Never in my life did I think I would become a grandmother at 38 years old. It’s not what I would have planned for my kids or, for that matter, myself. But you know what, shit happens. It’s taken me a long time to deal with it (it’s still a struggle) and understand that my kids are not the first teens to have pregnancies. And before you say it, YES, I talked openly to my kids about sex and pregnancy and YES I provided birth control. I wanted my daughter on the shot, which they said she shouldn’t have at her age and gave her pills instead. Unfortunately, you can’t force your kids to make smart choices.
When it all unfolded, I had a nervous breakdown. I don’t say that lightly. It was a true and serious nervous breakdown. After seven months of therapy and anxiety medication, I can finally deal with it enough to talk about it.
Back in October 2016, my husband and I were making all kinds of plans. We saw the light at the end of the teenage tunnel. We would look at our 14 year old and smile at each other and say, “four more years”. We were getting our house ready to sale (in 2017) so we could move into something a lot smaller and more manageable which would help us afford to travel more and buy the furniture we wanted instead of what was cheaper. For the first time in our adult lives, we were doing really well financially. We had this beautiful plan to be totally debit free by March 2018 (still planning on that) and our lives were going to change. We were brimming with excitement.
Well, our lives changed alright. Just not like we expected.
First, my husband’s overtime at work was put to a screeching halt cutting his checks nearly in half right after I had to take a pay cut at work. Oh and, as I imagine yours did, our insurance premiums went way up. “Okay,” we thought, “We can handle this. We just have to tighten up our purse strings but we’re still on track”.
It was late October 2016, that things began to spiral downward. My then 18 year old son (now 19) told me his girlfriend was pregnant. She was almost 18, a senior in high school (they had been together for a few years). It was a huge shock. I was more angry with him for not protecting them both than anything. None of us were ready, but I trusted my son to do what was right no matter what their “right” was. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I didn’t want this for him yet. It’s so much responsibility to put on such strong, but young shoulders.
Three very short weeks later, my 16 year old (now 17) year old daughter told me she was pregnant. Still, right now, months later, it hurts to type those words. This was the point I broke. My heart was broken. I was devastated. There were literal hours of that day I just don’t remember. I had severe panic attacks. If I stood up, I saw spots and would nearly pass out. I hadn’t realized it, but I started rubbing my hands and feet together constantly and would hurt from the swelling and rawness. I didn’t sleep for weeks. No kidding, weeks. I lost about 20 lbs in a very short period of time. I couldn’t eat. I cried more than I thought was physically possible. To be honest, it felt like someone told me she died. I felt the death of all the dreams and wishes I had for her. I felt the loss of her youth and felt the pain of the future she would endure and the sacrifices she would make.
I was consumed by it.
I couldn’t talk with anyone. Not my husband, not my best friend, not my children, no one. I was failure as a mother. I failed them. Every vision, hope, dream, plan, I had would never be. Why did I struggle so hard for so long to give my kids more for them to throw it back in my face? That’s how I felt. That’s how I sometimes still feel.
So, I went to a therapist. After speaking to me she immediately sent me to the doctor to get anxiety medication. That was the beginning of my journey to where I am now. It hasn’t been easy, but months of therapy (my therapist is awesome), different things I’m doing at home, and with the right medication I can see the light at the end of the tunnel again.
My son and, pretty much, daughter-in-law have lived with us since February and believe it or not, currently in the other room in the first stages of labor with my granddaughter. It hasn’t been easy, but we’re managing. My daughter is still a straight A student who is doing so well in school she will be graduating early and with honors and plans to go to college while raising my grandson. Life didn’t end for me or either of my kids. Yeah, it’s going to be ten times harder than it would have been, but we’re a family and we’ll be there for each other. I raised my daughter to be a strong woman who can do whatever she sets her mind to and she’s proving how strong she is every day. My son is working hard and saving as much money as possible so he can provide for his family. His girlfriend graduated high school and I have no doubt will be a wonderful mother.
I was/am embarrassed to let anyone know what was going on because of what they would think of me as a parent and what they would say about my children. But no matter how many times I look at it, I can’t imagine anything I could have done differently. I was open with my kids. I did everything I knew to do to prevent this from happening, but here we are. It happened. Even writing this post scares the bejesus out of me, but I’m doing it anyway. I’ve looked at the stats, I’m not the only one out there going through this. I can’t keeping thinking of the “what ifs” and concentrate on the “what is”.
What is, is I’m going to be a Yaya to two babies who I will love with all my heart (I already do). I will still be a parent to my children and try my best to guide them to the right path even if that path is a terrifying one.
In later posts I’ll talk more about the process I’ve gone through and what I’ve done/doing to deal with it and the other medical issues I’ve had along the way and how I’m managing those also. But one of the things I’ve learned through all of this is life is messy guys. We can plan all we want, but sometimes life says change your plans. Pick people to be in your life that will be there for you no matter what, because you might need them one day and they might need you.