Thursday, September 1, 2016

19 years old, then and now.

For a couple of months now I have been thinking about my oldest daughter's 19th Birthday. I have been processing all sorts of emotions associated with this birthday. This, her 19th birthday, might just be the “big one” for me. Similar to how for a teen the 16th birthday is a “big one” or maybe it’s the 18th or 21st.

Usually I suppose someone else’s birthday is not a “big one” for you but for me Madie’s 19th birthday is a “big one”. I decided it would be best for me to journal these feelings and I have debated back and forth, over and over and over again as to whether or not I would actually post this on my blog.

I have decided to post it. 

I have decided that this just may one day become a tiny piece of history and if there is one thing in my life that I would like to be remembered for it would be this, my greatest accomplishment in life, being a mom to my amazing daughters. This story is my story of success. 

The very way I began this journey to this, my greatest accomplishment, was when the story of my oldest daughter, Madison Blake Causby, begins which was when I was 19 years old. 

19 years ago I had a daughter, Madie, and today she turns 19. 

I was a teen mom. I was 19 when Madie was born. I had turned 19 about two months and a few days before she was born on September 1, 1997.

It has been very difficult for me to acknowledge that my daughter is the same age now that I was when she was born. Not at all because it makes me feel old or anything like that but because now beyond a shadow of a doubt I can see how young I actually was when I had a baby.

I have memories of 18 and 19 where I felt very much “grown”. I was legally an adult and thus I was an adult. Right? Seeing my daughter at 19 shifts my perception of reality a bit. When I look at her, even though she is a very mature and amazing 19 year old young lady, she seems too young to me to be a mom. 

I can still recall that feeling of “adultness” I had at 19 but I accept the reality now that that was my own immaturity whispering in my ear that I was a big girl and could take on the world when really I wasn’t just yet.

I graduated high school June 1996 and was attending the local community college to get my two year degree and I had planned to transfer to a four year college upon completion. This was the most cost effective way to attend college for me. I was working pretty much full time for my dad at his video store while I was going to school. Most of my high school friends were off to college. I went to school and worked and that was pretty much it.

In December of 1996 I made a decision, a poor judgement call, that would change the course of the future I had planned. In January of 1997 my doctor confirmed that I was pregnant as I had suspected.  
When I ponder the realities of then and now my mind still spins. 

On January 28, 1997, I was still 18 years old, I had a scheduled doctor's appointment for my yearly check up and prescription refill at the doctor's office. 

I had a suspicion that I was pregnant. Actually I knew I was pregnant. Earlier in the month I had missed my period. I was a few days late when I called a friend of mine, Brandi, a high school senior at the time, who offered to pick up a pregnancy test. She and another friend brought it to me one night at work. 

This part of my memory still plays in slow motion. I went to the little tiny bathroom with it’s dark paneling on the walls and followed the instructions on the EPT. I went back out to the counter where my friends were and waited. I am pretty sure I even checked out a customer renting a VHS tape. As the world turns...

I wish I could recall the conversation I had with my friends that night as we waited. I wonder what must have been going through their minds at the time as well. I am sure they saw me as “grown” too since I had already graduated high school and all… Right?

A few minutes later Brandi went to retrieve the test from the bathroom and came out to tell me that I was pregnant. The room spun around me. I have never experienced that room spinning feeling before in my whole life. I took another test a few nights later just as a precaution incase it was a bad test and it also showed up positive. I kept this a secret until I could get to the doctor's office to confirm, I knew I had that scheduled appointment. 

I recall walking into the doctor's office that day, all alone, scared, worried and with this big secret. I was extra nervous because my aunt worked at that very office and I knew that she would be the first to find out. I whispered to the receptionist at check in that I thought I might be pregnant. I was terrified. I realize now that I would not needed to have told the receptionist. I could have waited until I was taken back and told the MOA but I was 18, frightened and completely clueless.

I was called back to see the doctor, I took another test and the doctor confirmed I was pregnant. I felt so scared and ashamed as I walked up to the front of the office to check out. My aunt was the first person I saw. She hugged me and I knew that it would all be ok. 

I went home that evening, after my doctors appointment, and crawled into bed, dreading my mom coming home. I knew I had to let my secret out now. At this point I had not even thought about the logistics of it all, like how I was going to be able to raise a child, etc. Fortunately I was already accustomed to paying some bills. I paid my own car insurance, gas, etc. but a baby??? It honestly didn't even occur to me that there was a cost associated with a baby. I was 18. The world that I lived in was not very broad. 

I told my mother, I made her tell my dad, again I felt so ashamed.

I was told that I should have an abortion by people who love my daughter so much today while others told me it would be ok. This was not a great time in my life. At 19 and pregnant you don’t get to have the exciting and happy moments that an adult having a baby would have. I will, however, never regret the best decision I ever made which was to have this baby.  

In 1996 and 1997 I only knew of a couple other teen moms, it was certainly not the norm. 

I often wonder what did my friends think when I told them the news. Some of them were probably feeling the same as me, “grown”. I actually have letters that two of my friends wrote to me when they found out.

February 2, 1997 “I am happy for you but I am sad for me, I had really been looking forward to you coming to Western next year” “I know things will change between us but we will always be friends”

February 19, 1997 “Promise me one thing Deanne. Please be strong for yourself and for your son/daughter. I wish someone would have told me be strong no matter what happens.” “Only God knows what the future has for us” “The roads we take are going to bring about change in our lives” “You’re very lucky to have your mom to help you out, she’ll be a wonderful grandmother for your precious child”

One spring day last year my daughters, Madie and Tess, and I were sitting together at Chick-fil-a having breakfast. During our conversation over breakfast one of the girls said “Oh my gosh, guess who’s pregnant”. She went on to tell of a girl from school that was now going to be a young mother. Similar to me.

I broke down into tears. I felt so sorry for what that young girl was going though. I also knew in that moment what my friends really must have said and thought about me…

In May of 1997 I found out the baby was a girl and named her Madison Blake. 

By my 19th Birthday I was scheduled for a C-Section. September 1, 1997 with my mom by my side I went in for that C-Section and came out with this beautiful baby girl. 

Somehow, a few days later, the hospital trusted me, this young 19 year old, to leave with a baby and go into the world to figure things out. 

Things were hard, I had only learned to drive a couple years earlier and now I had to learn to take care of a baby, live alone with the baby, know when to feed a baby, know how to raise her into an adult… Talk about overwhelming. 

I do, however, distinctly remembering the moment when I realized this was real. I was going to be a mom and I was going to be the best possible mom I could be. 

It has been a bumpy road, we have been through so many obstacles. Teen moms don’t always make it out. They struggle to make it through. This was nothing like the Teen Mom TV Show...

In the first two years of Madie’s life she and I moved homes 9 times. I lived most of her first two years as a single mom. At barely 21 years old I had baby girl number two, Tess and a few years later I was a single mom of these two little girls. I am reminded often of how we beat the odds. I say we because even though my girls were young I did not beat the odds alone. I had their little faces encouraging me all along the way and God with me every step I took.

I am so thankful for all of the support I have had over the last 19 years, my mother especially has been with me non stop throughout it all. My mom, dad, brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends have all encouraged me along the way as I worked hard to move past the obstacles I faced. I have a wonderful career, I bought a home all by myself ten years ago and as you know from reading this blog I met the man of my dreams and am happily married. Miss Madie, the birthday girl, is in her sophomore year of college and Tess is a high school senior. Life is so so good today. 

Who I am today struggles with recognizing who I was 19 years ago, I am the same person but I am also so very different. When I think about 19 year old Deanne I want to hug her and tell her she is loved and that I am so proud of who she has become. I can not imagine my now 19 year old daughter having to go through all that we did, I pray her struggles in life are few. 

As I sit reflecting of all the things my girls and I have been through together, of all the ways we have grown up together, and I am so amazed at the outcome. Both of my girls are brilliant, beautiful, wonderful human beings with bright, bright futures. I am the proudest mother you can possible imagine times a gazillion <3 

Madie and Tess, I love you more that the ocean loves it’s waves, more than the night time sky loves her stars, more that the sunrays love to dance through the clouds. 

Madie on your 19th Birthday I wish you fine and simple pleasures. I wish you all of life’s best treasures. I wish you many years of laughter. I wish you happily ever after! I am blessed every day that I get to be your mother. "You are my special" XOXOXO

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