– My boyfriend and I were popular in high school. I was a cheerleader, he played football. We lived in a small town called Booneville and our life seemed perfect. But then, one thing completely changed my life forever. When I was seventeen, I got pregnant. I perfectly remember that Friday night over Christmas break when we found out. He got me some chicken for dinner and it made me sick. I told him that I was late so we took a test. I was the first to look down at it and see the word “pregnant”. I remember we both cried. I was still a kid myself and I was going to be a parent. That night, he promised me that we’d get through it together. I was very naive at the time thinking, “Wow! We are going to have a family together!” Well, it was just a silly teenage girl fairytale that obviously did not happen. Before break was over, I told my two “best friends” I was pregnant. It’s a small town, soon everyone knew. The thing is, we lived in the Bible Belt so sex education was completely optional in high school, and almost no one took it. They just thought we should know better. Well, we didn’t. So, when I got back to school, my teachers and my classmates looked down on me because I had been caught publicly in a sin. People were mean. I remember all of the seniors had to meet with the counselor to discuss college plans. My counselor told me “not to bother going to college anyway because it wouldn’t do me any good.” Honestly, with the way I was treated, I understand why so many girls choose abortion. The shame and ridicule is very tough. But the worst part is that the more I started to show, the more my boyfriend would pull away. One day, he took me to McDonald’s because all I ate during my pregnancy was chicken nuggets. He said, “I think it’d be better for both of us if we just took a break from each other for a while.” He left me crying in a parking lot near McDonald’s five months pregnant with his child, two days before prom. I probably would have missed my prom altogether but my best friend Tyler told me he’d take me. When we got there, I remember the stares from the other parents and chaperones. People looked at me like I had a scarlet letter on me and like I was flaunting my sin to the world. Prom was miserable. I could hardly move, the food made me sick, and I had high heels on which was a huge mistake pregnant. But despite all of that, I’m happy I went. I got to show everybody that I wasn’t ashamed of my baby and I wasn’t going to give up my life just because I was pregnant. After the prom, everyone was still giving me weird looks but never said anything to my face. And after a month, I graduated. There were so many people watching me but I was proud of myself for making it. And my boyfriend, well… He disappeared until after our son Tavin was born. You see, it’s easy for the boy to disappear but the girl can’t run away from it. But you know what, I realize now that all those negative experiences paid off because I have my son. I never knew I could love somebody the way I love him. And even though at that time, it felt like the world was ending, it eventually got easier.