I wrote this blog a while back. I had NO intention of ever sharing it.
While I love the idea of being raw and honest…sometimes I think there’s a line where it’s just TMI.
This story is one that I love and one that MADE ME WHO I AM and I’m so proud of God’s hand in my life when I was a pregnant teenager 11+ years ago.
But because it’s so personal, I resolved to keep this story buried in the archives of my laptop.
In light of the law that passed this week in New York I felt this tugging on my heart to share my story.
You may know I was a teen mom. And you may know that Tristen is now 11. Obviously, I kept the baby. But it wasn’t always a no brainer…
Here’s my story and my heart on a platter (as usual…)
There I was. 17 years old. A senior in high school. Sitting on the cold bathroom tile of my childhood home. Holding a positive pregnancy test. My hand was shaking uncontrollably. I sat it down on the sink counter so I could focus on breathing. Which I suddenly forgot how to do. My mom wouldn’t be home for another couple of hours. I had to destroy the evidence. I carefully concealed my trash inside of more trash inside of more trash and dumped it in the outside garbage can.
You know that feeling of complete shock? Where you can’t cry. You can’t think. You can’t scream. So, you’re just numb. It’s like my body wanted to shut down. I was terrified.
I couldn’t be pregnant. How could I tell my parents? How could I tell my boyfriend? How could I get through high school? How could I go to college? How could I move to New York city and get a job at a magazine where I would begin my Carrie Bradshaw socialite lifestyle?
Before I sent myself into cardiac arrest over a false alarm, I needed to be sure.
I drove to the free health clinic in my town for a confidential pregnancy test.
It was confirmed. I was 5 weeks gestation.
Shit. Shit. Shit.
I knew I couldn’t take the next steps alone. I had to tell my mom. My mom was a single mom living in middle America and a recovering breast cancer patient. Her hair was still short and growing out from the chemotherapy. This is the last thing she needed. I didn’t have a choice.
But I couldn’t face her. I was ashamed. And she would hate me.
I couldn’t bare to see the look of disappointment and anger on her face when she received this news.
I had already put her through enough with totaling my car a few months ago, getting dropped from our insurance, losing my driver’s license, getting caught sneaking out, smoking weed, drinking, lying…you name it. I had to try it.
Only this time the consequences were more than I expected.
Writing “I will not talk back” 1,000 times on notebook paper wasn’t going to squash this situation. (Yes, my mom really made me do that. More than once.)
So, true to form…I wrote her a letter.
And then, got the hell out of dodge. I went to a friend’s house.
I got a call from her late that night that she was just getting home and had been sick. By the grace of God, she was too sick to talk to me about my letter in the moment.
It was the next morning that we came face to face. I was sure she would be judging me, punishing me, yelling at me. But she wasn’t. Again, I think it was because she was too drained from being sick. Again, THANK GOD.
When I expected her to blow her lid…she was oddly matter of fact.
“You’ll finish high school. You’ll defer one semester of college to have the baby. You’ll start college as planned in the spring.”
There I sat on the bed next to her…head hung low, voice barely above a murmur, “What about my dad?”
“YOU can tell him this news.” She replied.
My parents had been divorced since I was born. He was a new Yorker. A drunk New Yorker who I heard stories of him forgetting to feed me as a baby and kicking my mom in the stomach when she was pregnant with me. I remember the first pornography I ever laid eyes on belonged to him. I accidentally found it when I was probably 6 years old. He told me to throw it away and never brought it up again. It’s one of my earliest memories being at his house. Beyond that, I remember being perhaps even younger than that when my dad picked me up from daycare which was an every other Friday occurrence. He had to make a pit stop at my mom’s work to pick up my overnight bag. She was a travel agent at the time. She stepped outside the building to tell him that he could not have me that weekend because the daycare had called to tell her that he had alcohol on his breath.
“Lesa, it was one beer.” He said looking up at my mom standing behind me while he was bent to one knee eye level with me.
“I don’t care,” she said.
He nodded in understanding and agreement and looked at me, hugged me and kissed me goodbye.
That was my dad. He had a big heart. I could see the pain in his own eyes. He just could never seem to get his life together when it mattered.
I didn’t doubt his love for me. He was just broken. Like all of us. I had a lot of grace for him throughout my life. I think I’m more like him than I care to admit or explore. Which terrified me. Unpredictable as he was, I knew I had to make this call to him. To tell him that his 17 year-old daughter was pregnant by her college drop out boyfriend of one year who happened to be 21 years old.
His reaction was worse than I thought.
Screams came through the phone that slayed my spirit in half.
“ARE YOU ***** STUPID, ALEXANDRA? DON’T YOU KNOW IF YOU’RE GONNA HAVE SEX TO BE ON BIRTH CONTROL?”
As if he had ever talked to me about sex…ever.
“YOUR LIFE IS OVER. YOU’RE NEVER GONNA BE ABLE TO GO TO COLLEGE…”
As he calmed, a solution came to his mind.
“YOU’RE GETTING AN ABORTION. I’LL MAKE THE APPOINTMENT.”
The call ended.
I burst into tears. Completely shattered. Not only had I disappointed my parents but I hadn’t even had any time to think about what the consequences would be for me.
I got a call the next day from an abortion clinic. My dad was on the phone with them. It was a three-way call. Apparently, you cannot make an appointment for an abortion for another person without their verbal consent.
I consented. And hung up.
I began googling images of “abortion.”
The images disturbed my soul to the point I was hyperventilating in front of the computer screen. I was crying out to God to come down from heaven and tell me what to do. To fix the situation. To make a way where there was no way.
After who knows how long, I finally turned off the computer. I wiped my tears from my blood shot eyes and blotched face…I looked in the mirror and couldn’t believe this was my life.
I decided to go to church that night. It was a Wednesday night at Free Chapel in Gainesville, Georgia. I don’t remember who I was with. I don’t remember what the sermon was about. But I remember there was an altar call at the end. It was on that altar that I cried to one of the prayer leaders that I was 17 and pregnant and didn’t know what to do.
I could tell that the prayer leader was a strong woman of faith but somehow I had still managed to catch her off guard. It’s like she wasn’t expecting quite as heavy of a prayer request in that moment. But there I was…asking her to intercede heaven for the life growing inside me.
And boy, did she.
Tears immediately started pouring from my eyes as her words of prayer flowed over me. She was desperate. She was praying for a life. Life and death was in her prayer that night. And she knew it. We were both overtaken by the holy spirit when she began praying in the spirit.
I didn’t understand what sounded like jibberish at first.
But then she interpreted, “Fear not, bless this mother and this child.”
And again, “Fear not, bless this mother and this child.”
Over and over again those words penetrated my soul.
FEAR NOT. BLESS THIS MOTHER AND THIS CHILD.
It was no longer the woman speaking over me. It was God himself. Speaking through this woman being used as a vessel. A vessel that would change the course of my life.
I walked out of the church that night knowing that I was going to have this baby. And everything was going to be okay. Not only had she saved this child’s life. But her prayer changed the trajectory of my life. And many others.
Today, Tristen is 11 years old. And oh, how truly blessed we are. And the greatest joy and purpose of my existence happens when I intercede for others going through the same thing I went through........at a crisis pregnancy center.
When I was one weak moment away from another outcome - I’m so thankful that God reached down and grabbed me in my crisis.
How about more laws passing allowing for HIS PRESENCE in schools before we get to the point of these choices?!?!?!
It may not change everything....but it might change one...