Name: Elaina Cook
Year you graduated high school: 2005
Year you found out you were pregnant: 2012
Number of children: 1
The Uh Oh Moment: I found out that I was pregnant while at work at the age of 25. I did not confirm my pregnancy until after work that day. I bought a home pregnancy test after discussing it with my best friend who lived in New York and went to my boyfriend’s house to take it with him for moral support.
When I felt that I was pregnant I had numerous thoughts running through my head. There were only two distinct thoughts that I remember vividly. One of my thoughts was that I need another place to stay. I was living with my mother at the time and I had one year left of my master’s program. My second thought was that I did not want to keep it; I was not ready to have a child while still in school and living with my mother. So I packed up my belongings, found an apartment, and moved out before telling my mother that I was pregnant. When I finally told her my reason for moving out, she was disappointed but she understood and was shocked that I followed her demands.
When growing up the rule for her daughters was if you get pregnant no matter the age, you no longer could live at home with mommy.
The Mom Moment: I officially considered myself a mother when I felt the baby kick for the first time while she was in the womb. Of course I was carrying the baby for four months prior but it didn’t feel “real” until I felt her kick.
***Any man can be a father. It takes a real man to be a dad.***
Father/Dad: I have known my child’s father for ten plus years. In a sense, we were best friends. The relationship was loving but still strained. There were numerous questions about infidelity throughout the entire relationship that were never resolved before nor after the baby was born.
At the time he provided me with the moral support that I needed to assure me I could handle a situation of this magnitude. He convinced me to keep the baby and listed all the reasons why having a child with me would be so great. He witnessed the birth of his daughter while still hiding the fact that he was seeing his wife….
Throughout my entire pregnancy my child’s father was secretly reconnecting with his wife who I was under the impression he was separated from. Now grant it, yes I was aware that this man was married when we started seeing each other. Knowing him for ten plus years when we started dating, I never questioned or challenged him. When he informed me that he divorced his wife I believed him. My guard was completely down and my intuition was turned off. After two months of secrecy of the relationship, our mutual friends informed me about it, how long it was going on, and what his future plans were in regards to me.
Over time his compassion and love towards me being pregnant became a burden and a setback for him. So when I found out what transpired, I forced him to move out of the apartment and he has not seen his child since the day he left (three months old).
Them vs. You: When it comes to my parenting style, I am still learning. My daughter is young and she is at the age of exploration and learning how to establish her own independence. However, in the future, I do believe I will adopt my mother’s authoritarian parenting style and combine it with my own style in the hope of becoming an authoritative parent. Growing up I did not have an opinion when it came to socializing, academics, etc. With my daughter I want to value her opinion without being dismissive when she gets older with the hope of establishing such a relationship where she is comfortable enough to come to me with a problem or a concern. Of course, it is not okay to be friends with your children, however, I do want my child to feel comfortable enough come to me at any moment.
The harshest thing my mother ever said to me during my pregnancy was, “When you have a daughter you will see.” Now this may not sound harsh, but I heard this comment every time I voiced what I did not like in regards to what I wanted for my unborn baby in addition to how I was going to raise my baby. Her comment was basically saying that I will regret disagreeing with her ways. I felt that was a bit much, especially at the age of 25, I expected my mother to see some value in my opinion. I felt very disappointed and alone during my pregnancy because everyone that I expected to be there for me turned their noses or backs towards me.
Fearful Moment: My scariest moment thus far as a parent was when my child was returned to me from her father with scratches all on her face. He refused to give me an explanation and I felt helpless. My job is to protect her at all costs and I felt like I failed her at that moment.
Fearless Moment: My favorite first moments are the day she was born, the first time I saw her crawl, and after I came in from the store I saw her walk for the first time. Her first word was “ball” which is so weird to me because I expected it to be momma or dada.
Support System: I had no support system from family the way that I intended, and at this point there was nothing prepared for the baby’s arrival. I cancelled my baby shower and decided to max out my credit cards to buy what I needed for my child. My motto was and still is: at the end of the day no one owes me anything and I need to provide for my child at all costs.
My sister witnessed everything that transpired and moved in with me to help me with the baby so that I could find a better job and finish my last semester of graduate school. Words cannot express the amount of gratitude and appreciation for my sister.
She was my rock throughout my entire pregnancy. Our relationship has always been strained growing up, but this pregnancy brought us closer than ever before. So every day I try my best to remind her how much I appreciate her. Grant it we had some rough patches with her stepping up to help me with the baby but we were able to work through it as sisters.
I lost so many friends along the way during my pregnancy because I realized many of their true colors as time went on until the birth of my baby. My closest friend’s reaction was surprise. No one in my social circle thought that I would actually be pregnant.
I found my strength from God, my sister, and my friends. My friends and family gave me the courage and the strength to surpass the negativity and the constant nights of worrying. Prayer every moment when I feel low gives me the power to face it all. Without God’s forgiveness and love I would not be the mother that I am today.