The most life-changing event in a person’s life is the moment they find out they are about to be a parent, doubly-so if the parents haven’t even graduated high school yet.
Raising a child is a huge responsibility, and many teenagers are not yet equipped to handle it. However, some surprise us and step up to not just do the job, but to excel at it. Such is the case of Caitlin Fladager, who found out she was pregnant as a teenager.
Caitlin and her then-boyfriend Noah were young and in love, and after one thing led to another she found herself pregnant. Naturally, she was terrified and the adults in her life didn’t help ease her worries. They shamed Caitlin and told her that Noah would abandon her and the child.
Of course, Caitlin wasn’t about to let her worries go undiscussed. She confronted her boyfriend, angry at him not for what he did but for what the adults her life assumed he was going to do. Noah, perhaps a little angry himself, told her that she would just have to wait and see.
Caitlin didn’t have to wait long. Their daughter Arianna was born, and Noah was involved in every step of the process. Soon, Noah proposed to her and the two were married.
My husband was only 17 when I got pregnant with our daughter & I was told to expect him to leave. 4 years ago, when I asked him how he would be different than any other teen dad, he said “I guess you’ll have to wait and see so I can show you” He definitely did.
As Caitlin wrote on Twitter:
“My husband was only 17 when I got pregnant with our daughter and I was told to expect him to leave. 4 years ago, when I asked him how he would be different than any other teen dad, he said ‘I guess you’ll have to wait and see so I can show you’ He definitely did.”
Even though it may look like this young family has a picture-perfect life, they still face struggles. Caitlin suffers from anxiety problems, writing on social media that it feels like she is under attack by her own mind. This sort of mental affliction is tough enough for anyone, but it would be even worse if Caitlin was a single mother.
Every month this year, my husband has taken our daughter out on “dates”. He brings her home flowers, helps her pick out a dress, and takes her out to split a dessert with him. It’s become a tradition.
But, she’s not. Noah is able to be there for her just as much as he is there for Arianna and their second child, a little boy named Jack. Their little family is picture-perfect, and can serve as an inspiration to other families who have been told to expect their lives to be “bad.”
Noah, for his part, is a doting father. He takes his little girl out on monthly “dates,” both so Caitlin can have some time to herself and he and Arianna can bond. First the little girl picks out a special outfit, then Noah gives her flowers, and finally the two go out for dinner or dessert.
He also carries a picture of Arianna on his keychain. When she asked him why, he told her that he has the picture with him because she “keeps him going.”
Caitlin and Noah’s family is a strong one, despite how young they were when it began. Even though the adults in their lives failed them, assuming the worst of Noah and weighing down Caitlin with unfounded fear, the two teenagers proved everyone wrong.
No one’s lives are perfect, but Caitlin and Noah have found strength in each other and their kids. While there is much we can all learn from them, perhaps the biggest lesson is one that we all should have learned as kids: Don’t jump to conclusions.