Terrified and in a world of pain, 17-year-old Heather Johnson lay in premature labor, getting ready to give birth to her son.
As she lay in the hospital bed, a flurry of confused and anxious thoughts whirling around in her head, she heard her doctor’s voice come through from the other side of the hospital curtain.
“Babies having babies,” he said.
Heather was mortified. And afraid.
“As If I wasn’t terrified enough already,” she said. “I had convinced myself I was ready to take this journey as a young mother, but being seen as just a kid made me feel otherwise. How could a child raise a child? What if I really didn’t have what it takes to do this?”
Having a baby at 17 wasn’t part of Heather’s plan and she was filled with fear and uncertainty, but she was also determined to make it work, and the doctor’s insensitive words just fueled that determination.
“In the delivery room filled with 12 people, I felt every range of emotion,” Heather recalled. “From my mother who cried for my future, to the many various family members who reassured her that everything would be fine. And of course, the nurse who wondered why I had such a large family and how they all managed to get into the hospital room. If I wasn’t stressed enough, the cameras and Jell-O stealing didn’t help. My son was going to have a one-of-a-kind birth story, and everyone in the family was going to be a part of it.
“Becoming a teen mom wasn’t what I had imagined for my future, but because of this chaotic family support system and a hard-working boyfriend, I had hope. Hope that I had a chance at a future. Hope that my life wouldn’t become the script of a reality TV series filled with drama and tears.”
While most people expected her to fail, Heather decided as she lay in that hospital bed that she was going to prove them all wrong.
“Time went by and our little boy grew, and so did I. He gave me challenges every day as little boys do. And together we navigated the early childhood years,” Heather said.