Feature photo by Hugrekki

My son is a lovechild. He was my first born and the only one of my four children consciously conceived. There’s no need to reread my last statement; you read it correctly—I said “consciously conceived.” My boyfriend and I were two kids from two jacked-up families, and to say the least, nobody really took notice as to what we were doing. No, they didn’t condone our actions, but the fact that neither of our parents made it a priority to be involved in our lives made it easier to escape into each other’s arms. I know, you’re probably thinking, “You had issues, huh?” To answer honestly, yes, we did. We lived in the shadows of our parents’ mistakes, and it was a lot to bear. It was April 1992 when I met my boyfriend, and by October of the same year we were going to be parents. In just a few short months, I felt an admiration and inexplicable connection to him. I was in love. It was a connection I wanted to hold onto forever. I wanted to have a piece of him, his beauty, his soul and his loving heart, so I asked him for a baby. He agreed.

I was so wrapped up in the idea of having a baby that when reality hit, it did like a ton of bricks. As I lay laboring on the hospital bed, I was handed emancipation papers. I was officially an emancipated minor (that’s when you are considered an adult in the eyes of the law), and 4 hours and 12 minutes after my sixteenth birthday, I was also a mom. “What are you going to do now? Her life is over,” someone told my mother the day I brought my son home. (Yes, we had a place to stay. We were living Mexican style! Me, the baby, and my boyfriend all under one roof with my mother.) I was appalled somebody would say such a thing, but at the same time I had to face the music, and it was loud and clear. It was right then and there that I made my decision: I was not going to be a statistic. I was going to do whatever it took to prove that my life wasn’t “thrown away.” I loved my son before he was born, and I’d be damned if he would ever suffer because he had young parents! As I held my son, I silently promised to give him the best life I could, no matter what! I would be the mom nobody thought I could be.

I had my GED before my friends had their diplomas, finished cosmetology school (a gift from my mother who paid the tuition), and I worked full-time during the day and part-time on some evenings and weekends. My baby was decked out in the latest fashion and had everything in excess! He may have been born to poor parents, but I worked to give him all he needed. And my boyfriend, well, was wonderful! He was a full time, hands-on father in every sense of the word. We had discussed prior to the birth of our baby how we would handle his upbringing. It was simple—we would be the parents we wished we’d had.

I have always been driven by my sense of loyalty to my son. I will never let him down. I will always be his cheerleader and advocate. He deserves it, and I promised him. I strive to be a better person and parent every day for my son as well as my other children. I went back to college when he was a sophomore just not to be the “do as I say, not as I do” parent. He’s now a junior in one of the best private high schools, and he continues to amaze me. I cry at all the milestones in his life, many of them in private because I know it was a struggle for all of us to get him where he’s at.

It was not easy being a teenage mom. I would never encourage any young woman to attempt what I did. I took a gamble with not only my life, but the life of my unborn child, and that was selfish. There were many heartbreaking obstacles along the way, and many times I just wanted to quit. It was certainly a battle. Nonetheless it was worth every moment. I didn’t do it alone, and that’s also a rarity. His father, my soul mate, has been there every step of the way. We just celebrated 18 years together. My son, his father, and I are not statistics. We are exceptions to the rule. I see my son today, and he’s focused for the most part and knows what he wants out of life. He’s looking forward to college. I have been told many times, “You have a beautiful son,” “He is so talented,” “Wow, he is so intelligent.” “He’s spoiled” will occasionally slip in too. All of these things I already knew. They are getting just a glimpse of what is seen through this mother’s eyes—the product of hard work, love and dedication.

A final thought to all mothers: when you think you can’t do it, just know that you can. Believe in yourself and your children. You are a mother—a mother can do anything she sets her mind to! Happy Mother’s Day from this mother to all mothers! May you and all your babies be blessed!

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