When I started college, I had my life completely planned out. I was going to finish my
degrees, find a great job, get married, and have a family- simple! I had always heard stories of women who found themselves unexpectedly pregnant, confused, and scared, and thought quite confidently that that could never be me-- until it was. I was 21 years old, starting my senior year at The University of Alabama. I had been dating my boyfriend for about 2 years at the time, and we found out we were pregnant in October of our senior year. I honestly felt like my life was shattered. I became numb. I felt like I was wearing a scarlet letter. The shame that I experienced being pregnant out of wedlock was so heavy. I truly didn’t know what to do.
In those early months of being pregnant and being on campus, I thought about abortion a
lot. I thought “All of this could just go away. Abortion could fix this. It could fix my life. My life
could go back to normal, and I could do all of the things that I had planned in my life. I could avoid all of this embarrassment and shame.” These thoughts ran through my mind constantly. I felt so alone. Thankfully, I was raised in a very pro-life environment, so I was able to remind myself the truth about human life, the reality of abortion, and remain grounded in the fact that abortion would not “solve” anything. There was still so much shame and pain in my heart that I wanted to go away, and abortion tells women “It’ll all go away.” That is a lie. Taking a life can never heal your pain. And I think one of the biggest lies of our society is that suffering is bad. If something is hard, avoid it at all costs. But things that are hard are the things that form us into who we are meant to be. Suffering and hardship make us stronger, more resilient, more passionate, more understanding, and more empathetic to others. This is what our society has lost. The gift of a new life is an opportunity for growth- that doesn’t mean it is easy, but entering into hardship is what gives us the strength that we need to flourish and grow as women.
That being said, it was still a very heavy time for me because many people did not know
that I was pregnant, I wasn’t showing yet, and I had this constant thought that if anyone knew, they would judge me. I was angry. I felt like it wasn’t fair. My entire life was going to be changed forever, and I wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t connecting to the baby inside of me. My body was physically changing and growing in ways that I wasn’t able to prepare for, it just happened. My mind was flooded with uncertainty and questions- How am I going to raise a child and be a mother when I’m not prepared for this? How am I going to provide for a child when I don’t have a job or a husband? Am I going to lose my relationships? What will people think of me being pregnant and unmarried, especially in the church? What about my dreams? It is terrifying to ask those questions. If you are asking those questions right now, let me be the first to tell you that you have options, it is possible, you are strong enough, and there is help for you.
There is so much help and support out there for women like me in these situations. I went to a pregnancy resource center in my college town that offered me a free ultrasound and counseling. When I saw my son on the ultrasound for the first time, tears filled my eyes, and I saw a tiny little baby boy inside of me. I still didn’t know what I was going to do
or how my boyfriend and I were going to figure it all out, but I knew that that tiny little person needed me. We decided to keep and parent our son, and I moved back in with my parents after I graduated in December 2019. I became connected with a similar pregnancy resource center in my hometown which offered us so much support and tangible aid. My boyfriend and I attended parenting classes there and connected with other men and women in similar situations. The resource center provided us with clothes, diapers, supplies, and even a crib for our son. I went on to finish my Master’s degree and my boyfriend finished his Bachelor’s degree while also working and being parents.
My boyfriend and I got married in 2020, and we had a second child in 2021. Our son is
now 4 years old, our daughter is almost 2, and we absolutely love this life that we didn’t plan. I want everyone who finds themselves in an unplanned pregnancy to experience the joy, beauty, and abundant life that I have experienced. Through all of the pain, hardship, unknown, and loneliness of going through that pregnancy, the gift that I was given was even more beautiful and outweighed all of it. I know this is cliche, but I truly would not be the woman I am today if it weren’t for my son. It was hard then, and it is still hard being a young mother, but I am so much more fulfilled and joyful. Being a mother has challenged me and motivated me and my husband in everything we do. I cannot express how thankful I am for that unplanned pregnancy. The thing that I thought was destroying my life actually saved me and healed me in ways I never could have imagined. If you are going through an unplanned pregnancy, you are stronger than you think you are. There is help for you. You are not alone. I may never meet you, but I see you. You
can do this.
A variety of college students share their pregnancy stories.