teenage pregnancy, college & pregnant, babies, love
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To My Favorite Statistic

Just because you choose to have a baby in high school doesn't mean your life is over –– the best part has just begun.

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To My Favorite Statistic

You've probably heard of my best friend. Not by name of course, but rather by number. By a simple statistic. What you may not know is that she is far more impressive than any number could deem her.

Her name is Lo and she is considered 1 of the 750,000 American teens to become pregnant. She is also in the statistic of 1 in 400,000 teen births. She is one of the girls you looked at your senior year of high school and thought, They've just ruined their future. And I had thought the same.

It was second semester of my senior year when I was bugging Lo to donate blood with me. An aspiring medical student herself, it seemed uncharacteristic for her to refuse to donate alongside me when she was usually the one encouraging me to donate. Every time I brought it up, her eyes avoided mine, her excuses were poorly thought out and every changing, and I was even greeted with a little hostility from one of her sister who asked, "Would you please just drop it?"

But I wouldn't. And after weeks of pestering, she finally gave me the news that she was pregnant while sitting in her car, on our way to stuff our faces with pasta to celebrate another friend's birthday. My instant reaction was, We can fix this. I threw out all sorts of solutions to her, from adoption to abortion. Anything that could fix this tragedy, this mistake, as long as it meant keeping her future to look as promising as it did seconds before.

She stared at the road as she drove, rejecting every idea of mine with a simple no. Finally, I sighed and asked her what she wanted to do. That was when she looked at me, her face no longer stoic and instead changing to a shy smile, and said, "I'm keeping the baby."

And in that five-minute drive to go eat pasta, my words at the beginning of the drive changed from, "We can fix this," to "We're having a baby."

And she did it. She grew, not only round with the baby, but as a person. She had always been the mother of our friend group, but I watched her change personalities and mature far faster than anyone else had our senior year. And while I was away at college, Lo had her baby girl, Eden.

But her story doesn't stop there. Just because she had her child doesn't mean she faded away into the background to live out her life focusing on the care of the baby. Instead, she attends a local college, aiming for her nursing degree while working full time at as a CNA at a nursing home. She cares for her child around the clock, her family and her boyfriend helping out when she needs. And no, the boyfriend did not leave her when she was pregnant, as most high school pregnancy stories do. He loves her and their baby and will continue to do so.

So, to my best friend, my favorite statistic, I would like to say I'm proud. You have conquered far more than I would have been able to, from the stares in the hallway to the classes at college all while raising your child. Thank you for taking the time to include me in your life even with how busy you are. Thank you for inspiring me and others around you.

And for other girls facing the same plight, your story is not over because you choose to have a child. Lo says it best, "I don't care. I'm not ashamed of Eden. She's the best thing that's ever happened to me."

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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