Written by Devin Strait, Embrace Grace, Fall 2011
I looked down to see the word: “Pregnant.” It was just there, staring at me, screaming at me that my worst fear was true. Pregnant. I blinked through the tears and tried to focus. This couldn’t be right…I was only 18! I had just turned 18!
Of course, I had always dreamed of becoming a mom, but that was supposed to be when I was older and married. I hadn’t finished college yet; I had barely even started my first semester! All I could think about was the fact that my life was over before it had ever begun. I would never get to go out and party on my 21st birthday; I would never be able to go to the movies with friends anymore. Worst of all, I was going to get fat and ugly, and my body would be ruined. My life would be ruined. How could this happen to me? Was this some kind of cruel joke? I thought we were safe since I was on the pill.
When I finally pulled myself together enough to think about the life growing inside of me, I thought about the drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol that I had consumed during the last month. I was convinced that I had somehow harmed my baby and that I was the worst mother, maybe even human being, ever.
I cried and held my stomach. I promised my sweet child that I would protect it from that day on. I finally realized that I had to tell my boyfriend. I was sure he would leave me; he wouldn’t want to be “trapped” with me and a baby. He was still young and had plans for his life. I didn’t even want to talk to him; I was too scared. I texted him a picture of the pregnancy test and my phone rang immediately. He asked me all sorts of questions: “Are you sure?” “How far along are you?” ”Is it mine?” “Would you consider abortion?”
The last two hurt the most. Of course it was his! How dare he ask me such a thing? We had been together for almost two years, and he thought that I would cheat on him? My insides turned when I thought of an abortion – how could he even suggest it?
The topic of abortion had always upset me; I hated to think about it. I remembered the little tiny hands- and feet-shaped pins my mother wore to the clinic she volunteered at – the same pins that I begged to wear to school to tell everyone about the sweet little babies in mommies’ tummies. I also remembered the bitterness and anger that I felt when I found out that my mother had an abortion when she was my age. I couldn’t believe that my mother, a strong Christian woman, could have done such a thing. I felt such emptiness, like a part of me was missing; I had a sibling I would never be able to meet. I felt betrayed.
My parents…how was I going to tell my parents? I knew that they would kick me out and disown me. I was a good kid, I was raised right, and I wasn’t supposed to get pregnant out of wedlock! I could not begin to think about how I would tell them this horrible news. I spent the next few nights at a friend’s house until I had mustered up the courage to tell them. I guess I would just have to be homeless and raise a baby on the street. When I came home that night, all I could say was “You are going to be grandparents.” I braced myself for the angry words and cursing, but I felt both my parents hug me tight and tell me that they loved me. In that moment, I finally understood my parents’ unconditional love for me.
I made it through my pregnancy, thanks to the amazing support that I got from my entire family, my church, and my boyfriend. I was introduced to a group called “Embrace Grace” near the end of my second trimester. It was a church group for young pregnant girls. I thought, Oh great, a place to be herded into a room with other pregnant chicks and scolded for all the horrible things I have done in my life. I could not have been more wrong. I walked into a room full of nervous pregnant girls and ten leaders, beaming from ear to ear, just as excited as could be. They welcomed each and every one of us, told us how happy they were that we came. I thought, these ladies must be on something; they are way too happy to be in church with a whole bunch of us sinners. They were so warm and real – I had never experienced such a genuine feeling of love from complete strangers. I learned so much through that class – not only from the wonderful leaders, but from the other girls as well. All the walks of life and different perspectives came together, creating such beautiful scenery. The lessons and testimonies helped to show me how God was actively working in my life.
My beautiful baby girl was born on October 8, 2011 at 2:13 in the afternoon. I remember that moment, because that is when my life truly began. I had a reason for living, a life to guide and protect. All of the pain that had happened over the past year completely vanished. She was my little miracle. This tiny life saved mine. I honestly believe that if it was not for her, I would be dead somewhere or living in complete numbness. My unplanned pregnancy turned my life around completely. God used this “mistake” to bring me back to Him and to be a light for others.
It has now been two years since I got pregnant. I just turned 20, and I am the mom of a super-spunky one-year-old. Looking back, it is like watching a movie; it is hard to even remember that that was me. I am not the same person that I was then. I mess up daily, I feel like the “worst mom ever” frequently, I say the wrong things sometimes, but I am always reminded that I am a precious daughter of the most glorious King and that in His eyes I am nothing but perfect.
I am excited that I can tell my story now and bring hope to girls who are walking out what I once went through. Going through our bumps in life with God makes life so much easier and pushes us towards our destiny and purpose.