I was just your average teenager. Then I got pregnant.
I'm 18 years old. I recently graduated high school in the top 10 percent of my class with a 97 percent GPA. I was Student Council co-president and co-editor of the school newspaper, as well as a member of the National Honor Society, Student Advisory Council, National Latin Honor Society, Quill and Scroll Honorary Society for High School Journalists and the yearbook staff. I was even on the homecoming court and was named "Friendliest" in the senior class Who's Who. As a freshman at Temple University, I'm majoring in magazine journalism. I'm just your average teenager--well, except for one thing: I'm pregnant.
I'm 18, but it sure doesn't feel like it.
Considering the short time I've been alive, Aug. 18, 2008, is the day that's most affected my existence. I awoke at my best friend Angie's house, snuggled under a down comforter. My phone was vibrating.
"Hello?" I murmured groggily.
"Hey, Jen. It's Mom," replied the perky, yet somewhat tense voice on the other end. "I just wanted to let you know that the doctor called; your blood test results are in, and you're supposed to call them back. I thought you'd want to know."
I was immediately awake, and the nausea I'd been dealing with all month suddenly hit hard. "Oh, yeah. Sure," I said, wiping the sleep from my eyes. "I'll call them."
"I love you, Jen," she added.
"I love you too."
"I can't possibly wait until I get home," I thought. "I need to know now." My hands were unusually shaky as I dialed the phone number of Partners in Women's Healthcare. Angie was just waking up, but no words were necessary. She immediately knew.
I finally got hold of a nurse, gave her my name and held my breath.
"Jennifer Merrill, Jennifer Merrill, Jennif--oh, yes, here it is," said the nurse, apparently glancing over her charts. "Yes, Jennifer, your blood test shows that you sure are pregnant!"
My jaw dropped and my lip began to quiver. "W-w-what? I am?" Tears began to fill my eyes. Instinctively, Angie leaped from her bed into mine, and wrapped her arms around me.
PW's Taste of Philly 2014
Election Day 2014: Tues., Nov. 4