I was 17 when I found out I was pregnant. I'd been with my boyfriend just three and a half months.

I was 17 when I found out I was pregnant. I'd been with my boyfriend just three and a half months. He was at University and I was at college studying my A Levels. After sleepless nights of talking and tears, my boyfriend and I painfully decided that the best option was to have an abortion. The next day, I began to bleed like a period, and I had to go to hospital to have an internal ultrasound scan to see if I had miscarried. My boyfriend squeezed my hand and the doctor turned around to show us a little light flicked on the screen "And there is your baby’s heartbeat." I sat up and started to cry, the baby had a little heartbeat. It was alive. And he'd made that little heart. My boyfriend looked at me, and we both knew we couldn't get rid of the baby. The next day he dropped out of University to get a job and pushed me to carry on with my studies. Throughout my life I've had fits, but the pregnancy made them a thousand times worse. I'd fall to the floor and shake and my eyes would roll to the back of my head. They got so bad, the doctors and hospital said I had to drop out of school. I refused, and decided to teach myself and email my coursework back to school and get feedback. I wasn’t happy until all of my work was at A grade standard. I knew I needed as good grades as I could get in order to get a good job to provide for myself and not be branded as a teenage dropout who depends entirely on government support. However, I had to go into school to sit my end of school exams. I HATED being pregnant. Every insecurity I ever had was magnified and prolonged. Most women talk about how they feel vitalised and refreshed whilst pregnant. I did not. From the frumpy bras, to the leaking nipples. From the awful maternity wear, to the stretch marks. Even when your tummy can't fit under the table. Imagine the horror of sitting in a common room of 85 teenagers with milk seeping from your boob. Or having total strangers in lower years of school shout crude remarks at you simply for having a pregnant tummy. I hated every second of it. Along came 26th of July. My due date. The hottest week Britain's seen in 20 years, and I was carrying a portable undetachable hot water bottle. As I laid in the back garden with my feet in the paddling pool, in my bikini slightly resembling a warthog wallowing at the watering hole, I begged the baby to come. Then all the pains and huffing and puffing and waddling would come to a most gracious end. I couldn't wait to go into labour...Until it came... It was quarter to three in the morning and I felt the most surreal wave of pain across my tummy. I rolled over in bed (with much difficulty) and said to my boyfriend "What time is it? I think I'm having contractions." He didn't believe me...I sat up and my mum came in. "Is it time?"... My contractions got stronger and stronger. I tried taking three baths to ease the horrific pain, leaning over the banister as I cried and tried to deal with it in my own way. I eventually begged my mum to take me to hospital and we did. To cut out the gory details...all I'll say is that there was more blood than I've ever seen even in a film. 18 hours later I was handed a screaming slimy little ball of blub. I looked at her and it was all worth while. A few days later, I went into college to collect my A Level results, my boyfriend opened them and filled up...I'd passed with flying colours. Being a mum is the hardest job in the whole world. There are days I don’t want to get out of bed, and ask myself if I made the right decision to keep my daughter. But when I see her smile, I know I did. I look at photos of my friends at university having a great time, and I get so jealous and upset because I know I’ll never have that life...But I knew that when I was making the decision to keep her. Being a mum is the most rewarding job in the world, and people ask me if I could turn the clock back, would I change things? And to be honest the answer is yes. I would change when I had her. I'd have waited a lot lot longer. But I wouldn’t change her. But for anyone who was my age or younger I'd simply say: It's not impossible, but it’s next best thing. Editor’s note: Thanks for sharing your story with us…Well done for persevering with your studies and congratulations on doing so well! You made a tough decision to go with your heart response to your pregnancy and, despite the circumstantial difficulties you have faced and will face in the future, you seem to have a peace with yourself that has overcome the practical details of life. Your perseverance has produced good character in you. Yes, it’s not what you would have wished for, if you had the chance to live your life differently, but you have made choices of integrity for yourself and your child. That will produce good things for you in the future. Your story will give others courage - thank you for writing in.

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