Because I was relatively young and my relationship was somewhat new when I got pregnant, everyone assumes our daughter was an unplanned accident when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Here’s why everyone gets it so wrong.
We haven’t been together for very long. When you know, you know, and that was definitely the case for us. Yeah, we’d only just gotten together and we still had a lot to learn about each other and life in general, but I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. More than that, I wanted to build a family with him. Whether it was my impulsive nature taking over or the feeling in my gut that told me he’d be a wonderful father, one night we decided to throw caution to the wind and have unprotected sex. I could have taken Plan B like I had before, but I didn’t. I was fantasizing about having a baby with him and that’s exactly what ended up happening.
We’re still really young and barely into adulthood. I was a senior in college and he was a junior but he was behind. I was getting ready to refine my resume and apply for jobs and he was still taking some electives and general ed courses. I get people’s skepticism—from the outside looking in, we seemed totally unprepared for adult life, let alone parenthood. However, we were ready to bypass the years of uninterrupted fun, quality couple time and freedom that most young couples enjoy and go straight to the serious parts. We knew having a baby would require more commitment and responsibility but we also knew it would come with a lot of joy and fulfillment. In many ways, we’d grow up along with our child, and we loved the sound of that.
We like having a good time. Like most college students, we drank, partied, and generally enjoyed ourselves often before having a baby. We lived in a major city and basically lived the city lifestyle, so when we finally announced that we’d be having a baby, everyone was aghast. They thought we were crazy and reckless and assumed it must have been a big mistake. Wrong! While our lives have definitely changed a lot since we had our daughter, we know that being good parents doesn’t have to come at the expense of having a good time every once in a while.
We’re pretty broke, truth be told. We were broke college students when I got pregnant. We had boundless potential but had no concrete plans to achieve financial security and while that scared me (and still kind of does), it didn’t dissuade us from diving headfirst into parenthood. I suppose that’s because we didn’t want to wait for the perfect time and end up waiting too long. We both knew that our version of happiness involved children, so we figured we’d work something out. Was this a financially sound decision? Perhaps not. But to us, the rewards that come from more time with our daughter and any potential future kids far outweigh all the alternatives.
We’re an interracial couple. Yeah, it’s 2018, but some people still have problems with this. My partner is white and I’m black. He was born and raised in America and I was born and raised in Ethiopia. His first language was English while mine was Amharic. We come from totally different backgrounds, different family dynamics… even our taste buds are used to different kinds of foods. Because of this, most people assumed our relationship would be temporary. None of them would have guessed that we not only want to spend the rest of our lives together but have a baby too.
I’ve always kept my desire to have children on the DL. I’d never really talked about wanting kids with my friends or family, though it is something I’ve always wanted. I decided to go for it and it happened so it all seemed very natural to me but it came as a shock to everyone else.
I’ve always prioritized other, bigger dreams over parenthood. One of my greatest dreams is to see the world. To feel the heat of the Sahara, to see the Eiffel Tower at night and the Egyptian pyramids by day, etc. Because most people who know me well know this about me, deciding to have a child young seems to contradict that dream in some of their eyes. My desire to explore more of the world (on top of my other ambitions in life) is still possible but not everyone sees it that way. They think now that I’m a mom, that’s all I’ll ever be and they’re totally wrong.
We kept the fact that we were trying a secret. Perhaps it was because I didn’t want anyone to convince me to reconsider or because I was afraid of what others would think. Whatever the case, without even discussing it, we both automatically kept the fact that we were trying to conceive a secret. Imagine everyone’s surprise when we told them we were expecting! No wonder everybody assumed it was an accident.
Most people nowadays wait to have children. My mom was close to my age when she gave birth to me and my grandma was in her late teens when she and my grandpa had their first child. That was the norm then, especially in Ethiopia. However, for many reasons, that isn’t the case in modern America. Most people today tend to wait until they have all their ducks in a row before committing to parenthood. College, career, marriage, then baby. That wasn’t the path we wanted to follow—what’s the problem?
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