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flutters.

Today is not a day for long drawn out essays about right or wrong or what is going on with my crazy emotions or opinions. My little baby has been doing laps around my abdomen and making flutters and bubbles float inside me. I thought this would freak me out, but it is incredible. I have had moments of utter loneliness and fear in all of this, but how can I possibly feel either now? This little child is growing inside me and with me everywhere I go.

When I lay my hand on my tummy and feel the miniature kicks and tumbles, nothing exists outside of me and this little wonder. Nothing and no one matters anymore. I’m not sure how this happened to me because I certainly don’t deserve anything this wonderful.

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pregnancy test

After losing my father to a 3-year battle with cancer, I began realizing how precious life is and how everyday matters. When he died, I decided that I would begin visiting friends again, catch up with people I hadn’t spoken to in years, and go see places I never saw before. It would start with a race. A couple I am close to and have known since high school suggested the three of us spend some time in Nashville and run a half marathon. We had run before and had plenty of time to train, so I thought it was a great idea.

After a successful run and an almost perfect vacation, we said our goodbyes. I was the last to leave the hotel and had a feeling something was off, so I took a pregnancy test. There was a very light plus sign that appeared, but it was so hard to see that I assumed it was wrong and I had done something wrong. I shrugged it off as nothing and I headed on to Memphis to visit Graceland in honor of my Uncle Tad, who was a lover of Elvis. By the time I reached Memphis, my period was a day late, I had no appetite, and everything around me smelled weird. I tried to ignore this and enjoy my trip, but was already worried. Two days after I was late, I had arrived in Little Rock for the next part of my trip and was staying with Tim, one of my closest friends.

I woke up on my first morning in Little Rock and took the next test. This time, I took a digital test that clearly read “pregnant.” My heart sunk. This could not be happening. This test must be dysfunctional. I recently finished grad school and started a new job. I was going to get settled in there, get married, and THEN have a family. I had only slept with two men in my entire life and the last one was an old friend from high school who was supposed to just be a summer fling. We had chemistry and had a great time together, but we were not serious. I could already hear friends and family saying things like, “How could you be so stupid? What were you thinking?, How could you be so immature?” I didn’t even know where to begin with those questions. I was asking myself the same things. I couldn’t even remember how I got into this mess in the first place. All I could feel was everyone’s surprise and disappointment. How did I let myself get so far from who I am and so far from where I was only a few months before?

test

I came out of the bathroom and looked at Tim and his roommate who I had never met before, “I’m pregnant!” Tim chuckled, looked at his roommate and said, “This is my friend Bekah.” Not exactly the introduction we had hoped for, but definitely not something we would ever forget. Tim just stood up, hugged me and asked what I needed. Considering the fact that I did not get the same reaction from the father of my child, I now believe God sometimes puts us at the right place with the right people for a reason. With Tim, I feel comfortable, safe, and know I will not be judged. He is more than a friend to me, he is family. At what is probably one of the biggest moments of my life, he made me feel like this was a good thing and that everything would be ok. It is exactly what I needed.

I looked at Tim and told him I needed to be alone and take a shower. Shaking, I climbed into the shower for what I thought would be a nice long cry in a steamy room. After standing there for about 30 seconds, I began laughing uncontrollably. I was hysterical and couldn’t squeeze a tear out if I tried. I just laughed until I couldn’t anymore.

After three more days and 8 more positive tests, I finally began to face the reality that I was pregnant and I would need to tell the baby’s father; A man who suddenly felt like a total stranger.

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brave.

“The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls.” ~Elizabeth Cady Stanton

We hide so much in our lives. We lie to save face, to look good, to avoid trouble. We lie so others will accept us. I am done lying. I am done being a coward. I believe lies are only used by cowards because it is the truth that takes bravery. You must be brave to admit you messed up. It takes bravery to admit you drink too much, over eat, are lazy, have cheated, or have hurt someone. These are the things we would like to forget and hide from the world. These, along with hundreds of other things, are the things that we are good at covering up.

I have a baby inside me. This child has never lied or cheated. Both of his* parents have and they have become experts at it, but he is pure and clean and has not yet made a mistake. I will be responsible for this child and will be responsible for teaching him how to live. I do not want to teach him to hide his problems so that others will not judge him. I do not want to teach him to lie to his spouse so that he can get what he wants. I do not want to teach him to lie about his beliefs so that others feel more comfortable. I want to teach him that he is human. He will make mistakes. He will hurt people. He will hurt me. I want him to know that those mistakes are ok. They are part of who we are and they are part of life. But lying about them, hiding them, and living one life while he is alone and another while he is around others is not ok. That is what society will try to tell him is right and that is what society will expect of him. The problem is that he is an exceptional child and he is better than what society will try to teach him to be.

*I still do not know the gender of my child, so this pronoun is not a reveal. 🙂 I simply use masculine pronouns to make the writing a little easier.

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To My Unborn Child from your Unwed Mother

I am cheating again tonight. I found another thing I wrote about six weeks ago before I could publicly announce my pregnancy. It was just too important to me not to share it. I’ll write something all new tomorrow.

I do want to share that this baby, this little butterfly inside me, has been fluttering around all day today. I think he or she is ready to come out. Perhaps we are both impatient and just want our meeting day to come already. I feel like I have been waiting my whole life for that moment.

11-24-2012

I want to celebrate you. I want to scream out loud how I excited I am that you are coming. I want people to throw you welcome parties even though you are only the size of a peach and still in the womb. I want to blast Bach’s Cello Suite and make the world think of you when they hear it. You are that beautiful sound weaving in and out and making everyone stop to listen. You are my only thought as the sun rises and my prayer when the sun goes to bed. I am already thinking of your tiny toes and your soft skin.

When married women get pregnant, everyone wants to talk about it and rejoice with them. They cannot wait to spread the news to everyone they know. When you are not married, even in 2012, people seem somehow afraid to talk about it. They do not want to tell their kids because they will have to explain how a baby is coming and I am single. It seems so strange to me when I feel like this is the most wonderful thing that has and probably will ever happen to me and I have to act like there is nothing new going on in my life because I don’t want to upset the people around me.

It is not your fault that your father and I are not married. It is not your fault that people around me do not yet realize just how awesome and amazing your very existence is. You are a miracle. Your life is no less important than the life of a child whose parents are married or who planned their birth. You will not be defined by who your parents are or what people think about how you came into this world. I will spend the rest of my life making sure that much is true. God help the person who says the words bastard or out of wedlock in front of me.

You are my masterpiece. You are my Cello Suite…

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worry.

I wrote this in my first trimester when I was about 10 weeks pregnant and only a week after the baby’s father stopped talking to me. I was scared everyday about every little pain or cramp. I know things can always happen in pregnancy that we don’t expect, but I have come so far since I wrote this and am focusing on only positive outcomes.

“Every time I pee, I check for blood on the toilet paper. Part of me hopes to see it. Part of me hopes that the last month has been some kind of crazy joke nature is trying to play on me. Part of me wants to have my period. Then there is another part of me, the one who is in touch with reality. The one who saw 11 positive pregnancy tests and knows that they were as real as can be. That part of me dreads seeing blood. You see, the painful breasts, the metal tasting mouth, the teen like pimples, the horrible gas, the heartburn, the headaches, the diarrhea, the urge to want to throw up most of the day, the cramping in my abdomen, my legs, and even my arms, are all what the doctors call “normal.” These horrible things happening to my body are the normal signs of being pregnant. They are healthy and are supposed to be part of something wonderful. However, if I see one spot of blood, I am supposed to call my doctor. The thought of having a child and raising it on my own is terrifying. The fact that I am about to change my entire lifestyle and my plans for the next 18 years is daunting. But the alternative, the dreaded miscarriage, is a hundred times scarier. All of the hope and dreams that I have begun to imagine and accept disappearing in an instant totally out of my control…”

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bump.

January 1st. Today I posted my first official picture of my baby bump. I also stayed up late because baby started kicking around midnight and I didn’t want to miss it. I am scared that I am doing this alone. I always imagined having a loving husband beside me while I was pregnant. I went through a period where I was so angry at the father of my child that I wanted to punch him in the face. Without him, however, the joy growing inside me would not exist. It is hard to stay angry with someone when they gave you the best gift a human can get.preggers

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Penn State

A Sad Day for Penn State…

I usually openly share my opinions on politics, religion, music, and art. I don’t get opinionated about sports. However, I love going to a Phillies game with friends and losing my voice because I scream so much. I love spending the afternoon at Wrigley Field drinking beer and watching the Cubs. And, more than anything, I cherish afternoons sitting with my dad and watching Penn State football with the sound turned off so we can have our own commentary. I miss calling my dad and talking to him for 20 minutes only to find out that I called him during a Penn State Football game and he hasn’t heard a word I’ve said.  And, when I lived in Lewistown on Rt 322, I loved sitting on my back patio and watching the swarms of traffic as they inched their way through our little town on the way to a big game.  I didn’t go to Penn State, but it has been a part of my life for the last 19 years.

The day my dad’s obituary was in the paper, the front page was a picture of Joe Paterno and the headline announced that he was fired. I remember thinking dad passed just in time because he would have been so disappointed. Just two months later, Paterno, like my dad, lost his battle with cancer. In the months following his death, I have watched as his character has been torn to shreds. Maybe rightfully so, maybe not.

This morning, shortly after I got to work, I saw the news of the NCAA’s ruling come across my computer screen. I quietly read post after post from friends as they fought over whether this was right or wrong. During my lunch break, I scanned articles looking for a blog that I could agree with or just simply more information. And, though it may not win me friends to say what I am about to say, I feel like I have to say it. I do not agree with their ruling.

Jerry Sandusky is a disgusting horrible man. He committed the most heinous crimes and got away with it. He deserves whatever punishment he gets and he deserves to suffer for what he has done. Joe Paterno may or may not have known all the details of what happened. I feel like the evidence is somewhat cloudy and a more thorough investigation is necessary. He may very well be guilty of a major cover up, but I am not yet totally convinced. In a very convincing letter to the trustees of Penn State, Graham Spanier states,

“It is unfathomable and illogical to think that a respected family sociologist and family therapist, someone who personally experienced massive and persistent abuse as a child, someone who devoted a significant portion of his career to the welfare of children and youth, including service on the boards of four such organizations, two as chair of the board, would have knowingly turned a blind eye to any report of child abuse or predatory sexual acts directed at children. As I have stated in the clearest possible terms, at no time during my presidency did anyone ever report to me that Jerry Sandusky was observed abusing a child or youth or engaged in a sexual act with a child or youth.”

As I read this letter, I couldn’t help but feel like there needs to be a much more comprehensive investigation about the cover-up than the Freeh report. There is more to this whole story than the media witch hunt it has become. Don’t get me wrong, I think there are many people involved in this whole scandal and we need to find out the truth and there needs to be a reworking of the whole Penn State football system. Taking the statue down is probably a good move at this point. Fining the University for 60 million and giving that money to organizations who will help abuse victims is also reasonable and just. Allowing players to go to a different school is fair. They should be able to decide if they want to be part of the rebuilding of a broken program or not.

My problem is this: taking away the victories of 111 games is not making sense to me. The players won those games; their sweat soaked the field. The Blue Band practiced and played their hearts out and the cheerleaders led the thousands of fans as their cheers roared through Happy Valley and living rooms across the country. Those games, those victories don’t belong to the coaches and administration of Penn State. They belong to the players, the fans and the band. They don’t deserve to be punished for the wrongs committed by a group of men who put football before the lives of children. So before Bowden pats his own back and the NCAA walks away thinking they can erase 14 years of games, I just want to say that you can wipe the winnings off the books, but you can’t change history.  You can’t take away the hours I spent screaming at the TV with my dad and my memory of the smile on his face when Penn State scored the winning touch down. And you can’t change the fact that in 111 games, the players on the Penn State Football team were superior to the team they opposed.

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