I had one of those childhoods that my friends were jealous of. My parents nailed the balance between freedom and discipline. There were 4 kids in my family, I am the youngest, next is my sister, 3 years older, then another sister 4 years older and my brother, 6 years older. As with any siblings, we were all so different, but we all inherited the same moral structure. I was the academic.
Throughout most of my childhood, I remember people making comment about how smart I was or how I’d grow up to do something pretty great. My Mum liked to tell me how sure she was that I’d be a lawyer because I could argue my way out of anything.
I guess, I always believed them too. I was smart, not a genius, just smart. I was stubborn and I was pretty driven to do something with my life that would make my parents proud, I wanted to live up to all the expectations they had. Which is exactly why when I fell pregnant at 18, my mind slipped away into a place I struggle to reconcile, still, as being possible.
When I graduated high school, I was just a normal teenager. The only abnormal thing was probably that I wasn’t as interested in drinking and partying as my friends, I did my fair share of both, but it was never something I enjoyed as much as others seemed to.
I had a full-time job, I had a network of good friends, I finished school with great grades and an awesome OP but I decided that I was going to take a gap year because I wanted a break from school and I really liked my job.
During, my gap year I went to a party with a friend, for a family member’s 40th. It wasn’t due to be a wild night by any means, she basically only invited me because she was going to be bored and surrounded by “old people.”
At that boring, uneventful, old people party, I met a person who, unbeknownst to me, would change the entire course of my life.
He was 10 years older than me, he was from the city, he had lived a life, to me, that only happened in the movies and I don’t mean that in a good way. At 17, I was still very sheltered.
Over the weeks following the party, I hadn’t shown much interest in this man, but he had had an interest in me. He pursued me in a way that no man had, ever before in my life. Within months, we were in a relationship and we were both certain we’d spend the rest of our lives together.
That’s not how this story ends.
Instead, on my 18th birthday, well I think so anyway, I fell pregnant. We had used protection, in a couple of forms, but it just didn’t work. I was pregnant.
What I should’ve done right then, only a couple weeks along, is told my parents, so they could help me. Instead, I relied on a person who I barely knew, a person who then disappeared within 2 weeks. Gone.
If there’s anything I could do to go back and just tell my Mum and Dad, I would. Instead, I spent the next 40 weeks pregnant, and I didn’t tell anyone.
For Part 2 of this story, pick up Gladstone News Issue 75 from August 3rd and to submit your own progressive story email us at firstname.lastname@example.org