My parents were married in high school after my mother became pregnant with me. My father's parents had the same type of story--my grandmother became pregnant at 15, married my grandfather, and gave birth to my dad at 16.
When I grew up I always told myself I would never let that happen to me.
I grew up believing that premarital sex was wrong. Most of my friends had the same convictions--until I went to high school. I remember my surprise when I first heard that a number of my new friends were sexually active.
Their attitude was that sex was nothing but great. When you're a teenager, these voices are a powerful influence. You think, "If everyone else is having sex, perhaps there's nothing wrong with me getting involved as well."
I began sleeping with a boyfriend during my junior year in high school. This relationship lasted until I went away to college, when I decided I wanted to start over. I determined I would not have sex again until I was married.
I got involved in the Campus Crusade for Christ ministry on campus, and began to develop some strong moral beliefs. I also began dating a Christian who seemed like the perfect man. He had also been sexually involved in the past, and we said we didn't want that to be part of our relationship.
After a few months, however, we began to slip. We would be alone together late at night, and one thing led to another. Eventually we started sleeping together regularly. I suppose that once you commit a sin a few times, it becomes easier and easier to keep on doing it.
At the end of the year, I decided to leave school. I would be spending the summer in another state with my aunt and uncle, and thought I might even move there permanently. I broke off the relationship with my boyfriend, but we made love one last time to "say goodbye." That's when I became pregnant.
Soon after I began staying with my aunt and uncle, I took a home pregnancy test which came out positive. I paced around the house thinking, "This can't be true. How could this happen to me?"
The thought of getting an abortion flashed through my head. After all, it was an easy way out--nobody would ever need to know.
But I never really considered that possibility, because I believed abortion was killing a baby. It was time for me to take responsibility for my actions. I had to do what was right and not worry about what other people would think of me.
I was afraid to tell my parents because I knew they would be so disappointed in me. But my aunt encouraged me to face up to them, and I was surprised by how they loved me. I'm not saying it was easy for them, but once they accepted the situation our relationship grew stronger than ever. And they supported me when I told them I wanted to keep my child.
I heard a lot of other voices during the next few months. Some people thought I should give the baby up for adoption. Others couldn't believe I was having the baby at all.
One girl told me she didn't regret her abortion because having a baby would have "ruined" her life. I replied, "It would ruin my life to have an abortion." I was growing closer to God than ever before, and I wanted to follow His will for my life.
The next few months were not easy. I returned to school and endured the shame of attending class while wearing maternity clothes. The baby's father was supportive, but our relationship was rocky; marriage wasn't a possibility.
Now I'm living the life of a single mother--going to school, working, and trying to raise a young son in the process. When you're young, you don't think about the pain and heartache that comes with premarital sex--all you see is that others around you are doing it.
But God has good reasons for wanting us to wait until marriage. I've learned what happens when you listen to the wrong voices.