Author’s note: I haven’t really discussed how I came to be a single mom at 23, partially because it’s incredibly personal, but partially because there’s still a bit of a stigma attached to stories like mine. I announced that I was pregnant on my blog though, and I touched on a couple of items: I mentioned that my son’s dad and I were seeing each other briefly, but we were looking for different things, and I mentioned that I was excited and so was he. But I never really mentioned how I came to my decision to actually become a parent…until now.
I had decided against being a musician. I knew that I would eventually want to be a mom—the great mom my mom was to me, who was involved in my life, interested in what I was doing, and present for everything and anything I did. On top of that, I knew I didn’t want to live a life of financial dependence. I wanted a career that would allow me to make my own living and support myself and my eventual children. Living in a practice room, struggling for a consistent gig…that wasn’t the kind of life that would allow for those aspirations. I wanted to be a parent, and it was so important to me to be a great one. I just hadn’t planned for it to happen so soon.
MAKING A CHOICE
Then one day…actually, for about a week, I was feeling queasy, tired and all-around worn out. I told my mom how sick I’d been feeling, and she asked if I could be pregnant.
Of course I denied it, but just to be sure, I got a pregnancy test that same day, and a trip to the bathroom later, there was my answer—a plus sign, as in + 1.
That’s when the big choice came in. I know it’s a terribly contentious matter, but I’ve always been pro-choice. My body is my own and I don’t want anyone criminalizing my choices, nor would I want to do that to anyone else. However, abortion was never an option for me personally. It’s just not something I could do to myself. The emotional and physical trauma, potential of fertility or pregnancy issues later…it wasn’t something I ever wanted to put myself through.
When I saw that little plus sign, I smiled. I didn’t think I would; I was completely petrified about even taking the test. I mean, I was single, I had broken things off with this potential baby’s father, I was planning to go back to school that next semester, and this was just not something I had planned. But there it was. A plus sign on a stick and a huge, dopey grin on my face. I made my choice even before I had realized it.
TELLING MY FAMILY
The absolute first person I told was my younger sister, Sare, because well, she’s my sister. And she is a brutally honest person, making her a great testing ground for potential reactions. So I told her first, and she asked me how I felt about it and what I planned to do. I told her that I was happy, surprised, and that I was going to keep it. So with encouragement in her voice, she asked, “How are you going to tell Mom and Dad?” This is something I’d been dreading, but not for the reasons one might think.
I’m not a gushy-mushy, super emotional type of person, and I knew my mom was going to cry (out of excitement because she’s always looked forward to being a “Nana”), and I had no idea how I was going to handle that. My dad, on the other hand, would be supportive regardless, so I wasn’t AS worried about him. At the same time, he is my dad, so, of course, I was worried. They had recently separated, though, so I had the luxury of handling each of them one-on-one.
For my mom, it was pretty easy to find the right setting. We had to go to Disneyland the next weekend, and since she loves Disneyland, and I love Disneyland, and everyone is generally happy at Disneyland, I thought it would be absolutely perfect. My sister agreed. Still, it’s not like there’s a Disneyland Tell-Your-Mom-You’re-Pregnant-And-All-Will-Be-Fine ride.
We were on the tram that takes us from the parking structure to the park entrance when we ran into an acquaintance of my mom’s, one who was a regular at a tattoo studio at which she’d had work done (yes, my mom has tattoos), and the other was his wife who worked a couple of doors down at a bead store that my mom also happened to like. So along with their young daughter, we all banded together for the day, and it quickly and significantly limited my options for telling my mom that I was pregnant.
The tricky part was skipping out on my favorite ride, Tower of Terror, especially because my mom really wanted to ride it, too. My sister and I were able to persuade her that riding the Tower of Terror was not in her best interest by reminding her about her bicycle accident, during which she fractured her skull, less than a year earlier. Meanwhile and for some unexplainable reason, my mom and her friend had started exchanging pregnancy horror stories (like the time that I flipped from the breach position to head-down and my feet were visibly pressing out on her stomach), at which time my sister and I tried really hard not to look at each other, because ‘Oh my goodness, did she already know?!’ But no questions were directed my way, and I was in the clear for the time being.
THAT’S WHAT LITTLE SISTERS ARE FOR
We were getting ready to leave, and my sister was getting really pushy. She started poking and prodding and asking me (out of our mom’s earshot, of course) when I was going to tell her. I insisted that I’d tell her at the right moment. While riding up the escalator back at the parking structure, my sister says awkwardly, “It’s been such a nice day, and I think this would be a great time to make an announcement.” I almost punched her in the face, but my mom was curious and oddly concerned, so I blurted, “I’m pregnant.” On the escalator. And she hugged me and cried and held her breath until we got back to my car. Then she turned to me and asked, “What are you going to do?”
“I want to keep it. I’m happy about this.”
She wailed even more—in relief and excitement—and told me she’d be supportive no matter what. “I’m sooooo excited to be a Nana!”
That same night, my sister and I were having dinner with my dad, who cooked shark. Lovely. In retrospect, it would have been easy to just say something like, “Dad, I hope you’re not offended that I can’t eat this, but it’s because I’m pregnant.” But no, I waited. Again. And my sister killed the moment. Again. By awkwardly interjecting, “I think Resa has something she wants to announce.” Again.
This time, I lunged at her, swearing and angry. Dad diffused the situation, and I said, “I’m pregnant.” He hugged me, flashing me a look of concern. Just as I’d explained to my mom hours earlier, I told him, “I’m going to keep it. This is happy news.” He responded: “Then I’m happy for you. Sorry about the shark.” He gave me a hug…and then we both turned back to my sister, scolding her for being a moment killer.
Editor’s Note: In Part 2, Resa breaks the news to her ex-boyfriend, deals with co-workers and faces life-changing priorities.