HEY, MOM AND DAD...GUESS WHAT?
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
How do you tell your parents that you are pregnant when you've just turned 18 years old? "These things are never accurate," said my best friend Jena, matter-of-factly, after positive test number 5. I wanted so badly to believe her. "Maybe you just have highly acidic urine?" That's it! Bingo. I just have highly acidic urine. Problem solved. I guess it was after positive test number 7 that I finally started facing reality. I had to tell Maureen and Keith the news. But what in the world was I going to say? My parents are very strict people. Though not huge on positive reinforcement, they're pretty big on negative reinforcement. Considering the last time I got grounded was four years prior, after an 8th grade dance when I was waiting for my parents to pick me up at Wendy's instead of Pizza Hut, I knew this wasn't going to be pretty. I started walking down the hall to my parents' room. Whew. Deep breath. Count to three, and exhale. Got it. No, I don't got it! Retreat, retreat! Back to home base! This series of events happened a few times, until I finally figured it was now or never. I was going to try the "immaculate conception" excuse, but that only worked for Mary. Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures, right? I walked into my mom's room with a guilty look plastered on my face. "What's wrong?" she asked casually as she folded the last of the laundry. I tried to answer back in the same casual tone. "Oh, nothing. Well, actually, um....well, you see....I..." Not working."Something kind of bad happened, and I don't want you to be mad at me." Mom: "Don't tell me you are pregnant..." Silence.... There's quite nothing like an awkward silence. And the look on her face when I said, "kind of?" You would have thought I just told her that I killed a man, robbed a bank, and had the get-away car waiting for us outside. She was mad. Really mad. Super mad. Incredibly (okay, you get it). But the worst part wasn't the mad part. I could deal with that. It was the part about letting my parents down and the disappointment I saw on their faces. And on top of that, my hopes of earning a swimming scholarship at a Division I school were ruined. Everything I had worked for, all of my athletic achievements, down the drain in one foul swoop. Good job, Amy Hutton. Good job. My mom made me go to the doctor to confirm the previous 7 tests (I hope that made you laugh). My primary care physician wasn't exactly chipper either. "And how old are you?" she asked in a scolding tone. "18" I answered sheepishly. She treated me like I was inferior. Gosh, I know that I was only 18 years old, but I didn't kill anyone and I wasn't going to jail. Why was everyone acting like this? I was going to have a baby! Of course I didn't do it on purpose, but I saw first-hand the negative stigma that teenage pregnancy carries. Isn't having a baby supposed to be the happiest time of a person's life? At that moment, while sitting alone in the doctor's office, it was the worst. Someone recently told me that my blog was "too sad." I'm not putting myself out there and sharing my story because I want people to feel bad for me. On the contrary. I just want to be honest. I also want people to realize the reality of teenage pregnancy and the how negatively it is perceived by our culture. It's no wonder that young women think they have to run off and get an abortion when they experience an unplanned pregnancy. Instead of shunning young mothers for being with-child, we should embrace it, celebrate it, and help these women cope with it by promoting viable resources like adoption. Most people don't even know that open adoption is an option. I am happy to share my successful open adoption story with others, and I can only hope that it changes at least one woman's mind who is considering abortion.