Names have been changed.
Daisy and I knew each other for about five years before we cuffed. We have a lot in common: We are both from Brooklyn. We both have a good sense of humor and like hip-hop, action movies, and comedy. We love ice skating and shopping for sneakers. Daisy is now a freshman in college, and I am a senior in high school with plans to go to college next year.
We are both ambitious: I want to be a police officer, and she wants to be an emergency room doctor. Throughout our friendship, Daisy and I have talked about helping each other reach our goals.
When I was 17, Daisy and I were talking about our futures, and she said, “We can ride together and learn together.” Then she said, “We can use each other as a weapon of greatness.” When Daisy said this, I felt she was there for me. When she called me great, I felt good knowing I did right by her.
Daisy and I have different strengths that I thought we could help each other develop. In school, Daisy was good in history and living environment classes, while I was better at ELA and math. We are both friendly and love to help people with their problems; Daisy is a better communicator, and I’m better at seeing the good in people.
Then Daisy said, “You know you’re mine, right?”
I said, “Since when? Is this how people cuff now?” I was confused, but I was happy to be her boyfriend—and that I didn’t have to make the first move. I had wanted to date her for a year. Then she kissed me.
We Decided to Wait
Once I was her boyfriend, I took Daisy to the movies every Friday and I’d give her money when she needed some. Besides me spending more, going out was not that different from being friends, but we could talk more about personal stuff. The best is we got to kiss.
One day on the phone, Daisy said, “I’m not ready to have sex and worry about having a child.” I agreed, but asked if she thought we would ever have intercourse.
She said, “Yeah, in five years when I’m out of college and you’re part way done.” It seemed like a long wait, but that was OK with me. I believed that not having sex would help keep our relationship strong. In my experience, having sex with a girl—even if you really care about her—can mess up the relationship. Once you have done it, there is no secret, no anticipation. The challenge of getting in a girl’s pants keeps me interested.
About six or seven months into our relationship, Daisy and I went to a party in Harlem. We were having fun turning up and dancing. I had vodka with orange juice. She was drinking too. Being tipsy made me feel lustful.
Daisy whispered in my ear, “When we leave, I’m going to spend the night with you.”
I said, “OK, cool. I get to hold you tonight.”
I started to wonder, Is this the day we gonna make love or does she just wanna chill with me? I thought, Nah, we not going to do anything. Neither of us is ready and we never talked about protection.
On the way to my house, Daisy held onto my arm. This was unusual; we weren’t usually on each other so much. I was surprised, but I was digging it, and I wanted to hold her that night.
We got back to my house, and I told my foster mom, Barbara, that Daisy was spending the night. She said, “OK, just make sure you clean up.”
What Sex Means
Barbara is a true mother figure to me. But she never talked to me about having sex because I was 16 when I moved in with her, and she knew I’d had that talk already. Barbara seemed to like Daisy; they had long conversations. Once we were in my room, I decided to take a shower. When I came out Daisy was in her underwear.
I went to put on my basketball shorts, but she grabbed them from me and threw them across the room. She pushed me on the bed and started to kiss me.
I started to think about how close this would bring us. Part of me always wanted to have sex with Daisy; having a drink definitely pushed me toward wanting it more and away from waiting.
I didn’t have any condoms and she wasn’t on birth control because we were not sexually active—until that night. I thought about going to buy a condom, but I didn’t want to mess up the mood.
It was not my first time having intercourse, but it was the first time without protection. It was awkward because we’d been friends for so long. It seemed like having sex meant we were going to be together for life.
Sex Changed My Feelings
I didn’t feel it was a mistake until afterwards. Neither of us texted or called each other. After two weeks, I finally texted to ask her how she was doing. She didn’t seem to care that we hadn’t been in touch either.
I lost feelings for her, which confused me. I wondered if I’d wanted to get in her pants the whole time and I was confusing that for love. I started talking to other girls.
Daisy called me four weeks after we had sex. I was thinking, I don’t want to get back with you. She asked me how I was doing.
“Good. Look, I’m busy right now. Can we talk later?”
“Hey, babe, I gotta talk to you. It’s really important.”
“Tell me now,” I said nervously. She sounded so serious.
“I’ll tell you when we’re together, because I need to say it face to face.”
“OK, I’ll come over to your house at 4.”
When I got there, she was walking around getting dressed. She looked stressed out, but happy. She said joyfully, “Baby, I’m four weeks pregnant.”
“What Are We Going to Do?”
I felt mixed emotions. I was scared, happy, frustrated. I responded, “OK. What are we going to do? We are too young to have a child.”
Daisy said, “We’re not giving it up, or having an abortion.”
“OK, but we are going to have to work and finish school. No more late night parties. I gotta take a walk to think this over.”
I walked around the block three times, just thinking and listening to music. I was so scared, but I realized that I don’t believe in abortion either and as a foster kid, I wouldn’t want my child to be placed with a bad adoptive family. Even though I wasn’t sure of my feelings for Daisy, I knew I wanted to be there for my child the way my father wasn’t there for me. When I returned from my walk, I told her, “We’re gonna do just fine.”
Once we knew we were going to co-parent, we began to discuss the future. “Baby, do you think we will be good parents?” Daisy asked two days later.
“I don’t know, but we’re gonna do our best.”
“Do you regret anything that happened that night?”
I answered honestly, “Yeah! Not using a condom! I am not ready to have a family. I don’t have a relationship with my biological family, so no biological grandparents to help out. Now I got a child, school, and work to worry about. It’s too much.” Then I added, “But we’re in it together.”
“You’re gonna do just fine, relax,” she said, as if she knew the future.
We didn’t have sex after that. I had lost feelings, and I didn’ࣥt care about what she did. We grew further apart, week by week. This child brought stress on us, and it seemed like we had nothing else to talk about besides making money and schooling.
We both still want to succeed and to see each other grow. However, as the pregnancy progressed we just worried about our child and we didn’t hang out. Not only was it scary to think about being parents, but I’d lost romantic interest after we had sex. Now more than ever, I think it’s a good idea not to have sex when you’re young and dating.
Daisy lost feelings, too. One day she called and asked why we had not spoken in two days. I said, “Daisy I think we need to take a break.”
She said, “Break? We’re having a child!”
I said, “I can still be a father without being in a relationship with you.”
Then she admitted she felt the same: “We are both losing feelings. We don’t do things together anymore.”
Being the Parent I Didn’t Have
It’s not just that we had sex and that the responsibility of being teen parents is no fun. I’m also afraid for my child because Daisy is smoking weed and drinking while she’s pregnant. I’ve read about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. When I told her about it, she said “I’m a big girl; I know what will hurt my child.” I got mad at her, because that’s my child she’s hurting.
Daisy is a party girl and when she drinks, she flirts with people—and maybe more. She could have been sleeping with other people while we were dating. I knew this before we cuffed. I’m going to get a prenatal DNA test soon just to make sure I’m not spending money on a child that’s not mine. If it is mine, I will take care of it. If it isn’t, I will cut ties with Daisy—and I will be relieved.
Assuming it is my child, I would like for Daisy and me to eventually get our own place, maybe after she finishes college. That way, I can be there when my child wakes up and goes to sleep. I want to be there for my child’s first steps, first word, and first holidays. I see us living together but not as partners. We have discussed dating other people while living together and raising our child. Daisy said, “We can’t get mad if the other one has company,” and I agreed.
I want to do this because my parents didn’t. I want to be able to see my child every day and whenever I want to. I don’t want to have to go to court to fight about when I will see my child.
I’m making the best of this since I was a participant in this pregnancy and I have to take responsibility. I can learn how to be a parent from my foster mother Barbara, because she is the best parent I’ve ever had.
The baby is due in a few months. Barbara tells me to keep doing well in school and keep working so I can provide for my baby. Her parenting advice is to think back to when I was younger and remember how I wanted to be treated. Then treat my child that way.
She also says I should listen to my child and give them respect, love, and affection. I’m looking forward to playing with my son or daughter and to having Barbara there to help me through the journey.