It was easy because I was small and barely showing and my boyfriend at the time made it clear that he wanted no parts of a public pregnancy. So I did what I thought was best after attempting to have an abortion at his requests. When Planned Parenthood informed me that I was much too far along, I knew at that moment that I’d be a mother for the rest of my life. Since I was sick all the time, I ended up getting kicked out of school for missing too much class and receiving bad grades. There goes my Bachelor’s, I thought. During this time we had to figure out a plan so that neither of us would be embarrassed about the situation that we had gotten into. He was the almighty football player attending the local community college. And I was just another dropout statistic at a college known for its partying. So I’m a second year student thinking how the hell I could be so stupid. Although I was no teenager and a consenting adult at the time, I was so naïve and vulnerable to men. I still hadn’t gotten over being betrayed by a boy that I had lost my virginity to just a year prior. Now, I was in a relationship with someone that didn’t even want me. But there was no use in crying over spoiled milk because the damage was already done. I was going to be a mom and that was just the truth of it all.
After feeling alone, depressed and unwanted, I decided to tell my mother. Fortunately she was very supportive and opened to the situation. She offered me a place to stay and as much support as she could give me. The only problem was that she lived across the country. I decided to speak with my partner about it and he agreed that it was a good idea. Since he was from the same State, the plan was to continue his football career there and get a job to support his new little family. The only issue was, when the time had finally come, I ended up traveling alone at 5 months pregnant with promises from him of following behind me within a month. Only a selected people were aware of my situation and they supported me to the best of their ability during that time.
About a month later, I started having contractions. I’m so nervous because I’m more than 3 months away from my due date. So I go to the ER and discover that I have preeclampsia which they called Toxemia at the time and also I have HELLP. The doctor tells me that since my condition is so intense, I’d have to remain in the hospital until the baby was born. I was very upset because I hated hospitals and definitely didn’t want to lay in one for 3 months with an uncomfortable catheter inside of me. They were determined to have me on bed rest until he was born. He also told me that there was a chance that my son was not going to make it since I was only 26 weeks and they had to focus primarily on my health. My son had other plans though because he arrived three days after I was admitted. I had to have an emergency C-section and since I was drugged up on magnesium sulfate to prevent me from having seizures and some other things, it made my vision blurry, so I was semi-blind at the time of his birth. My mother was the only person by my side during his birth and she told me that they took my uterus out and placed it on the table while my son peed on me. He was born on a Wednesday weighing one pound and six ounces only at 12 inches long.
During my stay, I developed MRSA and post partum depression. Here I was, a new mom at the age of 20 with little or no support. My mom had called my boyfriend at the time and explained to him all of the events that had taken place since I wasn’t able to. He said he’d get there asap and she offered to help him. I spoke to him for a short period of time and he seemed slightly concerned but at the time, I don’t know if it had been for me or our son. I explained to him that the birth certificate needed to be signed before the end of the month and we finally confirmed a name. I wanted Amir Mekhi to be his name and to my knowledge he wanted Jaylen. Later I discovered he actually said Jaden but I guess I was too drugged to fully comprehend.
As a little girl, I always knew that things would be done, in my eyes as the correct way. This is what my father had always taught me, which is why I never told him that I was pregnant. He found out after my son was born that I was no longer a virgin. Initially, I was going to get a boyfriend, finish college, get married, then have baby. I believe that since I was so naive and wounded, my brain chose a different route. I also didn’t have the best relationship with my father and there was no other man out there to teach me how to choose a good man. My father was so authoritative and just always told me what not to do but he never told me why.
I never knew in a million years that I’d become a single mother. That just wasn’t me. I was a good girl, with a good heart. Maybe a little naive but I treated people with respect and showed lots of loyalty. I never could understand how someone who called themselves a man could just up and leave their child. This baby was half of him, a part of him. But that is how my journey began. When I was finally coherent, I decided to call him. It had already been a couple of days since the birth of our son and he was nowhere to be found. I called him up and to my surprise the number was disconnected. I freaked out. I cried for about three days straight, declining visits and phones calls. It just wasn’t real to me. I was a new mother with no clue on what the next step were. And I was alone. It was the worse feeling ever. I also had no bond with my child and didn’t really want one at the time either. This was the beginning of my baby blues session.
My heart and spirit was broken into pieces. I’m usually prepared but I wasn’t. How could I allow this to happen? I was a good girl who was deserted. I was wholesome girl who was abandoned with a baby. I had no job, no car, and no money. So I tried to call him again. I should have ended at the first try. He had changed his phone number and I had been officially erased. Wtf was I supposed to do now besides cry? One day a nurse came into my room with a wheelchair. And she said come on honey; it’s time to see the baby. I had no interest in seeing him. I was too depressed and emotional. But somehow she convinced me to take a trip to the NICU. After an array of procedures that I had to follow they finally placed Ja’len in my arms. There was this little life in my arms fighting to stay alive and here I was giving up. He had to be removed from me immediately because I started to vomit. So they rushed me back down to my room and gave me Phernergan (promethazine) to help settle my stomach. This was a huge mistake. My head immediately started pounding and I vomited continuously even more, while having mild seizures. I couldn’t breathe and my blood pressure went sky rocket.
Immediately I was taken to the Intensive Care Unit. After a several days there, I finally was stable again. I began to reflect on everything that I had gone through. Then I thought about it and I asked myself who would be responsible for Ja’len if something had happened to me? His father had disappeared and Ja’len was in the hospital fighting just as much as I was. I knew I had to get myself together. So I began to fight too. I was determined to rescue that little boy who never asked to be here in the first place. Even if I had to do it alone, I would not give up. After about two weeks, I was finally able to go home but there was one issue! I wasn’t allowed to take my baby with me. I was devastated. It was one of the hardest moments during my experience. He wasn’t even two pounds yet and they had to continue nursing him to good health.
After being told that he would be released close to his due date, I was sad. My due date was November 8th and we were still in the month of August. Not only did most of my friends and family discover that I had been carrying a child for the last 26 weeks (yes my secret was out) but everyone wanted to know where he was when I got released. And over and over I had to give the story of him not being able to come home until he was eating on his own and breathing on his own. He was surviving on a ventilator and also a feeding tube. During that time, he made some miraculous improvements and ended up coming home mid-October weighing 4 pounds and 5 ounces. It was definitely a progression. I was elated to start this journey with him. Although he had to be on an apnea monitor, which often scared the shit out of me, he was breathing on his own and eating on his own.
Funny thing happened though, the exact day that he was released, I received a private call from his sperm donor. I’m not sure if he had been calling the hospital checking his status or what. The first thing he asked me was who I had been seeing during the time we hadn’t spoken. I wanted to curse him out so bad for putting me through all of the things that he had put me through and then had the nerve to inquire about my dating life but a part of me was relieved to hear from him. So I simply told him that our son had just been released from the hospital and to refrain from calling me unless it was in regards to our child. Our son was two months, I didn’t hear from him again until he was nine months old. When he finally called me again, from a private number, his last words to me, while I remained silent on the phone were, “I’m sorry for doing this to you. I’m not ready to be a father. But I promise that, as soon as I get on my feet and Ja’len is older, I will make it up to the both of you.”
Here we are ten years later and I still haven’t heard a word from him. I guess he never got on his feet. But I’m not upset, angry or bitter anymore. Ja’len is a beautiful kid. I actually feel sorry for the dude because not only did he miss out and will continue to miss out. He has to live with the shame and guilt for the rest of his life. I’m sure he’s had his fair share of karma on behalf of my abandonment but I wish him nothing but the best. He gave me something that no one could. He gave me something in a time where I needed it the most. He gave me Ja’len.
Ja’len has changed my life for the better and I’ve become a much better person since I’ve become a mother. There’s no greater feeling in the world than waking up to a happy, vibrant, loving, kind, fun, and handsome boy.
I’m sorry that his donor was a coward. I’m sorry that no one taught him to love, protect and fight for his family. I’m sorry that he chose what appeared to be the easy way out. I’m sorry that he doesn’t have the same strength as my son and me. I’m sorry he’s in an adult body but still a boy. But I’m not sorry for becoming a mom and fighting through every road block. They say women can’t raise a man, and maybe there’s some truth to that. But one thing that I will tell you is that my son will be a man. He will take care of his responsibilities and he will love and respect people, even if it takes the last breathe inside of my body. I will make sure of it.
My main reason for sharing this is not only because my son is turning ten next week but also to share my journey with him to show how far I’ve made it. We’ve come a long way and I finally obtained that Bachelor’s Degree. We’re doing well for ourselves. I have my own place, my own car and Ja’len is well taken care of. So to everyone who said that I would fail, look at me now, succeeding and shit. This experience has taught me that ever circumstance isn’t permanent and every downfall doesn’t mean it’s over. I’ve definitely had help along the way and I just want to thank any of you, who has been there for me.
Shout out to the men who played a role in his life. I’ll use nicknames because I’m not sure they want to be called out publicly. Junebug, thanks for showing me what real love feels like. That was one of the roughest periods in my life and you were there for me through it all even though it was for such a short period. It sucked that you had to leave us but everything happens for a reason but I’ll always love you for being a real man, treating me like a Queen always, and loving my son.
DFree thanks for showing me everything that I wanted in a husband for me and a father for my son. I’ve never met a father as amazing as you. I never watched a man love his child so much before. It felt good to know that still exists. And to be there for the short period that you were helped contribute to my son’s great characteristics. You always spoiled me emotionally and loved me unconditionally.
To my future husband, I hope that you are more than half as exceptional as these amazing men have been. Although I’ve had my fair share of broken souls, I will accept nothing less than the greatness that I have already experienced. I know what real men are capable of and these men have definitely shown it. They’ve accepted not only my son as their own but also me and all of my flaws. These are the only men that I’ve been able to be 100% myself around with no judgment. I pray that God sends you to me fully prepared and ready to build a great future. I trust that you will do the right thing and always protect me, love me and handle your responsibilities. Never Give up is what Ja’len and I follow by and we plan to follow your lead.
Last but not least, to my son’s father Spanky. Not only have you been there since Ja’len was in diapers, during hospital stays and doctor’s visits. You have dealt with bullshit from people criticizing you for being in his life since he wasn’t yours biologically. You never allowed that to stop you from claiming him as your child. I love and appreciate you and your family forever. You and I have definitely had our ups and downs and even after we broke up and separated, you still made sure you were dedicated to your relationship with him and you didn’t have to continue on with it but you did. I’m happy we’re finally building the friendship that we once had back up and I am forever grateful for you staying in his life! All he knows is you! Thank you, thank you, and thank you.
With all of this being said, I will be celebrating ten years of my Prince’s life on Tuesday, August 9th. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Ja’len Amir Mekhi Terry! Mommy loves you. Thanks to everyone who contributed to his development in life.