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My story of being the product of teenage parents
The face of teenage pregnancy production: Me
I am the product of teenage parents of the swinging 70's
Teenagers are known to sometimes walk their own paths in this world. They are known to throw caution to the wind and sometimes make poor choices, choices of which I am living proof of. My conception was not planned. In fact, my conception was the direct result of an action of lust that was taken by two careless teenagers that were very likely under the influence of alcohol.
So what becomes of the product of teenage parents? Though I can not speak for every child that was born to teenage parents, but I can speak of my very own experience and I will, with honesty and truth. What effects did teenage parenting have on my life as a child and teenager... of who I became as an adult and parent? The cons and believe it or not, the pro's of being a love child in the 1970s to a sixteen-year old girl and nine-teen year old boy. There are after all, two sides to every coin.
I was a result of lust and a product of love...
How I came to be in this world is still clouded in a bit of a mystery that stemmed from my mothers memories of a broken heart. My dad was my mothers first love, a love so deep and strong that after more than three decades since my parents breakup, she still governs how she protects her heart today, because of the painful memories of long ago.
For clarity: I have no blame to bestow upon either of my parents. They were children who conceived a child of their own. I walk tall and believe that they truly did the best that they could, after all, I turned out to be an honest, production member of society, so they must have done something right!
By the time my mother gave birth to me, my father was long gone out of our lives. My birth occurred by c-section at 10:51 pm on a stormy July night during the late 1970's, shortly after her 17th birthday. A child giving birth to a child. A child who should have been in school, going to dances, getting her first kiss. A child who should have been dreaming of the future; not living it.
Growing up I heard, all too often, that "I could have aborted you, or put you up for adoption -- but I kept you".
Those were words that used to haunt me - simply because I didn't understand her pain and struggle in what she faced in her attempts to raise me. Yes; she could have aborted me, but she didn't. -- sadly, I can recall thinking that maybe she should have. She could have put me up for adoption, but she didn't. -- honestly speaking; where were times I regretted that she didn't.
These were both thoughts that I started having before I even hit puberty that haunted me until my the moment I found out that I was going to have my very own child. Then I got it. She took the hard path. She chose to put me before herself and she kept repeating it, over and over again, simply put: in her attempts to get me understand what she was facing.
Children carry their parents love with them always...
We grew up together...
My mother really did try her best, there were rough patches and there were good times, you could say that we learned to be a parent and a child together through the years. As I was learning to walk, to talk and everything else that a child discovers, my mother was learning to be a parent as well as live a life as a young person, two things that didn't always combine well. Not only did she have to deal with potty training and table manors, she contended with developing her own identity, dating and keeping food on the table.
If you were to glimpse back into my childhood, you may want to blame my mom for some of the choices that she had made... but is that fair to her? She herself was but a child, who was trying, trying and suffering all at the same time. Because of me and her heroic choice to keep me, she had given up her very own youth. She tried her very best, I know first hand, now -- even if I didn't understand it growing-up. One of the best things that she gifted me was that her love for me was always known, even when times were at their worst, that in itself helped me to develop my very own 'adult' identity.
Would you be willing to lend a hand up (not hand out) to a teen age parent?
Dreams to save reality
Growing-up I often inquired about who my father was, I didn't even know his name, but daydreamed about him constantly, especially when I wasn't happy, and that was a lot. My mom had a couple of long term boyfriends who were just plain 'bad people'. She would try and soak up their good and thrive in their love, but it didn't change the fact that they were toxic. My mom tried her best... maybe that is why I can still hold her in my heart, but it doesn't change the fact that I wanted my 'real dad'... a man whom I had made into a god in my fantasies.
It wasn't until I was about eight years old that I really start to question who my father was. Life was pretty hard around that time and I suffered from being surrounded by poverty and alcoholism. The daydreams of my father became my escape from reality and my hope for the future. I would go to my bedroom, which I spent a lot of time in and lay on my bed planning how he would come in and rescue me.
In these daydreams he would be driving an old brown pickup truck, he would barrel into my driveway and slam his truck into park, leaving it running... he would jump out of his truck and run up to the house and rip the door open. I would be there waiting for him, tears of joy running down my face, he would scoop me up and take me away, always ending in that 'happily ever after' fairy tale ending. I had years to dream about how he would smell, what he sounded like and how much he would love me. In my thoughts, I made a million excuses for why he had stayed away for so long... settling on the fact that he didn't know of my existence as one of my favorites.
As I entered into my early teen years I pushed my mother even harder for the identity of my dad. I had thought that the look of utter pain on her face every time that I inquired was because I kept asking about 'him', it wasn't until recently that I know it was her broken heart shining through her soul. My questions were ripping the scabs off of her broken heart.
So did she answer my question of who my father was? Not always and never in a decisive answer. I ended up turning to her old address book, family members and some of her childhood friends; all of whom seemed to want to keep her secret as much as she did. -- Then came this one time. She had been drinking and I was so angry. Being fourteen, I was full of hormones and anger. We got into a deep discussion of who my father was and she spat out his name like it was going to kill her just to utter his first and last name. It would be over two decades later when I would finally meet him...
Growing up fatherless was so incredibly hard.
Everyone I knew had a dad. My friends; the kids at school. School -- Dad's would show up at the school all the time... and lets not even get started with what it was like to be a child in school... the only child in my class making 'Fathers Day' cards for my grandfather...— Lou Cannon
I did repeat the cycle of teenage pregnancy...
I repeated history...
Though I fought my best to know better, to be better and find success in life I did find myself pregnant with my second child by the age of 19. It is ok to be shocked and appalled, you wouldn't be the first person who was. But before you pass judgment look at my children. They are fed, clothed, happy, secure and most of all: they are loved. These are all things that my very own teenage mother taught me.
After having my first two children I had went through a divorce and had a go at being a hard working, single parent. For the first time I was walking in my mothers shoes and it was a wake up call that brought me understanding for what my mother had once faced. Though it was greatly difficult and took many years, I worked to forgive her for everything that I had held against her and in time we gained a close relationship that we still share today.
Now I am a mother of 3, doing my best to raise my own children...
What did being the product of a teenage parent teach me?
What did I learn from life, being the child of a teenage parent? I think the first thing that I can identify was anger and the best thing I learned was forgiveness...
Some other things that my childhood gifted me was:
- A deep sense of understanding people who are in different and difficult situations
- A drive with-in myself to push forward towards a better life
- How to make do with out and dream and plan for the future
No matter how hard the times got I always had someone to turn to. No matter how often I cried, the tears would always stop and be replaced by strength. Yes life was hard, but the power of love that a parent gives a child, that is the best blessing of all... a blessing that saved me, taught me humanity, pride and courage. It was the blessing who made me who I am today: a strong, compassionate woman who wears her heart on her sleeve and takes no less than I deserve and no more than I require. Thank you to my children, to my mom and to my dad, my teenage parents for helping me develop into the woman that I am today!
The realities of teenage pregnancy
Every parent has the potential to be a good, solid foundation for their children...
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Ever ground your child, just to find that it seems it is more work or stress for you, following through with the punishment? Or does the grounding get forgotten in the momentum of everyday life?
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