom and put your child first. This has been the hardest part for me, but I am finding a balance between these things.
You have to give up so much of your time and it all goes towards your baby. It’s not an easy job, it has been hard, but just like anything else in life, you live and you learn and you do the best that you can with what you got and try to do just a little bit better when you can and I am making it work.