Young n’ Pregnant

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One thing I never wanted to be was a statistic. Young, black baby mama, and still a baby myself. It was only a week after my 19th birthday that I would receive absolute confirmation that I was pregnant. I had taken a pregnancy test, but who could be sure until there is an ultrasound. So many thoughts ran through my head that I felt faint. How was my future going to look? Would my life be over? What about adoption? What about… I couldn’t. I had just gotten accepted to the Disney College Program Internship, but I would not be attending, because I would become a mother.

After confirming my pregnancy, I would have to tell my parents. My mother’s reaction was utter disappoint. She lectured me about the options of protection, and why I hadn’t been careful. I felt even worse. In fact, I cried when we got off of the phone. Talking to my dad was surprisingly different. I thought his reaction would be similar, but instead he made jokes. He said, “when you gone from this house I know what you be doing, but what I’m a do? Whoop

The image features a photorealistic portrait of a young, pregnant African woman with a dark skin tone and a voluminous afro hairstyle. She is wearing a close-fitting, marled knit shirt that accentuates her pregnancy. Over her shoulders, she carries the straps of a khaki-colored backpack, suggesting she may be a student or a traveler. In her arms, she holds a stack of hardcover books, indicating a commitment to education or a passion for reading. Her facial expression conveys a sense of seriousness or concern, with her eyes looking directly at the viewer, possibly reflecting on the challenges she faces or the responsibilities ahead. The background is neutral and nondescript, focusing the viewer’s attention on her expression and the symbolic elements of her pose.

your ass?” However, the comic relief didn’t ease the tension I felt. My grandmother thought that I should quit school, in order to focus on being a mother. And my friends first question was, “am I going to keep it?” Each day I remained pregnant, I got more and more attached to my unborn child.

My child’s father was supportive and felt that we would be able to raise our child. Knowing that he would be in my corner allowed me to be brave through out  my pregnancy. But that would all fall apart in my third trimester. 

I decided to continue pursuing my Biology degree even though I was expecting. By spring, I was big pregnant and it was hot. I was packing weight in the front and the back, while trekking through a blazing campus. I was determined to continue my education despite the odds. 

I recall attempting to complete my oral Spanish final, while sweating and contracting. I could barely focus. Later that night, I was admitted into the hospital.

Two weeks prior to giving birth, my child’s father and I broke up. At the time, I didn’t understand the reasoning. He has just moved from his parents home to an apartment with some roommates he’d met in college. The first couple months at the new place everything was fine, but all of a sudden he became distant. The night I had my son is one I’d never forget.

I had recently moved back to the 7th ward by my grandmother when she was taking me to the hospital. I remember declining a wheelchair escort to the maternity ward, because I wanted to “walk the baby down.” I cramped like crazy the whole way. I didn’t know if my son’s dad would show, because we’d recently broke up. By the time he made it, I was in a maternal triage area, laying in a bed. My contractions were becoming more and more painful. I recall needing to use the bathroom. The night was so chaotic. So many pregnant women and such short staff. When I went into the bathroom there was a trail of blood on the floor. There were large chunks of tissue in the trash: indicative of a miscarriage. I was so frightened. As my contractions became more intense, I felt as though I would lose consciousness. My child’s father alerted the nurse, but her response was “its okay if she passes out, because she’s already laying down.”

I can’t remember how much time passed before I got an epidural. But when I did, I was able to sleep! Something I hadn’t done for a week, because of Braxton Hicks. Unfortunately, I was not aware that I’d fallen asleep on the epidural administering button. By the time someone checked on me, all the medication was gone. Consequently, my labor was slowed down tremendously. I was no longer dilating, and my contractions were beginning to deprive my child of oxygen and cause cranial swelling. 

I was told that I would need a C-Section. I instantly began to cry, because I never wanted to be cut open. I was told that it was for the health of my child, so I agreed. I was so cold on the way to the OR: shivering uncontrollably. As I lay on that table, I felt nauseous. I had no energy and although I couldn’t feel pain, I could feel the doctor making the incision. It felt like she was ripping through a t-shirt. There were two big pushes, as if the doctor was shoving  my baby into my lungs. I was losing my breath until I heard his. I looked dead after giving birth. In fact, my friends thought I had passed away, from the look of the picture. 

Although I had visitors in the day, I spent most of those nights alone. My son’s father declined to stay most of the nights. So it was me, my baby, and a backless gown. The first night was the worse. I just beginning to regain the feeling in my legs. None of the night nurses had been by to check on me, when the janitor came in. She asked if I’d seen a nurse yet and I told her no. She told me I needed to make a bowel movement, and it was important I do so after surgery. She helped me out of bed only to discover I was laying in blood.  She shook her head and said, “the nurses are supposed to do this.” I could barely stand up straight because of the pain. She walked me to the bathroom and waiting until I finished my business. When I came back I was welcomed to fresh linen, as she helped me back in bed. 

When I was finally released from the hospital, my mind and body was going through a lot. In the day I would experience extreme chills, but at night I’d get so hot that I’d sweat excessively. I could literally ring water from my shirt.  There was a night that my son’s dad promised he would come to help, but he never showed up. I called and called, but no answer. Disappointment and anger went through me. So I packed my newborn into the car that night to investigate. 

I spent the entire drive attempting to calm myself. I was hoping the situation was not what I was thinking. When I pulled into the parking lot, I took a deep breath before getting my son out of the car. I made my way to his unit with my newborn in hand. I knocked on the door and was greeted by one of his roommates. Once inside the room, I noticed that it was in disarray. There were clothes on the bed and floor, and all of them were not his. Most of the clothes were for a woman, along with her other belongings. All of my fears had been solidified. In the moments

The image displays a young African American woman with a natural afro hairstyle, holding a baby close to her chest. She is standing in a doorway, wearing a pale pink long-sleeve shirt and classic denim overalls. A shoulder bag rests at her side. Her expression is neutral and contemplative. To her left, a man appears mid-motion, energetically gesturing with his mouth open as if caught in the middle of speaking or shouting. He is wearing a black shirt, jeans, and black shoes. The scene is bathed in warm sunlight suggesting either early morning or late afternoon. It seems to capture a moment of emotional contrast between the calmness of the woman and the dynamic energy of the man.

of me being in his room, his friends must have contacted him. I’m pretty sure he told them to make me leave, because one of them came into the room handing me a phone. It wasn’t him though. It was his roommate’s girlfriend telling me I need to leave before she made. Her commentary caused an argument, because who are you? I decided to leave for the safety of my child. As I was doing so, his roommate was shouting obscenities, and damn near hit me with the door with my child in hand. 

Sh*t just got real!

The next weeks following that event, I would receive random calls from the girl he was seeing, or from him or the roommates. They were calling me derogatory names. I remember being called fat, black, and ugly. Even his mom, who I thought I had a good relationship with was saying negative things about me. He treated me so badly. Betrayal and heartbreak became my new acquaintances. Out of respect for my grandmother’s home, I never engaged with the bulls*t. I was basically

getting bullied for months. That was until I moved into my own apartment. Once I was on my own, it was up for anyone who thought that they could disrespect me.

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