Writer and Photographer - Life is there for experiencing, which I live each and every day to do!
The face of teenage pregnancy production: Me
I am the product of teenage parents of the swinging 70's
Teenagers are known to sometimes walk their own paths in this world. They are known to throw caution to the wind and sometimes make poor choices. Choices of which I am living, breathing proof of. My conception was not planned. In fact, my conception was the direct result of an action of lust that was taken by two teenagers that were very likely under the influence of hormones and alcohol combined.
So what becomes of the product of teenage parents? Though I can not speak for every child that was born to teenage parents, I can absolutely, iniquitously speak of my very own experience and I will, with open honesty and raw truth.
What effects did teenage parenting have on my life as a child and teenager, of who I became as an citizen, an adult and parent? We will review the cons and believe it or not, the pro's of being a love child in the 1970's to a sixteen-year old girl and eighteen-teen year old boy. There are after all, two sides to every coin -- like my story will show.
I was a result of lust and a product of love...
How I came to be in this world is still clouded in a bit of a mystery that stemmed from my mothers memories of a broken heart and my fathers cloudy recollect of the party days. The one fact that is solid is that my dad was my mothers first love and she his. It was a love so deep and strong that after more than three decades since my parents breakup, my aging mother still governs how she protects her heart today, because of the painful memories of long ago.
For clarity: I have no blame to bestow upon either of my parents. They were children who conceived a child of their own. I walk tall and believe that they truly did the best that they could, after all, I turned out to be an honest, productive member of society, so they must have done something right!
By the time my mother gave birth to me, my father was long gone out of our lives. My birth occurred by c-section at 10:51 pm on a stormy July night during the late 1970's, shortly after her 17th birthday. A child giving birth to a child. A child who should have been in school, going to dances and having her first kiss. A child who should have been dreaming of the future; not living it prematurely.
Growing up I heard, all too often, that "I could have aborted you, or put you up for adoption -- but I kept you". To this day I would have to say that those words still hurt me, from time to time, in ways that a child should never be hurt by a parent.
Those were words that used to haunt me - simply because I didn't understand her pain and struggle in what she faced in her attempts to raise me. Yes; she could have aborted me, but she didn't... sadly, I can recall thinking that maybe she should have. She could have put me up for adoption, but she didn't... honestly speaking; there were times I regretted that she didn't and I daydreamed for years about the family that I could have had.
These were both thoughts that I started having before I even hit puberty that haunted me until my the moment I found out that I was going to have my very own child. Then I got it. She took the hard path. She chose to put me before herself and she kept repeating it, over and over again, simply put: in her attempts to get me understand the struggles she was facing and try and try to have me understand that I was there and alive because she made the hardest choice of all, a choice that effected the path of her personal freedom and youthful ignorance.
We grew up together...
My mother really did try her best, there were rough patches and there were good times. You could say that we learned to be a parent and a child together through the years. As I was learning to walk, to talk and everything else that a child discovers. My mother was learning to be a parent as well as live a life as a young person, two things that didn't always combine well. Not only did she have to deal with potty training and table manors, she contended with developing her own identity, dating and keeping food on the table.
If you were to glimpse back into my childhood, you may want to blame my mom for some of the choices that she had made... but is that fair to her? She herself was but a child, who was trying, trying and suffering all at the same time. Because of me and her heroic choice to keep me, she had given up her very own youth. She tried her very best, I know first hand, now -- even if I didn't understand it growing-up. One of the best things that she gifted me was that her love for me was always known, even when times were at their worst, that in itself helped me to develop my very own 'adult' identity.
Dreams to save reality
Growing-up I often inquired about who my father was, I didn't even know his name but I daydreamed about him constantly... especially when I wasn't happy, and that was a lot. My mom had a couple of long term boyfriends who were just plain 'bad people'. She would try and soak up their good and thrive in their love, but it didn't change the fact that they were toxic. My mom tried her best... maybe that is why I can still hold her in my heart, but it doesn't change the fact that I wanted my 'real dad'... a man whom I had made into a god in my childlike fantasies.
It wasn't until I was about eight years old that I really start to question who my father was. Life was pretty hard around that time and I suffered from being surrounded by poverty and alcoholism. The daydreams of my father became my escape from reality and my hope for the future. I would go to my bedroom, which I spent a lot of time in and lay on my bed planning how he would come in and rescue me.
In these daydreams he would be driving an old brown pickup truck, he would barrel into my driveway and slam his truck into park, leaving it running... he would jump out of his truck and run up to the house and rip the door open. I would be there waiting for him, tears of joy running down my face, he would scoop me up and take me away, always ending in that 'happily ever after' fairy tale ending.
I had years to dream about how he would smell, what he sounded like and how much he would love me. In my thoughts, I made a million excuses for why he had stayed away for so long... settling on the fact that he didn't know of my existence as one of my favorites.
As I entered into my early teen years I pushed my mother even harder for the identity of my dad. I had thought that the look of utter pain on her face every time that I inquired was because I kept asking about 'him', it wasn't until recently that I know it was her broken heart shining through her soul. My questions were ripping the scabs off of her broken heart.
So did she answer my question of who my father was? Not always and never in a decisive answer. I ended up turning to her old address book, family members and some of her childhood friends; all of whom seemed to want to keep her secret as much as she did. -- Then came this one time. She had been drinking and I was so angry. Being fourteen, I was full of hormones and anger. We got into a deep discussion of who my father was and she spat out his name like it was going to kill her just to utter his first and last name. It would be over two decades later when I would finally meet him...
Some of the struggles as a child
Growing up fatherless was so incredibly hard.
Everyone I knew had a dad. My friends; the kids at school. School -- Dad's would show up at the school all the time... and lets not even get started with what it was like to be a child in school... the only child in my class making 'Fathers Day' cards for my grandfather...
— Lou Cannon
I did repeat the cycle of teenage pregnancy...
I repeated history...
Though I fought my best to know better, to be better and find success in life I did find myself pregnant with my second child by the age of 19. It is ok to be shocked and appalled, you wouldn't be the first person who was. But before you pass judgment look at my children. They are fed, clothed, happy, secure and most of all: they are loved. These are all things that my very own teenage mother taught me.
After having my first two children I had went through a divorce and had a go at being a hard working, single parent. For the first time I was walking in my mothers shoes and it was a wake up call that brought me understanding for what my mother had once faced. Though it was greatly difficult and took many years, I worked to forgive her for everything that I had held against her and in time we gained a close relationship that we still share today.
Now I am a mother of 3, doing my best to raise my own children...
What did being the product of a teenage parent teach me?
What did I learn from life, being the child of a teenage parent? I think the first thing that I can identify was anger and the best thing I learned was forgiveness...
Some other things that my childhood gifted me was:
- A deep sense of understanding people who are in different and difficult situations
- A drive with-in myself to push forward towards a better life
- How to make do with out and dream and plan for the future
No matter how hard the times got I always had someone to turn to. No matter how often I cried, the tears would always stop and be replaced by strength. Yes life was hard, but the power of love that a parent gives a child, that is the best blessing of all... a blessing that saved me, taught me humanity, pride and courage. It was the blessing who made me who I am today: a strong, compassionate woman who wears her heart on her sleeve and takes no less than I deserve and no more than I require. Thank you to my children, to my mom and to my dad, my teenage parents for helping me develop into the woman that I am today!
The realities of teenage pregnancy
Every parent has the potential to be a good, solid foundation for their children...
- Children Groundings that WORK
Ever ground your child, just to find that it seems it is more work or stress for you, following through with the punishment? Or does the grounding get forgotten in the momentum of everyday life?
- Raising Children With Old School Values
Go back twenty, thirty or longer, back to the good old days where things were less electronic and more personal. Families shared dinner together, elders were people to cherish, respect and care for.
UPDATE - Sept 2020
Since publishing this article; I have discovered more 'truths' from my conception. After much consideration, I have chosen to leave the article as it is and will be publishing a follow-up in the near future.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2015 Lou Cannon
Have advice or a teen parent success story to share? Please do!
Disillusioned from Kerala, India on June 03, 2016:
Lou Cannon (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 01, 2016:
"Say Yes to Life" -- Knowledge is power and it is time to educate. Sharing this story was hard... as will be the follow-up... thank your for your words.
Yoleen Lucas from Big Island of Hawaii on May 31, 2016:
I grew up in the ghetto, where teen pregnancy was rampant. It's even worse today, with some girls still in middle school. My advice is, EDUCATE THE KIDS - EARLY AND THOROUGHLY !!!
Thank you for sharing your story. You have provided great insight.
Lou Cannon (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 25, 2015:
fpherj48 This hub was burning inside of me for many years and flowed quite easily once I allowed myself to undertake it. And to let you know I did meet my father around the time I turned 30. We talk every week and are very, very close. Hearing his side of his 'disappearance' really gave me insight to his pain as well... but that will be another hub, for another day...
Suzie from Carson City on May 17, 2015:
Lou.....I am extremely moved as well as inspired by your heartfelt story.
You express yourself so honestly and beautifully, I was taken by feeling your true emotions.
What a wonderful, healthy and realistic outlook you have Lou. You are one very astute & intuitive woman.
I must say I was hoping you would tell us that you did in fact meet your bio Dad and begin to experience some closure. Your forgiving heart is amazing and a benefit to you.
It's reassuring to know that you & your mother have a bond today. I cannot express how very much I have been touched. Thank you.
UP+++ shared, pinned tweeted. Peace, Paula
Lou Cannon (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 23, 2015:
Thank you ezzly... I try my hardest to make their lives the best that they can be...
ezzly on January 23, 2015:
great read, thank you for sharing your story, your children are blessed to have such an inspiring mother.
Lou Cannon (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 20, 2015:
Lorelei-- Your comments are very appreciated... I want people to know the truth about being the product of a teenage parent and hopefully open their minds to giving teen parents in their very own lives a hand-up through the journey that they are facing... It would ultimately make them more successful and better equipped...
Lorelei Cohen on January 20, 2015:
You did an amazing job on describing the hurt and love of being a child of a teen mom. Fantastic article. Well written and well versed.