June 23, 2016
Reluctantly, I attempted to reach Santana’s father for the second time. Needless to say, the phone rang continuously until I was met by the sound of the operator’s voice once more. If there was any doubt in my mind before, there was surely none now. The moderate cramping I experienced during the car ride from my high school to the hospital was evidence enough -- something was going on with my body. With only my mom by my side for solace, I braced myself for the possibility of delivery without my son’s father. The ride allowed me to reflect on the last nine months leading up to this point.
Instead of innocently missing out on my pregnancy journey, I felt like my child's father had purposely escaped everything. He’d escaped coming to doctor’s appointments with exception of the gender reveal. He’d escaped the birthing class I was forced to attend with my sister. He’d escaped the department of social services appointments I was forced to attend out of the need for government assistance -- for myself and my child (talk about the feeling of loneliness and embarrassment). He’d escaped the mandatory weekly sessions I had with representatives from an agency designed to support teen moms. In order to receive help from the agency it was mandated that they visit me at my home to “secretly” (I knew all along) scope out my living circumstances to make sure it was safe for baby. All through their visits, they were constantly taking notes on who knows what.
Do you know how humiliating it is to be forced to relinquish your sense of freedom, dignity, and privacy just to receive assistance? Do you know how much pride I swallowed allowing representatives access to my home? I didn’t want anyone to know my living circumstances. All of my life, I valued privacy. I had mastered the skill of keeping a smile on my face and a crease in my clothes when I was out in public. From the outside looking in, no one would have guessed that my family received food stamps, help with bills from time to time, or anything else of that nature. My single-parent mom had taught me to keep household ordeals private but to pursue my education wholeheartedly so that my future way of life could be great. I felt like the agency representatives took everything from me leaving me open, dependent, and vulnerable -- things I’d never experienced before.
Nonetheless I am still forever grateful for the things the agency representatives did provide such as mommy-to-be knowledge, a car seat, a breast pump, and more. Let’s face it. I had no job. How was I going to afford a baby when I couldn’t even afford myself? I felt like my child’s father owed me a thank you for experiencing teen pregnancy alone. He owed me comfort. He owed me his presence during my child’s delivery at least.
He doesn’t care, Meisha. Just let it go. Stop trying to reach out to him. Stop making excuses for him. Stop being so damn forgiving all of the time. Accept it for what it is. You’re going to have this baby alone. No, I take that back. Your family and true friends will be there. Haven’t you stressed enough? No, not the tears. ..Your good ol’ conscious has hurt your feelings again, huh? Why does his presence even matter at this point? What has he done for you up until now? Oh, that’s right. You still really like him and he “really is” a good person on the inside. You can’t do this to yourself forever. You set such high expectations from an individual that has constantly shown you nothing but a pattern of zero accountability and subpar maturity.
Maybe his phone was on silent. Maybe his phone he had lost his phone. I formulated every scenario possible in my mind for reasons as to why the father of my child didn’t pick up “the call.” I’d been through enough and I didn’t want to accept that he could be apathetic to me during labor. What soon-to-be father didn’t know about “the call”? You know … the call every dad is on alert for when the mother of his child is at the stage where she could give birth at any hour. Who misses “the call?” Who misses “the call” twice?
When we arrived at the hospital, I was already familiar with how the intake process would go since I’d toured the maternity ward during my child birth preparation class. The nurse and doctors made small talk with my mom and I as they got me all checked in and settled into my room one. Room one was the check in room. I'd move on to room two closer to delivery time. Besides the moderate cramping I was completely fine. The doctor confirmed that the “leakage” all throughout my school day and project presentation truly was my water breaking slowly. Go figure. After my doctor confirmed that I was really in labor, my mom stepped out to make her round of phone calls. I knew that she was calling family and friends to share the news. I won’t lie. Her excitement for her first grandchild’s arrival eased my worries and initiated my own excitement. I would be meeting my son soon.
See Meisha. Look at how peaceful you are. Do you really think you need to be worried about his father? Of course you still care for him but baby Santana needs all of you. Don’t you see it yet? Whether dad is present or not, you will always be present with Santana. He needs the HAPPY you.
I rested in the bed waiting for my mom to return. The more I thought about it, the more I relaxed. I did want a peaceful delivery So doing this alone might not be so bad
“Hey girl how you doing? You’re not hurting are you?” my mom asked as she slid back into my hospital room.
“No. Is this what labor feel like? Pshhh. I’m not even in pain, mom”
Laughs. “You ain’t seen nothing yet. Let me ask you this again when you’ve dilated more. I’m just messing, but hurry up and get my Puka Nuka out. You’re going to be just fine during delivery”
Yes, my mom is all I need by my side.
“Oh, I called everybody too. The family is on their way and some of your friends asked could they come.”
Yes, I’m sure that I would rather have just them (family and friends) present.
“.. And baby’s father and his mom are on their way to the hospital now too. I called them to let them know…”
I tuned everything else out after mentioning my child’s father. My feelings in one word?