I was in 12th grade, looking forward to graduation and college, when all of a sudden my plans dramatically changed.
The test stick showed a tiny blue “+” sign. I was in high school and pregnant!
It’s much easier to think about what you would do when you’re not actually facing those circumstances. Whenever I heard about a teenage pregnancy, my first thought was that the mother should place her baby for adoption. But those words were easy for me to say before I was the one facing that decision. Acting on them are a very different story when you feel a tiny human whom you already love moving inside you.
The best option
Teenage pregnancy isn’t easy. But let me be clear in saying that the best option for your baby is life. Whether you parent or place your child for adoption, choosing life in the midst of an unexpected situation is the best and bravest thing you can do.
And yet, walking through 40 weeks of unknowns isn’t easy. Almost half of all pregnancies are unplanned, and of those unplanned pregnancies, more than 40% of them result in an abortion. Those numbers make abortion seem like a popular choice, and it’s true that nearly one in four women will select this option in their lifetime.
An abortion can seem like it would make all of your problems disappear, but I have spoken with women who have had abortions, and they say quite opposite. They have told me about the physical pain they experienced; even worse is the emotional pain that is rarely discussed. These women say they have carried the grief of their decision for years. It was not a quick fix.
(Perhaps abortion was the option you already selected. If so, please know that you are still loved. Hope and healing are available for you. I can only imagine the pain and loneliness you must have felt, and I am so sorry for your loss.)
She deserved more
Instead, I chose adoption – an option that less than 2% of pregnant women select.
As soon as I found out I was pregnant, my brain and emotions were conflicted. There was an immediate shock: This cannot be my life. This could never happen to me. I felt hopeless and scared. Yet those emotions were quickly followed by the overwhelming love of what it felt like to be a mother. I immediately
started researching the size of my baby and which body parts were currently developing. The first time I saw my baby via ultrasound, my heart had never felt so much joy and excitement!
I loved this baby so much that I knew I had to set her up with the best life possible. She deserved so much more than I could give her at the time. I started learning about adoption – particularly open
adoption. Open adoption is where the biological parents play a part in selecting the adoptive parents. They can interview and even get to know the prospective adoptive parents.
Once the adoptive parents are chosen, there are conversations regarding what a healthy level of interaction between the birth parents and the child will be. The adoptive parents are the parents and, once the adoption is legal, they have the final say over the child. This is not dual parenting. Still, when I
heard that there was an option wherein I could offer my daughter the best life possible, giving her two parents who did not have “teen” in their age, and who were emotionally and financially fit to be parents – plus I still would have contact with my daughter – I knew this was my preferred option.
Surrounded by love
Not that it was an easy decision. I experienced pain and grief as I handed my baby over to another mother. Signing over my parental rights and giving full custody to another family was extremely hard, but I knew it was what was best for my daughter.
Being a good mother sometimes means putting your child’s needs above your desires. My daughter is now their daughter. They are her parents, and I am here to support and cheer them on as they nurture and raise her to be the woman she is destined to be.
I also get the great pleasure of being a part of my daughter’s life. We have a special bond. She has her mother, and she also has me – her “LaLa.”
She knows her story. She knows she is adopted. There are no secrets or shame. I experience the joy of seeing her and watching her grow. That girl knows where she came from, and she is surrounded by so much love.