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Catch Me Elsewhere
I was only fifteen and pregnant. I was engaged in a teenage love affair with a young man who attended the same high school as me but he was a few years my senior. He was my first everything. Although my parents never permitted the relationship, it had been going on for a few months now. I had conjured this image of not being ready for boys. Of course, it was bogus…I had a plan all along. My parents were deceived into believing that he was just my math tutor. However, I never needed a math tutor. Math was always my favorite subject and I did very well at it. When my mom would see how great I was doing in math, she became relaxed about us being alone together. We had developed an amazing strategy, that later caused us so much pain.
I remembered missing my “monthly” after our first sexual encounter and having the conversation with him. That is when the outlandish situations began. He started telling me that I may be pregnant. It all came as a shock to me, I am still uncertain as to why. It is not as if we used protection. At the time I was young ingenuous and uninformed about love sex and relationships. I was only a teenager from a family that never spoke about sex. Everything I learned was from the 17-year-old boy I was “playing around with.” Yes “playing”. Looking back at my life I see that neither one of us knew what we were doing, a true case of the “blind, leading the blind.”
It was the summer before I turned sixteen when my mom started noticing changes in my body and behavior. I was once an energetic child, full of life and always in trouble that suddenly became lethargic. That year I slumbered throughout the entire summer. My mom unequivocally made an appointment for me to see my physician. She felt compelled to find out if I was indeed with child, since I would not speak to her.
By this time I already knew that I was…I was hoping it would all go away. I had previously tried to miscarry by drinking all types of concoctions but I was left disappointed time after time. I was still pregnant and afraid of what my parents would do. I was desperate for help, but I had no clue of whom I should turn to.
It is the morning of the doctor appointment and my mom reassured me that if she were embarrassed at the doctor’s office I would be too. I knew exactly what that meant and what I needed to do. I told her that I would not be able to go to the doctor. You know I never admitted to being pregnant, I was humiliated but she could see right through me. My pain, my shame, it was all there visible to her and anyone else looking. She broke down in tears and I left the house confused and sadden about the way my life was turning out. My mom was hurt, it was the first time I had ever seen her cry. She once was a teenage mom and I knew that she did not want the same for me. I left the house and headed straight to my boyfriend’s house.
By the time I got there, my mom had already called his mom and she was expecting me. I spent the day at the house and later that evening when his father came home, they took me back to my parents’ home. That evening our parents sat and discussed our options. My parents said we should keep the baby but his parents disagreed and asked that we aborted the baby and they would pay for it. My mom was furious, she was a Christian and an abortion was not an option. It was the last time I would see my boyfriend and his family, our families now at odds.
The next 6 months was nothing short of hell. My parents always reminded me of how much I had messed up. They took everything away from me and bought me one maternity outfit that I would wear everywhere I needed to go for the duration of the pregnancy. My friends were no longer my friends and I was disfellowshipped from the church. A very critical time in my life and even they turned away from me. It was as if I had leprosy. I was a disappointment to my family and to my self. I once had such a bright future and now I had allowed it to be ruined all for a few seconds, for a guy that I give my innocence too who gave me nothing in return.
As part of my ongoing punishment, I was left to use the public transportation system to get to my doctors appointments while my parents drove and I would meet them there. One afternoon while I was about eight months pregnant I was walking to the bus stop in the severe inclement weather, my ex-boyfriend was driving by with his new girlfriend in his moms’ car. He never stopped and even offered me a ride. It was as if I had never existed and my baby and I did not even matter. I was overcome with sadness. I was alone. Degraded and embarrassed I kept it together and pretended as if I had not even observed them driving by.
I finally had the baby, but I did not have anything for him. I went to the hospital without any bags packed for either one of us. I was now confused. Again hurt and unsure of how I would take care of my newborn. The following day, I was released from the hospital. My parents showed up with an ensemble for the baby to leave the hospital and a car seat to transport him home. There was nothing for me, so I left the hospital in the same maternity clothing that I was admitted in.
We got to the house and to my surprise; there were all sorts of gifts waiting for me. They had secretly bought everything for the baby but wanted to teach me a lesson, a very difficult lesson. One I never forgot.
On the evening that I got home from the hospital, you would never guess who showed up at my front door. It was the baby daddy! After so many months, he finally remembered he was having a baby… He came with a money order for $20, handed me his cellphone number, and suggested that my baby boy carried his name and we call him junior. This is the same baby that he never picked up, or even looked at. The same baby he never cared for during the pregnancy. I said ok and kept it moving. I took the money order and when he left I tore it up placed it in an envelope and mailed it back to him. Of course he is not a junior my son now carries my family’s surname.
My parents keep my baby and sent me off to college, to continue my studies. and my son was now being raised as their son, my baby brother. He lived with them for a few years and I never tried to be his mom. I made no efforts to call for his birthdays or any of the holidays. I was ok being his big sister. It was not until he was 4 years old and I 20, that I became an active part of his life.
I was now in the military and my life had changed…a meticulous young lady, matured and ready to take on my responsibilities. I started easing my way into his life by paying for his tuition and providing my parents a small stipend to aid in supporting him. My conscience was bothering me and I was feeling guilty for not being in his life. In an effort to make me feel better, I started trying to buy my way into his life, so I started getting him gifts… Gifts that kids his age should not have… Cellphones with contracts and TVs s and portable DVD players, you named it he had it.
We endured a very difficult time when he moved in with me at six years old. We did not feel the connection of a mother and a son. He would cry relentlessly asking for my mom, his mom. I was furious. I was jealous. I was annoyed! I started resenting him because he did not want me. I felt like my life could have been so much different if I did not have him. However, it was not his fault, he did not know me and he was not responsible for my pain. I was responsible; I had created this life for me all by myself. I was just the big sister that gave him everything he wanted and now I wanted to be his mom. I wanted to discipline him. I was in for a fight.
That same year he came to live with me, I received orders from the military to be deployed to Iraq. It was time for me to give him back. I was now walking out on him once more. His biological father heard about the deployment and after all these years he suddenly wanted back in. He had now risen from the grave and I found myself in court fighting for my son (the son that my parents have been raising) before my departure to Iraq.
Photo Credit: thegrio.com, newsone.com,