Married at 15
By Mia, age 16, North Carolina
Sweet Advice Featured Columnist
"Married at fifteen" was never part of my plan. It was probably the worst decision I've made in my life. After I got married people looked down on me and didn't take me seriously at all. Other girls my age referred to me as "trailer trash". I was constantly talked about and people I used to know as friends turned their backs on me. My friends' moms always gave their "free opinions" whenever they saw me.
I got married without finishing school, having a job, or having any money saved. I'd always had such high hopes and dreams. Planning a family was part of that, just not right now. It was to happen after school, a while down the road.
Every time someone found out I was married at 15 I was swarmed with questions, the first being "Why?" Or, "Are you pregnant?" I never really had an answer. I was so ashamed of my life. Truly ashamed of myself for losing sight of my dreams and letting a guy take over my life. I never realized how many younger girls looked up to me, including my little sister. Now I feel like I've truly disappointed them, and I know I've disappointed myself. All I've ever wanted was to be a good role model and someone to be proud of.
My marriage was very short-lived, lasting only nine months, but in that nine months I lost all my confidence and hope in myself. At first things seemed okay. He found a job as a security guard working nights. I began a job at the local McDonald's working days. The few hours we were home together during the day we fought nonstop about nothing at all. Neither of us was ready for the responsibility, nor the stress it could bring.
When you're young you feel like 'the one' you're with is 'the one', and if you lost that person your whole world would fall apart, but it won't. I was so afraid of losing him that I gave in and made a stupid decision I never even should have thought about.
I became pregnant four months after I got married - unplanned, but a wonderful gift. I'm now 10 months pregnant as I write about this. Marriage is a choice that shouldn't be made by a 'child' who's yet to take care of themselves, much less take care of anyone else. It's a choice you can only make when you're truly ready to make it.
I wished I would have waited for the right one. Now that I look back, I regret so much that I've done, but one thing I will never regret is my daughter. I know that in a few short days I'll be holding her in my arms. It's amazing how something so precious and pure can come from so much pain.
Being pregnant at 16 only adds to the things people can say about me. Yes, I do regret the choices I've made, but one thing is for certain: I do not nor will I ever regret my child. I've worked as hard as I can and I've finally finished school. I'm going to start taking classes in the fall. I may not be living the "normal" life for a 16 year old, but this is my life now, and I'm trying the best I can to make it.
Without the love and support of my family I couldn't do it. I guess that's why they say that waiting till the right time to have a child is so important. I've met someone new who loves me dearly and loves my daughter just as much as I do, someone who wants to be her father. I couldn't be happier. But I've learned my lesson about jumping into anything with eyes slightly closed. Now I see everything eyes wide open.
If I could tell anyone anything about marriage and pregnancy at my age, it's very hard and very stressful. Marriage, I wasn't ready for, and my daughter, well, let's just say I've prepared myself the best I can.
Now, months from my 17th birthday, I am a divorcee and a mother. My new definition of 'the right one' is: you know the person you're giving yourself to is someone who, if they walked out of your life the next day, you wouldn't regret it. Someone you have no doubt loves you completely.
I never understood too well what they meant when they said, "Love and lust are two completely different things," but now I do. You have to love yourself and trust yourself before you can make a decision that will change your life forever. I'm happy now, but I could have been happy all along had I listened to the advice of my parents and people who've been through it already. I learned the hard way, even though I really didn't have to.