by Lara Andres
I was with my parents when I confirmed I was pregnant. My dad and I were on our way to my volleyball training when I told him. We pulled over, he called my mom to pick her up, and went straight to the pharmacy to buy a pregnancy test.
"I didn’t know how to go out of our restroom and tell them that the result was positive."
It was all fear and guilt at first. I didn’t know how to go out of our restroom and tell them that the result was positive. I’ve thought of my boyfriend and how would he react. Am I supposed to be happy because my boyfriend for 3 years at that time and I are going to have a baby? Everything was mixed up at that moment.
My parents told me to message him and ask him to come over to talk about it. He kindly did and my parents talked to us. When my mom showed him the pregnancy test, he even asked what those two lines mean. And then he started crying, he didn't know what to say to my parents. My mom and dad left us alone in our room and from there we just held hands and talked.
The reaction of the rest of my family wasn't also exactly as I expected. It was an early morning so my older brother and younger sister woke up to the news—they were both shocked and my sister cried. It was all disappointment on their faces, but it was my dad who handled it with a smile. My grandma cried as well, but then she told me, “Nandiyan na 'yan, basta maging responsable ka. It’s a blessing.” No one scolded me which made me realize how much they love me and accept me through thick and thin.
When handling other people's opinions, I heard a lot especially on social media. But I learned to not take it seriously. But I think it was the stares that I got in school that got to me sometimes which can mean so many things more than words could convey. But again, I just rolled with it. That says a lot about them more than the 17-year-old girl with a baby bump they’re staring at. I just learned not to care and to continue what I had to do. No matter what happens, good or bad, people are going to say something. My only goal was to finish the semester, hopefully without giving birth in the middle of the class!
"Everyone that I expected to be there for me never failed me."
As I kept on being a student, there were struggles inside the campus that would really make my situation trickier like feeling extra sleepy in class, having the baby kick in my tummy in the middle of a quiz, experiencing contractions while walking in the school grounds. During my 5th month, I was even rushed to the hospital on a school day, and I was advised by the doctors to take a rest. Good thing my professors were kind enough to let me take special exams and projects to make up for my absence. Even my friends would help me finish school work. Everyone that I expected to be there for me never failed me.
But, of course, there were moments when I wanted to stop studying and start working for us. I felt so guilty that my parents had to carry the responsibility that’s supposed to be on me. But my parents kept on reminding me to do things with a clearer mind. The consequences of my decisions will not just affect me but also my daughter. Giving myself a better future is also giving my daughter one.
Fast forward to giving birth to my baby Audrey, my first instinct as soon as she came out was to wait for her to cry so I know she’s with us. Then the nurse laid Audrey on my chest. Before passing out, I remember telling the nurse again and again that it felt “fulfilling.”
When Audrey was still an infant, my partner and I were always up late. Newborns don’t have body clocks yet, so she sleeps and wakes up spontaneously. But other than that, everything else was easy. I am used to taking care of a baby because I was the one who took care of our youngest brother, so the nanay levels paid off! There were nights when I have to put her to sleep first before doing my school works. It's also not easy to let go of her in the morning because she didn't want me to leave. There were a couple of times when I had to bring her to class!
Now that she’s old enough to play, we have more than enough things to enjoy together. We love singing and dancing together! She also loves it when we play dress-up, put make up on, and take photos of each other. Now that we are with her dad again, the three of us love playing ball outside and walk the dogs around the village together before sun goes down. Those moments are priceles..
"Always remember that the life inside you happened for a reason. Do not ever think that he or she will ruin you."
So for the teenagers who are going through or went through the same thing, always remember that the life inside you happened for a reason. Do not ever think that he or she will ruin you. Own it, and be a better person out of it. When you hear something unpleasant to your ears, shake your head and do what you have to do (the Serenity Prayer helps!) Loving and taking care of yourself is also taking care of the baby. Another pro tip: don’t push too loud in the delivery room, it’ll only exhaust you. Sa teleserye lang 'yun!
Through out this whole experience, I learned to just forgive myself and other people, continue on, and not let what others had to say get to me. I've learned to juggle responsibilities smoothly and to think things through before making big decisions. Do not settle on being a “disappointment” because you are not. I can't say what the right time to have a baby is. But when the time comes, your life will become one with them. Give all the love and time you can give, and make yourself the kind of parent that they will be proud of even if they don’t understand that yet.
I'm actually thankful that we had her early. She put direction into our lives. I think I am one notch ahead of the people my age because I got to have this life-changing blessing. It made me realize and prioritize the more important things. May mga naistorbo mang tao, lalo na yung mga magulang ko, at least I learned how to own my decisions in life and not run away from them. Hindi ko rin alam na kakayanin ko eh. I may have not fully enjoyed my youth like other single teenagers, but what did I miss, really?
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Photographs from Lara Andres