My fairy tale family was not meant to be. The honeymoon phase ended, and reality set in. I had been seeing this man for a month, and now we had a little human who was going to rely on us completely. I was so young, and he so unprepared. We had such different ideas about almost everything- whether or not I should continue my schooling, basic parenting ideas, politics, religion, you name it. We were so fundamentally different, it wasn't long before I realized this relationship was not going to work.
So I was 17, single, and pregnant. My family was hundreds of miles away, and they had no idea I was pregnant. Calling them and telling them I had gotten pregnant by a man nearly ten years my senior was the last thing I wanted to do- but I had nowhere else to go. So I called my mother, told her what had happened, and hung up as quickly as I could. I was so afraid of disappointing her, and my father. I was raised in a fairly prominent family, as my father is a religious leader. I did not want to ruin their reputation.
But my mother wasn't angry. She explained her feelings to me in a way that every single pregnant woman needs to hear. "Am I happy about the act that lead to your pregnancy? Of course not. But your pregnancy is nothing to be ashamed of. Your child is a gift. This baby has done nothing wrong, and you should celebrate and love her just as much as if you were married." Her words have stayed with me to this day.
They flew me back home a few days later, because I had some major decisions to make. What was I going to do about this pregnancy?