“I look forward to the new challenges that come our way and we will push through them…”
Many people ask what it's like to be a teen parent, but being able to explain that requires me to tell a story.
A little over a year ago, when I found out my girlfriend was pregnant, I told people that I never would have planned on becoming a teen parent. This reality slapped me in the face. To be quite honest, I’m glad that it hit me like it did. I was excited to be a parent despite that I was a teenager in high school, because it was with the person that I loved.
It was very nerve-racking to tell my parents. I knew my parents would be understanding because they cared about me and would support me in the new big transition that was going to happen in the family. I told them, and all went as expected. They were a little upset, but in the end, they said that they would support me, and us, through this new journey. It didn’t really matter what other people thought, because all I cared about was my family and my new soon to be larger family. My girlfriend told her parents and they reacted the same way.
The stress was just beginning to start, though.
Even though both our families were understanding, we all still needed to get things for our soon-to-be-child and start to plan a life while still attending high school. My parents supported us by getting the things we needed for the baby like a crib, diapers, toys, and many other things. My parents have supported me in every way possible and I was and am still extremely grateful for all that they have done in supporting us.
There isn't much that I can say about how the journey was during the pregnancy, since I wasn’t the one who was actually pregnant. But there are some things that happened during the pregnancy that will help to paint a picture of what is was like for my girlfriend.
Of course, fathers go through a lot of things, too, but not as much as the mother. For me as the father, the things that I saw happen were some great, and I mean great, attitude and mood swings from my girlfriend. Her hormones where are all out of whack. She was also super busy, trying to get everything done. We had a short time frame and she was often making herself extremely tired because she would continuously work, even when I offered to step in to do things for her. She worked extremely hard. As the dad, I felt all I could do was help get a room ready for the baby, get everything set up for when the child was born, and be there for the routine of getting my girlfriend to the doctor.
The day came when my child was going to be born into the big world.
It was a cold school day and my girlfriend’s water broke to begin the process of delivering the child. Unfortunately, I was not there when it was happening because I was in Colorado Springs at the time at the Air Force Academy. This was the worst time to be gone from my girlfriend because the birth process was not easy on her, and I now feel upset that I was not there for her during the process.
Having a newborn is a great blessing, but being a teenager attending high school makes it extremely stressful. From having to wake up every two hours, to feeding and changing diapers, the adjustment to a new lifestyle has been hard. We have adapted to having a new child in our life and are happy that we have a child together. In the midst of this we have done our best to focus on our career after high school.
“From having to wake up every two hours, to feeding and changing diapers, the adjustment to a new lifestyle has been hard. We have adapted to having a new child in our life and are happy that we have a child together.”
Our lives aren’t without stress, but they are going well. We both will finish school early and are now looking to begin careers so our daughter will grow up in a nice family and home environment. Our child goes to a daycare during the day when we are in school. Life has calmed down a little bit since the birth, but just when things get normal again, new needs pop up. Right now, the most stressful part so far about being a parent is having to keep up with our daughter since she has learned to walk.
I look forward to the new challenges that come our way and we will push through them so that my girlfriend, child, and I can all be happy and raise our child in the best way that we can.
I believe the definition of being a parent is looking forward to handling new challenges, even though the rough times. It will always be worth it to get through the challenges.
Caleb is a young dad who attends a Chirp partner program called Glass Hearts in Colorado.
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