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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Single motherhood is far from an inhibition

“You’re pregnant.”

I never imagined hearing such a phrase one day shy of my 18th birthday, two days before senior prom, and only three months away from my first semester of college. Yet, young and single motherhood very much so was my reality. Like it would any other human being, panic overtook me.

Initially I thought, “How will I ever manage college?” I was leaving high school with nearly a 4.0 GPA, but do babies and good grades jive? The town of 2,000 people I grew up in was notorious for dropout teen parents but I didn’t want my future to reach a premature conclusion.

A handful of those who never leave turn to alcohol and drugs, and I rejected the idea of being stereotyped as something I didn’t stand for. I spent the remaining few weeks of high school keeping to myself; no one knew about my pregnancy aside from a couple relatives and the father of my son.

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Nightly, I visited the local Catholic shrine overlooking Keweenaw Bay, where I lit prayer candles and contemplated my options. A few weeks later, I arrived at NMU orientation. I had no idea how my peers would treat me as “the pregnant girl in the dorms.” My apprehension toward making new friends had at least doubled and then there was always a chance I’d go into pre-term labor in the middle of an exam.

Payne Hall became my home for the semester and to my delighted surprise, I found that the most difficult part about expecting in the dorms was sleeping on those stiff mattresses. The people I met while living in the dorms were amazing. I would spend most evenings chatting with my suitemate about adventures from our pasts and I even made close bonds with those I networked with in classes. From time to time, I received strange looks lifting at the PEIF in my third trimester, but I distinctly remember strangers giving me high fives when I’d go jogging in the rain, ready to pop.

The support and encouragement didn’t stop at the student body however. Most of my biology professors seemed to think it was cool to have a walking human incubator participating in their lectures. The way my professors handled my situation helped me see the genuine interest the faculty members here at NMU have in every one of their students.

After worrying so much about being labeled, I’ve found the souls we encounter have the capacity to overlook whatever stigmas you may think define you. My son’s projected due date was the prophesied end of the world in 2012, but worry not: I was still pregnant. Ayden Dale was born in-between the Fall and Winter semesters on Christmas Eve.

During the second half of my freshman year, I took 16 credits online back home and together we moved back to Marquette in the summer. Now that my son is running, talking and going to school by himself, some parts of life have shifted drastically, while others not so much. The dynamics of having a social life as a young college mom are quite versatile, but campus socialization doesn’t end. I’ve still managed to participate in various organizations, such as the NMU Figure Skating Club and The North Wind.

I never thought that as a single college mom I’d be able to say I’ve competed in ice dancing at the collegiate level but it goes to show that a positive attitude and time management can take you further than inhibitions will. I can count the college parties I’ve been to on a single hand.

The importance of being a mother means I can’t just decide to toss my responsibilities aside for the night and go out. Feelings of being left out vanish when I’m scrubbing my toddler’s toes in the tub or we’re having a dance party on my bed. Becoming a college mom has helped me to become a bit more choosy in the company I surround myself with but I am open-minded to all. Squandering time to judge others leads to nowhere. As I’m writing this piece, my 3-year-old dinosaur is roaring in my ear with no pants on.

I wouldn’t say this journey through motherhood in college is easy but it’s not as difficult as I’d first imagined. I could be having a rough day but my son’s smile cures whatever’s bothering me and that rekindles my drive. Regardless of your circumstances, you have the choice to make what you will of it.

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