Sunday, May 3, 2015

An Open Letter to the Parents Who Think It Will Never Happen to Them

Dear Moms and Dads Everywhere:

I know as a parent we want to think that the 'bad things' will never happen to our own kids. We all believe that we have raised them better, taught them better and have a better relationship with them than all the 'other parents' out there. Believe me, I understand this. I was this exact type of Mom up until 3 weeks ago.

I thought I was doing everything the 'right' way. I have always been very open and honest with our teenagers on all the hot topics - especially sex. Sex is not a taboo topic in our home. I talk about it openly and honestly. See, I was raised in a home where anything related to sex was hush hush. I didn't want to create that type of atmosphere in our home. My belief was if we talked about it openly like it wasn't an embarrassing or 'off limits' topic, we would open up lines of communication and the kids wouldn't be embarrassed to broach these topics or come to us. I have never been under the belief that my teens would abstain from sex, but I thought we had educated, talked about and instilled that with sex comes responsibility and that we were always there to get them what they needed to have protected and responsible sex.

When our teenagers entered into relationships, we would talk about the physical side of being 'in love' and about making the choice to have sex and what all that meant - emotionally and physically. I was a teenager not so long ago. I remember the feelings that accompanied those first 'love' experiences and how consuming it can be. How I thought my high school sweetheart was 'the one' and we would spend forever together. I also know the reality of that and most times, we don't end up with our 'first loves.' So I would try to convey the reality of those relationships with our children so they could attempt to keep their heads on straight and not make a decision that would affect the rest of their life.

When my 17 year old daughter became serious with her boyfriend 10 months ago, I had the same conversation with her. Both her and her boyfriend are heavily involved in church and have always been proponents of waiting until marriage. They were the two that people used as examples of how to stand up for your beliefs and live your beliefs out loud each day. But even still, I talked to her about sex. I asked the questions as things got serious between them like, 'have you two talked about sex?' In one of these conversations she told me they had discussed it and maybe wouldn't wait until marriage but didn't feel like now was the right time. I told her, please come to me and talk to me before you guys take that next step. If that's a choice you make, lets do it the right way and be prepared for that step in your relationship. I told her she would never be in trouble if that's what they chose to do, but to keep an open dialogue with me.

She looked me in the eye and promised me that she would. And I believed her. Because I thought I was doing everything right.

Fast forward to 3 weeks ago. That's when I learned that what I thought could never happen to our family, has in fact happened.

My daughter is 27 weeks pregnant and hid it from her father and I for 25 weeks. I am going to be a Grandmother at 35.

Shocked. Devastated. Hurt. Pissed. I can't even put into words here what I felt at that moment and what I'm feeling right now. All I could keep thinking to myself is, 'how did this happen to us?' Never in a million years did I expect my Senior in high school to be pregnant. Not her - not the athlete and and the girl who lived to go to Wednesday night youth and wanted so badly to do missions work this summer. Not the girl who had plans to play college softball. Not the couple who so vocally for so long stood for waiting until marriage. Not these two. How could it be happening with these two?

Over the last 3 weeks I keep looking back to the last 10 months and all I can keep asking myself is 'what did I do wrong.' What could I have done to prevent this? Why did my baby girl feel like for 25 weeks she couldn't come to us, who have done nothing but love and support her. Where the hell did we go wrong?

I've cried. I've been pissed. I have had heart to heart talks with my best friends (who by the way, I would not have survived these 3 weeks without). I've had individuals reach out to me who I never in a million years would have thought would have so many kind words of wisdom for me. And here's what I've figured out.

There is nothing we could have done differently. And her choice is not a reflection on us as parents.

Teenagers are teenagers. And at some point, they are going to make decisions, good or bad, based on what they want. We have done our best to instill a value system that we think should guide them through life and decision making, but the reality is, at some point they make decisions based on what they want to do and feel like doing. I've struggled with why she didn't come and talk to me, but no matter how open I hope the lines of communication are, they are still kids and there are things they just don't want to talk to Mom and Dad about. There comes a time when they step out on their own and start to live their life in the way they want to live their life.

I never thought it would happen to us. But the reality is, it did. We thought we were doing everything right, but the truth is, all we can do as parents is try our very best.

Where do we go from here, well that's probably another post for another day. I will say we are 100% on board with supporting our daughter and her decision to raise her baby. We will do everything in our power to ensure she gets her higher education and is successful in life for her and her child. Because, at the end of the day, we love our kids, even when they disappoint us. We are moving forward and making the very best out of our situation at hand.

But, I just want to caution everyone, don't ever say, 'that will never happen to us.' Because you just never know. There is no 'type' of teenager that this happens to. Teenage pregnancy is not an issue that only affects a certain race, socioeconomic status or only happens to 'those' families. It happens and can happen to any of our kids. Teenage pregnancy doesn't result from bad parenting or a lack of parenting. Teen pregnancy happens because they are teens.

So, for all who think it can never happen to you, I was right there with you 3 weeks ago.


The Momma Who Has Had to Eat Her Words

1 comment:

  1. It happens to the best of us.... Kids and parents alike. As one of the kids who survived it, and now looking at the 20 year old amazing soul who I truly believe anchored this teenage mom... It will be OK. And that new baby will be well loved, well raised, and an amazing addition to both families. Keep your head up, love them all, and enjoy being a fabulous Nana, Granna, or whoever that bundle of joy decides to call you. (I'm 38 with 6 grands, by the way.)