Newest Review: ... him thinking I was going to split up with him. I broke down and told him I was pregnant. I then told him I had already gone to a doctor w... more
Breaking The Stereotype
Member Name: NutNutNut
Advantages: Makes you stronger later in life. Bridges the generation gap
Disadvantages: Sickness, stretchmarks, extremely tough.
I have decided to share my very personal story surrounding teen pregnancy because although every story is unique in some way, I'm not sure I will ever find anyone who can relate to every aspect of my experience. I will begin by saying I am now 25, so a lot of the events in this story took place a few years ago now, starting from when I was just 15.
I was certainly not your stereotypical chavish teenager who put it about a lot, ended up getting pregnant in order to claim benefits and never do a days work, as you often see portrayed in the media. I don't think anybody that knew me would have predicted this would happen to me. I was more of a hippieish tomboy. I was bright and although I hated school and really didn't try hard at all, I did very well in my exams. I was a bit of a misfit among others my age (apart from fitting in with the misfits lol), but I knew my place and accepted it. I was not loudmouthed (maybe a bit smart-mouthed to others my age at times, ie using my intelligence to win an argument not just shouting swear words. I was also notorious for using humour in inappropriate places). My family were poor yet never claimed benefits, they always found a way of making their own money. Not really how teen mums are depicted at all. Whether the stereotype is wrong or right is open to debate I guess, just not here.
However, I was being abused. My father had an awful temper and had given me many injuries throughout my childhood. My mother did a wonderful job of covering up for him, manipulating me into thinking it was all my fault and that if I told I would end up in care. I wouldn't say I was aware that I desperately craved a father figure or anything, but deep down I probably did. This is where Jim came in.
There was a derelict car park that me and a few other youngsters used to hang around in, all of us were a bit misfit so we had lots in common lol. Sadly, the other thing we had in common was that we were nearly all being abused by members of our families. Two of them in particular were my oldest friend (who I have now been friends with for 21 years), a boy who had been terrorised by his older brother (who probably had something wrong with him in truth) and beaten regularly by his step-father, and my best female friend, a girl who had been sexually abused by her uncle since the age of four. We rarely talked about this, yet it was just something we knew about each other. I don't remember any lengthy discussions about what was happening to each of us, just things like my friend showing me inappropriate text messages her uncle had sent her, my other friend telling me how he had played a joke on his step-dad only to get a severe beating for it (yet he believed it was worth it), and the others noticing some very large bruising to my arm etc. I think we all lacked a stable male influence in our lives, so we found it in Jim.
Jim lived in one of the houses that backed onto the car park. He was in his late fifties. He had a wife in her late sixties who suffered dementia and also couldn't walk without help. He seemed lonely yet friendly and he used to come out into his garden when we were outside and talk to us. He told us lots of elaborate stories about himself e.g he had been found in a suitcase with his twin brother as a baby, he slept in a coffin, he had a ghost and a witch living in his house etc. Some of the younger kids were gullible enough to believe him, the older ones just tended to go along with what he said, as however far-fetched his stories were, they were interesting and well-told. I think it was nice to have an adult who wanted to spend time with us, was interested in our lives and provided us with entertainment. This entertainment later became inappropriate.
He began tempting us in his house with various "offers". Cigarettes, alcohol, food, somewhere warm during the cold weather, somewhere to hide when skiving from school, access to his "computer room" (he had two computers and a playstation, things none of us had at home). Then once he had built up our trust he began touching us (the girls) inappropriately. I don't want to go into details of this, only that it was rarely on the inside of our clothes, apart from on occasion our breasts. He made it feel like we encouraged it, that it was our fault (a familiar feeling to me - blaming myself). By the time I had reached 17 I was however starting to question the things he said and the way he behaved, as were others in the group (minus my best female friend who would hear no wrong against him). It was then he began picking us off, one by one "banning" certain friends from being in our group until it was just me, my oldest friend and my beat female friend.
Myself and my oldest friend were about a year or so older than my best female friend. We left school and began making progress with our lives. Somewhere along the line my oldest friend got pushed out of the group and just myself and my best female friend remained. Things were starting to get nasty, Jim was telling me it was bad I was growing up and that I should remain a child like he had. I was beginning to feel more and more uncomfortable around him and got tired of his stories (which had become brutal and aggressive in nature and if anyone dared question them they were met with a brutal and aggressive attitude). I didn't however want to leave my friend alone with him. She was a lot more naive than me and easily manipulated, and I was worried for her. I did feel however that she was being manipulated to against me and I knew it was only a matter of time before I was eliminated from the "group" (if you could even call it that at this stage), and once again I felt rejected, just like I had been from my family.
I tried to concentrate on other things. I had joined a theatrical course which was going well and I liked the people on my course and the teachers too. Then one day a new lad joined us. Will. I wasn't keen on him really. He had an arrogant attitude and was constantly staring at my breasts. One day he started trying to be friendly and I thought maybe I had misjudged him. However I then heard from someone else he was likely to be in prison the following week. He asked me out and I sort of said "maybe next week or something yeah?" thinking he would be banged up so I could just skip out of that one lol. Two weeks later though he was back. Not in prison at all. I have no idea what happened or why but he certainly hadn't been sent away. So when he invited me round to his house I felt I "had to". It was not a good day for me anyway. The next day was to be my Grans funeral, who I was devastated had died as she was the only person in my family I felt I could relate to. Due to everything that was happening I felt emotionally unstable. So when Will was all pushy-pushy-let's-have-sex, I gave in. After all the manipulation and abuse I had suffered from Jim I felt that I had no right to say "no" to Will. Perhaps part of me just really wanted to be loved, although I'm not totally sure as all I can remember was hating it, and wishing it to be over. Less than half an hour later, Will was arrested. I have no idea why. I didn't know the area I was in and I walked what seemed like miles to the train station to get the train home feeling dirty and emotionally drained. I hoped I would never see Will again. I remember throwing up from the stress of it all. Funnily enough I never told anyone about Will or what had happened upon returning and for weeks later.
About a month later (I had not seen Will at all in all this time) I confided in my best female friend (we were still allowed to be friends at this point) that I had not had a period for six weeks. I had been on the contraceptive injection to stop my periods but had come off of it just before the event with Will and didn't know whether it would still be effective or not, or more importantly whether I had been protected or not. She encouraged me to get a pregnancy test and marched me round to Boots to get one. We then went back to her house where she made me drink several glasses of water until I needed a wee and ordered me into her bathroom. I remember thinking "I can't be. It wouldn't happen to me." and then seeing the blue line appear. It wasn't even a faint blue line, you know a "maybe-maybe-not". There was no doubt about it. I called out my friends name and then told her, "I'm pregnant". This is one of my most prominent memories and probably always will be. For two reasons. One is obvious really, being pregnant at 17 is a huge deal. Two is now whenever I look at my child I am reminded of this day. I am reminded of my friend. She's dead now. Jim killed her. I remember her comforting me, ringing her very nice aunt to come and talk to me and offer support and be there when I rang my mother. I remember walking with me through the car park where she informed Jim we had to go and explained why, whereupon he had his excuse to eliminate me. I was a "bad influence" on my friend now. He also started rambling on about how he had been having premonitions that I would kill one of them (kind of ironic) and that if I stuck around people would "assume the baby was his" (not that this was at all possible. Guilty conscience perhaps?). I was upset. It was too much to take. And to top it all when I got home my mother was there insisting I have an abortion or move out as I had "disgraced her family". And I was forbidden from telling my father.
The next day I was marched to the doctors where my mother ranted at the doctor to convince me to have an abortion (which she did surprisingly). I was then referred straight up to the hospital where I was examined and the like and asked privately what I wanted to do. I said I didn't know, which was my honest answer. This doctor said I needed to be given time to think about what I really wanted and mustn't be influenced by anyone else. He then went and explained this to my mother, who began ranting and raving that my father would never allow it, but the doctor said to her these words that have stuck with me ever since "Families should stick together and support each other through the bad times, that's my opinion". My mother was speechless and looked extremely guilty. Ha. She still tried to bully me all the way home regardless but I kept reminding her what he had said.
I hadn't planned to tell Will in all honesty. If I had gone down the abortion route it probably would have been better not to really. Will had a violent temper as I later found out. If I was going to keep it I thought it might be better to just avoid him altogether, he didn't have a phone and he was no longer on my course so it would have been easy enough. On the off-chance that we did run into each other I could have easily told him it was someone else that had "done the deed" however bad that made me look. However, I made the mistake of confiding in someone from my course who turned out to be the wrong person to do so. She "happened" to bump into Will and "accidently" told him. He then obtained my number from somebody else and phoned me asking to meet for a chat. I knew he knew. I also knew I now had to tell him the truth. When we met he seemed like he desperately wanted to change his ways and become a wonderful father. Partly, he told me, because he had never met his own dad (which was the truth) and partly because he was dying of a brain tumor (which, I later found out, was a lie). I felt awful and decided I couldn't live with myself if I deprived a dying man his chance to be a father, which he told me was his "dream". I guess I also excused his previous behaviour, thinking it was due to his "brain tumor".
Well, things went from difficult to terrible. My mother told my dad the truth and he announced he wanted me out of the house and that he was no longer going to speak to me (which he stuck by, and never uttered a word to me throughout my pregnancy) because I had brought "shame on the whole family". Even though it seemed that my friend was sticking by me rather than Jim, he was bombarding her with phone calls and gifts to lure her away from me. Thanks to Will and his friend he soon had the ultimate excuse. I agreed that Will and his friend could come to where I lived and meet with up me and my friend. It didn't seem to go too badly, in fact Will's friend and my friend seemed to be getting along well and eventually began a relationship. It was short-lived though. On one particular visit Will asked if he could borrow my mobile phone to ring his mum and let her know when he was coming home. I agreed but was horrified when he dialed 999 and handed it to his friend who asked for a fire engine, and an ambulance to be sent to my friends address (she was at her house at the time). They thought it was hilarious, I did not and told them I was going home. Too late. We were sat right outside the police station and the police soon appeared and stopped us all. The police radioed the dispatcher who took the call and asked her to dial the number which had been displayed - mine. The phone started ringing so of course I was initially blamed until the dispatcher said it had been a male voice. I had my phone confiscated for evidence none the less as both lads were blaming each other, so it had to go to court etc. Needless to say after this Jim had grounds to say I was in with a bad lot, at which point my friends mother agreed and we were stopped from seeing each other. Why she was happy for her daughter to carry on hanging around this old man alone is beyond me. She got pregnant herself a year later. By him. When her son was four he murdered them both.
So, without having my best friend around, and my family being generally unsupportive, I was left to deal with the pregnancy alone. The pregnancy itself was difficult. From the very start I was violently sick all through the day, not just the morning, and this went on for the whole nine months. It was strange what sort of things would trigger it off too. Certain music would have me puking all over the place, and one time when I was on the train I heard somebody say "bitter", which for some odd reason repulsed me and made me throw up all over the train seat. It was horrible. I didn't show for at least four months, and wasn't noticeably pregnant until I was over six months gone. Where I had been a gymnast and other such things I was very flat and have a tiny frame anyway. This meant I didn't have to tell people if I could possibly avoid it. I had to tell my boss at the supermarket I worked in part time fairly early on as I kept having to run off to be sick. Instead of handling the situation sensitively he told another girl I worked with, who started bullying me. I remember arriving at work one day to be greeted by her smirking face. "I hear you're pregnant" she said. "Yes" I replied "Who told you that?" to which she informed me "It's none of your business who told me". I was absolutely gobsmacked! My personal life was being gossiped about yet it was none of my business?! Normally I would have set her straight but I was so distraught that I walked out. Seeing how I had only told my boss I attempted to report him for breach of confidentiality, but he got away with it by claiming I must have told someone else, and being that he was in a higher position, he got believed. Of course my life at work was then made absolute hell. I was told I was "spoiling the shops reputation" by being a pregnant teenager and other nonsense. I was often forced to clock off on the machine earlier than I finished, as I was told I had been useless to them so my pay should be less. I wondered at the time why they didn't just sack me, but I realise now that they didn't have any grounds to, so bullying me into leaving was their only option. And it worked. After four months of this I handed in my resignation and claimed maternity money and got a maternity grant on the advice of my midwife.
This whole time I was going through hell Will hadn't bothered finding work. He claimed job seekers allowance, which was a joke as he had no interest in working (and still doesn't). He didn't offer to pay for any of the baby equipment either, preferring to spend his entire giro on himself. Our relationship was not great either. He was often nasty to me verbally, ruining my self esteem. He had also started to get physical. I remember the first time he began this behaviour. We were in his bedroom at his mothers house where he was doing his usual act of putting me down verbally. On this occasion I had not responded, I was doing my best to ignore it. He then started spitting at me and holding my hands away so he could spit straight in my face which he thought was hilarious. All of a sudden he grabbed my head and pushed me down, then started pushing my head backwards off the edge of the bed. He got right in my face and told me he could easily break my neck from here. I was terrified. He eventually let me go and I burst into tears. He started laughing and said it had all been a joke. I tried to leave but he then turned on his own tears saying he had only done it because his mum had beaten him with a mobile phone charger, and that his gran had stamped on his chest causing internal bleeding when he was eight (which I strongly doubt). I was miserable.
When I had my scan at five months I asked to know the sex. When I found out I was having a boy I didn't know how to feel. On the one hand I would have preferred a boy because I'm just not a girly girl, but on the other hand I didn't want a monster like his father. The other problem I had was the naming. I really wanted to call him "Dylan" after Bob Dylan (my favourite lyricist), but my mother told me that I couldn't call him that. She said if he was living in "her house" she had a right to have a say in what he would be called. She liked the name "Jamie" and Will wanted to call him "James" after his grandad (which I didn't as it reminded me of Jim), so I thought to keep the peace I had better call him "James" officially and "Jamie" as a nickname, which is terrible really as he was MY child.
Everything was very hazy during my pregnancy, it was like being in a cloud. A daze. Even during the final months of pregnancy (by which time I looked like Mr.Skinny from the Mr.Men when he eats a lot and gets a little "bump" lol) I was trying to carry on as normal. I was still doing my course and still tomboying around. One time I did my usual trick of climbing up onto the porch roof and through the bathroom window when my mother spitefully locked me out. It was a pretty stupid thing to do and I remember being worried I had banged my belly and that I may lose him, but it wasn't the case. On the exact date I was due to give birth (at around 1am) I was sitting downstairs doing my usual watching rubbish made-for-tv movies to make me feel tired (I had trouble sleeping constantly due to kicking in my belly lol), when I felt this huge BANG in my belly. This was no kick (as was evident by the puddle in my pants heh). It was so weird, after months of feeling all hazy-dazy, in that moment everything became clear as a bell. I called my mum who rushed me to the hospital where I was in labour for nineteen and a half hours due to the baby being stuck and coming out the wrong way.
I arrived at the hospital at 1.30am, Will strolled in at 10.30am where he promptly flopped all over the floor and announced how tired HE was. Being in pain and in a safe place gave me the courage to give him the sharper end of my tongue. I could tell he was fuming but I didn't care. I remember I didn't have the midwife I had come to know during the pregnancy, but some stroppy cow who kept telling me off for shouting during the contractions, and told me I was far too young to be having children anyway (although this was rude either way, she actually assumed I was about 14 or 15 as I have always looked fairly young for my age, which I'm sure will be great when I'm older, but can be annoying when you want to be taken seriously and people think you're just a kid lol). I was given gas and air which genuinely, no joke made me hallucinate hundreds of leprachauns running around which I found distressing lol. Will decided to take two massive gulps of the stuff and then announced "I think I'll just....float over hear for a while" and then fell right on top of me. I was annoyed needless to say but the midwife was furious! In the end I was told I would need an epidural and the baby would then be pulled out by ventouse (a vacuum like contraption), as I was too tired to push and the baby was large and seemed to be stuck, so it was off to theatre for me. As I was also on oxygen by now, everything was a blur after that. I do remember struggling to breathe at one point but that's about it.
That is until he was born. My baby. There is no feeling like it, the love was instant. He was kind of thrown at me, his eyes were wide open and he was screaming the place down but he was mine. All 8lb 8oz of him. I barely took any notice of Will yelling "Is it twins?" When the placenta came out. All I knew was now, however young I was, whatever terrible stuff had happened to me (and would continue to happen, but that's another story), I had to keep this little guy safe. I finally had a purpose in my miserable existence. Yes there would be tough times ahead along with plenty of discrimination (Wow you're SO YOUNG! And: You're not SERIOUSLY breast feeding are you?!) but something told me it was all worth it, even if I didn't always keep that thought in my head.
He really was the making of me. And our story is far from over.
Summary: Take the time to listen to the individuals story before judging