i hope she knows that she is an amazing person, and that someday, she will find someone who is her complete match... someone who will really appreciate her for who she is. it also inspired me to share my story of how i became a mother. this also seems appropriate, since sunday is mothers day and all. so here goes. sorry it’s kind of long.
in the fall of 1995, i was 15 and working my very first job at a movie theater. a friend of mine who was a few years older than me needed a place to stay, so she moved in with me at my parents house. she had a boyfriend, and wanted to introduce me (and my best friend at the time) to some of his friends. she brought them all into the theater to see a movie. after i got off of work, we all went over to my best friends house. this is where i first met him. i was not interested in dating any of them... i was young, and naive, and they were all much older than me. a bunch of us ended up hanging out as friends a few more times, and i got involved with one, when i shouldn't have. i made some poor choices, some really bad decisions, and after only a few short months, i found myself very hurt and alone. needless to say, our relationship ended, as well as the two friendships i mentioned before.
i went on with my life, i turned 16 and was a sophomore in high school. i kept myself busy with school, friends, and homework. in the spring of '96, i started feeling really tired all the time, a lot more than normal. i had no energy, i slept through or skipped a lot of classes, and my stomach was all tight and sore, i knew something was wrong. i had a feeling that i was pregnant, but i was still getting a (light) period, and i was definitely in denial. so i hid it very well. i finished the school year without anyone finding out. not even my closest friends. (thank goodness baggy clothes and JNCO jeans were in style then, haha.)
in may, a month after i'd turned 16, and around the same time that i was getting really worried about what i should do, he came back into my life. like he knew somehow? so i told him, and we went to planned parenthood together. the test was positive. according to the date of my last known period, i was due november 23rd. yikes! his first reaction, was for me to “end it“. but i was already too far along. plus i was underage, so i would have had to leave the state. it didn't matter, i NEVER would have done that anyway, and i was really hurt by the idea, and that he would even suggest it. he told his father (whom i had never met), and he immediately said that i should “give it up“. my heart hurt. our relationship ended for good... which ultimately, was for the best.
from day one, i knew that i wanted this baby. i had never really liked babysitting, and i had always said, “i’ll never have kids”. i had also never even held a newborn before, and i had no idea what i was getting myself into. but i knew that i was supposed to have her, and that i would be a good mom, and that everything would be okay. oh yeah, i also new that she was a girl too... just mothers intuition, i guess?
so i had to tell my family. that was one of the worst days of my life. i was so upset i couldn't even speak. i felt like i had let everyone down. like i was such a failure. and i had no idea how they were going to react. my parents are very religious, and the choices i had made went against everything they believed in and had tried to instill in me. it was awful. my mom and dad have always been very supportive of me, and they were very forgiving. i remember my dad not talking to me for a few days, probably so that he wouldn't say the wrong things, or make me feel any worse than i already did. but when he finally did, it went something like this, “even if this baby doesn't have all of its limbs, we want you to keep it”. haha, he always has a funny way of saying things, which i love. i was so thankful to have their love and support.
at the end of july, i went with my mom to my very first ob/gyn visit. on august 8th, i had my first ultrasound. it was a girl. and she was due september 30th… not at the end of november like we had thought! i was so scared and unprepared. i really had no idea what i was doing. luckily, while i was at the appointment, i ran into an old friend from elementary school who had just had a baby. woah, she was the same age as me, and already had a kid! she told me about a school that she was attending, and gave me their contact info. it was a public alternative school for young mothers. i was enrolled that month, and started on the first day of my junior year.
on september 30th, 1996, my daughter, alanna gwynne hart, was born. my contractions started while i was at the movies. she was born on her due date. she weighed 7 lbs. 7 oz. and was 20 in. long. my labor and delivery went really fast, and was smooth and easy. i recovered quickly and was back in school after just two short weeks off. alanna went to school with me every day for those two years until i graduated (with honors) in 1998. that school really saved me. i learned all kinds of skills important for being a mom and a homemaker. i was a single teenage mother, and it helped me become independent. plus it gave me the opportunity to actually finish high school, which most teenage mothers aren't able to do.
my life truly changed in every single way, once alanna was born. it was hard, i had so many more responsibilities. i lost a lot of friends, and part of my youth. but i loved her, and i knew i had made the right decision (for once). it also made me realize that everything happens for a reason, and that what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. i really appreciate all the help i have received from my parents over the years (and family and friends). my mom and dad really made it all possible, and i wouldn't be where i am now, without them. i love you mom, and i hope you have a very Happy Mothers Day!
that's me on the left, in san francisco in august 1996, about 8.5 months pregnant
and here is alanna at age one, in october 1997