Written by Danelle Henden. One of the most consistent questions I get, once I tell someone my story, is, “Did you have any support?” The answer… Not really! I was totally in the closet about my pregnancy. I was very fearful of people’s opinions of me if they found out. I was a first-generation college student, and everyone had high hopes for me. Everyone expected me to go places, and here I was staring at being a statistic. I wasn’t going to finish college — I had no degree, no job, no car, and no place to live. So it was back with my mom. I managed to hide my pregnancy from a mother, from my friends, and from all my family.
I finally broke down and told one of my closest friends, Whitney. The amusing thing (but not really) about it is, the day after I told her, my water broke. As someone who went through all of my pregnancy without any real support, I can testify that it is immensely important to have somebody in your corner, if only just to listen to you. I neglected to do that for myself. I can say that pregnancy was one of the worst moments of my life. It’s like I put myself on a boat with no paddles and I expected to travel. However, obviously, I didn’t get very far.
After I told Whitney, she came to the hospital to see me the next day. She reacted as I thought she would — she was very shocked and surprised but supportive nonetheless.
When I gave birth the next day (two days after being admitted) at 5 in the morning, there was no one there with me in the hospital. It’s a bit terrifying after the fact. I remember the chill that I had after having the babies as the doctors tried to staunch the blood loss. I remember my eyes felt so heavy that I can hardly remember the blood transfusion that was necessary. It’s scary to think I could have been gone from this world and only one person would have known to inform my family. To think, if I’d waited any longer to tell her, no one would have known.
I say all this to say: it’s okay to ask for help! It’s okay to ask a loved one or friend for support! It is okay and it is necessary to have someone in your corner. Doing everything alone is just contrary to who we are as humans. We are social creatures, we desire other people in our lives, and we need their support.
I learned that the hard way, and I’m writing it down so maybe someone else doesn’t have to.