Beth’s Story

My story began when I was 18. My boyfriend and I got engaged. We had a plan to be married in 2 years, after he finished college. He had a part-time job, and I was a nanny and a student. Of our families, mine was a conservative family, Pro Life, and very adamant about abstinence. His family was not so conservative, and had a history of unplanned pregnancies. His grandparents had one at 16, and got married right away. His parents had one at 19 and they got married when their son was a year old. We were going to “break the pattern.” But, we didn’t. We got pregnant, I was 18, he was 19.
We knew the moment we found out that we were pregnant that no matter how hard our circumstances would be, this baby was precious, and we wanted her. I had a few relatives pull me aside to tell me that although they knew abortion wouldn’t be an option, they recommended I put her up for adoption, so I didn’t “ruin my life.” I couldn’t do it, because I knew it wasn’t my choice alone, and that my fiance would never forgive me. He wanted this baby as much as I did, if not more. But that didn’t keep it from being difficult. My parents made it clear they expected us not to “lapse” again until we were married. His parents could have cared less. But neither of them had the resources to help our newly formed little family. I got a job before I went to an OB, just to pay for COBRA, which was very expensive. I thought this job would provide me with health insurance. It did not. I spent every penny of my meagre income on insurance and medical bills. My husband’s money went to pay for his expenses as a student. We had nothing leftover for food, housing, and absolutely nothing for baby things. But our families loved us, and our new baby, before she even came.
Because no one had enough money to bear our financial burden alone, we ended up in an arrangement that was really hard. Half of the week, Sunday through Wednesday we would live at my parents. On Wednesday night we would pack up our clothing and move to his parents. We’d stay there Wednesday through Saturday. That was immeasurably hard. Rules at each house changed, and no one considered us adults, let alone parents. There were times we had to sit in our car, just to be alone and fight, or be alone as a family. Loving each other, and spending time with our daughter. We needed ways to escape, and have a space of our own. Thankfully, our family had a baby shower for us, that provided some things we needed desperately. Every gift card we got at our baby shower paid for her diapers in her first year. We used only what clothing others gave us. We had absolutely no money. After she was born, I struggled with trying to bond with her, my fiance as well, because everyone wanted to step in for us. We just wanted to be parents. It was a constant tug of war between wishing to be young and in love, and wanting to properly fulfill our responsibilities as parents.  We finally were able to marry two weeks after she turned a year old. He graduated from college, and we got an apartment. We barely had enough to scrape by, but it was OURS. Nobody was paying our way, and we lived at the same home every day. That, in and of itself was a blessing. After a lot of hard work and careful planning we were able to buy our own home. We now have 4 children, and if it weren’t for our unconventional wedding album, and the discrepancy between my daughter’s birthday and our wedding anniversary, nobody would know we had an unplanned pregnancy that turned our entire world upside down, and left us in poverty for years. The one thing that I will never forget throughout the entire thing is that the richest thing we had was her smile, her little hugs, and that no matter how poor we were, or how hard things got, somehow, some way, we always made it. God always provided. It still affects us to this day (our daughter is now 7) both in good ways, and in difficult ways, but I would never go back and change a single thing. Putting her up for adoption, or worse, aborting her, would have been the biggest heartbreak of our lives. It was her existence that gave us a purpose, and the perseverance to keep on going.

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