Yep, that’s right; I’m living proof of that cautionary tale you’ve been hearing about since your teens.
I’m an urban legend, a walking statistic.
I got pregnant from casual sex after only knowing the guy for two weeks.
You would’ve thought that after years of dating, mating and partying, I would have been making smarter choices. But this one time, I didn’t.
And, I decided to keep the baby.
Here are seven ways doing so changed my life:
Time to become a grown-up.
Before getting pregnant, I was pretty selfish. Not in a mean and malicious sort of way, more in a sleep-all-day and party-all-night kind of way.
The day before I peed on the stick, I consumed so much whiskey and cigarettes at a party, my friends started referring to me as an old, drunken sailor.
My voice went raspy and I started using swear words in new and interesting ways. That all stopped the day I found out about the baby, and I haven't looked back.
I still drink and, on occasion, get drunk, but raising a young child with a permanent hangover is the least fun thing you could ever do. It’s not a bad thing; I actually like it. I feel healthier, take better care of myself and make smarter choices.
I literally used to go out every night. That’s definitely changed, as I’m a single mom without a wad of cash to pay a sitter when I want to go out.
I still go out about once a week, but I’m more judicious about what I choose to do. I don’t pay insane cover charges for terrible shows or half-rate nightclubs and I never end up regretting going out at the end of the night.
Usually I'll head out for a really good concert, art show or a hot-ticket event. And, I always have a great time.
Friendships get stronger
This tends to happen naturally over time anyway, but having a kid speeds up the process. I guarantee there are many people in your life who won’t want to be around you once a kid is in the picture.
A lot of perennial partiers, a few friends who will never have kids and a couple of people who find kids annoying just drop off completely.
At first it stings, but in the end, I found myself surrounded by a fantastic, loving and supportive group of people who adore my kid and will also watch her when I have a date or need a break.
It's a win-win.
I was judged
Mostly by family, but also by a couple of friends. This weeded out a lot of people, but the best thing my choice did was to buck people’s expectations.
It secured once and for all that I would never live the life they expected of me. I was not who they thought I was. And once the shock died down, I reaped the benefits.
They stopped nagging me about my life and started accepting my choices. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
I learned to handle crisis gracefully
A wise person once said it’s not how many times you fall down, it’s how well you get up. From the minute I peed on that stick, my life shot into a tailspin.
My body started changing, I was thrown into very close emotional quarters with a person I knew nothing about (the dad), my family was outraged, my friends were shocked and my hormones were raging.
And, I had to manage it all without the usual stress-relief tips of binge-drinking and habitual pot-smoking. It wasn’t easy, but I got through it, and many friends have noted that I did it gracefully.
That time in my life prepared me for everything else I will ever face. Stakes only get higher as we get older. I’m glad I learned the techniques I need to handle every situation with class.
I am way more picky about whom I sleep with
I don’t have one-night stands anymore or useless flings with terrible lovers.
I barely get any time to date, so when I do, I make it count. And if I’m going to have sex with someone, he better be all the things I want in that moment. Needless to say, my sex life has improved in quality, but not in quantity.
Less tolerant of friend drama
When I think about all the BS I perpetrated and witnessed in my early 20s, I’m appalled. There was so much unnecessary drama.
Raising a 4-year-old means every day, my life is filled with little dramas. As a result, I tend to surround myself with low-drama people, who prefer to act sanely and kindly to one another.
I’m much more likely to walk away from someone if he or she is constantly gossiping or arguing with others. It keeps things much more even-keeled in my life.
We all do it; casual sex is such the norm in our culture that I’m surprised when I meet someone who doesn’t do it.
Most of us don’t think about the potential outcome of a sweaty, lust-filled night until the morning after. It’s not all bad, but it is a huge life change.
While I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone, I’m glad it happened to me.
It gave me a winning dose of perspective, and a chance to grow up into the kind of person I always wanted to be.