“February 1st, 2015. I went to CVS to buy a pregnancy test. I was so scared, and I couldn’t believe this is where my life was leading me to. I went back to my apartment, alone, and read the directions with a pit in my stomach. I felt sick. I didn’t want to take the test. I really wanted to just vanish into thin air.
I took the test and set it on my bathroom counter. Then I turned the lights off and laid in my bed while I waited for the results, just staring at the ceiling. I was afraid to check the results because I subconsciously knew that I had to be pregnant. After 30 minutes, I finally worked up the courage.
Upon first glance, I was relieved. ‘I am not pregnant!’… or so I thought. Then I looked closer. The second line faintly appeared on my pregnancy test. NO. There is NO way. I thought it had to be a mistake. Since the line was so faint I thought maybe it was inaccurate. Maybe it was a false positive. So many thoughts were rushing through my mind.
Either way, I was a mess. I turned on some of the saddest songs I knew and sat in the shower in the dark for an hour. I cried until I had no more tears left inside of me.
Usually this is a happy time in someone’s life. It is the gift of new life! But not for me. I was only 19 and a sophomore in college. On top of that, I was a D1 tennis player on full ride scholarship. I was in jeopardy of losing everything!
The next few days, I kept to myself. I didn’t tell anyone. I was for sure in denial myself and I felt like if I ignored it then it would just go away. I waited a full week and then took another pregnancy test because, in my head, my denial told me my first test was wrong.
I was shaking as I took the second test, hoping the first one was a complete lie. I waited and then got the results… this time the second line was dark black. Two very clear black lines. The test practically screamed, ‘You are 100% knocked up!’
Teen pregnancy. This was something I never thought would happen to me, and it was definitely not something I had hoped for myself. I had so many dreams and aspirations, and in my mind they were all over now. I thought my tennis career was over forever.
When I found out I was pregnant, I was in a dark place. I often wondered what would happen if I miscarried…would life go back to normal? Could I pretend this never happened? I felt terrible thinking about this, but I was so scared.
I got down on my knees and begged God for help. I was praying so hard and it was the first time I had done so in a long time. I pleaded with God, asking him to help me. I was so lost I didn’t even know what to do. I felt punished, ‘Why would this happen to me?’
After I took the second test, I decided to tell my boyfriend. Surprisingly, he was super supportive. He told me that everything was going to be okay, and that he wanted to marry me before we got pregnant. This definitely helped reassure me, but I still felt uneasy about everything.
I had my first ultrasound on February 23, 2015, which was my 20th birthday. I went to a pregnancy resource center because they took girls in for free and it wouldn’t show up on my parents insurance. The first thing they had me do was pee in a cup. They tested my urine to check that I was for sure pregnant. They came back and confirmed I was. Then they asked me, ‘How do you feel about being pregnant?’ Fighting back tears, I said, ‘Well, not good since I didn’t want to get pregnant.’
Next they took me into the ultrasound room and I was SO nervous. At first, I saw just a blob on the screen. I didn’t think much of it or even consider this blob to be a baby until the ultrasound tech zoomed in.
I saw arms, legs, eyes, fingers…this was a real freaking baby in me! It was so surreal. I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh, be happy or sad. I never felt a connection to this thing inside of me until I saw it. At this moment, I finally felt attached to this life growing inside of me. The ultrasound tech said my baby was about 9 weeks and 5 days along.
Leaving my first appointment, I didn’t know how to react. Part of me kind of got excited, but the other part was depressed and scared out of her mind. Since I was almost 10 weeks pregnant, I knew it was probably time to tell my parents.
I had been dreading telling my parents for so long. I come from a conservative, religious family that doesn’t believe in sex before marriage. We decided to call my dad first because he is more understanding about stuff like this in general.
The phone was dialing and the only thing going through my head was, ‘Please don’t answer. Please don’t answer.’
‘Hello?’ he said.
I took a deep breath, but failed to even speak. I started bawling. Then I managed to get out, ‘Dad, I messed up’ and continued crying. He responded, ‘Are you pregnant?’ as if he knew from the distress in my voice. I honestly don’t remember too much from that conversation. He didn’t get mad at me. He was just disappointed, though calm on the phone.
I told my dad I was pregnant, so I thought the worst of it was over…but it wasn’t. He wasn’t with my mom, he was on a business trip. So, now we had to do a three-way call and tell my mom. We added my mom into the call and she was in a good mood…but that lasted only a moment. She was livid. She yelled a me and was overall just super pissed. No other way to explain it. I think she was even more furious because she thought I was a virgin.
At the end of the conversation with my parents, my mom finally calmed down and told me she loved me. My dad said he was going to take a flight in the next day and pick me up from college to take me back to my home town in California.
Two days later, I was in the car with my dad driving back to California. I withdrew from my University and took all my belongings home with me. I had a long car ride with my dad, talking about life and how everything kind of spiraled out of control. When I got home, my mom was kind to me. She wasn’t super happy with the events taking place, but she hugged me with open arms. Most of my siblings were supportive as well. However, no one was supportive of my relationship with my boyfriend.
My parents and I would fight over and over again about him. They did not think he was right for me and they honestly didn’t think he was a great guy altogether. I obviously disagreed with them, and truthfully, I did not want to be a single mom. Sadly, that choice was taken away from me on March 24th, 2015 when my boyfriend suddenly died in a head on collision. I was devastated, and now I was 100% going to be a single mom.
The rest of my pregnancy was very difficult. I was extremely depressed, just getting out of bed in the morning was painful. I could hardly eat, sleep, or go about my day doing the bare minimum. The only thing that kept me going and hopeful was my son growing inside of my belly.
Besides dealing with my crippling depression during my pregnancy, there were always rumors going around since I didn’t announce that I was pregnant publicly. People were saying I had an abortion or that I miscarried my baby among other things. It honestly did not bother me too much. Luckily, I have a tendency to not really care what people think of me in general, so it helped me out a lot in this situation.
Going to church was also difficult for me once I started showing. People in my church were nice to me but since my religion is very strict on no sex before marriage, I felt like I was still being judged behind kind eyes.
As time went by, I was seriously counting down the days until I could meet my son. Like I said before, he was the only thing that kept me going. The only thing that got me out of bed in the morning and kept me motivated. I would just stare at all of the ultrasound pictures I had of him and I would dream about finally meeting him.
On September 21st, 2015, my life was completely changed when I met my son. My depression instantly vanished and I felt whole once again. My son was the absolute best thing to ever happen to me and he honestly felt like my saving grace.
After having my son, I worked really hard to go back to school and finish my tennis career. I went from getting a 1.98 my freshman year of college before having my son, to a 4.0 after having my son. You would think it would be the opposite, but for me, my priorities changed once I had my son. I worked a lot harder because I wanted to be able to provide for my son, but also show him that he can do hard things too.
The most difficult part of being a young mom was balancing my schedule, lacking money, having less freedom, and not having any time for myself. But once you are put in the situation, you make it work and everything somehow falls into place. Being a single mom, student, and college athlete taught me so much. My biggest piece of advice for those in a similar situation is to not give up on your dreams, no matter what society tells you!
Your only limitations are truly in your mind.”
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This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Mayci J. Neeley of Vineyard, Utah. You can follow her on Instagram and her blog. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
Read more from Mayci:
‘Things weren’t adding up. ‘Have a nice life,’ I told my boyfriend. An hour later, I saw ‘RIP’ posted all over my feed. My heart started beating.’: Teen mom loses boyfriend in tragic car crash during pregnancy, ‘My son kept me going’
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