Name: Jessica Calixto
Year you graduated high school: 2006
Year you found out you were pregnant: 2010 & 2012
Number of children: 2
The Uh Oh Moment: I found out I was pregnant with my first child at the beginning of my senior year of college. I was 22 years old. I actually took the pregnancy test in my college dorm bathroom. I didn’t have anyone with me at the time. I was freaking out. I come from a family where they are all Christian and getting pregnant without being married is just not understandable. I just kept saying “Oh my God” over and over again. I had 5 roommates and I just met them so they probably thought I was such a weirdo just screaming in the bathroom.
I got into my car and rushed to his house. I remember hugging him, asking him if he loved me. He said yes and I held out the stick and thought he was just as excited as I was. We were going to have a baby; our love created a baby. Years later I’d find out that day wasn’t a joyous one for him and he actually was going to break up with me that same day.
The Mom Moment: I guess I had a mixture of feelings. I was scared, but happy and excited to find out that I could have babies (for some reason I just thought I wouldn’t be able to due to past health issues).
This may sound weird but my favorite first for both girls wasn’t a word or accomplishment. It was the first time I breast-fed them. With Leilani it was magical. The bond created was indescribable; knowing that I was nourishing this little innocent fragile being.
With Michaela it was all of that and more. Because her being premie and having so many medical problems, I couldn’t even hold her at first . She was fed through tubes for the first few months of her life. To get that contact and know that I was increasing her odds of survival with not only my touch, but with milk created for her, was something special and the first time I did it was on my birthday.
***Any man can be a father. It takes a real man to be a dad.***
Father/Dad: He was such a good dad.
Leilani was his world. He cried when she almost died during delivery and got emotional whenever he had to leave her.
He was excited for Michaela. He was with me every day when I was hospitalized due to having placenta previa. I almost died and needed so many blood transfusions and so did Michaela. I was in the hospital pregnant with her for a few weeks before my body couldn’t take it anymore and I had to deliver. She was 27 weeks and needed to be in the NICU for 3 ½ months. She had to be rushed for emergency surgery when just a week old and had so many medical issues.
My husband was there every day. He did not return to work because he wanted to be by her side. He also helped me recover and would bathe me because I was so useless the first few weeks.
Now he is definitely just a father. He just left us one day, not returning from work, deciding he didn’t want a family, and I was left to be a single mom of 2 babies; 2 years and an infant with so many medical needs.
Them vs. You: I knew my parents would freak out but I was with the same man for 5 years off and on and I was previously engaged to him so I thought they’d get over it quick and share in my joy.
We told my parents and they wanted to kill him; literally chased him out the house when he hesitated when they asked if he was going to be a man and take responsibility, do the right thing, and make me his wife.
I didn’t think he’d hesitate because he was always so adamant about marrying me. When I broke up with him prior he would call, message, and send gifts all the time telling me we are going to be married and he won’t give up; and now that I’m pregnant and gave him another chance he isn’t sure? It pissed me off, and selfishly I even thought about terminating the pregnancy. I’ve always been so against it but I guess when you are young and in a stressful, uncertain situation, you can’t tell what thoughts will come to your mind until your living in it.
My brother was harshest. He said, “I’m just surprised you know who the father is,” which insinuated I was a slut because I was pregnant yet I was with the same guy and they knew that.
My dad was harsh too and said that after I have the child he will ruin my body and make me pretty much fat and undesirable to other men—when I was so pretty and petite and basically leave me for no one to want me.
Fearful Moment: My scariest moment was when my babies almost died. Having to endure all that my baby has gone through, with all of her surgeries, being alone in the hospital with her, being newly abandoned, and realizing he wasn’t going to show up even for her when she was having complications, fevers, and surgeries.
My lowest moment as a mom was realizing when he left. He left us with nothing. It was low because I felt like a failure because I wasn’t going to work in order to take care of her medical needs but now I was left with nothing to help us. We were going to be evicted and left on the street if I didn’t do something. The father was very confused and I still don’t know what he is going through. He would come back sometimes but it wouldn’t be pretty. It was a very abusive situation (and it never was before). My girls witnessed the abuse one time and I saw them screaming and crying and I knew that I wasn’t going to stay in it. As much as I loved my husband (and still love the person I thought he was) I was not about to traumatize my girls and let them see a horrible depiction of love and a false definition of what it means to be a woman. Women are strong, women are to be treasured; just like my parents demonstrated for my childhood.
Fearless Moment: I found my strength that day. Seriously, their faces in terror and realizing he not only didn’t want me but didn’t want them, that was my strength to get out. It was only going on for a few months starting from getting abandoned to the abuse but I was so confused and wanted to be a good wife and make the marriage work up until that point. My girls are why I do everything.
Support System: My closest friends left me. I became closer to other friends and they are like family now. I was on the verge of insanity but some true friends, counseling, family, my babies, and most of all God have all helped me move forward and not give up.
My final thoughts are hopefully inspirational to other single moms out there. I never thought I’d be a single mom. I never thought that I could make it without him. He was the breadwinner, he was my rock. I think moments of weakness bring out hidden strength.
From trying to overdose because I couldn’t handle the stress, to moving away to a new place determined to be successful; from crying curled in a ball on the floor as the stress overwhelmed me to getting a career that pays me triple what I was making (and more than my husband’s income and mine combined prior); from thinking I can’t make it on my own and I need to stay with a man who doesn’t love me to trying and make it work to starting grad school and in 2 years making 6 figures and it’s only been 7 months since he abandoned us and all this began and 5 months in a new area.
I’m not saying this to boast but to say sometimes when God takes away things, we are so quick to think our world is over, so quick to want what we had, but God can replace it with beautiful things. I will not say that I rather make more money than be with my husband and have a family but I will say that a marriage without love and staying with an abusive husband is not where I will allow myself to be. Trust in God. He provides and watches over you.