I’m Embarrassed I Got Pregnant

It’s not wrong for me to tell you that having my son was the greatest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Sure, it sounds hokey and cliché, but it’s the truth. He’s almost three years old, and I cringe thinking about what life would be like if I had made a very different decision in the summer of 2014.

But I also cringe when I think about what I’m going to admit right now. Here goes:

I am embarrassed by how I became a mother. And I hate that I feel that way.  

unplanned pregnancy
This guy is unabashedly ready to take on the world. His mama could use a lesson.

Our first date was in early May. I was pregnant by June.  

My son’s father and I met in January 2014 through mutual friends. I had only spoken to him on a few occasions, but I must say I thought he was very good-looking. Anytime I saw him, I would stare at him – trying not to get caught. When he did catch me staring, it turns out that’s because he was turning his head to stare at me, too. We started dating in early May 2014, as he was coming out of a previous relationship. Things progressed quickly, and guess what? Within six weeks of dating, something felt off. I peed on a stick and, yep – that sucker had double lines. I was pregnant.

Did I mention we were both in recovery at the time?

Those mutual friends I mentioned were friends from Alcoholics Anonymous. The same month we met was the same month I stopped drinking and got sober. I walked into an AA meeting and changed everything about my life. I got a sponsor and went to a ton of meetings. And I met him. I did everything they tell you not to do in your first year of sobriety: dated within the program, dated too soon after I got sober, and had to make a major life change.

And did I mention I had just started a new job, no, a new career six months earlier?

I had left a 15 year career in television news to work in public affairs at a well-known public institution. It was a very good job, but I was brand new in the field and within my surroundings. How do you tell your boss you’re pregnant when you’re still figuring out where the bathrooms are? 

So here I was. Pregnant. Newly sober. At 36 years old. In a brand new relationship with my baby’s father. Barely figuring out my new job. All of these questions started going through my mind:

  • When had I become this irresponsible and impulsive person?
  • What about the grad school programs I was researching?
  • Do I keep it? Terminate? Where can someone even go to do that in this area?
  • How could I let myself be stupid enough to get pregnant? 

It’s really the last question that mortified me. Three and a half years later, it still does.

We’ve all been taught about reproduction since we put the little seed in the styrofoam cup. It’s not like college-educated, professional women don’t know how these things work. Well, there was now a little seed growing in MY styrofoam cup and it’s like I didn’t pay attention. I was suddenly ‘THAT GIRL’ who most young women spend their whole life trying to avoid. To put it bluntly, I got knocked up by someone I barely knew, and I was absolutely not prepared to raise a kid.

Those are all the things I’m still embarrassed about. The irresponsibility, mainly. It still makes me feel less than. Sometimes it’s as though his dad and I have failed him because we can’t give him the same relationship foundation that many of my friends can give their children. We don’t have that because I still see us as irresponsible, and I do things to gloss over it. When my son’s friends’ parents say “what does your husband do again?” I am way too embarrassed to tell them we’re not married. When the neighbors ask me how we met, I’m way too embarrassed to tell them we met in recovery so I just say “church” (which is technically acceptable because we did attend the same church at the time).

Of course, the reality is that I have nothing to be embarrassed about. The reality is that I clearly was prepared to raise a child because we are doing it. Our son is smart, sweet, funny, and just a great kid to be around. I’m so proud of who he is; I’m just not really proud of how my path to motherhood began, and I’m even less proud of how I feel about it now.

Here’s to hoping I’ll grow out of that by the time my son outgrows Caillou. 

Hi! I’m Courtney, mom to 3 year old busy guy James. A New England native, I moved to Kansas City for a job in 2004 for a job as a TV news producer and never looked back, except for when the Red Sox are in town. These days I’m the media and public relations coordinator for the award-winning Kansas City Public Library. Our family absolutely loves Kansas City and the people here, though my East Coast snark still comes out from time to time. We spend our days exploring the zoo, neighborhood playgrounds, local festivals, the Nelson-Atkins museum, Crown Center, the City Market, and of course libraries. We live in wonderful Troost Plateau, and I love our neighborhood and our big ol’ porch. And also nachos.


  1. Sister! My oldest was the second time I had sex with a regular at the bar where I was bartending, while I lived at home, 8 months after I graduated college. He’s almost 8 now and the story gets easier to tell. Promise. 😌

  2. Your son seems to me to be the miracle that made things “work” for you. Don’t be embarrassed! I am embarrassed that I planned to have 2 children and could barely make ends meet some weeks!

  3. I did everything you imply as being the “right” way. I was with my daughters father for 9 years before she was born (married for 3). While I had a healthy pregnancy, she was born premature, I was diagnosed with cancer 2 months later, and a few months after that discovered her dad was having an affair. My daughter is 10 now and we’ve been battling in court on and off for 7 years now. Point of the story: there is no “right” way. And life is unpredictable. If you have something amazing now, don’t be ashamed! Embrace it!!

  4. Oh man. I feel like I’m reading an excerpt of my story! I was in the middle of a divorce, got pregnant in June (started dating in May), was a first grade teacher at a Christian school (the same school I graduated from)… and it was my first year ever teaching. My (now husband) lived in a different STATE… no savings… no stability… but lots of 💕. We met in a bar. It all sounds so “wrong,” but I love our story and pray you love yours eventually. I was married before and we did everything “right.” Dates three years, premarital counseling, 3 years of marriage, adopting a little girl from Ethiopia, until it all came crashing down the day he walked out and decided he didn’t want to be married anymore. My whole life fell apart. But my daughter and her daddy were God’s grace. His love even though I wasn’t living the “right” way. He knew my heart. He knew I wanted to be a mom yesterday. He knew it would all be okay and that sometimes you have to be humbled and walk in someone else’s shoes to understand their life and choices. I’m sure you are a much more compassionate person towards those who get pregnant non-traditionally. You gave your son life and that’s all that matters!

  5. I found out I was pregnant with baby number three, one week after i had accepted an offer to graduate school that would move our family across the country, away from our supports, the start of a new and crazy time, and away from my beloved midwife whom I’d been working with as her assistant for four years prior. It didn’t matter that it was a baby being born into our already-established family…it was incredibly difficult to accept the responsibility of starting over with a fresh baby in the midst of a huge life-change. We discussed our options: give up grad school and stay put, end the pregnancy, or throw caution to the wind and go ahead with our plans, baby or not. We chose the last option. It was difficult starting graduate school/assistantships so obviously pregnant. It was embarrassing to sit there, pregnant in a room of 20-somethings and professors who I didn’t know. It turned out fine, with baby choosing to come during winter break. I only missed one week of classes at the spring term due to some major complications post-partum. Regardless of whether the world thinks that your childbearing choice is responsible or not, many of us mothers came by one or all of our children in journeys that we didn’t envision and during times that weren’t perfect. I do love hearing every one else’s journeys to motherhood, so thank you for sharing and helping me stop and reflect upon my own life.

    p.s. I couldn’t imagine life without our little fireball who made our family complete.

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