I've been thinking a lot about the errors in judgment I've made all through out my life. What? Mistakes, me? I know you must be shocked. It's hard to imagine someone as seemingly perfect as myself making any mistake at all. But I assure you dear reader, they exist. To keep this post under a million words, I will omit anything that happened prior to turning 18. Besides anything that happened before then wouldn't be worth mentioning. Here's a few to get started:
Mistake #1- Decided to have sex with a high school friend and long time crush the day he left for college.
Mistake #2- Abortion 2.5 months later. Oh and didn't tell the father until much later.
These really just skim the surface, they are not my only three mistakes ever made, however it gives you an idea. I chose to stop where I did because the more recent stories are prime for future posts. lol But really because it's because I figure that this is a good story to tell.
I hope that I have learned from my mistakes, I feel that I have. There are some (unmentioned) mistakes that I'm still working on, but I take them one day at a time. I can see enough now to look back and think them through rationally and understand that some of the circumstances were beyond my control, or had I made other choices I could have changed the outcome. I now have the knowledge to help my children make empowered decisions. As they say: "My children will do it better than I did."
So the "biggie." I know some of you read this and might be a bit shocked about the "A" word. To be quite truthful I've only told a small handful of close confidants. My own mother til the day she died, had no idea. I never said a word. I was deeply remorseful about the entire situation. I would say it was probably the biggest mistake of my own life. Now, this isn't a political blog, and I do not write to change people's opinions. I am only here to state how it affected me. I am, and always will be, pro-choice. Is it the choice I would make for myself again? No. But I think every woman has the right to choose their own path. Unfortunately for me, I ended up regretting the path I chose, and on this path there is no turning back.
I found out I was pregnant about a week before I was to leave for Seattle. By then the father was long gone. As I mentioned, we did the deed the day he left town... which is the story of my life! lol. I talked it over with my doctor here in town and she gave me the info I needed to know about ALL of my options. She was very helpful and was in no way pursuasive to which direction I should take. Just informative. I found a place in Seattle that would be able to perform the procedure and scheduled it to be done about a month or so after I had started school.
I became very depressed the very day it happened. I had five classes, one 4 hour class every day (Art School). I think I made it to 2, maybe 3 classes a week. The more "difficult" ones, I opted to skip. When I wasn't in class, I was at home locked away in my bedroom (luckily for me one of my roomates dropped out and left me with my own room). If I heard a roomate come home from class or work I would either A: pretend I had just arrived home myself or B: pretend I wasn't home at all and wait til they left before I ventured out.
I cried a lot, I called home EVERY night and basically got kicked out of school. I skipped so many classes that I no longer qualified for my grants and loans because I wasn't maintaining the proper GPA/attendance to earn them. Unless I could pay cash, I would have to leave. The kicker? I had just started to kinda feel normal, had realized I didn't like graphic design and switched to my first love: fashion design. I had even talked to the registrar and actually MADE the changes already... but alas, it wasn't meant to be. I flew home less than a week after learning of my perdikerment.
The source of my pain at the time were a couple of things. One: I felt insanely guilty for not having told the father that I was even pregnant, let alone what I chose to do with that pregnancy. I ended up telling him in a letter just after Christmas break because I just couldn't fathom telling him in person... even though we attended the same parties and gatherings over the holidays. He called me once he had read the letter (I had conveniently sent it to his dorm instead of his Juneau address... you know, so I wouldn't run into him at the store or something) and it turns out he was just ok with me not letting him know. Of course he would have liked to know, but what would he have been able to do out in the midwest when I was in Seattle? In the end he thought it was the choice he preferred, to this day I don't know if he was being honest with me or just trying to appease my hysterics. (As soon as he called I couldn't stop crying for the whole conversation)
And Two: I regretted losing the baby. I regretted not getting to go through the pregnancy and to feel my body changing. Constantly the "what ifs" went through my mind. I made note of when the baby would have been due and for the next couple of years would mentally tick of another year. By the time the baby would have been 4 or 5, I stopped. I still think about it from time to time. Even right after Reagan was born I thought about it quite often for some reason... but it slowly fizzled away to the back of the brain again.
So yeah, I do regret it. With all my heart. Especially now that I know what it's like to hold a precious baby in my arms. That is not to say that every woman will feel this way. So still, I leave it up to each individual to choose their own path. This is something I am going to try very hard to talk to my kids about. I don't agree with the "wait until marriage" concept. I think it is unrealistic in this day and age, and considering my own non-traditional relationship with their father, it would just be hypocritical. I just want to teach my children to be safe and to know they shouldn't be ashamed to talk to their parents, as I was. We are here to help them grow and when they make mistakes along the way I use my own experiences to help guide them to their decision.
I would love to tell my children just don't do it! Don't have sex til you're 30. Even if I say it, it's not going to happen. At least if I educate them and have an open and honest discussion with them about sex and sexuality then maybe my children will make healthier choices for themselves than I made for me. I think the worst mistake a parent can make is to just plainly say "Don't even think about it until you are married" Just don't think about it. Well. That goes against the very nature of a teenager doesn't it? I've never met one that isn't boy-crazy or fawning over the cheerleader (or whatever)... Not only that but our culture is obsessed with it. So to try and stop it from happening without any other explanation other than "it's just wrong, or bad" isn't a very effective method in my opinion. If I just try and ban it from their brains then what can I expect except rebellion?
I know that I have a long time before I need to start discussing the birds and the bees with my little ones, but really the more I think about it, it's not that long at all. Education begins at home, or so I've heard.