Pregnant at 17 and feeling ashamed

I was just 17 when I discovered I was pregnant, still living at home. My boyfriend and I had been together almost 4 years. I came from a strict background, so pregnancy before marriage was a real no, no. All my boyfriend and I wanted to do was get married but our parents put obstacles in our way, saying we were too young, had no money and nowhere to live. I was so scared, not only of the present but of the future too – what was going to happen to me? I felt desperate and ashamed that what we had done in secret, was now being fully exposed to all the world. I felt isolated and lonely and although my boyfriend tried to be supportive, I felt it was ALL my decision. He kept saying he’d support me whatever I chose. When I finally decided to keep my baby he told me that was what he’d wanted all along – I just wish he’d told me that right at the beginning! I watched my parents turn old and grey overnight and felt guilty for causing their heartache. The trust between us had been broken and my father didn’t speak to me for weeks. Mum told me that as 17 years worth of trust had been broken overnight, it would take a long, long time to rebuild. My sisters were angry with me for causing Mum and Dad so much pain and I felt as though everyone was there to support them and no one was there for me. I tried to hide my emotions and pretend everything was okay on the outside, but inside I felt like I was dying. I wished and wished that there was somewhere neutral I could go and talk, somewhere that the real me could surface and express exactly how I felt – but there was no such place that I knew of and so I battled on by myself. When my dad and boyfriend exchanged angry words over the phone, I lay on the floor and wept, feeling my heart would break – I didn’t need those two falling out too. However, my father eventually agreed that we could get married and he signed the relevant forms. Both sets of parents became very supportive and my father just melted when he looked at his first grandchild for the first time later that year. We were able to keep the baby and get married. I considered both adoption and abortion, but knew in my heart of hearts I couldn't go through with either option. I'd always wanted a baby. My boyfriend’s mother was adopted and urged me not to go down that route, as her experience had not been a happy one. Of course adoptions were very different in her day, in comparison with now. Last year my mum told me how proud she was of me and I cried. She’d never told me that before and I finally felt that the trust had been mended. 23 years later we are still married and have 2 more children. Our eldest daughter is now married, owns her own home and 15 weeks ago presented us with a beautiful baby grandaughter! I am so proud of her and overjoyed to be a Granny. It is as though a truly traumatic situation all those years ago has finally come right.

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