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...
Wednesday, September 17, 2008