I got pregnant during my first semester at Wellesley. When I tell people this they generally feel sorry for me. Sorry that I didn’t experience Wellesley as I should have. Sorry that I didn’t grow into the strong woman Wellesley had told me to become. And then, I am sorry from them. Sorry that their view of strong women is so narrow that it doesn’t include me.
After that first semester, I took a year and a half off to have my son and to learn how to be a mom. When my son was nine months old, I went back to Wellesley full-time as a commuting student and Davis Scholar. I took courses over the summers and in January in order to catch up and, in the end, I graduated only one semester behind my entering class. I now use my Economics degree in a sales operations capacity in my work at Apple.
At Wellesley, we are told over and over of the legacy that we are to live up to. It is expected that we will carve out the life that we chose to lead and, if and when a child fits into that life, we will make the plunge to become a parent. I, on the other hand, have had the pleasure of my child’s company as I go through the experiences that will be most meaningful in my life. He was a frequent visitor to campus (please install more changing tables) and my professors grew to love his visits to office hours. He was my late night companion in the library during finals week. He was my lunch date in the Lulu. He was my favorite person to walk around Lake Waban with. And finally, he was in the Academic Quad with the hundreds of other people cheering me on as I got my diploma. How many people get to say that one of the most meaningful pieces of their Wellesley experience was to share it with their son?
Teen pregnancy is looked down upon as being something that happens to the uneducated, impoverished, and just plain stupid youngsters out there without direction. Pregnancy just doesn’t happen to Wellesley women, right? You are wrong, my friends. If there is one thing I have learned from being so open about my experience and having conversations with other Wellesley students and graduates it is this: Wellesley has built a culture where pregnancy before accomplishing your dreams is looked down upon. Pregnancy exists at Wellesley. As a community, our job is to support one another no matter what twists and turns our life paths may take and pregnancy should be no exception.