“Hang in there.” Those are the words I muttered with tears rolling down my face just last year. “I would say hang in there,” I tell our counselor, Jeff.
He asked me if I could go back and tell myself anything what would I say. I go on to quietly squeak out that I would want to know that it was all worth it. That the fight and the courage it took to live out my 20’s would propel me into the person I am today and that it was all going to be okay, better than “okay”. With help, I was going to grow into a life that I loved. Yes it was going to be hard, but we can do hard things. Beauty is found in the hard.
It has been 15 years since I found out I was pregnant. It was the day before my 22nd birthday. Surprise! During a season riddled with loss and heartbreak for my family, a season flooded with confusion and wondering,I was now bringing a whole new human into this world.
What I didn’t know was that this baby was going to be what God used as a catalyst in my life, our life as a family.
It took Lane and I four months to tell our families that I was pregnant, except for my brother who knew first, which gave me an anchor that I didn’t know I needed. Looking back, I am so grateful for our relationship and the friend that I found in him. The second person we told was our dear friend and college pastor, Ruth. The support and love she gave us was truly a gift. She was someone to talk with, ask questions to, and lean on. I’m pretty sure she never thought she would be thrown into that role early in her pastoral career. Even still, she had a divine appointment in our lives and taught us in real time how to love “no matter what”.
Those four months were the longest months of my life. I am very close to my family. I worked with my mom, grandmother, and aunt every day that year, lived with my brother, and acted like my little sister’s second mama. My dad has always been a fierce protector and this season was no different. I got to tell them ALL that I was pregnant, that it’s unexpected and we had no clue what we are doing but, like so many of you, we made it through those hard conversations. My mom cried while
sitting on the couch that night. She wrapped me in a hug, which I probably awkwardly tried to reject. She tried to promise me it was all going to be okay. My Gran, while eating a ham sandwich in the stock room of their retail store, assured me with every word that “we would get through it.” My little brother, always the comedian, laughed. His baby sister... I think he was just shocked. My Granny was concerned that my daughter wasn’t going to have a last name because I wasn’t married! Dear heavens... And my dad, he was so cautious of what all this meant for me, for us. We have a big ol’, wild family, one that chose to love us always, but we were all completely, utterly terrified.
Lane and I did not get married until Ansley was 6 months old. He asked me to marry him the Christmas after she was born. I remember the season being full of excitement, but also still in the trenches of hurt. If I could change anything, it would be that. Time has been healing. Learning to forgive as I have been forgiven has been life-changing.
Looking back, I am able to see God’s provisions and mercies every step of the way. I learned to lean into my relationship with Jesus that year. I had no where else to turn, no way of seeing what the future would look like. Choosing to trust and believe that He could direct my paths became very real and most days, my only hope. I found that I had a God who hears me, a Savior who loves me unconditionally, and a friend in Jesus.
Fast-forward and we are still married! Now with two kids, Ansley and Luke who provide our lives with a great deal of joy.
Ansley is quiet, spunky, quick-witted, disciplined, rides horses, and is on the drum line. She loves deeply, is a brave and courageous fighter who would rather be with animals than people any day. She came into the world this way. Her story began in this way. I believe it is who God has created her to be. I look at her and I am filled with awe and wonder.
Some days I am amazed at how close our story came to being so different. In the next second, I am so incredibly grateful for all the life we have gone through. I love to tell her the stories of overcoming the hard together.
Luke is genuine, funny, loud, feels deeply for those around him, loves life, and everything it has to offer. He plays lacrosse, is uber creative, and bounces more than he walks. Relationships are important to him and people give him energy. God has uniquely placed him into our
story. Our family is better because he is in it.
However, his first years were not easy either. I had to undo a lot of pain and shame. In time, it has fallen away. Being a young mom with all the stressors of life anyway. Feeling as though you are living a life so different than your peers...
Lane and I, man have we grown! We are learning what it feels like to love each other deeper in each stage of life, to show up for each other every day, even when it’s really hard. Each season has its joys and its lows. Life is long. Forever is a journey.
If there was one thing I wish I knew during my pregnancy and first couple years, I think it would be that I was not “alone”. I knew my family and friends were there for me, supporting me, being protective of me, and trying to shoulder as much for me as they could. Thank goodness!
This was still mine to carry though, ours to wade through, figure out, and fight for. I felt like I was the only one going through anything like this. If only there had been a Baby Steps!
The second thing I would say is— your story matters. It’s yours to tell and yours to grow from and into.
I spent years of my life trying to hide my story, simply because... it hurt. I wasn’t always ready to share. It was easier to pretend some parts away in certain settings or, act like we had it all together, all the time. Ha! That’s really exhausting.
As I have grown, I have offered myself the same grace that others gave me, and forgiven a lot of past hurts. I have realized that it’s okay to live truthfully and authentically. It’s also okay that it took time to get here. If you’re anything like me, you’ll get here too. I sure hope so. Those around us need to know your stories, they matter.
Remember, you too are a brave, courageous fighter who chose the harder path. “Hang in there”... I promise it will all be better than just “okay”.
God has a plan, a purpose, and a path for you and your precious kiddos.
You are never alone.
Haley Pugh Scheiblauer
***Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this post belong solely to the author, and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and viewpoints of Baby Steps.
By giving a voice to those whose stories include unplanned pregnancies, we hope to empower those who may be in the midst of their own. These are The Stories We Tell.