“I Am Already In Love”: Pregnant In High School
By Priscilla Vasquez and Brian Bevilacqua
Priscilla Vasquez’s mature, intelligent, and optimistic character is a stark contrast to the common perception of the teenage mother. You know, the Welfare Queen. The woman who sleeps around and cannot find a husband.
This racialized, patriarchal view of women who become mother’s in high school so often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. But the soft-spoken senior at Springfield’s High School of Commerce is planning to swim against this tide with help from family and faith. She still plans to graduate. She still plans to become a nurse. She still plans to create a happy family.
My bias in favor of my students leads me to believe her, but I am obliged to question about their plans for the future.
“This certainly isn’t how you planned things,” I said
“Things happen for a reason,” she said.
Given her circumstances, Priscilla’s attitude is remarkable. The middle child in a single parent home, there was very little handed to her in life. Add in the burden of leaving friends behind when she moved from Connecticut to Springfield, and it seems amazing she still had the focus to earn her certification as a nursing assistant while working at Golden Corral. She made a few friends there, and she met an older boy. Here her story, which only she can tell, takes a turn.
I have been dating a coworker for almost 6 months. I wanted to things to go slowly, step by step. But like any young girl, I fell. Months went by and we got more serious, and I decided to go on birth control.
I came into the doctor’s office early October 24. First I answered some health questions and gave a urine sample. We discussed the pros and cons of different birth control for about 10 minutes until a nurse came in and says “change of plans, you’re not going on birth control. You Pregnant.”
I sat there for a few minutes trying to process the whole situation. I was in complete shock.
The only thing I could say was “what?!?!” She repeated herself and asked if I had any questions. I said no.
She handed me some paperwork and told me on one side was a list of resources I could reach out to if I decided to keep it. On the other side was a list of resources for if I decided to get rid of it. I looked at the other side in disgust, and I decided right there. I turned to the doctor and said “I’m gonna keep it, I don’t believe in abortion”.
The nurse smiled and told me the doctor ordered a blood test to evaluate my estrogen levels and see how far along I am. I waited all weekend. Finally, on Monday morning, in the middle of Spanish class, I got the call that told me I was 2-3 weeks along. If I had gone a little sooner…. I sat down outside of class and took a deep breath. I told myself I am ready. I tell myself I’m ready. I’m ready.
Priscilla did tell her mother, who is excited for the arrival of her first grandchild. Priscilla also got in contact with a teen mom programs through her school for support. And the father says he is excited to be a part of the child’s life.
Senior prom is expensive, so she might have to skip it. Graduation can be a drain on funds she will need for her child. “College will probably have to wait”, she comments. “I am already in love with the baby”, she says explaining her motivation to. But she plans to continue her education as soon as possible. And she still has faith.