Cody once asked me if he was a mistake. I gave birth to him when I was 17. I was unmarried, uneducated, working at Hardee’s and living in and out of homes as I tried to hide from the Cult. I starved during the entire third month of my pregnancy and even camped out in the woods of his Father’s house and up in the rafters of a barn on some hay. The joys of my first pregnancy were interrupted by fear. The fear of living, the fear of abuse, the fear that I wouldn’t survive the world or myself.
I told Cody, when he asked me this, that getting pregnant with him was a horrible mistake. I shouldn’t have ever had sex at 16, nor should I have ever gotten pregnant. I shouldn’t have been in situations that made me feel I needed to leave home and my family and I shouldn’t have left to the environments that I did. All of these things were mistakes. But, I told him, having him… giving him birth and bringing him into this world was not a mistake. Making the choice to take that responsibility and love him unconditionally for the rest of my life was not a mistake. That he is probably one of the things I’ve done right in all my life.
I was thinking about this today having seen one of those tabloid magazines where they are promoting teenage mothers on reality t.v. I’m appalled by hearing the news about teens trying to get pregnant so they can be on these reality t.v. shows. I remember having left high-school and walking miles home because the counselors thought it would be best that I didn’t go. I remember struggling through half a dozen jobs and never seeing my baby. I remember how all that money went everywhere else and how it felt to starve for days because I could only afford to feed him. I remember years upon years of struggling… Why are they promoting these things?
I told my son these differences because it’s important to understand them, especially in today’s world of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”. I would have never chosen to had gotten pregnant. I would have never chosen that life for us as the young girls today are beginning to think is entertaining. I would have never in my life thought it would be an entertaining thing to do to put a child through so many days of lack and sacrifice and loss. Through happenstance the only choice left to me was to have him and I chose him. I choose him. I would always choose him. The mistake was the action, not what was born from it. We all make mistakes it’s what we do afterwords that matters and Cody in this case was the ablution to my Life but promoting this mistake… the mistake of teenage motherhood is awful for our children, awful for their hopes of being educated and successful and being capable of having a life before giving birth to one.
When he was born I swore I would make sure he had the best life under the circumstances and that absolved me of my mistake. I tell Cody all the time, “It’s okay to mess up sometimes, but you have to own up to your mistakes. You must take responsibility for them. You apologize and then try your best to make it better or resolve what you can of the situation. That is more respectful than pretending things never happened or justifying your wrongs.” It was a mistake to have him, but he is not a mistake. He is my son, my beautiful lazy son that I hope will not make the same mistakes as me.