A baby? No way. Looking down at the little plus sign on the stick, my stomach turned. I knew the test was going to be positive before I took it. It didn’t really matter because there was no way a baby was in my future.
Being a poster child for the term “party girl,” I was out almost every night drinking, dancing, using or all of the above. At the ring of my phone, I would pack my overnight bag and be out the door for a weekend away without a care in the world and no one to answer to. I liked it that way.
The father was not in any better shape to be a parent even though he already had a child from a previous marriage. He often canceled his visitation day with his young daughter because he was too strung out to deal with a kid. He only had visits with her part of one day a week because of his using. He and his ex-wife argued regularly.
Sitting down at the dining table, I began to cry.
Panicking, the first thought that went through my mind was to fix it. I have to get an abortion. I cannot have this child. I don’t even want to discuss it with the father. He would be very angry with me and probably walk out on me. My mind was spinning with questions.
How did this happen? What am I going to do? What if my using drugs has affected the baby already?
And then I thought, Maybe I’m not really pregnant. Maybe it is a mistake. I start to get hopeful and call to make an appointment with a local obstetrician.
After the doctor’s visit, I sat in the car for a few minutes. I am really pregnant and there is no doubt about it. I told the doctor about my using drugs, smoking and drinking. Would it hurt the baby? Will I lose the baby? He tells me that he doesn’t know but he wants to do an ultrasound in the next few weeks to see what can be found. But, of course, I need to stop all of that immediately. And by the way, do I plan to have it?
Do I? I could end this pregnancy without telling anyone and go on as if nothing happened. But, what if I will be a good mom? What if having this baby will get my act together and maybe the father’s too? This is too much responsibility to put on an unborn child. Cringing, I think of people I know with children that are suffering and abused because their parents are negligent or worse. They feel their kids are an inconvenience or annoying because they need real parenting. As a matter of fact, I remember being an inconvenience myself as a child. One severe alcoholic parent and the other too busy battling the addiction and angry all the time. I hid in my own world and now am an addict as well. And pregnant. God!
When I got home I walked into the apartment and looked at my boyfriend. The father of our child. He asks me what is wrong. Sitting down with a heavy sigh, I tell him expecting the worst.
As I suspected, he is not pleased. He asks me all the questions I have already been asking myself —the how, why and when. Right then everything became very clear to me.
I was going to have this baby and no one was going to stop me or interfere. This child was my hope for a new future without drugs and alcohol. Without people who judged me unnecessarily and harshly making me feel as though disappearing into a bottle or a line of cocaine would make it better. I knew it was real and I was okay with that.
Overnight, I went from a partying, cocaine addicted mess to an expectant mother entering recovery with no plan or thought.
Completely frightened, I left my boyfriend and got my own place. My parents were doubtful and critical, which only fueled the fire for me to do it. What about all my running around on a whim? What about my inability to be committed to anything for any length of time? They think I am being selfish. Were they right? What if I am only excited about the idea of being a mother and not actually being one?
My whole life they had been telling me I was not enough. Well, I just about had enough of that. Now, in this time of my life, I am the one in control of what happens next. I have the opportunity to straighten my life out and with good reason.
I knew that this was going to be difficult. I knew there were a lot of hurdles ahead of me. But I also knew that I will not be addicted anymore to drugs, alcohol or other people. There is help for me and my unborn baby and we will be fine.
I picked up the phone and made my first call to a rehab support line. And then a call to parenting classes and, finally, to my obstetrician to give him the good news that I was, in fact, going to do this.
Taking all the energy I had put into partying and being irresponsible, I used it to get through withdrawal and enjoy the wonderful experience of pregnancy.
Today, my son is an adult. He has two college degrees and has never once touched drugs. We are the best of friends and he is fine with me being the only one who raised him. When he has friends over I feel welcomed into their circle.
Were all the events that led to where I’m currently at in life easy? No. Not at all. But when I think about what I would rather put energy into— drugs, alcohol and people who float in and out of my life, or one person who I love and will be there with me forever—that is the easiest decision I have ever made by far.