Telling Family I was Pregnant
I was 19 when I found out I was pregnant. At the time I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I was determined to keep my baby. I felt really embarrassed to tell my family I was expecting because I was the one that was supposed to make it. I had gone off to college after graduating high school and had a lot of momentum to excel in school and get into a great career.
It was my Junior year when I got pregnant and I knew my family wouldn’t have seen what was coming. I had never introduced my partner to them, and I knew they wouldn’t be impressed by him. He was 6 years older than me and didn’t know what he was doing with his life still. This was my first taste of love and I completely fell head over heels stupid for him.
The first person I told was my mom because I knew she would always have my back and be understanding instead of judgmental. I probably told her when I was like 3 months because I couldn’t hide the morning sickness anymore. Once I told her I felt a huge relief and asked her to tell the rest of my family because I didn’t know what to expect from them. The craziest part about my story telling my family was when my uncle passed away when I was around 6 months, and no one noticed I was pregnant. At this time only one of my aunts knew because my mom told her and she was very supportive and respectful about keeping my secret. However, she did end up telling the rest of my family which created a huge drama between her and my mom because my mom felt betrayed for spreading my secret.
My other aunts were hurt that I didn’t tell them but, in the end, they were also very supportive and threw me a baby shower. I think what made me hold back from telling them were the questions I knew they were wondering. Like ‘Who was this guy?’ and ‘Why would I let myself get pregnant at this age?’ Telling my family was good closure for me as my pregnancy got closer to the end because I had their blessing. For any other young parents who are scared to tell their family my advice would be to tell them on your own time but in the end the truth will always come out. Hiding a baby is impossible and unhealthy for yourself and the baby. It takes a village to raise a kid and if your family isn’t there for you then your friends and community will be there to hold you down.
Looking back and into the future I want my daughter to never hesitate to tell me anything. I always thought my mom and I were close growing up but as I started to date, I saw what was missing from our relationship. I never saw my mom with my dad or anyone throughout my life, so it was the one thing we never talked about. At the time I felt like I couldn’t go to her for relationship advice or even tell her I was having sex.
I hesitated because I wasn’t sure if she would approve or not. I think if we had the Birds and Bees talk, I would have thought twice about how I was moving and focused on finishing school. Although things didn’t go as planned, I’m so grateful that I was able to adapt my life to accommodate raising my daughter.
Using my own experience into motherhood, I want to teach my daughter about her body and normalize talking about it. I want to teach her that self-care means mind, body, and soul. I know that she will be okay in this crazy world. There is no one or the other to me. You can’t be balanced if one of these (mind, body, or soul) are off.
The lessons with my daughter don’t always look the same either. It could be an answer to a question or her confiding in me about something that happened at school. For example, learning about sex ed at home before learning about it in class for the first time will be helpful.
Based on what I remember, a lot is missing from the sex talk in school and that is why I believe it is on parents to educate their children. I hope when Meilani gets older that she can come to me with any questions and for advice because I do have valuable wisdom from my experience being a young mother of color. Building trust and respect with her will model what other relationships should be like.
My call to action for any parent is to be intentional and a good listener with their kids. Investing in your kids (literally and figuratively) will ensure that they will live a better life than you did.