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Life, Yeah Write

Innocence Lost

I mentioned in a post the other day that my boys were going to become uncles soon.  Fate has decided that day is today.  Today the twins’ older sister, at the tender age of 18 years (and 3 months), the little girl I raised from the age of 2 to 11, gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

I’m still trying to come to grips with the fact that a child I helped raise is now a parent.  I changed her diapers.  I helped potty-train her.  I helped her learn to talk.  I cooked her dinners.  I fed her.  I cared for her when she was sick.  I gave her a hug and a kiss before bed every night.  I helped her with her homework.  I played with her.  And now she has her own child.

Everyone is excited about this.  But me.  The twins are excited.  They can’t wait to get up to the hospital to see their nephew.  My former step-daughter has been excited for months, oblivious to the mountain life has just placed before her on her life’s journey.  Her mom, my first wife, has been excited, too.  Even when she first found out her 17-year old daughter was pregnant.

I feel like the outcast here.  I was disappointed when I first found out.  My former step-daughter had plans to got to a culinary school and become a baker.  She had already been accepted to a culinary school.  She had an after-school job and was saving up her money for a car and for a place to live so she could get out from her under mother’s shadow of tyranny once she turned 18.

All those plans are now water down the drain.  She is still living with her mom because she hasn’t been able to work.  She has nowhere else to go.  She obviously can’t go to school now as she needs to care for an infant and get a job to support said infant.

I knew this day was rapidly approaching, but now that it’s here I feel sick to my stomach.  My boys are too young to be uncles, in my opinion.  They are only 13.  My former step-daughter is too young to be a mother.  She has, with one careless decision, deprived herself of a chance for an education.  Sure she can still go to school, but it won’t be for a few years.  Her son will have to be a bit older before she can go, which means in the interim she’ll have to take a job that requires no education.  That means, mostly likely, a minimum wage job to support her new bundle of joy.

We are going to make a trip up to the hospital later to see this new addition to the family, but I’m not excited about this at all.  I’m having trouble focusing on the positive here as I can only see the negative.  All I see is the bright future that laid before her decimated like a bomb had been detonated.  I see a young woman robbed of her care-free years of self-discovery and sewing her wild oats.  I see a young woman suffocating beneath the weight of a responsibility she’s not ready to bear.  I see only the tombstone commemorating the person she could have been.  May that young woman rest in peace.

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Discussion

87 thoughts on “Innocence Lost

  1. I understand. I feel a pit in my stomach just reading your post. But, sometimes, you get to go along the road that life chooses for you and not just the plans you had made. It will all work out … one way or another. In the meantime, find a way to be supportive. Clearly, you don’t have to go overboard and pretend like this is greatest thing ever because that’s not how you feel. Shoot for the middle road and just be neutral support. She is going to need some help, whether she knows it or not.

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    Posted by Fresh Ginger | June 8, 2013, 1:27 pm
  2. I’d say congratulations on being a grandparent, but I’m not sure how that would go over with you right now.

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    Posted by BrainRants | June 8, 2013, 1:27 pm
  3. I understand. I’ve seen the same thing happen to two nieces and a nephew so far. My husband’s sisters are the same as your ex. They can’t think beyond “must have a man and make babies.” That’s fine, eventually, but get your education first! I did marry young, but I had a degree and a job at 22. I had a way out if things had gotten bad. These kids sadly copy what they see around them. It is possible to move past such a hurdle, but very, very difficult.

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    Posted by aliceatwonderland | June 8, 2013, 1:30 pm
  4. I would guess from the tone of your post that there are minimal supports in this young lady’s life? There are plenty of folks who have children at a young age who go on to do the things they planned in life. Yes, many put their futures on hold in order to care for their children but some are able to handle it all (I think of an administrative assistant I had once who had her first child at 18 or 19; she had a very strong home). I hope things go well, and while you can’t find a reason to be happy just now, maybe you can be 1) a voice of reason, 2) a positive support person in the background, and 3) happy because they are. It’s tough, but not being happy won’t change the fact that this little boy is now here. Tough, but true…

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    Posted by AR Neal | June 8, 2013, 1:36 pm
  5. First, I hope the girl you helped raise and her baby are healthy. I’m sure it won’t be long before the excitement will wear off. I know you will be there for her when she needs you.

    Jaded.

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    Posted by 1jaded1 | June 8, 2013, 1:45 pm
  6. From what I gather, she will be a single mother?

    If that is the case, that is something I would not wish on ANY parent. And I say that as a single mother myself. Being a parent in a duo is hard but being a single parent just makes it 20 times harder.

    Still, even if the father is involved, her life as she knew it is done. You and many other parents here will agree when I say that your child pretty much takes over 99.9% of your life. I know it has for me. No more do I get my hair or nails done, I shop at thrift stores for my clothes and the focus is not longer on me.

    However, on the flip side, my kid is the greatest thing that ever happened to me. I’m totally preaching to the choir here, I’m sure you know what I mean.

    But she’s gonna get a wake up call real soon and hopefully she can handle what is ahead of her, because being a parent can get very exhausting.

    Oh and to bad about the tyranny of her mother. A mother’s tyranny is something that rarely gets left behind. I have been on this earth for almost 37 years and I still, to this day, fight to remove myself from my mother’s tyranny. And I don’t even live with her.

    So you are not alone in your feelings. In fact, I think you may be the only one thinking without your head in the clouds.

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    Posted by Claudia Bette | June 8, 2013, 1:59 pm
    • She will be doing it alone. To my knowledge, the father doesn’t even know that she was pregnant and they had no plans to tell him. That is just one more obstacle to this entire situation.

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      Posted by twindaddy | June 8, 2013, 2:02 pm
      • OH boy…I don’t see that panning out well when he does eventually find out (and I would bet money that he does eventually find out somehow).

        Besides, he should know because he would need to be financially responsible. That was kinda not smart on her part to not at least make him financially responsible.

        But I don’t know, every situation is different.

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        Posted by Claudia Bette | June 8, 2013, 2:05 pm
        • If they they make him financially responsible then he has a right to be a part of the child’s life and they don’t want that.

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          Posted by twindaddy | June 8, 2013, 4:49 pm
          • Not true…
            I have full custody of my son since he was 1 year old. I get child support from his father. His father has NO visitation and hasn’t seen him since he was 1.

            But laws are different in other states or countries though but as for me, my ex- husband IS financially responsible for his son and he never sees him. So it is possible.

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            Posted by Claudia Bette | June 9, 2013, 12:32 am
          • Trust me, in Kentucky, he’d have rights unless they could prove he was negligent. I’ve been through one custody battle here and am going through another. I know what would happen…

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            Posted by twindaddy | June 9, 2013, 1:28 am
          • I see, yeah I figured laws were different in other states. Well, I hope that she has luck in her situation and she is already lucky to have you in her life as support. Stay strong :)

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            Posted by Claudia Bette | June 9, 2013, 4:13 am
          • I hope she does, too. All I can do is be there if she comes to me.

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            Posted by twindaddy | June 9, 2013, 8:14 am
  7. I see what you see. She’s too young. I really hope she’s happy for a long time. That’s all I have.

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    Posted by MissFourEyes | June 8, 2013, 2:45 pm
  8. I understand what you are seeing and saying. My sister in law got pregnant at 15. She’s now got a 7 year old, never left home, taking off on her kid all the time, the father is long gone (thankfully) ugh. Sorry

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    Posted by behindthemaskofabuse | June 8, 2013, 3:12 pm
  9. My sister got pregnant when she was 18 and was 19 when her first daughter was born. She was at college by this point, and fortunately they were able to help her study at home, and her then-boyfriend (now husband) was incredibly supportive, as were (and are) my parents and his parents. She finished college, she carried on with her job at a supermarket, they deliberately started life as a proper family. But I’m fully aware that for every successful teen pregnancy, there are at least two that are detrimental to the life of the mother, who reallyd oes get left holding the baby.

    I guess the twins are excited because they see it as another baby to play with, it’s probably not really sunk in that their sister is only a little bit older than they are and what a change it’s going to make to her future. I hope that at some point soon, they come to understand that you’d rather they finished their education and have good jobs to support themselves before they start having kids of their own.

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    Posted by faithhopechocolate | June 8, 2013, 3:50 pm
  10. My sister Judy got pregnant at 16 and raised three of he most wonderful people on the planet. Offer to babysit and let her go out on occasion.

    I was 10 when Judy’s first child was born. Jen is my best friend And while Judy’s life wasn’t easy she had her priorities straight. Hopefully your step-daughter will too.

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    Posted by Elyse | June 8, 2013, 6:27 pm
  11. I work with teen parents and it is a very long and difficult road but hopefully she will have some support along the way.

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    Posted by Robbie | June 8, 2013, 8:38 pm
  12. Watching a child become a parent is a tough thing. But at least she still carries some of the wisdom you imparted to her. I understand your feelings and can only hope she continues to follow her dream.

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    Posted by Polysyllabic Profundities | June 8, 2013, 9:19 pm
  13. Congrats to the new family member, but it must be hard knowing that she may never be the person she could have been.

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    Posted by monster1612 | June 8, 2013, 9:50 pm
  14. So… does this mean we can call you grandpa.. . . . …

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    Posted by Not Quite Alice | June 8, 2013, 10:08 pm
  15. Hope you can let go and enjoy the moment, taking your cues from es-stepdaughter.
    And don’t short sell determined young women.
    None of it will be easy, but she might surprise you yet with what she can accomplish (maybe with support and encouragement)….

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    Posted by El Guapo | June 8, 2013, 11:40 pm
  16. Take a moment to mourn what might have been. Then move forward, being as supportive as you can. This could be a huge detour in her life for sure, it may even prove to be the pothole that totals the car, but it may not either. While I don’t think any of us wish our children to have children without experiencing life and love to the fullest extent, it doesn’t have to be a death sentence. So mourn the woman she may have been and congratulate the one she’s become. Take care.

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    Posted by dhonour | June 9, 2013, 3:02 am
  17. Yes her life will be much harder now than it might have been but somehow we all get through it.

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    Posted by Vanessa | June 9, 2013, 8:41 am
  18. What makes this so frustrating is that it was a situation that was so easily preventable thanks to the myriad of forms of highly effective birth control available. It would absolutely break my heart to watch a child I cared about have to go down this very difficult path at such a young age.

    All you can do right now is to be there for her. Don’t take a stand now about how difficult it will be, but, in a few weeks or months, you can be the one who lets her know that it’s okay to admit that having a baby at 18 is incredibly difficult, to admit that she is overwhelmed, and to admit that she isn’t sure this is what she wanted her life to be like. By being able to admit all of that to someone, it might just help her figure out a way to get her life back “on track” towards her goals and ambitions.

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    Posted by PinotNinja | June 9, 2013, 9:36 am
    • No, I’m not telling her how rough it will be or anything like that. Yesterday I just held the baby and showed my concern for her, as she had a rough delivery and lost a lot of blood. She’s fine, and that was my main concern.

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      Posted by twindaddy | June 9, 2013, 10:03 am
  19. I am sure all of this went through the minds of my family since I was the teenage parent in my family. Understandable to feel this way, especially since we don’t know all that you know about her. I know you will be there for her and not resort to “told you so”.

    Even though my situation was different, and I wouldn’t have changed my decision, it has allowed for me to talk honestly to my kid about what I went through vs. the glamourized view of teen parents on TV. I didn’t have anybody offering financial support, to keep him while I went out, etc. but I was also the exception with a job where I could pay to take care of us (though no room for anything else) and the single parent from 6 months onward. Hopefully this will show your kids a glimpse into this reality and how decisions matter, and that they develop empathy for those in less than ideal situations (not saying they don’t have that already).

    Sending all of your family strength during this time.

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    Posted by sortaginger | June 9, 2013, 11:26 am
    • No, saying “I told you so” isn’t something I do any more. If she asks me for help I will do what I can. I don’t know what the family dynamic in that house is any more, but when I was part of it there was not a healthy support system in place at all. Hopefully that’s changed. If not….

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      Posted by twindaddy | June 9, 2013, 11:53 am
  20. This is a tuff… tuph… one. As a father of two daughters, I feel your pain. But the barn door is already open and the cows have already gone, so I would try to look at it as just another baby in the world to play with… and help raise and pay for… With enough support, the young mother might go on to achieve great things. Or she might have given birth to someone who will do something so astounding that it more than makes up for the loss of one more culinary visionary.

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    Posted by pouringmyartout | June 9, 2013, 12:49 pm
  21. I would feel like you do. That said, this is the situation. Hopefully she can raise an amazing son and get her education too, It’s harder, but people do it. I wish her all the best!

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    Posted by Stacie | June 9, 2013, 10:29 pm
  22. Now that the little prince is here… (and to some extent for a long time before then), I want to slap around the kid I was at 17 and 18. Thinking I knew it all. Thinking I could conquer any challenge thrown at me without help from anyone else. Thinking that I was an adult. Sure… I was “smart” with some of the risks I took back then, but nothing is fool proof, and if an accident had happened, it would have been a disaster. It’s true that people can still make something of themselves later… but, it is often the case that if the miss their opportunities right after high school they never make the effort to go back.

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    Posted by djmatticus | June 10, 2013, 4:20 pm
  23. Here’s some cool facts:
    1. I became pregnant @ 16
    2. I had a baby boy
    3. I graduated high school with my class
    4. I completed college
    5. By 23 I had bought my first home with a yard
    6. I now have the most insanely rewarding career to date

    I couldn’t have done any of the above stated without the love and support of my parents. I am forever grateful for them.

    All that aside, I think EVERYDAY how fucking stupid I was and how much better and normal I would be I didn’t have a child. My parents tried their best to let me live a “normal” young adult life but there is no way I could. It has been a living hell doing all that shit. Don’t get me wrong I love the shit out of my smart-ass son but there is so much that one needs to live through before becoming weighted down. I’ve never known what it is like to be young and stupid, live on my own and have no responsibilities. I’ve been young with far too much shit on my plate. I am a far better mother NOW than what I ever could have been in my twenties or younger.

    It is a bittersweet moment really. It is wonderful to see new life come about but there is so much of life to be missed.

    It is good to know that new mama and bebe are healthy, safe and deeply loved.

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    Posted by hansolosvagina | June 11, 2013, 11:28 am

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