Chaneka Hawkins

I’ll never forget the day I found out. I sat in my bathroom and wondered how on earth I was going to tell my parents. I was in denial for a month, if not longer, that I was pregnant. I kept making excuses as to why my period was late and why I was so tired until my mom said she noticed I still hadn’t had my period (we are extremely open). That’s when I took the test. Everyone was gone, out of the house. No one, except my son’s dad, knew that I was taking a pregnancy test. The plus sign showed up almost immediately and I said, “Oh fuck.” 

I was terrified of telling my parents that I was having a baby. My mother was a teen mom as well, so although she understood, my parents were disappointed. But once they processed and accepted that I was pregnant, my parents became my biggest support system to this day. They have helped me every step of the way, from teaching me how to take care of a baby to helping me provide for him.

My mother showed me what a great mother looks like. She taught me everything I know and am today. My father works a lot, but is always there when I need him. He watches Kayden before and after school every day; I hope he knows just how much that saves me. 

Though I had an immense amount of support, there were plenty of times I had to miss out on fun things my friends were doing. I could never hang out after school because I had to rush to get my son. I couldn’t up and leave on the weekend. I had to make plans to hang out with people because I had to make sure I had a sitter for Kayden. Even though my parents are supportive, they made it very clear that he is solely my responsibility and if I plan to have fun I need to make sure my child is taken care of first. 

I never resented my parents or my son, or even his father who left shortly after we broke up when our son was five months old. I chose to be his mother and I realized that came at a huge sacrifice. Most of the time I chose not to go out because it was easier to stay home with my child than it was to plan to be irresponsible for a night and feel like crap the next day. Even when I did choose to go out, I could never fully let loose knowing that the next morning, bright and early, my responsibility to Kayden would be in my face full force. 

Would I want Kayden to be a teen parent? No. Would I support him nonetheless? Absolutely. I know from experience how tiring and selfless parenting is and I hope my son waits to be more established in life before taking on that responsibility. Parenting, no matter your age, is a difficult task, but there are things that can make being a parent a little less stressful. I hope for Kayden to be with someone who loves him for the ever-changing man he will become. I wish for him to feel secure at any stage in life and to be present in those stages. I hope he has a warm home and a job that can make him smile at least once a day. I want more for him than I will ever want for myself and I’ve said that since the day I discovered he chose me to be his mommy. He will never know how much he truly saved me and gave me a sense of purpose. He is my guiding light, and all I do, I do for him.