It was the winter of 1995. I was 15 years old and due to have my first baby that summer. Terrified to my core, I knew I had no real relationship with the man who had got me pregnant. I was facing the total upheaval of my life without a partner or even a responsible party. I was deeply ashamed. Everyone seem to be involved in my personal life and the drastic situation I found myself in. As the truth came out about my pregnancy, so the relentless questions followed. Mostly, all had one primary concern:
“Who is the father?”
It was known to most that I wasn’t involved with anyone. It was known to me that the last few months had consisted of a some scattered interactions with men that could basically be summed up in the term One Night Stand. I was enjoying many aspects of being in high school, but finding a serious relationship among my peers, in a town that I was not from, didn’t work out for me. Similar was the occasion when I met the father of my first child. We hit it off right away, but it wasn’t a relationship I was able to mentally maintain. He was a young man juggling college and fraternities. Our worlds were separated. He called for months after our meeting, I never returned one call.
My life from that time went on, slowly but surely. I adjusted. My mom and I moved back to our hometown area only weeks after finding out I was expecting. Just like that, I had a clean start. My mother handled much of our care. She was the real backbone for my son and I those first few years. While I am grateful, I still struggled. I knew I didn’t have what most couples did when they fell in love, got married and started a family; I didn’t expect that. I just desperately wanted the father of my child in our lives, regardless of where that would lead for me romantically. The birth of my son made everything new in a way that went beyond dating and being in love, I was now part of a family. It was a family that felt so very incomplete without the support of a co-parent. Many times over the next decade of my life I wondered and thought about this missing man. After things settled I considered trying to find him, but it was too late. I knew too little about him and we no longer had mutual relationships. I stressed, I suffered, I wept – but I did all alone. I felt as though it was a load to heavy to bear. I hadn’t gotten pregnant by myself, so why was I solely responsible for my son’s needs? I got my first job at sixteen, graduated on time from high school and then college. We moved out of my parents home when I was 18 and my child was 2. We seemed to be coping, but there was always a hole, especially for my son.
The toughest part about being a teen mom was facing those questions. This was never more clearly covering over all my undertakings then on the days that those questions were asked by my child. To be alive and not know who you come from is an isolating pain that I can only imagine. I saw how my son longed to know his dad. My answers to his inquiries were too brief and empty. I could not explain to the heart of this little boy why every else had a dad, but he did not. I could only offer him my faith in God. I could only answer with utter certainty that I knew everything would work out for the best in the end. That God had intended for me to be his mother and we could trust Him for our future. My son is grown now, and I have never once regretted my choice to give him life. I do know now from experience that the role of a father in a child’s life is invaluable and cannot simply be replaced or over looked. No matter how little the involvement, we must instill in our youth the immeasurable value each of us play as responsible adults and parents. We are needed. It’s time to rethink manhood and what that means coming of age in America. We need to place a higher value on the stability of the family and the integrity of a gentlemen. Sexual liberation in our day in age is costing us something: The emotional wholeness of our children and subsequently the moral stability of our nation. Fatherhood is that profound! With communication and unity we can make that difference.
My name is Jennifer Hoge. I am a woman of God, the wife of a fearless American and a homeschooling mom to seven. I blog to encourage teen moms and change the negative statistics surrounding teen parenthood. I self publish to fund my adventures, 3rd book due out summer 2016. #Amazon