This is the first time I’ve sat down and decided to actually write out my story. I’m not sure if I’m excited or nervous. If anyone knows me even a little bit then they know I’m a very quiet, private person. My story, to me, is hard to tell. It’s a story of love, hurt, loss, life and much more. I guess I’ll just dive into it then.
Let’s start with my background. I was born and raised in West Virginia. For those of you who think West Virginia is a part of Virginia, well, I’m here to tell you you’re mistaken. West Virginia is it’s only little, beautiful state. I never noticed just how beautiful it is until I moved away. My favorite time is fall, especially in West Virginia. I love the surrounding mountains and forests. The changing leaves make you feel like you’re in a fairytale of sorts. But anyway… I was raised by my mom and dad. They were literally the best parents that anyone could ask for. They raised me in church, were in encouraging, were loving, and provided the world for my sister and I. That hasn’t changed to this day.
I went to Christian school my whole schooling career. Basically my life was centered on Jesus and church. Of course, I had my moments when church got old or I had better things to do than pray and read my Bible. I was never a “bad kid” though. It seemed that everyone thought of me as the normal but good girl. I had one serious boyfriend in high school; mind you we dated all of high school. I was positive I’d marry the boy but time went on, he went to college, and I got bored. That was the end of that.
Half way through my senior year I met a boy on my co-ed spring soccer team. I saw him and immediately thought he was cute. That meant it was time to figure out more about him. I slowly began asking friends questions and eventually talking to him on facebook. Despite being warned by friends and even strangers that he was the “player” type I still moved forward with the relationship. Through the season we grew closer to one another. By the time it was summer we were officially dating. I thought he was absolutely the coolest, sweetest boy on the planet; my mom had other thoughts. You know moms with their sixth sense; somehow she knew something was off. I, of course, didn’t listen to a word she said.
If you feel awkward about the word sex now would be the time to stop reading. Ok so I would say three months after I started dating the boy things started to get serious. I was with him any second I could be. I even snuck around to see him when my parents said no. I can’t remember how it started but the topic of sex came up. It was the whole have you ever thing. Of course, my answer was a no and he said no too… which I came to find out was a lie. After talking and talking one night we just had sex. After that it was kind of like well I’ve already done it so it really doesn’t matter if I keep doing it now. It’s a dangerous thought process but it was mine.
At the end of the summer I moved to Dallas, TX to go to school. We continued to talk and have a long distance relationship on and off. He came and visited a few times. I kept all of this from my parents. During all of this I went to church and started becoming close to family friends that were worship leaders there.
In April of 2011 my boyfriend moved to Texas to live with me. I loved it! I was living with my boyfriend having the time of my life… oh let’s remember I didn’t tell my parents any of this. After a few weeks I started struggling with the whole situation: lying to my parents, living with my boyfriend, having sex. I was fighting myself and God. I refused to give in. I finally had him with me and I wasn’t going to give that up. One day my best friend texts me and asked me to meet him for breakfast so we could talk. On the way to meet him I said to myself, “Ok if this is about my boyfriend living with me then I’m telling my parents and fixing all of this.” Sure enough he confronted me about how things were and told me the best move was to fess up to the whole thing. That was really hard. I knew what was ahead of me. I’m so thankful for my best friend especially in that moment. I can’t imagine where I’d be had he not listened to God and been a true friend and helped me realize what I needed to do.
I had class that whole day and work until midnight. In between classes I called my mom and told her my boyfriend was living with me. We talked, she asked questions, and I cried and cried. I felt so relieved but so guilty at the same time because I didn’t tell my boyfriend I was telling my parents. I don’t know if that was the right way to do it but that’s how it went. I went on with my day. I called my parents and they answered with, “We’re here. We’re going to get this all worked out.” I met them after work before going home. We talked and tried to figure out the best way to handle things.
Once my boyfriend found out they were there things got ugly. My parents were furious with him. My parents expected me to break up with him. I talked to my boyfriend and lied to him. He asked how they found out and I said I didn’t know. That made everything ten times worse. I just cared for him so much I couldn’t bare to hurt him. I had already disappointed so many people I just couldn’t handle disappointing him too.
Over the next couple days the truth came out. Those were the hardest two days of my life. It was so emotional and I was so hurt. I still loved him but he hated me for what I did. I kept reminding myself I was doing the right thing. He then left and moved back to West Virginia. I can’t even explain how hard things were after that.
I still loved him. I cared for him so much. We had shared so much. After being back in West Virginia for maybe a month he started talking to another girl. It crushed me. I didn’t understand how he could just be over everything and not care about me at all when he had just been living with me. We still talked some and I tried so hard to get him back while keeping him at a distance. I was connected to him. He wasn’t really interested. He found his new toy and was happy with that… and a few others.
Let me add that through this whole time my parents were incredible, as was my worship leader friends. They were so supportive and encouraging. My parents visited multiple times. My dad even came to take me on a date. If I needed them, they were there. I don’t know how I would’ve made it without them. It was a really dark time for me. I contemplated suicide or running away so no one could find me. I’m thankful God put such incredible people in my life to stop me from that even though they didn’t know what they were keeping me from.
Even though I knew it made things worse I kept talking to my now ex boyfriend. His parents hated me and he still didn’t care about me. It always confused me how I was the only one at fault in the situation but that’s how it was to them. I hurt their son and he could do no wrong.
After a while I notice I missed my period. I really thought nothing of it until one night I started feeling terribly sick. That was the night before my best friend, Erin, was coming to visit. I picked her up from the airport and that day I told her I thought I may be pregnant. We just enjoyed our time together and didn’t focus too much on the thought. When we got to my apartment we bought a pregnancy test and I had no doubt it was going to be positive. I wasn’t shocked when it was. I came out of the bathroom and told her the news. She hugged me and we cried for a while. I know God orchestrated the timing of her visit because had she not been there I would have fallen apart. I called my ex boyfriend and told him the news. He wasn’t shocked or mad or anything really. He hardly showed any emotion. He said are you sure and ok… that’s about it.
The next day, with Erin holding me hand, I called my mom to tell her the news. I cried as soon as she answered the phone. I finally choked out the words “I’m pregnant.” I could tell she wanted to cry but she stayed strong for me. She reassured me that everything was going to be ok. The hardest part of that conversation was being a disappointment to my mom.
I stayed sick the majority of my pregnancy. I visited West Virginia on my breaks from school and kept in some contact with my ex boyfriend. My mom was sure to keep them in the loop though. My mom sent texts to my ex’s mom after every appointment and I sent pictures of my growing belly. After a while I got back together with my ex. The relationship was strained though. I was still in Texas trying to finish school and he wouldn’t move again. At times I felt really alone. My parents were great and my church friends practically adopted me as their own. Still the one person I needed for support wasn’t there. I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t move to be with me now that I was pregnant with his baby. I’m not sure I’ll ever understand that.
My little girl was due in January so I took the winter semester of school off. I finished almost all of school so I only had one more quarter to go after I had my daughter. My parents sold their house in West Virginia and moved to Texas in December of 2011. I will never be able to thank them enough for that huge sacrifice. I moved in with them and then it was a waiting game. Things got worse with my boyfriend and I had no idea why he was so mean to me. I later found out he was cheating on me; should’ve seen that one coming.
During the latter part of my pregnancy I started becoming closer and closer to God. I went to Embrace Grace, a group for young single and pregnant moms, and started building relationships with other girls just like me. It was really a God thing.
I had a really difficult time with judgment. I tried to act like I didn’t mind what people thought of me but the looks and whispers I got on a daily basis cut me so deep. I felt so dirty and ashamed. I’m so thankful to say that church was the one place I could go and receive no judgment. Instead, strangers would touch my belly and ask what I was having. I was around the worship team a lot because of my friend’s and those people were the biggest blessing. They would tell me how beautiful I looked or ask me questions about the baby and how I was. To me that was crazy. I had obviously done some not good things and all they saw was me; not my sin but me. I wanted to be at church every minute because of the positive environment.
On January 17th, 2012 I woke up feeling rather odd. Through the day that odd feeling turned to uncomfortable to I can’t breathe. I didn’t want to go to the hospital because I didn’t want to be the girl that went and wasn’t really in labor and after all I still had two weeks until my due date. After nagging and nagging, I finally listened to my mom and me, my mom, and my dad drove to the hospital. Once I got there and got checked they said I was in labor. Strangely, I wasn’t nervous at all. I was ready to go and ready to meet my daughter. That was at about seven in the evening. My mom called my boyfriend and told him what was going on. He booked the earliest flight out the next day. I relaxed, and slept some while I waited for my nugget to arrive. (Oh also I had drugs so I was totally fine… I’m not superwoman.) Around 3:30am the nurse came in a checked me and said well you’re having this baby now.
In the room were my mom, my doctor, and my nurse. It was such a non stressful environment. On January 18th, 2012 at 3:42 am I was holding my beautiful Layla. It was such a weird feeling. I was holding my daughter, my human. She was literally mine. If you don’t have kids you won’t understand this but the amount of love I felt in that moment surpasses any emotion I’ve ever felt. She was perfect.
I laid in my recovery room with my baby on my chest for hours. A few visitors came in and out to see her. My boyfriend finally got there and saw Layla. I was so happy. I was exhausted but just didn’t want to sleep. All I wanted to do was stare at her and lay with her so that’s what I did. My boyfriend was there for three weeks after she was born. We mended our relationship and things seemed to be perfect.
For the next couple months I got to stay home and be with my daughter all of the time. It was fantastic. I went back to school in April and graduated in June with my degree in photography. My boyfriend and I were having problems. Really we only dated on and off. It came down to the fact that he wouldn’t move to be with his daughter. It was hard enough that I wasn’t enough but even worse that my daughter wasn’t either. I pray she never feels that way.
Daily I have to give my worries over to God. Will she grow up with a dad? Will her biological dad hurt her? Will he be in and out of her life? Will he ever man up? I can’t lie and say it’s easy. If you’re a parent you understand how much you want to protect your children. I’ve learned to give it to God, but yes I still struggle.
Through this whole experience I’ve grown so much in the Lord. I’ve learned to let him be my husband and take care of me and my daughter. I’ve learned to give every burden from finances to sickness over to him. I’ve never been more happy than I am now. Of course, I still have rough days or angry emotions towards my ex and his family but overall God is my provider and protector. He loves his princess and her princess. I’m in a place I never even knew existed.
It’s hard being a single mom. I want nothing but to be with Layla all day instead of at work but I’ve been blessed with a job so I can provide for myself and my daughter. I get tired and frustrated but I love my life. I have an incredible support system of my family and close friends. I never imagined I would be a mom so soon but I absolutely love it. It is the coolest thing. I’m so thankful God trusted me with one of his children. I know there will be easy and tough times ahead but I know that no matter what I’ll always have a God who loves me and a daughter that I adore.
Trials don’t kill you. How you handle them is what makes or breaks you. I ran to God and he restored my life and my heart. I’m not the stereotypical young, single mom that you hear about or watch on TV. I’m the young, single mom that strives after Jesus and is determined to share her story with others. I pray God uses my story to affect others and I have no doubt that he will.
Don’t give up. He loves you. This isn’t the end; it’s just the beginning of what God has in store for you.
Written by Olivia Boyd