Telling the Parents

“Mom, there’s no other way to tell you this, so I’m going to just come out and say it:  I’m pregnant.”

My mother considered the words as I dropped the bombshell.   She looked nonplussed as she looked back at me.  “Well, I thought that was what it must be when you said you had to talk to me about something this weekend.”  I’d called her earlier in the week to ask to come home this weekend so I could break the news.  Joe was doing the same thing, a few hundred miles away, with his mother.

“Well,” she said matter of factly, “What do you want to do?”

I looked at her.  This was my mother, the one who all of my girlfriends went to but who I never admitted to once that I was sexually active.  “I was hoping I could move back home after this year is done at school and have the baby.”

“You want to live here and raise the baby here?  What does Joe have to say about that?”

I told her of our conversation, of how worried I was that he didn’t take the news well, that he seemed in a state of limbo while I fussed around thinking of this thing that I had to do or that thing I had to do.  “But obviously,” I stated in a tone that only an eighteen year old who thinks she knows it all can muster, “I need to be here where my support system is.”

My mother entered practical mode.  She was, after all, a paternity lawyer who spent her days watching poor, unmarried women beg the men who’d fathered their children to admit it and become financially responsible for their offspring.  She’d earned the right to be a bit cynical about situations like this.  She reassured me that she would support whatever decision I made.

I told my father the next day, with my sister by my side for moral support.  His reaction was very different.  He was absolutely horrified and informed me that I had just “ruined my life”, and that I was “supposed to be the one that made something of themselves.”  That I could have been anything, a doctor or a lawyer, but now I wouldn’t be any of those things.   And then he did something that I never expected:  he offered to pay for an abortion.  He begged me to think about it, that even if I said no today, I might change my mind.  The money wouldn’t be a problem.  Please, think about your future.

I left my father in tears, not understanding why the men in my life couldn’t see that this could all end up OK.  I wanted someone to tell me this was all going to be OK, to let me lean back and talk about my fears instead of forcing me to point out all of the good things that could come of this situation.  I wanted someone to see the future that was starting to take shape in my head:  a tiny apartment, Joe and I and our baby, studying at night.  I could see us graduating and getting married, with our little toddler by our side.  I could see my belly growing round while he felt the kicks from the outside.  I could see that if we just made all of the right plans, if we had the support and love of our families, we could do this.

It was that last part that starting to worry me.


2 Responses

  1. […] father, who had flown in from Florida.  The man who had originally told me I‘d ruined my life by becoming pregnant out of wedlock at age 18, and who’d begged me to abort the pregnancy.  Later, though, he fully accepted the pregnancy […]

  2. […] man come into the world, take his first breaths.  He’d been ultimately supportive after his initial skepticism  regarding my “situation”.  I was 18 and alone when this little baby came into all of […]

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