Every day I struggled to button up
Ebony Dance, 20, had her first baby, Ruby, when she was 16, followed by son Archer at 18. She is currently at university with hopes to graduate a criminal defence lawyer. “The news that I was pregnant spread like wildfire around our district — I think the entire (area) knew about the baby long before my parents ever did. But telling my parents took some convincing from the school principal and counsellor. Dad got angry and Mum didn’t want to believe it. Even after I showed her three positive pregnancy sticks, she took me to the doctor to do a fourth. It was only then that she accepted what was happening and told me they’d support me no matter what. Although I began experiencing pressure from everyone around me to get an abortion, I think I automatically knew the moment I saw the first two lines on the test that I would keep the baby.
Trying to finish your schooling while you’re pregnant is a challenge and although my school was supportive, they did have to ask our priest if I could continue my education there. Fortunately he’s a liberal guy who said pregnant girls need an education too, so every day I struggled to button up my blazer and head to class with everyone else. Of course, as I began to show, gossip mounted, so it made a difference when Bernie (Bernadette from Brave) came to speak at our school. I must have been six months along by then and I remember the line that really struck a chord with me was ‘The journey might be different, but the destination can remain the same’. It was exactly what I needed to hear.
In the end, I stayed in school right up to the very end, gave birth to baby Ruby during the Easter holidays and came back to school for the next term when she was just six weeks old. It was a tough period. My boyfriend and I