“I became pregnant at 19, dropped out of University, and moved to Mexico. It sounds crazy, I know! But it’s true!
Seven years ago I was living in a tiny studio apartment in London with a friend and my boyfriend of three months, Pedro. I was studying Hotel and Business Management, and at the time was an intern at The Landmark Hotel. Pedro was walking all of London daily, trying hard to find a job. He had just graduated university, and against his family’s wishes, he had followed me to London. We were young, naïve, and in love. We couldn’t stand to be apart!
Turns out finding a job was not as easy as he had hoped and expected. Even though we were low on cash, we had a blast on the daily! Sometimes we picnicked at Hyde Park. Other times, we sipped pints at our neighborhood pub, or went to nightclubs. At the hotel, I sometimes worked morning shifts, and other times night shifts. Pedro always walked me to work and picked me up every day, rain or shine… and being London, it wasn’t always ‘shine.’ On my birthday, he surprised me by waiting outside the staff exit with a new Michael Kors wallet. His grandmother had sent him money, and instead of using it for food, rent, or other such sensible choices, he chose to buy me a gift! We had not a care in the world and were enjoying life, flying by the seat of our pants.
When my period was a day late, I just knew I was pregnant. I went and bought a test from the corner store. It came up negative. Pedro lovingly laughed, as he was convinced I was needlessly worrying. Despite the negative test, I still KNEW. The next day, I went out and bought another. This time, it came up positive. I waved it in Pedro’s face – my stomach full of butterflies. I can say with complete honesty I was never for one second upset, and neither was Pedro. I had always wanted to be a mother, and like I said, we were in love! But even so, we had a lot of figuring out to do.
We took a few days to come up with a game plan, and then set out to share the news. The fact we only needed a few days to come up with a plan speaks volumes to our immaturity. Telling my father was terrifying. We had an ocean between us, but even telling him over the phone put fear in my soul. Hands trembling, I wrote him an email. I told him ‘not to worry,’ because Pedro and I had a plan… My ‘plan’ included dropping out of school, and moving to Mexico, where Pedro had a job waiting for him. Looking back, I can understand why from a father’s point of view this was mind-blowingly irresponsible. There goes his little girl, across the world, to a Third World Country, where she doesn’t speak the language or know the customs… to start a new life, baby in tow.
Pedro told his mom by texting her a bunch of grandma emojis. Again, not the most mature move on our part. I am grateful that neither my parents, nor Pedro’s, uttered the word abortion to us. Looking back now, I know they must have felt SO worried, and SO helpless. Despite what I now know their feelings must’ve been, we received only support. And we are so grateful for it.
A few weeks later, for my 20th birthday, Pedro and I traveled to The Netherlands to visit my father. It was an awkward visit, and we had some tough conversations. My father is always very well composed, but when we tried to reassure him Pedro would be arriving to Mexico to open a business of his own, my father momentarily lost composure, and spoke his feelings out loud in a single word: ‘Bulls–t!’ he exclaimed. He never tried to stop us or interfere, though. Ultimately our visit went as well as it could’ve… and we left ready to embark on life’s next chapter.
Meanwhile, I had shared the news with my friends. While our families were supportive, I did not feel the same level of support from my close group of girlfriends I had maintained since high school, and that was one of the biggest challenges I’d have to face. My emotions were at an all-time high and I was in a delicate state. So, when one by one my friends advised me to abort my baby and go back to normal life, I was crushed. I felt so judged and misunderstood. One friend at the time particularly didn’t hold back: ‘You need to get an abortion,’ she said. ‘You’re only nineteen – just think about your body, if you go ahead with this, it’ll be ruined forever… and so will your life.’ That comment stung, and to be honest, it still does all these years later. I wish I could forget her words, but they often still echo in my head. How could my body be of greater importance than my baby?
I had never felt so judged in my entire life, and withdrew myself from my friends who I had previously called soulmates. I look back, and I now wish I had taken more photos of myself during that pregnancy. I didn’t, because I felt if I shared a photo, it would just be a focal point for negative energy and prying eyes, looking for something to gossip about. I have just a few photos from this time that I now cherish. My hope for anyone reading this and going through similar, is that they take the photo! Create the album! One day you’ll be glad you did.
Leaving Europe behind, my next stop was Washington D.C., where my mother, sisters, and some extended family lived at the time. My family rallied together and shared support, organizing a baby shower for me. I will never forget how supported I felt by my circle during this time, and that warmth has stayed with me since.
I had two of my closest friends in New York at the time, just a four-hour drive or short train ride away. Both had said they’d come to the shower! Finally my friends were coming around, I thought. On the day of the shower neither friend showed up. One friend left me waiting outside the train station, where I had agreed to pick her up. She never stepped off the train, and didn’t even get in touch to tell me she had decided not to come. Two days later, I received a lukewarm apology. My heart was hurting. I still don’t understand why my choice to keep my child caused such a break in friendship, but it happened with every friend I had, and it was sad and confusing.
Despite, or maybe because of the no-shows from my friends, my family and Pedro surrounded me and our unborn baby in love. At the end of my visit, it was time to travel from D.C. to Mexico City. Upon my arrival, Pedro’s family welcomed me with the same warmth and love I learned only a family is able to give. Despite the language barrier, my hurting heart felt so welcomed and accepted.
Several months later, when I was 42 weeks pregnant, our son Pedro was born. Throughout three days of active labor, six hours of pushing, a hospital transfer, and an emergency C-Section, both Pedro and my mother never left my side. My hand was held, my back was rubbed, my hair was combed… I knew then the knowledge I continue to know now: when you find someone who loves you in your hardest moments, and loves you selflessly – that is the greatest gift. Hold those people close, and strive to be there for them fully as well.
Labor was scary, and during the C-Section my fever was raging. The surgeon tactlessly exclaimed, ‘I saved you from the jaws of death!’ while I was still lying open on the table. He told us that had we waited even an hour longer before transferring to the hospital from the Birth Center where I had been laboring, me and my son would have both died. As I was sewn up, and fell into a relieved sleep, Pedro got to hold his son, who shares his name, on his chest for those sacred first moments earth side. Once I was in the recovery room, I remember not wanting to sleep, because I couldn’t stop staring at our son’s beautiful face. I didn’t want to blink and miss a second! I was just so grateful and so glad he was mine.
Losing friends was really hard. As a teenager, you think friends are your entire world. Some friendships have recovered to varying degrees over the years… but not a single member of my high school girl gang attended our wedding, which happened when our son Pedro was 4. I like to say pregnancy came with the additional blessing of showing me the meaning of family, and the meaning of unconditional love. Something I will never take for granted again. This knowledge of what family truly means has also made me strive to be a better daughter, sister, mother, wife and in-law.
As for Pedro and I? Well, our love continues to grow. We’re married now, and we’re proud parents to three little boys: Pedro, Nico, and Sebastian. We are also business owners, having created a successful 6-figure business in just two years with a starting investment of only $500. Our business allows me to be home with our kids while chasing my dreams – but that’s another story for another day! We are now living in our new home in Colorado. We’re probably the youngest on the block by a good 10 years, but we have a great community around us. We believe in constantly improving, loving hard, and perseverance, especially when it comes to working towards achieving our goals.
I have big plans to continue growing my company. I am proud of the life we are creating, and the children we are raising. I have decided to share my story, to show other young mothers that even if people try to place you in a box, or drop you as a friend, being a young mom doesn’t need to be a curse. You may face judgement and naysayers, but you can achieve your dreams, and thrive in young parenthood.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Laetitia Doets of Colorado. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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