Twelve years ago today was a bittersweet day for me. I wasn't exactly thrilled like a new mom should be. However, I wasn't exactly angry either. I was now a mom. A single mom. A teenage single mom. Alone. With a boy. Oh boy!
I won't go into all the private details of how I became pregnant at the age of 18. I will say this, I thought I knew everything. And what I knew is that I wanted to be with my highschool sweetheart forever and that I would follow him anywhere! Including Southern Illinois.
When I was young, I really thought that I had the world by the reigns and that I could go anywhere and do anything! Nothing was going to stop me! I graduated high school early and had a passion to go to Yale Law School. Kids would come at some point; but not until I passed the bar exam! When I got pregnant a few months after I graduated, I was like..OK, Southern Illinois University is OK, I guess. I guess. I made plans to move down here to be with my boyfriend. We rented a house in Carbondale for the Summer and were looking at SIU housing for families when the semester would start. That wouldn't be needed....because three weeks after I moved here, he was gone.
I mean gone, as in haven't seen him, heard from him, etc. since July of 1998.
Being who I am, I got mad....but, handled things the best way I could. I found a job, I found another house to rent...and I made a life for myself and my soon to be child. However, my life once again changed August 31, 1998. That is when they found an ovarian tumor on my left side. WOW. Yeah, an 18 year old with an ovarian tumor. Alone. Pregnant. Cancer. And now surgery. SO, two days later...I am in the operating room facing a major surgery by myself, terrified that I was going to lose the only thing that I felt I had. Faced with that, plus the idea of not having any more children...ever. At age eighteen.
That was OK. I dealt with it. My mom was able to meet me for most of my appointments in St. Louis at Barnes Jewish hospital. It was OK. I would be fine. The baby was fine. A baby boy.
Time went on, so did life. I worked my tail off including the night before I delivered him....twelve years ago. Was I scared? Sure...this wasn't Miss Amy babysitting anymore! This was my boy. I was responsible for another living being.
When I held MY son in my arms...something happened inside of me; an instant change. I felt my heart soften, my mind focus, and the breath of motherhood. I didn't care about Yale, I didn't care about being a single mom, I didn't care about the stigma that goes along with being a teenage mom. I just knew that I would succeed in my life, obstacles and all...it would just take me a little longer than planned.