In March of 2011 I was 24, two months shy of my Bachelor’s Degree, unmarried, still living at home, and had no “real” job. I skipped a lady cycle and immediately purchased and took a home test because, well, there are people who set their clocks by my lady cycles, so I knew something had to be amiss. Sure enough, a little PLUS appeared in the test result window. I felt a thrill run through me, from my shoulders to my toes. My boyfriend didn’t know yet (obviously), and I was faced with a pounding in my head: Pregnant. Oh God, what now?
My family is extremely conservative and believed they had “raised me right” so I knew that telling them would be a nightmare. My boyfriend… well… who knew how he’d take it. I could only hope that it wouldn’t be too traumatic. My grandparents would—too much! I went about my day on that Sunday as though nothing was wrong. Inside I felt a strange calm, a peace, and even though my breaths were a little shaky as I moved through that next 24 hours, I made a decision to 1) Keep Calm and 2) Carry On. No panic, no tears, no distress. I knew I had to create a plan and immediately set to the task.
I was extremely proud of my reaction. I think some people in my shoes would have flailed and panicked and cried and/or immediately scheduled an abortion. I did none of these things. While I knew that my life was about to change forever (pardon the cliché), instead of collapsing into a pity party of horror and regret, I went on the offense to ensure that this beautiful child, whom I loved from the moment he became a zygote (haha), would have a completely awesome, stable, and loving environment in which to grow up.
I told my boyfriend Monday morning while we were at school. To my surprise, he knelt in front of me with a huge smile on his face and quietly assured me he was excited and happy. He rose to the challenge brilliantly, and I was (and am) so thankful for that. We married in November of that year in a quiet JP ceremony and are still together—and expecting our second child in June!
Of course, telling my family was indeed an ordeal, and I waited until after our Easter trip to Dallas to tell them. My mother threatened me with the vengeance of God (how does one gain access to that?) and my dad stared at me like I was filthy, his face totally blank. By the end of that conversation, I was biting my tongue to keep from saying “Well maybe I’ll miscarry and that’ll just solve everyone’s problems, now won’t it?”
All through the pregnancy, I was under pressure from my mom to admit that I was “not ready” to be a parent. She even went so far as to seek people out at their church who might be willing to adopt my little one when he arrived. She harped on the fact that I didn’t have any money and reminded me over and over that she and my dad were “not going to pay” for the child. Clearly, money and living arrangements were a huge issue, and I went right out and took the first job I could find in June 2011 at a local craft store. In September 2011 I got an awesome job in the recruiting department of a large Houston HR company. My little one was born in December and my husband and I took him home to our own house, which I purchased in November.
So am I proud of the way I responded to this particular crisis situation? You betcha. Have I responded poorly to other crisis situations since then? You betcha. But I know that when the going gets hellish, I can respond appropriately and raise hell right back and that makes me pretty stellar.