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Teen Dad: Emphasis on the Dad

By , 19, Contributor Originally Published: June 18, 2015 Revised: September 14, 2015

Finding out that my girlfriend, Olivia, was pregnant was actually a happy time for me. I think most teen dads would freak out at first, but I must have skipped that part because we just laughed nervously when we found out. What wasn’t a laughing matter was telling our parents.

Telling Our Parents

Here is how I told my dad:

I had to be at work in 20 minutes, and my older brothers and I were over at my dad’s house. My brother Jason was the first one I told. Then, I told my brother Robert, and they pressured me to tell my dad. So within the next few minutes I told my dad, and while he wasn’t happy, I believe he was more shocked and disappointed that this was coming from the youngest son—the one he thought was the most likely not to get someone pregnant. After I told him, I went to work and I came back to him and my mom talking. My mom was a little distraught, but I am the last of her children to have a child, so I think this probably didn’t surprise her very much. I believe the reason my parents took it so good was because they knew the person I was: I had a job and I am very responsible.

At the time only my family knew Olivia was pregnant. Her family still didn’t have a clue. My dad wanted us to tell them, but we were really scared. It was around September when her mom found out. So Olivia and I were at my dad’s house, and Olivia decided to call and tell her mom. Her mom was furious, and she said for Olivia to get home! Olivia’s mom went out to get a pregnancy test for her to take. After it came up positive, her mom said, “Congratulations.” Her dad was the next one to find out. They weren’t very happy for a few weeks, but eventually things calmed down.

I will always be there for her and that is because I am her dad—it doesn’t matter if I’m 18 or 28.

Planning for Zoey

Trying to become the parents I believed we could be, we talked out how Olivia and I were going to deal with a baby in our schedule. Olivia took parenting classes and found a daycare. I believe you become a parent after you have the child, and you deal with caring for them, but you need to have a plan.

Before Zoey was born, I probably didn’t do everything I could have to become a dad, but a dad really is someone who is there for his child and provides for that child. That is what I want to accomplish. I looked up websites on everything a baby needs from when they are born on. I made the wish list on Amazon, and I saved up money from my job to pay for everything and had it shipped a month before she was born. I also saved up money for a car for transportation to daycare and everywhere else that my VIP Scooter couldn’t take my child.

Playing Different Parts

To be a dad, a student, an employee, a friend and a family member is very hard, especially to fulfill those roles and meet different people’s expectations. A teacher may want me to fill the student role that night by doing the homework they assigned, but I need to be in the father role because my daughter has a 104.1 degree fever and I’m at the hospital until 3a.m. waiting for it to come down. I had to learn how to accommodate and how to make time for everything—it took a lot of thinking and planning.

Being a dad is both an amazing experience, and it can also be scary. It is amazing because I can watch this little human being grow and be a little comedian. The scariest part is being at school or at my job and worrying about what could happen to Zoey. It can almost make you go insane. The hardest part of being a dad is putting your child first. Most people at 18 only really have to care and worry about themselves.

Looking to the Future

I have two career goals that I want to accomplish. The first one is that I want to become a police officer. I really want to make a difference in people’s lives. I just know I have so much to give back. My other career goal that I want to accomplish is to be a U.S. Marshal. I would like to be stationed in Indiana, so I can continue giving back to my community and my state. Then in 2032, I am running for President of the United States. Just think how much I could give back and help then!

My hope for my daughter Zoey is that she grows up knowing that she can accomplish anything that she puts her mind to. People have asked me what I am going to do if she is a teen mom. I tell them if she wants to be stubborn like I was and do it on her own then I am going to let her, but I am going to be the dad that she can come to whenever and for whatever.

I will always be there for her and that is because I am her dad—it doesn’t matter if I’m 18 or 28.

Zachary Boles is a Sex, Etc. contributor who lives in Indiana. Read his partner’s story to get her perspective on “Being a Teen Mom—Minus the MTV.”


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