‘I can’t do this,’ I muttered to myself. I was only 22, unmarried. I didn’t want my boyfriend to feel trapped.’: Young mother doesn’t believe she’ll be ‘punished’ for ‘having a baby out of wedlock’

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“‘I can’t do this’, I muttered to myself, sitting on the edge of the cold marble bathtub. Two prominent pink lines staring back at me.

I was only 22 years old, unmarried, and had spent my life sitting in a church pew on Sunday mornings being indoctrinated with the belief that what was happening to me was a sin that would tarnish me for the rest of my life.

My boyfriend and I had only been dating a little over a year. We were committed to each other, we loved each other, but I wasn’t sure that was enough.

Courtesy Jade North

What would my family think?

I already knew that I had let them down; the disappointment they would feel about my situation. I didn’t want them to be ashamed of me.

I couldn’t be pregnant. It wasn’t the right time. I wasn’t ready.

Courtesy Jade North

But those lines staring back at me told a different story. I was going to be a mother whether I was prepared or not.

Sure, I was an adult. But there was-and still is-very much a stigma attached to unwed mothers.

I was terrified. I was ashamed. I cared too much about how society was going to view me as I walked around with a large stomach and no ring on my finger.

I didn’t want my boyfriend to feel trapped or obligated to be with me. It wasn’t the dream situation I had always envisioned.

‘First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage.’ That’s how it was meant to be. It’s what was expected.

Only, that wasn’t my reality. That wasn’t how my story was going to play out, and I had to come to terms with it.

I felt as though I wasn’t allowed to be happy about this miracle.

I believed I wasn’t allowed to celebrate.

I thought I was supposed to hide away.

I look back on that day now, and I desperately want to hug that scared girl. I want to tell her that it will all be okay. I want to tell her that she has nothing to be ashamed of.

Because that baby… she changed my life.

She changed OUR lives in the best way possible.

She made us a family.

She fulfilled us.

Courtesy Jade North

Now 8 years old, she brings more happiness and joy to us than we ever imagined possible.

Most importantly, she serves as a reminder…unexpected doesn’t mean unwanted. Unexpected doesn’t mean a mistake.

Courtesy Jade North

Sometimes it’s the unexpected things that make life so incredible.

And I don’t believe that us being unwed at her time of birth will somehow cause her to be disadvantaged in this life.

I also don’t believe for one moment that God will someday punish me for having a baby out of wedlock.

Children are a gift from God. There are no mistakes. It’s all part of the master plan.

To you- unwed mother, full of shame over your situation- you don’t need to be.

You have been given an amazing blessing.

Hold your head high.

Stop carrying the weight of other people’s judgements.

Don’t let anyone or anything steal this moment of joy from you.”

Courtesy Jade North

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jade North of Four Norths in the South. The article originally appeared here. Follow Jade on Instagram here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

Read more stories from Jade here:

‘I’m okay with being a just-good-enough wife. I don’t keep a tidy house. I don’t wash my hair for days.’: Mom once obsessed with perfection realizes that was ‘exhausting,’ the quest for perfection is ‘completely unnecessary’

‘No, he’s the one who said you were fat and ugly!’ piped the other one. I won’t lie, I saw red.’: Mother defends daughter after ‘cruel’ boys fat-shamed her at pool

‘I was scouring for baby boy clothes, 8 months pregnant. That’s when I saw him. At 6’2, he’s hard to miss. His features were slightly different, but it was him.’

‘When the stylist asked me what I wanted, I replied ‘Cut it off! Please just cut it off before I lose my nerve.’ Without hesitation, she grabbed the scissors and began to chop.’

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