My friend Hannah and I were in 8th grade when she found out she was pregnant. I remember sitting in the cafeteria with her during lunch when she told me she was expecting and had decided to keep her baby. I admired her strength and determination, and five years later, we graduated together from Kearney High School. As young adults now, I recently had a conversation with her about her journey and the impact her little boy has made on her life.
Marilyn: Tell me a little about yourself. Where did you grow up and go to school?
Hannah: I grew up in Kearney, NE, and went to school at Bryant Elementary and Horizon Middle School. After that, I graduated from Kearney High School in 2014!
Marilyn: How old were you when you found out you were pregnant? What was the first thing that went through your mind?
Hannah: I was 13 years old when I found out I was pregnant. My heart wouldn’t stop pounding, and I got this sinking feeling in my gut. I kept thinking, “Oh no! Oh no!” Unlike the TV show 16 and Pregnant, I was barely a teenager and still in middle school. The reality of my situation hit me.
Marilyn: Can you tell me why you chose life?
Hannah: I was already six months pregnant when my mom found out I was expecting. Neither of us even considered the idea of termination. I went to the doctor and told him that option was off the table. A nurse told me if I wanted my baby to have a happy life, she knew a very nice family that I could give him to. I ultimately decided not to place my baby for adoption. I had made that child, and I loved him already.
Marilyn: Did you receive any negative responses from your family or classmates after they found out you were pregnant?
Hannah: My grandma told me I might as well not go to my Wednesday night church group anymore, and she worked to cancel my baby shower. I only remember one classmate being negative towards me. This classmate approached me in wood shop class and accused me of faking my pregnancy for attention.
Marilyn: Going through high school is a difficult challenge in itself. How did you manage to do your homework assignments and raise a little boy?
Hannah: My mom helped me a lot! She stayed up late with my son, so I could sleep and do well in school.
Marilyn: Did you receive any assistance from the school administration or community?
Hannah: A Kearney High faculty member named Peggy was so much help to me. She coordinated a teen moms group at the high school, and they let me join a year early while I was still in middle school. I can’t think of a single thing they could have done better!
Marilyn: Tell me about your son Darren! How old is he now? Does he know what he wants to be when he grows up? What type of relationship do the two of you have?
Hannah: Darren is now nine years old! Last time I asked, he told me wanted to be in the army and work in construction. Some people might think it’s weird, but my son Darren is my best friend. We always try to be honest with each other. He likes to run up to me, jump, and hug me even though he’s almost as tall as I am. He wakes me up in the morning and says, “Wake up, mommy! It’s a beautiful morning.” Then he takes my hand in his and kisses it.
Marilyn: I understand you work some long hours to provide for the two of you. What do you do?
Hannah: In the daytime, I am an in-home care provider in Hastings, NE. In the evenings, I work as a salad bar attendant at Hastings College. I usually work around 10 hours a day and 50 hours a week.
Marilyn: I saw you recently met your biological father for the first time! Tell me about that reunion.
Hannah: I wanted to cry, but I had on makeup and tried not to ruin it. The reunion went above and beyond my expectations. I had read horror stories online about other people meeting their biological parents for the first time, and I didn’t know what to expect. My dad accepted me into his family with open arms. It was so neat to see where my son and I get so much of ourselves from.
Marilyn: You are such an admirable, young woman, and your pro-life story is so beautiful and brave. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Hannah: If you’re experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, yes, it is scary. I’m proof though that a teenage mother can be strong, lift her chin up, and raise a baby. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience. Or if you choose to give your child up for adoption and let a wonderful family raise your baby, you can positively change the lives of all those family members for good.