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  • Emily Meagher

being pregnant as a teen saved my life

overcoming a lifetime of trauma + finding a purpose to live

To say my childhood was challenging would be an understatement.

I lived most of it being told that I was a mistake. That, single-handedly, I ruined the life of the person responsible for my birth by simply existing in this world that they brought me in to by no choice of my own. I wasn't just told, sometimes I was hurt. Transparently, the bruises were just icing on the cake that was all of the emotional damage I carried through the rest of time. The bruises didn't hurt nearly as much as everything else.

They decieded to split and it was a relief. Maybe the violent nights and screaming fights wouldn't wake me up at night anymore. I didn't know then, that was temporary and something far worse was to come..

A diagnosis. kidney failure. Too far gone. For the only parent that I felt safe with. I found out my dad had 6 months to live. And he was going back to the house she lived in. Moving all of his belongings back in. Along with the hospital bed and hospice meds.

The memories of those fragile months live so clearly in my mind. He was declining, as they expected, and she was in no state to take care of herself, let alone anyone else. He spilled his coffee again. One of the only things he craved to eat or drink anymore. He immediatley started to apologize and she went off. She pinned him against the wall and screamed, as if there weren't two small children standing right there begging her to stop.

The morphine kept disapearing too, but we won't go into that.

The last time I saw him was just before Christmas.

I didn't have anywhere to go then, but things in the house were a little better; mainly because we were always left alone. I had friends whose family's took me in every chance they could. One day a friend's mom pulled me aside and told me how she didn't mind me being around, but the fact that I just always seemed to be there and no one seemed to care was a little odd. She wanted to meet that person in charge of me. She didn't have any idea how bad it could really be. An evening that brought her so much clarity with a drunk stranger dry heiving on her couch all through the night. She told me I never had to leave. And she meant it, even now. She showed me what having a mom should feel like. For her, I am eternally grateful.

My new family brought me siblings, a home, days full of fun, and an emancipation.

e·man·ci·pa·tion /əˌmansəˈpāSH(ə)n/ noun the fact or process of being set free from legal, social, or political restrictions; liberation.

The relief I felt was in describable. And this one could never be taken away. I felt like I could breathe. At 16 years old, I could finally start a life that I actually wanted to live. Except I didn't really want to live.

What was the point?

I thrived in my group of friends and luckily was roommates with my best friend of all so I was never really lonely. It was the hardest when I was.

Eventually he moved on to pursue his dream and I found myself alone a lot more. Something I wasn't very good at. I started to fail out of school, not because I couldn't do the work, but because I couldn't get out of bed to go. Looking back I am so proud that I didn't give up, even through times when there were times I was far too close. That girl I was didn't believe that things could get better. But soon they did.

I met Matthew. We met through mutual friends and just clicked like we had known eachother for our whole lives. From that day forward we talked every single day. We spent every moment we could together. I had realized I was never going to make it in to school so I started attending high school online and working full time during the day at my favorite treat shop down the road. I was getting my new life together and every day I spent with Matthew were the happiest days.

After a year of navigating our really different lifestyles; me with no parents and him with parents who wanted to steer him clear of me, I found out I was pregnant. We were both 17 at the time and he wasn't allowed to speak to me. His parents didn't want that for him. I tried to understand. I was used to being unwanted. This was nothing new.

But this time, for the first time, I didn't feel alone.

I had a reason to get up in the mornings. I had a reason to convince myself to eat. I had a reason to get through my school lessons at night. I had a reason to get through my work hours during the day. I knew that it wasn't about me anymore. I knew from those two little red lines that I was finally going to be okay. Because I had to be okay. I had to be okay for her.

And there was no way in this world I would ever let her spend a moment feeling insecure, unwanted or unloveable. I would spend every single day from then forward being the mom that she could never be.

In hindsight, I had decided so long ago that I would be everything that she never was. I would use her poor guidence as a "what not to do", for the rest of my life. I avoided alcohol completely, even when I was made fun of for being lame. They just didn't understand. For me, being lame sounded a lot better than being an addict. So I was happy to be lame. I steered clear of every situation and person that didn't make me feel appreciated. I created boundaries that had no limits on who they would shut out. Those feelings only grew stronger when I knew I was now going to be in the position of a human being solely relying on me. I promised myself, and her, that I would do anything and everything in my power to be everything that she could ever want and need.

And I did that. And she saved me.

The past 8 years of my life have been filled with a happiness I never knew existed and I know there is so much more to come-


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