5/6/08

Life Lived Backwards

Perspective is funny thing. Sometimes you need to get far away, stand back and take some time to gain that elusive slippery moment when you understand. But what happens when you can't step away because the thing you need clairity on is so close to your heart and being you can't? That's when you get close and dig around in the muck to get a clearer glimpse.


That movie (Juno) is sitting in my house right now just waiting for me to watch it. I'm sure it is a fairy tale. My hubby has taken care of a lot of teen pregnancies in his practice and the stories are rarely happy-happy tales. A comment from Noble Pig.

Mine wasn't a happy happy tale either. It's turned out fine and dandy.... now... but the odds were against me.

I was 17, a senior in high school, when I found out I was pregnant. I KNEW I was pregnant, I didn't have to take a test to tell me. I had seen my mom pregnant a couple times and it always started off with morning sickness. Here I was throwing up all the time everywhere. At school, at home, in the car. It was bad. Morning sickness, my ass. All the time sickness was more like it. I knew I was pregnant, so I did what a smart 17 year old girl would do. Deny, deny, deny because the problem would take care of itself, right? Pregnancy just goes away. Well, not so much. I was going to get this nipped in the bud, as they elegantly say in Juno, but I found out I was two weeks too late.

So, now we go on the roller coaster ride of being a pregnant teen. Katie's dad and I talked once or twice about adoption but it just didn't seem to ring true. Weird, I know. Through out this whole experience I honestly think I was in shock. This couldn't be happening to me. I was too smart for this to happen. I really don't remember much. I didn't tell my parents all 16 of them. Actually, it was my mom and her husband, my dad, and my biological father and step mom. I didn't tell my mom because we didn't have that kind of relationship. She divorced my dad a couple years earlier and had vanished like a wisp of smoke. Looking back at it now, my dad was heartbroken and my brother and sisters were angry and felt abandoned, even though we were to young to know. My mom came back but it's hard to repair those kind of things when you have an angry teen and 3 kids and a brand new baby. I didn't tell my dad because I thought he'd throw me out. Crazy, but he is my step father but for all intents and purposes, he raised me. I thought he'd say,'that's enough go live with your mom or father.' My dad's house was the only secure place I knew. I know now that love is unconditional and it would never happen but it was better than living at my father's.

My father and step mother. Those two are a piece of work. I had just lived with them for two years. My sophomore and junior years. That was the biggest mistake of my life, seriously being pregnant was much easier than living there. Every day was an adventure, I didn't know if he would be happy or a bastard when he came home. I was literally afraid of him. When I was little, I would get sick hours before he would come and pick me up to spend the weekends with him. Let's list some of the craziness that happened with him...

Pyrex measuring glass thrown at my head. (I was being a smart ass)

Hit with a branch because I called my mom from the roller skating rink.

Told him I was afraid of him and was hit in the face because I shouldn't be scared of my father. (ironic)

Couldn't speak for a couple days because I received an unsatisfactory on my report card because I talked in class. We were in a restaurant at the time, got in more trouble because I ordered dinner. (I couldn't make up this shit if I tried)

My ear drum was ruptured when he hit me again in my face after I was caught cutting school.

Left in downtown Stockton when I talked back in the car.

This one is one of the best... Came home late one night in January. I didn't have a driver's license and was depending on another parent for a ride home. I came home, apologized for being late, and changed in a long t-shirt to go to bed and was promptly kicked out of the house for being late. At 11 o'clock at night. In January. In a t-shirt. I had had enough and started walking to my dad's. He ran after me, dragged me back home and said, "By the way your mom called, you grandfather isn't doing well. You need to call her." He knew my grandfather was dying and he still did what he did.

That right there plus a lot a mental crap, were some of the many reasons I didn't tell my father and step-mother.

Everyone asked a couple of times, here and there, but I denied, denied, denied. I should have been a politician. Everyone was busy and not really paying attention so I got away with it. Except at school.

School was bad. You find out who your friends are and mostly they are not girls. Here's my take on it... girls who are having sex in high school subconsciously think pregnancy is a communicable disease. Forget everything you learned in sex-ed because it isn't true. If you are pregnant in high school it's worse than Ebola and you can die from Ebola. All my girlfriends didn't talk to me while I was knocked up except one, and she didn't talk to me for months until she found out she was pregnant, too. Ooops.

Now guys on the other hand, were pretty cool. I can take the cynical view and say,'I was already knocked up, so they couldn't do any harm.' or 'that I was already a slut and maybe they could get some of that.' But I really don't think those guys thought like that. I had an ex-boyfriend who said he'd help me. I knew of guys who would just talk to me and ask if I was okay or even just look me in the eye. Hell, some of my teachers wouldn't even do that. I was just another bright student going to waste.

I graduated from high school. I was nine months and huge in my ugly brown gown but I graduated and walked on stage to get my diploma. Two weeks later I had Katie.

About that. I never went to the doctor the whole time I was pregnant. When I was at the hospital, I didn't tell my parents I was going. I had Katie, then my big mouth frienemy, the one that was also knocked up, went around and told all of my family like some gossip queen. I was so angry at her. I knew everything I had did was wrong... not going to the doctor, not telling my parents, just everything was wrong. I know I broke a lot of people's hearts that day and I was exiled for awhile.

I know why Juno bothered me so much. It seemed like a adults view of a plucky girl with a smart mouth who got pregnant. It doesn't work that way in real life. It isn't a happy, happy time. You are scared shit less, even if you do tell your parents. Then there are the stats and odds. Poverty, welfare, health issues, and low test scores to name a few.

Katie and I have beaten the odds, so far. For never seeing a doctor, she ended up a full term baby. 6 pounds 14 ounces and healthy as a horse and smart as a whip. I know it could have been a totally different outcome. If she graduates from high school, we are on the right track. If she graduates from college and is on the whole, a happy and healthy adult, she has beaten the odds that the world gave her and I placed her in unwittingly. Katie knows all this. When people talk about teen moms in school, she always has something to say and rightly so. She's not an expert but pretty damn close.

All my friends are starting to get married and have kids. I have been married for 12 years now and am done having kids. I keep thinking about going back to school and have found some things I truly love in my little life. I should have done all this in my twenties, like normal people do. It's my life lived backwards and I am okay with that.

27 comments:

Asthmagirl said...

What a great post. Thank you for sharing what is clearly a defining period in your life. I totally understand about the denial and I'm so glad that you and your daughter have beaten the odds and not become the statistic that we see all too often.
Very moving and something I'll think about time and again as I move through my day...

lcsa99 said...

For a life lived backwards, everything really seems to have turned out great for you. You're a great person, a wonderful mother and have great kids who will turn into amazing adults. And what's more, you know you did it yourself. On your own, without all the help a lot of people get from the adults in their lives.

I know first hand how hard it is to live without the support you should be getting from parents. You should be really proud of everything you've achieved.

Mental P Mama said...

Krysta, what an amazing post. I think you are a great mom, and your children are as lucky to have you as you are them. The Universe truly does work in mysterious ways. Have a wonderful Mother's Day Week!

noble pig said...

Wowser. That gave me chills and tears and all sorts of emotions. It's so great to hear a happy ending because I hear all the bad stuff...the boys that pretty much make a bee line for the door when they see the baby come out.

What an amazing woman you are to have made it the way you have. It's truly a great, great story and more realistic than Juno, which is sad because they glamorize teen pregnancy which is so unfair.

Great post.

Lina said...

Thanks for sharing your story. What a life you've had! Now you have wonderful children running around your kitchen eating your wonderful food! btw, I liked Juno but I agree that it is a totally unrealistic movie. A fairytale im sure.

She who said...

ECM,

Love ya girl. Ya done good. Sometimes little mistakes turn out to be the greatest joys in life. Ya just gotta let them play out.

me again said...

I am new to this blogging world and just found your blog a few days ago; liked it so much I linked to it on my blog. And now tonight I read this post, and all I can think of is, wow. I know how to pick 'em. Your honesty is amazing and your story touches my heart. What you say about your father....I can relate. I have similar memories too and, as you say, you couldn't make up stuff like that. Hugs to you, you're a survivor and proof that life can and will work out!

Leah said...

Krysta, What an gut wrenching story, you truly are a teen pregnancy best case scenario. You did everything right!

Happy Mother's Day to you...you certainly deserve it!

Krysta said...

leah... i did everything soooo wrong. i didn't go to the doctor, i didn't tell my parents...i was really lucky... so much so i never expect to win the lotto or win in vegas. i used up all my luck in one fell swoop.

Snooty Primadona said...

Wow... how did you and I wind up with weirded out parents that were so much the same? Apparently dysfunctional knows no boundaries, eh?

Better yet... How were we able to survive & raise decent human beings? I call it *The Buck Stops Here New World Reality*. I know without doubt you aren't making this up. Too many tales of my own to doubt.

Here's to survival and proving we can at least make some things better in this world.

Cheers girlfriend!

Grace said...

i'd be remiss if i didn't tell you how much this post affected me--i've got tears running down my face. thank you for your honesty and candor! you've been put through the wringer and have prevailed--happy mother's day to you!

preaguy said...

hey krysta, i know i shouldn't but o'well. i knew moast of it. heck i known you a long time. obviously that movie stirred up some old stuff with ya.im sure your ok,just thought id stop by n let ya know im still around.
Robb

Neen said...

I read your post yesterday afternoon and have been mulling over it ever since. I'm shocked by all the shit that hit your 17 year old self all at once, from every side, and in awe at your sheer strength in pulling through anyway. Juno, to me, was a fairy tale that sought to turn the teen pregnancy story into a woman's empowerment story. You are the empowered woman, no fairy tale needed. I envy your daughter: if she has anything like your strength of character and personality, the world won't know what hit it.

Power to you Krysta. That and a mug of hot chocolate or maybe a shot, depending on how you're feeling after putting all that on paper.

Undomestic Diva said...

Wow.

If only life lived backwards also gave you the "hindsight is 20/20" deal. But of course, it doesn't.

Loved the post.

ntsc said...

Powerful

melissa said...

about halfway through reading this, the thought that popped into my head was "I love you." and so I guess I do.

your story is heartwrenching and amazing. from my view, you didn't do anything "wrong" and I think it's an unkind word to use against yourself. you only did what you knew to do with the amount of experience and support you had, which at the time was next to nil. I'm sorry you didn't get to experience the warmth and caring that you should have. in light of that, you have much to be proud of. you and your husband both. because your kids will never, ever feel like that. that alone makes you an astounding statistic.

the school thing struck me - if you want to go back, then by all means do, of course. I personally have found that I am losing the desire. I was near the top of my class, I was a brilliant student... but life derailed me and I never finished. now I find that for all my head smarts, and how much I valued that, it is my heart smarts and my spiritual side that I want to develop now and that seem to be of most service to the world. and you, you are a great wife, mother, friend, writer, photographer, blogger and cook. so all schooling aside, you're already a total success.

Leah said...

Well....I meant you've done everything right since then. You were young, you were scared...you didn't know any better. I'm sure you're raising four terrific kiddos and I hope they appreciate their mom!

David said...

Amazing post! Your writing has a unbelievable sound voice to it. Your life experience has shaped who you are for sure, and it so shows in this amazing piece. I want to go away know and read more of your blog. I will comment again! thanks for making my night!

jack's utter lack of surprise said...

things really do happen for a reason. it seems like things have all worked out and all the terrible things your parents did you have just made you a better, stronger parent for your own children.

Mayberry Magpie said...

Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.

I can't stop saying wow.

You are so brave to tell your story. So many women don't. The stories go both ways -- some who "nip it in the bud" and some who take your route -- but mostly we don't hear them. When we do, they are powerful and moving and do much good for the world.

I'm with Melissa. Quit labeling your choices as wrong or the sequence as backwards. (I do it all the time and I know what a trap it is.) But I keep telling myself we do the best we can with the knowledge and tools we have at the time. You did far better than most could have in your circumstance.

Mayberry Magpie
P.S. Here's what I'm working on. Telling myself every day that I am the choices I make today. I'm trying to not define myself by the past. Look where you are today. You are wow.

Krysta said...

*hey guys, thanks for your support. it's such an odd feeling letting that story out into the public.

*magpie... i'll try repeating your mantra.

*robb... hey it's okay. you have been around our family long enough to consider you a friend. i'm glad to know you are around!

*melissa... i've been losing interest about school also, i flirt with it but never commit.

*snooty...amen sister.

Mayberry Magpie said...

One more comment for Melissa and Krysta -- about school. Don't feel bad about not committing. Don't second guess what your heart is telling you. As someone who just sacrificed three years of my family's life to earn a master's, I know of what I speak. I'm proud of what I accomplished, but I'm also soberly aware of all my family gave up for me to do it. Since I'm the breadwinner in my family and my profession is degree-sensitive, I rationalized that I "needed" the degree. In actuality, it was mostly about feeling inferior working every day with people who had advanced degrees when I didn't. So the bottom line -- do it if you want it or if you need it to accomplish a life goal, but don't do it because you think you should.

Mayberry Magpie

White On Rice Couple said...

I don't know why I missed this post, I suppose my last comment about Will's love for beet ice cream had me running to tell Todd that I forgot to check back at this post, which was the most recent one at the time.

Your story is touching: so honest, so powerful and so moving. What you had to endure is certainly so unfortunate, but you are so tough and such a fighter, I knew that from the very beginning.

I can't stop tearing up(this is an Oprah moment here). It's inspiring to know that you've overcome such odds to be where you are now, an amazing and loving mom to your wonderful kiddies. Living your life backwards now allows you to share your powerful message and experience with everyone here.

Thanks for sharing. XOXOXO!

Anonymous said...

wo wo wo!!i jst want to say hw incredibly proud you should be of yourself and all of ur achievements,its is my birthday today and i was thinking bout all the stuff i have done,and then i came across this pst and was taken abakc,i have done nothing in comparison lol!!you have been through so much and for all the people who knocked you down,screw em your are a true inspiration like has given you many knocks and much mre besides and you have shwn great strength and dignity through it all,and with a brave face too.im truly sorry there are people out there that could hurt you like you have been.
i wanted to write this comment to you cz i suddenly couldnt see my birthday and my yrs on this planet in the same way.its weird hw reading a single post in a blog can change your view eh?
thankyou for struggling through,for being so brave,and for entertaining me with ur fab blog.keep strong and remembr you can achieve anything and already have,and im sure will do in the future(oops soppy crap)good luck sorry bout the novel of a post!!

Anonymous said...

it's stacey..
i should have asked you to tell me this stuff years ago. i remember dad asking me if i knew or thought you were pregnant or just gaining weight. i knew that you were even though i was young, and i just gave dad the duh face. i was in my own little world at that time and didn't really GET what you were going through until just now.

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I'm Cassie.... said...

love it. love the honesty. definitely not something to be ashamed of. life happens and you roll with it. some of life's greatest gifts are just things that "happen". i, too, am a statistic. pregnant at 18. i was the last person in my school that anyone ever thought would get pregnant, but whatdoyaknow, it happens. no, not ideal, but it helped shape the person i am today and i kinda like who i am today ;)

thanks for sharing krysta.