Having an unplanned baby as a teenager can be scary. These fathers share their stories for better and for worse of what it was like when they became teenage parents.
(Contents edited for clarity.)
Almost A Father
“Two and a half years ago, my ex called me and told me she was at the hospital and that she was ok, but didn’t want me to hear through the grapevine. After prying and asking her to just tell me what was going on, she told me that she was unknowingly pregnant and she had lost the baby. Thinking this was a few weeks/months things with another guy I was sad but not overly concerned, but when she said it was 8 months… My heart stopped. I rushed to the hospital after admitting to my parents that I might be the father (they weren’t fully aware that we were doing the dirty during our relationship). I held my stillborn son that night, crying, begging for him to just breathe, take one breath, and that I would give him the world if he would just be ok.
His mother almost died with him that night, and though we never really worked out, I still love her greatly. My father later told me that day he knew he had succeeded as a parent and that I was already the man he hoped I would be. I am forever different because of that little boy.”
He Didn’t Think It Was His
“I was 17 years old, finishing up senior year, and in an amazing relationship with my first and only love so far. Then, I got a text from a girl I randomly hooked up with (we had a little fling a year before this) explaining she was pregnant and due in a couple of weeks.
I cry, freak out, and get angry because I think she’s lying, but all I say is ‘we have to get a DNA test.’ I don’t hear from her for 4 months, overjoyed loving life with my girlfriend still, then get a letter with a time to take a DNA test. 10 days after I turn 18, I show up and lock eyes with this little 3-month-old and see me in him and immediately start crying! Things are so difficult at first, I was feeling like I have nothing to give another human being, and my beautiful, loving relationship falling apart because of everything going on.
I thought about not having anything to do with him for a few years and came to realize how important having a father is to a child and I would hate myself to be so selfish. I man up, there is no time to think, my little boy is here on this earth wanting my love. With my family’s support, I become the best dad I can be and give all the love this wonderful, loving, tough little boy deserves. Everything is turning out just fine after a lot of struggle. You give up a lot but holding him when he’s scared or wrestling him when he thinks he’s a robot from ‘Real Steel,’ it makes all the nights you spend in instead of going out all worth it. He turns 4 next month.”
We Got What He Wanted, And Is Now Behind Bar
“My sister was 14 when she got pregnant with my nephew. Dad was 26. He’s in jail still for another 7 years.
Wasn’t the first girl he did that to.
Messed up part….he made her want to have a baby – it was planned. My family spent so much time and money in and out of court while trying to put that sick man behind bars (my nephew has 4 brothers and sisters by different women all same age).
My nephew is now 7 and my mom has been raising him for 6 years because my sis would rather continue to mess up and be an awful person. She once abandoned her kid and left for Florida, the state gave my parents emergency custody and she still got him back.
She is currently pregnant with child number 2 with a guy who refuses to believe it’s his (and it really is his) and just continues to make terrible decisions. She completely checks out when it comes to raising. She dropped out of school and has nothing to offer her kids except my mom who will do the hard work for her because she won’t allow the kids to suffer. It’s just a product of her raising and KY living. It’s just sad to see babies having babies.
All of the crap that’s come from it has very much destroyed our family. “
An Irresponsible Sister
“My sister got pregnant when she was 15. She didn’t tell anyone for months and you couldn’t see it because she was always a bit on the heavy side.
She told us when she was already 5 months in and it became noticeable that she was thicker than usual.
She cried a lot and said she was afraid. My parents and I (21 at the time) told her that we would be there for her, no matter how she decides. We left it completely up to her.
She kept the baby and my nephew was born at the end of 2010.
I had just started going college. The daddy left shortly after the kid was born because he had no interest in him at all.
However, after my nephew was born, my sister became really depressed, so I told her I could care for my nephew for a few days/weeks until she gets everything in order.
Fast forward 2 years. I took care of him every single day and sometimes even at night. My sister actually got a lot better but decided to spend her time ‘going back to school.’ I put that in quotes because she actually didn’t go. She lied. Instead, she went out with friends and so on. After we found out we sat her down and told her that she needs to woman up and take care of her child.
She agreed, but we didn’t see much of it, to be honest. I concentrated on college more and she met someone. He was 15 years older than her but seemed like a nice guy.
‘Seemed’ is the keyword, because it became apparent that he was a deadbeat. He had no job, liked to say that ‘its the foreigner’s fault,’ and has a huge amount of debt.
Fast forward a few months and my sister tells us she is pregnant (again) and will move in with him. She was almost 18 at the time so we couldn’t do anything about it.
After she moved out she told us she got pregnant the first time because she didn’t ‘wanna go to school no more, the baby daddy can pay for me.’ The second time it was the same thing, only that the dude had his own apartment (together with his mother, I kid you not). In both cases, she didn’t realize she wouldn’t get any money when the fathers don’t have jobs that pay well and a huge amount of debt.
Nowadays she is married to the second guy, still lives with him and his mother and has three children. All at the age of 20. She looks like 40 now and slowly beginning to realize her huge mistakes.
The kicker: I am not allowed to see my nephew anymore because I am a bad influence on him. While her husband smokes, sits on the couch all day, watching soccer and drinking, I gave my nephew a PSP as a gift and played video games with him all day when he visited me. And apparently, that’s just bad parenting. Kids are not supposed to play video games. Oh, and I also told him that I don’t believe in God after he asked me if I did, because his mother always answers every question of his with ‘Because God made it so.’
That’s life, I guess. I really miss my nephew, love him like my own son.”
Some Very Scary Moments
“In my senior year of high school, I started dating a girl who worked with me. A few months later, the day I was preparing to leave for my senior trip, she called me on the phone to tell me she was pregnant. Here we were, two 18-year-old kids, both preparing for college and we were hit with this. Now, I’ll readily admit we were both careless about protection and this was a nightmare that we brought upon ourselves.
I remember the dead silence on the phone for about 30 seconds when she told me. I felt like a part of me died on the inside. I was numb. She asked me, ‘Are you still there? Say something!’
I, truthfully, panicked and blurted out, ‘Well, OK then. I guess we’re in this together. We’ll handle this one way or the other!’ In hindsight, I realize I sounded like a loon and far more confident than I should have been.
I left on my senior trip about an hour after that phone call and it was the worst trip of my life. I spent the entirety of it with my headphones on, staying in the hotel as much as possible, and talking to no one. I cried when no one was looking. I cried a lot. I was scared and I didn’t know what to do. How would I tell my parents? I’ve never even handled a baby! I’m not equipped to deal with this. My girlfriend is smart and beautiful, but how much can you know about a person in 5 months? I was going away to college. I know what to do. I can come back on weekends and spend time with my child! I can do both! Wait…what am I, crazy? This is life ruining. I need to convince her to abort it. Yeah, that’s it! Wait…no. What kind of scumbag am I?
That was my stream of consciousness for about a week straight.
In the end, I determined to myself that I was a good person. I was a good person who would will myself to be the best parent I could be regardless of the circumstances. I would scratch, bite, claw, and sacrifice to be everything and everyone to that child…and my girlfriend, if she still wanted me. I would be better because the circumstances demanded it and these circumstances didn’t determine the entire arc of my life.
We had a baby girl. She’s the light of my world. My girlfriend became my wife. We had another baby girl 5 years after that. We just celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary. If you look at us now, we look like the everyday, run of the mill middle class family. You would never know we were teen parents, but it took a long time to get there and a lot of hard work and sacrifice.”
She Had To Give Him An Ultimatum
“My best friend, Patricia, got pregnant in college and planned to have an abortion. She couldn’t go through with it so she planned to give the baby up. The day she gave birth (still hadn’t picked a family for the baby), she decided she couldn’t live with giving her up. So, that day, her parents bought everything she needed and moved her home from college.
The father was 17 at the time and still in high school. He wouldn’t tell his parents or anyone. My friend was working two jobs and is attending a community college. The dude’s parents are rich and could help, yet still, the guy won’t tell them. The baby girl is now TWO years old and the father’s parents still don’t know and he doesn’t visit or help pay. She has finally given him an ultimatum to either tell his family this month or she will. She hasn’t told them, due to respect for him and the fact she isn’t thrilled with the idea of his family being a part of her daughter’s life. Don’t be this guy, the quicker you tell your parents the better it will be. Now this guy has to tell his family he has a two-year-old daughter and he has been lying to his family for almost three years.”
Don’t Be Like This Guy’s “Friend”
“My ‘friend’ since 3rd grade got his girlfriend pregnant last summer. He is now 20 and she is 15. He’s not in school, works overnight at a gas station, and the girl announced her pregnancy through Instagram. That should give you an idea as to what kind of couple they were.
Originally, he was very supportive of her and so were both of their parents, and things seemed to be going fairly well. About 3 weeks ago, right when the baby was due, he bailed out. He is now with some other girl and he will likely be living at home making child support payments until he is nearly 40.
Dude is a total prick.”
A Supportive Mother
“My daughter got pregnant at 14. The father was 17. I don’t know about him, but I cried. A lot. Having your teenager get pregnant at such a young age felt like one of the top 5 parental failures. She wanted to have the baby. Abortion wasn’t an option anyway since she hid it for 5 months. I asked her if she wanted to be the mom or the sister to the baby, she said mom. I pay for everything, but she raises the baby and surprisingly does an outstanding job. The boy is long gone. My granddaughter is 16 months old now and he has seen her once, right after she was born. The boy’s parents think we owe them the world because they bought a crib. They’re SO annoying and do nothing but make excuses for their son, who is now an adult. My daughter just turned 16 and is an honor student. She realizes how fortunate she is that I could afford this.
We all love the baby, she will never do without anything, except maybe a father.”
Battling Through Fights With Parents
“My now wife and I (7 years) were 17 and 16 respectively when she told me. We hadn’t been dating long and I had a lot of doubts in the beginning that it was mine. She still makes fun of me for how I reacted. I just started staring off into nothing for a long time not saying anything. She says it was probably the worst thing I could’ve done for her mood.
Her dad wasn’t entirely in her family picture but I had to meet him and his new wife to tell them the news. Super awkward. I made sure we met in a public place.
Because we were minors, we needed our parents to sign a consent to marry. He refused to consent. It made us so mad, but today I really respect him for being so calm and thoughtful about it. He didn’t want us to make a bad situation worse. We saved the marriage until our son was about a year old and we were sure it’s what we wanted. I’m still thankful he refused.
Her mom stopped talking to her and kicked her out of the house. My parents took her in and set us up in their basement. One day, a few weeks after telling her, my now mother-in-law showed up at my parent’s house with balloons, pickles, and a book about newborns and made amends. So, my parents took us in initially but were (I assume) waiting for us to come to our senses, as they eventually asked us to consider an abortion. We’re both pro-choice but were young, scared, and neither of us could really bring ourselves to it. When my parents pressed too much we ended up moving into a closet at her mom’s house and my parents didn’t see us until our son was born, and then only the day of the birth and not again until we reconciled a few months later.
Life was and still is tough. We both had to grow up really fast and are still coming to terms with what that’s cost us in our lives. I quit smoking and got full-time work. Her mom made sure we finished high school. I still remember how great some teachers were about letting me bring my son to class so I could be there some days. We now have a home of our own and two daughters since then. It was ridiculous and I’m not sure I’d have the strength to do it again knowing now what I do. But we did it. I hope that if you find yourself in a similar situation you’re as fortunate as I was to have a group of people in your life who love you. Life won’t be the same but those kids are worth it.”
Making A Normal Life Possible
“My girlfriend and I were 17 years old when she got pregnant. We had been dating for about a year and a half. I already had teenage visions of marrying her long before the pregnancy.
After we found out via a drugstore pregnancy test, I said something like, ‘I guess we should get married,’ and she nodded. Gents, if your ever in the same boat, propose properly. This means the world to a woman as she gets older, but I digress.
Telling our parents wasn’t so hard. Her parents found a book on pregnancy in her room and added up the score. My mother basically said, ‘Oh dear’ and seemed shocked, but there was no yelling as I declared we were moving in together when we turned 18 in a few months. We found an apartment. Life was very, very poor. But we made it. Thank goodness we live in Canada (not a knock to our southern friends) but the government paid her for 1 year to stay home when a basic job would have been hard to do with our situation.
Fast forward today. Our oldest daughter turns 15 in a month. We have a second 10-year-old and our 15th wedding anniversary is next week. We have a house, 2 cars, a dog. The normal life. We made it. I think we were lucky.”
Not That Much Of A Burden?
“To make a long story short, I was 20 and thought I had life by the balls. She was 17 and due to some problems with her family, I took her to live with me (I was the cause of the problems in the first place). We lived together for a year and then one day we just decided to ‘do it’ during the days of the month when we shouldn’t have, you can say it was sort of planned but not really.
A few months later, I was at my parents, who we lived next door to, and she came to me on that rainy night with a positive test. I drank a few brews, but it really didn’t phase me much. It had already been a trajectory of stepping up and working on myself since we started living together, but there was a bit of that ‘my life is over’ feeling involved, I won’t lie, and, a lot of economic worries.
To any fathers to be or mothers to be, let me just tell you that a kid is really not that much of a burden… how can it be? You will know a different kind of love and this is coming from someone that had trouble even feeling the slightest emotional attachment to people. Fast forward three years, we are still together, the kid is beautiful, strong and healthy.”
Hard Work And Dedication
“I was 17, she was 18. It was the summer of my junior year and she had just graduated. After a late period and several tests, we knew we had to tell our parents. We told her’s first. Her dad stormed off, we heard a few mumbled curses, and then he came back and gave her a hug and said we could all work through this. Later that night, I told my parents. My dad stormed off and I heard a bunch of loud curses and things being broken, then he came back and gave me a hug and said we could all work through this. Funny how the two dads reacted.
Anyway, we waited until two months after the kid came to get married just to make sure it was what we really wanted to do. I managed to graduate early so when our daughter came, I was already out of school. Originally, I had intentions of going to USMA for college and then a career in the Army. With this happening, it threw a wrench in that plan so I secured a full scholarship to The University of TN at Knoxville through AFROTC so I could commute from home and attend college. My wife worked a series of low paying jobs for the next five years to keep food on the table while I finished my degree in electrical engineering.
Upon graduating, I was sent to Randolph AFB as a second lieutenant and eventually received my Aeronautical Rating as a Combat Systems Officer.
Our daughter is now 12, our younger daughter is now 6 and currently, my wife and I are enjoying some bubbly on this fine Mother’s Day morning.
It was a LOT of hard work and took a lot of perseverance on both of our parts. Having a kid while you are still a kid yourself, and going to college and living on your own for the first time is extremely stressful, and there were many a time I did not think we would make it through those first years as a couple. You have to really assess what you want from life, what is the right thing to do and how to make the two coincide with each other. It was not an easy endeavor but my wife is truly my best friend, my kids are pretty awesome and I can’t picture my life any different than it is currently.”
Turning Life Around
“I was 16; we had seen it coming but neither of us really accepted it. I was scared and felt as though my life had been dissolved. She told her mom about it, took a test and it came out positive. Her parents weren’t upset and they willingly supported us. It took me about 3 months to tell my mom and she reacted just how I imagined: she cried, she denied it, she broke down in front of me and it made me feel awful.
Eventually, my girlfriend and I stopped seeing each other as often. We talked about marriage but I’ve called off two different attempted engagements which only made her family hate me more. I slipped deeper into a depression that had been affecting me for a few years and it was rough. I often thought about leaving but I could never find it in me. I eventually got over my fear and started taking responsibility by making plans for the future, which also helped me truly accept the situation I was in.
Seeing my beautiful baby girl for the first time changed everything. The emotions were indescribable, and that was absolutely the happiest day of my life. Since then my relationship with my girlfriend has greatly improved, I’ve begun dealing with my depression and doing a better job with it. My daughter is now just older than a month and I am proud to call myself a father.”
Stepping Up In A Big Way
“I was almost 16, and she had just turned 18. We had been together 7 months and she was on birth control but it didn’t work too well. When she told me, it was in her car after coming from a football game. She said she had told her parents already and that she absolutely couldn’t get an abortion so I respected that and told my parents I was having a baby. They pooped bricks as their 15-year-old kid said he was having his own kid. By my own decision, I started taking online high school classes instead of traditional schooling. I graduated almost 2 years early and got a job doing private security. Got dumped right before my daughter was born and the night of her birth, my ex’s new boyfriend was there trying to sign the birth certificate (he was 22) and I ended up going to court for full custody of my daughter afterwards because my ex was crazy and I knew she wouldn’t be a suitable mother. It’s three years later and now it’s just me and my princess with grandparent visits every other weekend and the occasional mom visit at my apartment. I like to think I’ve done well so far, given the fact that I make enough to take care of both of us, go out for fun all the time and I have a savings account for her with college/emergency money. It hasn’t been fun the whole time, but it’s definitely rewarding.”