An Unexpected Gift – A true life story

Here’s one of the most inspiring stories from a good friend of mine, Rainie

1998 was a year that changed
my life forever. Everyone experiences life changing events, but some events are so extreme that they make you a different person. Some events change
the course of your life in such a
manner that neither you nor anyone else could have seen it coming.

Yes, 1998 was a life changing year. The events taken place in my life affected other lives as well. It is amazing how a 14-year-old girl could change the course of so many lives by one careless action.
There were three things I was
sure of. First, I was pregnant. I had
gotten myself knocked up and there
was no denying that fact. Second, my parents were not going to handle the news well. My alcoholic mother would probably want to beat the baby out of me, and my too lenient father would want to hide the situation from anyone else in the family. Third, I was going to have my baby regardless of what anybody said. This was my child
and I would do whatever it took to
protect my baby. As I sat there on the bathroom floor staring at the pink lines on the pregnancy test I thought, “ Is this really happening to me? Am I going to have a baby? How will I tell my family? ” Thoughts raced through  my mind. Suddenly fear rushed over me like the tide hits the shore. I was physically sick and mentally exhausted.

The first phone call I had to
make was to the baby’s father. Since he was only 16, I knew he would not be ready for fatherhood. What he was ready for did not matter at this point. He was going to be a father and there was no turning back. I proceeded to make the call. “ Cornelius, I have something I need to tell you.” My
voice was shaking as tears began to flow down my cheeks. I then gave him the news, “You are going to be a daddy. I am pregnant.” His initial reaction was denial, of course. I began crying and begging him to believe this news. I needed support from him, not another argument. After a while we got control over our tears and began discussing our options. I explained my view of options to him,
Having this baby is our only option and we must stick together on this no matter what anyone else says.” We agreed to have this baby and raise this baby together. What he then said to me left me speechless, “ Do your parents know I’m black? ” The answer was no. My parents did not approve of my having a boyfriend. If I were to
have a boyfriend, a black boyfriend
would not be acceptable. Interracial dating in South Louisiana was not accepted. I knew the reaction I would get from my family, and I knew it would not be a pleasant one.

I scolded myself so many times
for landing myself in this predicament. I hated myself for not
using protection. I hated Cornelius for not being more careful. I hated my life. The divorce of my parents had already traumatized me enough. My mother’s abusive relationships and alcoholism made my environment at home very uncomfortable. My father’s
cluelessness left every door open for me to screw my life up in whatever way I chose. Just when I thought life couldn’t get any worse, it got worse.

The same thoughts haunted me every day and every night, “I just want to run away. I want to run away and never come back. I want a new family. I want a new life. I hate myself and I hate my life!” Could any good come out of this mess? I had to get a grip on life. Life was tormenting me and I was spinning out of control. Usually
when I felt like this I would smoke a
cigarette, drink my mom’s booze, or smoke my dad’s marijuana. I knew all these things would now have to come to an end. I was not living for myself now; I now had life inside of me. I had to learn to love life so that I could create life.

The day finally came when I
revealed my pregnancy to my father. I told him first because I was sure he would not beat me or abuse me in any way. He insisted I have an abortion. I refused. He was
embarrassed. I couldn’t blame him. His little Caucasian 14-year-old daughter was pregnant for an African American and there was nothing he could do about it. Just as I assumed, he wanted me to abort the pregnancy without any other relative knowing. It would be one big secret and everything would work out because nobody else would know. I stood my ground. I told him I would have my
baby and he had to accept that. He
screamed out, “Danielle you cannot
raise a child you are only a child
yourself!” I yelled back, “This baby
did not ask to be brought here and I
will not kill it just because you are
embarrassed!” If he knew the things I was doing then maybe he would realize a baby wasn’t really all that bad. The pregnancy made me want to change. It made me want to be a better person. I had to stop the smoking, drinking, drugs, and being in the streets. It was time to calm down and live a better lifestyle. I began to realize the pregnancy was not all that bad after all. Although I began to have a more optimistic outlook on my situation, I could see the worry in my father’s face. The disappointment in his voice pierced my heart so painfully that I felt regret and shame. I knew I had let him down. This was not the first time I let my father down.

About a year before I got pregnant I decided to invite a boy over to see me in the middle of the night. He was tall, African American, bald headed, and several years older
than me. My attraction to Black men was even a fascination. I snuck the guy into my bedroom. We both knew why I called him over. As he climbed on top of me, I felt his full soft lips kiss my neck. Little by little our clothes came off. We began to make love and seemed to be lost in our own reality. My father must have
heard noises coming from my room. He walked in on us in the act. My father was devastated and he gave me the silent treatment for quite some time. From that point he knew I liked Black men, and he knew I was not a virgin. He must have chosen to live in denial somehow, because he refused to bring me to the doctor for birth control pills. If he would have taken this incident more seriously maybe he would not have his own child on her way to motherhood. After breaking the news to my father, I knew the time to tell my mother was coming real soon. I decided to tell her over the phone, because I was scared of what she may do to me in person. I started dialing her number, but hung the phone up before I ever got to the last digit. I rehearsed what I would say to her over and over in my head. “Mom I have something to tell you…I’m pregnant. The dad is sixteen years old, but he is going to be in the baby’s life. Oh yea one more thing, your grandchild will be half black.”

There was no good way to say what I needed to say. I decided to let my dad tell her instead. Just as I
expected, she called me a nigger
loving whore and told me I would
have to get an abortion. She told me she would ship me off to some
“Unwed Mother’s Home” in another
part of the country. There probably is no such thing, but I’m sure she
would try to ship me off somewhere. After hearing her abusive words and listening to her carry on about me being a horrible person, I finally decided I just wouldn’t talk to her unless she had something positive to say. I guess she never found anything positive to say, because from that point in my life she did the unthinkable. My mother did something I always feared, but never believed she would do. She disowned me. She wanted nothing to do with me or my mixed race child. She wouldn’t allow me back at her house, and she wouldn’t support me in any way during my pregnancy. She never was a good mother, but now she wasn’t a mother at all. I knew from that point I would never be like her. I might not have known what I was doing as a parent at this young age, but I knew the wrong way to raise a kid by observing the parenting styles of my parents. People always have and always will pass judgment on me for my decisions. Generally people think they know everything. My family always thought they knew what was best for me. What my family members didn’t know is getting pregnant may have saved my life. I was headed down the wrong path and nobody paid enough attention to realize the severity of my behavior. I had been raped, but that was a secret I could never tell. My entire life was one big secret; in fact I lived a double life. My grades were good in school, but I was high in class several times each week. I missed days because I was sick, but I would be at home by
myself during that time doing
whatever I please. School was an
inconvenience to me so I decided to drop out; there was nobody to stop me. Nobody could stop me from doing anything; I did whatever I wanted to do.

In 1998 I wrote a suicide note.
I’m not sure if I had the guts to take
my own life, but I did not want to
live. I cried myself to sleep every
night. I hated to be sober. I rebelled
against any authority. I lied to my
parents all the time so that I could do as I please. They didn’t care enough to look into my activities. I was independent. I loved boys and boys loved me. All this came to a
screeching halt when my baby came into my life. How could everyone be so upset with me having a baby, but failed to realize my life was going downhill anyway. How could I be that depressed, and have not even one family member reach out to me? My relatives not loving me enough was the only conclusion I ever came up with. One person who would always love me would be my child. This baby was mine and nobody could take that away from me.

1999 came and this year was
not as bad as the last. Relatives came to accept my pregnancy and started to be more supportive. My mother however never accepted any of it and even this very day she has nothing to do with me. I quit the smoking, drinking, and drug use and gave birth to a healthy baby boy. He was even a birthday present to me, having him the day before I turned 15.Throughout the years my family has come a long way. My battle against racism was a victorious one. I have cousins who have children of mixed race and any person is allowed at our family functions no matter what color they are. The color of skin is no longer an issue in my family, on my dad’s side, and I know this is because of me. One little girl changed so many lives in so many ways. I lost my mother, but I gained so much more. I have no regrets when I look back over my life and evaluate the last 13 years. It has been a difficult life, but somebody had to live it.

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