How did I become a Mom at age 18? That’s mostly an obvious question. A better-suited question for a scared, clueless, teenager would be, “How did you choose to become a Mom?”
After seeing two pink lines on a stick, I found I had two choices: accept what had been given to me or act like nothing was changing. I will spare the awesome details of telling my Dad that I was pregnant (that conversation resulted in my Dad taking my cell phone away — a teenage lifeline without which I felt shaken to my core).
There is no denying that both of my parents, all future grandparents, friends, family, and church family were all supportive of my choice to raise a baby. With a full academic scholarship to the University of Georgia and a bright future ahead of me, and even though a baby was coming into my life, I would not let dullness in — I pretty much had it all figured out.
Except that I did not.
I became a Momma by living a very selfish life. Not being able to shave my ankles was the least of my problems as a baby took over my physical being. Poor health and barely eating led me to pre-term labor. A prayer and a few bags of salt water IV stopped that. Choices…again. Stop living on Coca-Cola and no sleep while trying to keep up the image of a perfect college student in a new town. Or, make better health choices and admit that I needed help. I don’t believe the words “Help me!” ever crossed my lips. I did drop one class, finished the semester with decent grades and moved back home. This whole life balance thing was introduced at an immature time of life.
Becoming a mother meant I needed to be selfless.
The labor and delivery we had is a scene I do not want to play out again. I chose to be uninformed and unprepared for the milestone of bringing life into the world. (It is for this reason our family chose home births for our two following pregnancies. Stories for a different day of how healing came through delivering life!) Finally holding him in my arms after delivery, I understood the “Momma Bear” love that I had only heard of prior.
I remember looking at my son, home from the hospital for two days and asking my Dad, “What do I do with him? Like, do we play or what? He’s just looking at me, but he seems happy.” His response was: “Love him. Pick him up and look into his eyes. Hold him tightly and pray over him. Live a good life with him first in your thoughts with all your choices.”
Starting back at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga while working a full time, second shift job and cleaning a couple of office buildings left less time than I would have liked with my son. For this reason, I became a teen Mom that decided partying wasn’t the thing to do. I had a goal to be on the Dean’s list every semester. I had a goal to make my son proud. Absolutely no one else in life mattered.
The best decision I ever made was to see him for the blessing that he was.
The determining factor in me living for someone else besides myself. Goodness, so many hard times I’ve pushed out of my mind. So many GOOD times realizing that strength really does come from the Lord. There’s no other place that fulfills and sustains.
“Dallas Cain, you made me the strong woman I am today! When someone says I can’t, I remember the mercy given to me to find strength stumbling over my own feet to learn how to best raise you! You were my saving point!”