My doctor meant well, as did everyone else who had said more or less the same thing throughout my pregnancy. And I was the kind of girl that everyone believed would recognize that parenting my daughter as a teenager was not in the best interest of myself or my child.
But I took it as a dare. I had a 16-year-old's immortality complex. Up until then, nothing had been hard. I had had a safe, middle-class childhood in which the only dangers were those I got myself into -- by, say, taking the family car in the middle of the night, or having sex.
I hated my doctor for implying, or so I thought, that keeping my child would be a sentimental decision made out of emotional weakness. To me, this was my chance to prove just how tough I was. Like most ambitious teenagers, I still believed at that time that I could chose between, you know, being president, winning the Pulitzer Prize for fiction (maybe poetry, maybe both), and maybe being a movie star or something. I was still going to do all that, and I was going to do it with a child. It was my chance to be extraordinary in the most literal sense, by breaking out of the ordinary college, career, dating, marriage, children trajectory that was expected of girls like me.
Proving Them Wrong
So my promise, to myself and my daughter, was that we were going to prove everyone wrong. I was going to raise a child who was every bit as smart, capable, and badass as I thought I was. And I was going to do everything I would have done anyway, and do it just as well as, if not better than, I would have on my own. It was the Enjoli commercial, with baby.