I was a teen mom. I became pregnant while I was still in high school. It was such an embarrassment for me and my family. We were a very pious family. It is a pity that pregnancy is a condition which cannot be postponed or cannot be concealed. My mom and dad were sitting and eating dinner, when I walked in with an apron and a tray ready to serve dessert, and suddenly my mom said: "Wait a minute, freeze! Are you gaining weight? You are gaining weight aren't you?" I was taken aback. I knew what was happening, except I had planned on telling them my way. Which entailed writing a note minutes before riding a car with my aunt for a vacation to her home where I was going to hide until I figured out what to do with the infant. I could not tell a lie. Plus my dad with his wide eyes looked directly at me and I knew I was about to break his heart but the truth was better for all of us. I knew that I disappointed them. I knew that my life would change and so would theirs. I also knew that I made a choice for them without giving them a chance to choose to be in that situation. It was a selfish careless act on my part. There is no female adolescent at this day and age who is not well versed about teen pregnancy. Yet and still there I was with an error in my tummy.
"Yes, mom, I have gained weight because I am three months pregnant. Sorry about that. I did not mean to ruin your lives. I was going to tell you once I left to visit my aunt." I said knowing that our lives would change forever.
"Who is the father! Who is the father. I asked you a question who is the father." my mom said with a scary look on her face. I think she had a stroke on something. She had layers of crimpled skin where I had not seen it before. Yup that is a stroke alright!!!
"Damn you, Dorothea, why did you have to be so basic. You became pregnant here in my home. You cannot live with us. Do you remember who the father is?" My dad said as if he was not surprised that I was pregnant. -Do I remember who the father was. Is daddy insulting me? Or am I insulting him. I think the latter no I think the former!!!
"Yes, Sir, I do know who the father is. Unfortunately he is in college on Financial aid. So far he cannot afford to take care of me let alone himself. I spoke to auntie and she is willing to let me stay with her until I can figure out what to do." I said, well rehearsed and well spoken.
"Are we supposed to take you to a doctor? Have you seen a doctor?" my mom said with her eyes turning into cold glass.
"I don't think that you are supposed to do anything. I do believe though that you do not look so good. Perhaps we should take you to the emergency room. You do not look good at all. Dad let's take mom to the emergency room she does not look good at all." I said to my dad who by now was standing up looking at me reconcile my bad self with my responsible reasonable self. I got up and grabbed my jacket and my mom's sweater. We left without speaking to each other and drove to the hospital. Where my mom died of shame.
My dad hated me for bringing death to his family. None of us expected that my mom would die at the news of my pregnancy. She died.
I left home, wanting so much not to be a reminder of the good and the bad happening at the same time. One could have easily said with death is a promise of a new life in my pregnancy. We are logical people. We did not see it that way at all. We saw it as clarity. That I had to leave home and not stress my dad in case he too would turn into glass and drop dead in the emergency room. I left home and promised not to call if there was not a need for me to. My dad was sad and he stopped looking at me in the eye. I disappointed him. He was disappointed in me. I wronged him. I did something wrong to him. I knew that even if my child was born there will never be a way to saw back the rift that was now part of our existence. I was sad. I was sadder for the guy who made me pregnant because my dad's behavior spoke to me about what was to happen if I forced him into marrying me. I stopped calling him or emailing him about my pregnancy. I hid indoors. It turned out that my aunt was just as disgusted as my parents were at the news of my pregnancy. I learnt to stay indoors in silence. I learnt to shut up and not contemplate. I learnt to not want too much. I learnt to not to talk if not spoken to.
I was pregnant for life.
When my son was born, I was alone in the labor ward. I had disappointed too many people and wanted to not add more to that number. By the way, if someone offers to help you, they are excited about the idea while they think of it. As days turn into months they regret their decision to offer help. So it helps if one stays out of their way so that one never see the regret in their eyes as they have to shuffle their schedules to meet yours since you sought help from them. They feel and will feel obligated. No matter how much they joke around, they did not mean to offer help. Just like he did not mean to make me pregnant. They always do not mean to make us pregnant!