Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Positive

Positive.

That word always meant Good. All of the sudden, it meant Not Good. Apparently, the nurse on the other end had explained this enough times to silly young teens in the past. She reiterated the test results and what that meant.

I felt like the world was going to end.

I was suddenly afraid to death of telling my mom because, for sure, she was going to beat the shit out of me when I told her. That's what was going through my mind as I put the receiver down at the phone booth across from the counseling center. My friend Holly was standing next to me with her usual goofy hopeful smile. She saw my face and knew the answer. I don't remember anything but her hugs and reassurance. The warning bell rang and she was off to her next class. I wished I could just go to class with her. Instead, I turned and walked straight into the counseling center and into Mr. Aleman's office. He was used to me just plopping myself in the seat in front of his desk. He was my surrogate father and he knew it. I looked around his office at all the familiar items. The poster of kids climbing a jungle gym with something about wouldn't it be great if the military had to have bake sales to raise funds for weapons. I looked over at the tiny hoop and net attached to his trash can that some kid made for him in metal shop. I looked at anything I could before I finally looked at him. I couldn't stop crying. Before I could tell him, he knew. He had years of dealing with fatherless teen girls. His shoulders slumped as he half stated, half asked, "You're pregnant?" I lost it.

I was seventeen. I was smart. I was nice. I was kinda popular. And I was pregnant.

I keep hearing snarky comments about Bristol Palin. I read all over the internet all the ugliness about her situation. I keep wondering if Bristol is as afraid of her new responsibilities as I was. And then I wonder how much scarier and possibly more humiliating life must be for her than it was for me. It took all my strength to show up day after day to complete the final semester of school before graduation. But I did it. I can only imagine how difficult it is for Bristol to hold her head up knowing that the snickers aren't just coming from classmates and neighbors but from judgmental men and women all over the state and the rest of the US.

"What did your mom say?"

That was the first question I got from all of my friends. The tone in their voices was compassionate... not at all judgmental. I think they were probably putting themselves in my shoes in thinking about how their parents might have reacted. They knew that my mom was strict and a bit *ahem* grumpy, so they weren't really surprised when I told them about the ride in the car when she yelled and yelled at me about how I had ruined my life. In retelling our "conversations" to my friends, I kept out her screams of how I had embarrassed her and how was she going to explain this to my dad and how she had failed... She was so angry and humiliated. That made the whole situation worse. Not only was I going to have to bear the responsibility of becoming a mother, and not only was I going to have to live with the shame on a daily basis as the "evidence" of my dalliance grew and grew... I was now also fully responsible for my mother's feelings of failure.

I hated myself.

I wonder, again... how must that poor seventeen-year-old, Bristol feel? Does she feel like she's humiliating her mom? Will marrying the boyfriend make it all better? As much as I enjoy good political back and forth, I wish all the "journalists" out there would just let Bristol fade into the background. She has enough to deal with. Like that too young boyfriend-slash-husband of hers. And maybe the judgers and haters should do what my friends did for me... put themselves in Bristol's shoes... and just let this little side story go away.

And maybe focus on the issues.

...

This is not really a political post. It's a former-teen-mom-sticking-up-for-another-teen-mom post. Any "haters" will be taken out back and beaten with a switch by my mom. Don't laugh, Dude... she's scary with a stick!

AND, let me just say this in no way is a statement that the beautiful daughter that came of the teen pregnancy is anything less than an awesome kid who I love love love very much. Nothing negative there...

10 comments:

Steph said...

Woo. This is tough for me. Here's why...I, too, was pregnant at 17. I had a miscarriage...well, no. I had a D&C to remove a blighted ovum. But I relate to having to tell your oh-so-strict mother you're pregnant. I feel for Bristol Palin. She's in a spotlight she neither asked for nor wanted (just assuming she didn't want the spotlight, I guess).

However, the scrutiny on that poor kid is coming as much from people who are genuinely concerned about Sarah Palin's ideals being implemented nationwide. Like it or not, Bristol Palin offers up proof that abstinence-only sex ed is no more effective than other types of sex education at preventing pregnancy.

For me, as long as Sarah Palin keeps quiet on that topic, Bristol will be able to fade into the background, but should the elder Ms. Palin decide to tout the beauty of abstinence-only sex ed, should we all keep our mouths shut?

I just don't know. I DO know that I feel for that girl because I don't believe for one moment she's had a say in much of what's happening with her life. :(

jenn said...

I was 19 when my daughter was born. Two years and the fact that I was technically an adult didn't make things any easier for me either. I've thought a lot about Bristol Palin and her being in the spotlight....

Like you said, it must make it harder and scarier than it already is. It would be nice if it could just 'go away' for her sake and for her child's. They have a long road ahead of them. Not an impossible one but one that offers more challenges.

Caroline said...

Sugar - This is such an important post. YOU GET IT. You know. Bristol, who I assumed never expected to have this happen to her, has to really dig in right now and find strength while dealing with this stress in the public eye. My heart goes right out to her.

You have also pointed out the perspective of a mother with a pregnant daughter, and her own badge of motherhood "honor" riding on the semblance of her child's chastity so to speak. What sort of guilt is Bristol carrying around right now? All while having become the poster girl for her mother's parenting skills.

(Shudder)

Being pregnant is overwhelming as it is, I could not imagine having to adjust to such a life change with all of these factors as well.

Sarah, her character and her stand on the issues are absolutely fair game. Her daughter and her future grandchild are not. I agree with a previous comment - if Palin does a good job keeping her family out of the focus of this campaign, hopefully Bristol can be granted her own privacy finally.

Ann said...

I feel so sad for Bristol and that she has/had to live this journey in the public eye of the World.

KC Mae said...

A little too familiar... Fortunately for me, in what could have been a very dark and lonely time, my mother wrapped her arms around me, packed my stuff and moved me back into her home. She helped me find my way back to my feet, gave me strength to figure out how to build a life for us on my own. And now, that baby is 17, and I think how tiny she looks to me still. Would I have the same loving resolve that my mother did in the same situation?

I think Palin handled the media correctly, with pride and a healthy approach. I agree with your other posters, that Bristol's pregnancy should be kept out of the spotlight as much as possible, and not used in any way in Palin's campaign. Wishful thinking, perhaps...

Rowena said...

I agree with all the comments. Bristol's pregnancy should not be public domain. Let the girl deal with her own struggles.

And yet... let's talk about the efficacy of abstinence only sex ed. Can abstinence work in preventing teen pregnancy and disease? Heck yeah, I'll be proof of that. Will it work for everyone? Should we forget about all the other birth control and safe sex methods? Heck no.

This is a private issue, without a doubt. Each girl, boy, man and woman should be given all the options and education that is available so that they can be responsible in their own reproductive lives. This is not something that should be limited by the government. It is not something that should be dictated by someone else's religious beliefs.

And in this instance, the personal does indeed become political, doesn't it?

Dana said...

I can't imagine becoming pregnant at 17. I remember a few girls in my high school who did, and I know they struggled with motherhood for a very long time.

My own parents would have been extremely disappointed, being Catholics, but I like to think that they'd have supported me. I'll never know the answer obviously. I do hope the media storm over Bristol's pregnancy dies down. The girl is on a difficult journey as it is.

D'Arcy said...

we just need to leave her alone. agreed. life is messy. agreed. it always works out in ways that we wouldn't change once we've jumped the hurdles. life is life. you are amazing and I love that you are the person you are and have had the experiences you have had.


you are a rich woman sugar jones!!

Auds at Barking Mad said...

I guess I'm gonna step up and say hey, me too!

I didn't even have the ovaries to tell my mom, myself. Her lifelong best friend told her. This woman always acted as a second mom to me and I knew she'd be a tad more understanding than my "trigger finger" mama was.

It was awful. Yes, it ruined things I had planned for my life. I was a collegiate archer wanting to go to the '88 olympics, and probably would have...but whilst others were aiming their bows towards targets in hopes of making the team, I was breathing through contractions and wondering if I'd ever go back to college or be buried under diapers.

Once I held that baby, all the other external crap seems to fade into the background.

Going through all that with a mother who was a infamous trial attorney was bad enough. My mom did NOT handle it with the grace and aplomb that Sarah Palin seems to be handling it. Of course, no one knows what is said behind closed doors. My mom and I didn't talk until the week before the baby came.

I can't fathom being the daughter of someone in the national political spotlight and having to read about myself day in and day out. I hope the press steps back and lets this kid breath. It's hard enough being a child, having a child.

Double Agent Girl said...

Phew. I've been through this myself. When my grandmother heard I was single and pregnant, she actually hissed on the phone "how could you DO THIS TO USSSSSSS". It's tough, and its scary. Bad enough to be young and FREAKED out about what will happen now, when those around you aren't supportive its a kick in the ladybits. Or teenybits...