Growing up in the most populated city in Haiti, I was the youngest and only daughter of three children raised in a single mother home. It was not that my dad was not present in my life, but he was married to someone else. Raising two boys and a girl was not easy for my mom, but she always made sure that her children had food on the table, clothes on their backs, and a roof over their heads. Most importantly, my mom made sure we received an education-something she could not have because she was pregnant at an early age. So, no wonder I felt a sense of shame and guilt when I found out I was pregnant at just nineteen years old while in my second year of college.
The pressure that came with breaking the news about my pregnancy to my parents was like a burden. Unsure of my parents ‘reactions, I waited until fifteen weeks into my pregnancy to tell them. My parents were angry, disappointed, and mainly concerned about friends’ and neighbors’ reactions. After that, we had a meeting and talked about abortions. The following day, my cousins accompanied me to see a gynecologist. After being examined, I learned I was too far on my pregnancy to have an abortion; since the doctor did not perform abortions past ten weeks. Armed with courage, I decided to keep my baby and face the challenges that came with being pregnant young and before being married. It did not take long for the news to spread. As my belly started to grow, I would only leave my house for my doctor’s appointment or to go to school. Stressed and frustrated, I was unprepared for the rumors and comments that I would hear about my ability to be a mother, to care for a child. I know all actions have consequences, yet, I did not expect that kind of treatment. I have concluded no matter what people thought of me; I will keep on and going. I will assume my responsibility and face whatever comes my way with confidence.
I went to my entire doctor’s appointments, did all my lab work and took all my prenatal vitamins to ensure the well-being of my baby. I even stopped eating spicy food for a while. I did not experience morning sickness throughout my pregnancy, but I fell exhausted in my last trimester. I worked very hard in school because I did not want to fail on top of all that was happening. I learned to braid hair, do nails to earn money. Despite all, I was grateful for my boyfriend and now husband, who was by my side throughout my pregnancy. He has been working as a police officer for two years and a very mature soon-to-be dad. I did not have to worry financially. My boyfriend’s support motivated me to continue my degree in accounting, and I was able to stay in college before my due date. We got married two months before the baby’s arrival.
On June 9, 2000, my water broke, and I started having contractions. Anxious and in pain, I went straight to the hospital. From there, I learned that my amniotic sac ruptured, and it caused my baby’s heart rate to drop. I was rushed immediately to the operating room for a c-section. Contrarily to other girls, I was hoping to give birth naturally, but I was not very fortunate. An hour later, my son was born weighing six pounds, four ounces, and measuring twenty-two inches long. I was excited and happy to see him and touch him after all that time waiting. All that mattered was my baby. Three days later, I left the hospital. It was a relief to be home and able to enjoy life with my baby. It did take me a little time to recover, but I thanked God I had no complications following the surgery. I had a lot of help from both sides of the family. I did not have to worry about feeding the baby, changing diapers, or waking up at night when the baby was crying. I must say I was surprised by my parents’ and friends’ assistance.
That experience changed my life in so many ways. I am more patient, caring and responsible than before. I am very protective of my baby and conscious because my decisions will affect him at some point. I have learned to accept criticism, and I am now a proud mom of an ambitious young man who is in medical school.