Be­ing a young mother

The Hamilton Spectator - - OUR PULSE - CAITLIN COATES, GRADE 12, AN­GELA’S PLACE

Be­ing a young, sin­gle mother hasn’t been easy for me. I was 17 years old when I learned I was preg­nant. It felt the world was fall­ing apart around me. I was nowhere ready to have a child. I had a lot of prob­lems I wasn’t ready to deal with. I was in an un­healthy re­la­tion­ship. I had an eat­ing dis­or­der, and I had a prob­lem with drugs. On top of that, I had hor­ri­ble anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion.

I wanted to be a good mother to my child. I stopped do­ing drugs the mo­ment the preg­nancy test read pos­i­tive. I started eat­ing right. It all sounds so easy writ­ing it on pa­per, but noth­ing could have pre­pared me for how hard it was. I had anx­i­ety at­tacks ev­ery day be­cause of with­drawal. On top of that I was try­ing to get out of an un­healthy re­la­tion­ship. I felt that ev­ery­thing that could have gone wrong, went wrong. I felt the only rea­son I had for liv­ing was for my child. That was a scary feel­ing.

There were many times I thought about an abor­tion. I thought I had too many prob­lems, and bring­ing a child into my life would make it worse.

The fa­ther of my child is what scared me the most. I was scared he would take my child away from me, and treat her the way he used to treat me. I was un­der his con­trol for the long­est time. I was scared to leave him, but I had to. That may have been the hard­est thing I’ve had to do.

Get­ting preg­nant at 17 re­ally changed my life. But it made me a bet­ter per­son. I don’t even want to think about where I’d be if it weren’t for my daugh­ter. She’s the light of my life. I’m thank­ful for ev­ery­thing we’ve been through to­gether, and I’m look­ing for­ward to watch­ing her grow.

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