“I was crawling on my hands and knees to walk across the stage at my college graduation to receive my diploma.” I was embarrassed and didn’t want to walk. I was ashamed that I was pregnant as a Christian girl—me, whose parents launched the Bahamas’ first pro-life group. I was concerned about how others would perceive me.
My life had been a living horror for the previous two years. Months earlier, I was raped, mocked, and discarded, and now this. A night of poor choices left me pregnant and alone, except for my parents and a few friends. They pushed me to take a walk. They claimed that I had put in the effort and deserved to be recognized and that my daughter deserved to see me in these photographs later in life.
This was not how I imagined my life to unfold. My friends and others who knew me well couldn’t believe I was expecting a child. Can I argue, though, that my daughter saved my life? She was a catalyst in my life, and my days of despair gave way to days of hope.
I finally determined that they were correct about celebrating and embracing my graduation, so I registered to walk. I received my cap and gown and informed one of my pals that I would sit with her during graduation. It was May, and my university’s commencement was held on the football field. I was eight months pregnant and dressed in a black cap and gown because it was hot. I had two large bottles of Gatorade in my luggage and was ready to go. However, the more I waited, the weaker I became, so I crawled onto that field!
When the other students noticed me crawling, they inquired what was wrong. When my buddy informed them that I was expecting, they congratulated me and enabled me to skip the line. My parents were concerned and attempted to bring me food, but I shooed them away and told them I would do it like everyone else. I sat there sipping my Gatorade and got through it.
Screams from my friends and family filled the room as I came over the stage, and I felt very proud of my decision to walk. Now I have proof and tell my kid that I never gave up, even when things were difficult. I crawled to the finish line when I realized I couldn’t walk any longer. She should not give up if I did not. I will be eternally grateful to my mother, relatives, and friends who encouraged me. It’s a choice I’m delighted I took for both myself and my daughter. Given the previous 18 months of misery, this was an exciting time.
My entire life had been spent in a Christian home. My parents led Bible classes and small groups. They are zealous for the Lord and what He has called them to do in life. They were so passionate about the Bible that they relocated our family from Nassau, Bahamas, to Virginia to study it. They only had $1,500 and a desire to follow God. I grew up knowing what faith meant. When we couldn’t pay my school fees with what we had, we’d be told that an anonymous donor had covered the amount in full. Our family was sent to Virginia by God, and He kept us there and provided for us. I had an accurate knowledge of what it meant to have confidence and trust in God. In 2007, I devoted my life to God, and I was eager to see where He would lead me and what plans He had for my future.
College was the beginning of my life’s plan for me. I was a ‘nice Christian girl’ when I started college. I hadn’t yet experienced my first kiss. I was attempting to save sex for marriage. A couple of years into college (junior year), things began to alter for me. I began to associate with the wrong crowd, and I became acquainted with men who pressured me to break my pledge to wait for marriage. In January 2015, I met a guy who seemed decent enough, so I went to his house for a movie date. I was ignorant and had no idea what I was getting myself into. One thing led to another, and my virginity was taken by rape that night. I was terrified and didn’t know what to do, so I remained silent about it. Because I went to his residence, I believed it was my fault.
I couldn’t believe it when I went to campus the next day and heard people talking about me. He was a football player who went into the locker room and told the boys that I was easy and that if they were nice to me, I would do the same for them. Other males began lying and claiming that they had received sexual favors from me due to that locker room talk. ‘If you get her drunk enough, she will do everything you ask her to do,’ they stated. My reputation was built on such lies. Multiple males on the football team began grabbing me inappropriately in the hallways and made provocative comments and gestures toward me as I walked past them after that. I was terrified, but I remained mute. Because it appeared easier than facing the truth, I allowed people to believe the rumors. Substance abuse and partying went hand in hand with remaining silent. I just wanted to be numb to everything that was going on.
A few weeks after the rape, another male on the football team took me away from an attending party. He dragged me outdoors and forced me to engage in sexual activity with him. After that, I was terrified and nauseous. I was left feeling exploited, mistreated, and useless at this time. I hadn’t told anyone about what had occurred to me until my parents inquired in May of 2015. They cried with me and held me when I told them. They told me I needed to go to counseling, and throughout the summer, I began the process of recovering. I started getting more engaged in my church and removing bad people from my life. I had never stopped going to church throughout it all, but I felt distant.
During the first semester of my senior year, in November 2015, I awoke four times from an hour snooze to pee. It hit me like a tonne of bricks: I might be pregnant. When I looked up pregnancy symptoms online, I discovered that I had every single one. My heart sunk, and I was stunned. I took a screenshot of the list and emailed it to my mother, informing her that I might be pregnant. It didn’t come as a complete surprise to her because she had known I had been sick for weeks. During those weeks, most of my friends and family were making jokes about the possibility that I was pregnant, but I denied it. I even went to the doctor, who advised a pregnancy test, which I declined because it seemed impossible.
I informed my best friend and roommate that I wanted her to drive me to the store to obtain a test that night in November. She was taken aback, but she agreed to assist. I went to bible study and pretended to be expected while freaking out on the inside. I began writing in my journal, asking God if He would provide me peace if I were indeed pregnant. Someone at the bible study read Philippians 4:6-7 a few minutes later. ‘Do not be concerned about anything; instead, make your requests known to God through prayer and petition with thanksgiving.’ In Christ Jesus, the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds.’ ‘I feel God is saying this is for someone in here,’ the guy continued. It was for me, so I knew I was pregnant right there, and the test the following day confirmed it.
I sobbed with my closest friend and contacted my mother and daughter’s biological father to inform them of the good news. My parents assured me that they would be there for me. My father assured me that he loved me and would always love me and that he would protect and look after me. The following week, I walked around my school, meeting with deans and professors to request that all classes be converted to online courses. Every lecturer I encountered went out of their way to assist me. They supported and adored me. Then I told a few of my closest friends. They were ecstatic, and they made me feel as if I was permitted to be thrilled about my pregnancy. My parents and friends began shopping for baby items and advised me to embrace and celebrate my pregnancy, which allowed me to let go of some of the shame I was holding.
It was the most acceptable decision I could have made to move in with a family friend for my kid and myself. I chose to publish my pregnancy on social media to get rid of the last vestige of guilt. Some people were critical, but the majority were kind and encouraging. I wasn’t proud of my faults, but I was glad that God chose to bless me with motherhood despite them. My pregnancy was a moment of spiritual awakening and renewal for me. My church family rallied around me in ways I’d never seen before. Those who believed in me gave me the courage to become the mother I am now. My community’s acceptance of grace and love for me had a significant impact on the result of this circumstance, which can be a tough one to navigate for so many other individuals. I encourage folks never to leave someone experiencing an unintended pregnancy on their own.
My parents have always been a pillar of strength for me. They never failed to tell me that I was lovely and that God had big plans for my life. They reminded me of my ambitions and worked tirelessly to help me attain them. They gave me hope that my life didn’t have to end because I became pregnant. My father is a quiet man, but he texted me every day during my pregnancy to tell me how much he loves me and how proud he is of who I am and who I will become as a mother. He restored my faith in the existence of lovely men. He advised me not to shut myself off from love simply because I had been hurt and that I should never accept less than I deserve. My mother has always been my dearest friend and someone I share everything with. She never failed to speak to me every day during my darkest hours. During that time, she said truth into my life and never once condemned me for not living in a Godly manner. They never turned away from me. Looking back, I understand they were witnessing their baby girl deteriorate in front of their eyes, and I believe it was their unwavering love, gracious attitude, and continual prayers that rescued me. A few months into my pregnancy, I told my mother that I thought getting pregnant was God’s way of allowing me to leave the lifestyle I was in. My mother agreed, and she stated she had been praying for a way out for me.
I hope that a young lady in my circumstance realizes that her difficulties are not the end of her life. Sexual assault is a heinous crime that doesn’t have to destroy your life. Please speak up, don’t remain silent, and get assistance. There are long-term consequences, but it becomes easier with time, treatment, and healing. You don’t have to do this on your own. I hope my narrative can contribute to more extensive discussions, allowing people to explore some of the more complex issues that individuals face regularly. I’ve come to realize that you never know what life will throw at you. I’ve had my kid for two years, I’m getting married to a Godly man who adores us both, and I’m still telling my story. After making decisions that could potentially ruin you, there is still hope. Being a single mother isn’t the end of the world, and it doesn’t mean your options are limited. You have to make more sacrifices.”
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