I have a friend who got pregnant and had a child when she was 17. She was a good girl, trying to survive in an abusive and disturbing family. She didn't drink or do drugs or sleep around. The child's father was her first boyfriend and love. She thought he was her salvation.
As the story usually goes, she married him because he begged her to, and because she wanted to be a "real" family. In return for her love, he beat her and cheated on her and once tried to kill her. He is very lucky I didn't know her at the time.
He refused to support her when she wanted to go to college, and that meant that her dream of medical school was never going to happen either. He took her money and her confidence and made her sole provider and caretaker for their son.
She was, and still is, an amazing mother. I don't know if I've ever met a better mom.
She managed to put herself through college, slowly. She made the decision to not go to medical school because she wanted to be there for her son during his preteen/teenage years.
She spent a lot of time wondering, "what if". What if I had not gotten pregnant? What if my life had worked out the way I thought it would? She would never take it all back, because she couldn't stand the thought of not having her son by her side, but it's hard to not wonder.
This year marks the year she would have completed her residency had she never become pregnant.
This is also the year that she found out that she has a disease that has destroyed her ovaries. She can no longer have children. In fact, had she not had a child so early, she would most likely would never have had a child at all.
She no longer wonders, "what if".
Once her son is done with high school, she is going to try to go to medical school.
We must always remember that we are not in control of this life. I don't know who or what is, but everything has a time and place, even if we don't understand.
That's my Friday reflection.