A Teenage Mother Remembers
by Amy Bemboom
It was the summer of 1980 when I received the news that I was pregnant. I was 16 years old, a pregnant sophomore in high school, unmarried and very scared. My stomach was in knots. How could I tell my mother” How would I tell my boyfriend” Would they hate me? Would they still love me” What would my brothers and sisters think about me? When I finally found the courage to tell my boyfriend the news, he was petrified of becoming a father. He was a full-time college student whose education was being financed by his parents. He feared that if I had the baby, his parents would disown him and no longer help him with his college education. For him, the only logical solution, given our young ages and our both being students without steady jobs, would be an abortion. I could not fathom having an abortion. I felt it would be morally wrong. We argued our beliefs for days until I finally decided to tell my mother.
My father had died the year before and I was uncertain my mother could
handle heating that her teenage daughter was pregnant. When I told her
of my predicament, she said she had suspected it from the way I had been acting. I couldn’t believe she didn’t yet at me or cry or get hysterical. She was very accepting of the news. She felt the wisest decision was to get married and have the baby.
I told my boyfriend what my mother wanted, thinking he would never agree to marriage, however, much to my surprise, he did offer. But I told him I felt we had made one mistake and marriage would only be another one. How could we live? How would we finance a baby and his college education? How would I finish high school? Did we really know what love was at our age? Would our love last a lifetime, as it should in marriage?
During my third month of pregnancy, my boyfriend and I broke off our relationship. He said he had offered to marry me three times and three times I had refused. I’ll never forget how he compared it to baseball-three strikes and you’re out! When I tried to reconcile a few months later, it was out of the question for him, He said I had hurt him too deeply. I had ruined his relationship with his parents by carrying the baby, and I was forcing him to work long hours while going to college in order to finance his education. He basically said that I had destroyed his life and that he could never forgive me. For some reason, this all made sense. It never occurred to me how that all our problems were direct results of the two of us having sex before marriage.
I carried the baby alone. I didn’t want anyone to know how badly I hurt inside or how alone and afraid I felt. Finally on Feb. 7, 1981 1 gave birth to a baby boy.
Four years later I got pregnant again. There I was at 20-years-old in the same shoes I had been in at 16, only this time abortion didn’t seem out of the question. I knew first hand how difficult raising a child could be. My boyfriend refused to marry me and I really believed there was no way I could disappoint my mother again. I opted for an abortion. It was the only way I thought.
Hindsight is 20/20. Abortion was not the answer. I have paid for that decision with depression every autumn since that baby was sucked from my womb. Of all the wrong decisions I have made in my lifetime, this is the one that I regret the most Nobody told me abortion is not something that you do and forget about. It stays with you for the rest of your life.
One year later the same boyfriend who would not marry me, did, Once married I became pregnant a third time but had a miscarriage. In my mind I was convinced this was my punishment from God for trying to play “God” by deciding which of my babies would live and which would die I began to resent my husband deeply for not marrying me the year before. I blamed him for the abortion. I could no longer accept what I had done.
Five years later, we divorced. The saddest part of the divorce is that my 13-year old son, whom my ex-husband had adopted, decided to live with him and not me. The hurt and pain of my son’s decision was incredible- I sometimes have trouble accepting that everything I gave up-my vocational dreams, my personal goals, my pride-was somehow for nothing because in the end I don’t have my son living with me.
Premarital sex is not love. The feelings may seem like love, but they’re not. Hurt, pain, loneliness, shame, guilt-these are all the things that go along with sex before marriage. I gave myself for one moment when I believed I was loved by my boyfriend-one moment in a lifetime of moments.
I have learned that God has given us rules to live by not because, He wants us to be prudish or lead boring lives, but because he knows the consequences that go along with breaking His commandments. He knows how lonely and ashamed we can feel after making bad decisions. I don’t believe God wants that for us. He wants something better.
The teenage years are the years of learning many things, but nobody said it had to be a time to learn everything . I never took the time to really think about my choices. I could have chosen chastity. I never took the time to really think about the lifelong consequences of my choices. Looking back, at the tender age of 16, 1 wish that I had.
(From the Wisconsin District News. This article was originally published in the Jan/ Feb ’96 issue of Family, Digest. Amy Bemboom is from St. Cloud, Minn.)
THE ABOVE MATERIAL IS FOR STUDY AND RESEARCH ONLY. IT HAS BEEN COPYRIGHTED, BUT THE SOURCE IS UNKNOWN.