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The text came in from my almost 16-year-old daughter late that night.

Can we talk?

My children and I were accustomed to spilling ourselves all over one another without reservation, trusting the mess would never be too much to clean up afterward. 

Brushing my teeth, I replied. Be down soon.

“What’s up?” I asked as I relaxed out onto her bed, exhausted by the day. Our eyes locked and tears began to stream from hers. “What’s up, girlie?” I asked, softer this time. I read her gaze. I didn’t want to guess and she couldn’t speak, and I knew I needed to brave up for both of us. 

“Are you pregnant?” I asked. 

“I think so,” she said. 

As I asked how she felt about the prospects of having a baby, my thoughts began flitting about the cage of my brain. We agreed: there was no way she could have a baby. She was a baby. And it actually wasn’t a baby right now, it was a small cluster of cells, hardly significant, I mused. She was on an amazing life track. A baby would be a derailment. 

I moved closer to her, wrapped my arms around her as she melted onto my chest and burst into sobs. “I’m right beside you, Honey. Every step of the way,” I said, barely audible. “I love you.”

The ultrasound wand glided over my daughter’s belly until the flicker of a human form entered the screen. There she was: my baby’s baby, a tiny thumb tucked into her tiny mouth. I choked on the emotions that rose in my throat, tears searing their way out of my eyes. All of the significance in the universe was right there in front of our eyes.

I was brought to my knees more times over the following several months than ever before. I watched my girl pull her head from the toilet to face every school day; she competed in dance competitions; contemplated her future; spent time with girlfriends; cuddled up with her boyfriend as they sifted through baby books and considered baby names while the rest of the world was none the wiser. I watched her belly swell and the world around her react unfavorably to her noticeable bump on her noticeably youthful frame. I intently listened as she asked questions or shared what she read about babyhood and motherhood. When a nasty spell of teen drama rose up, I swiftly stepped in with a mother’s fury, snuffing it out . . . and my girl was grateful, for the first time, because she now knew from deep within a mother’s protective nature.

Over the summer, we met with family and friends. We met with school counselors and dance team coaches. We chose an online school program and college classes. 

A week before school began, I watched as she stood in front of 42 dance team members to share the news. I listened as her coaches expressed what an important member of the team she was and how everyone was to love and support her as she would surely do for any one of them. There was no hesitation in those girls as they leapt from their seats and engulfed my girl in a group hug. “It’s a girl,” she said and the whole team squealed over the prospects of the newest—and tiniest—dancer. 

On October 22, 2015, I watched my young daughter bring new life into the world, in what I have no doubt—none—was the most courageous, splendid, incredible act in all of humankind’s existence. And as the Love Nugget was placed on her mother’s chest, I saw the tears of a mother stream from my daughter’s eyes. 

Three years later, I don’t know of a mama, daddy or baby who has more love and support in their lives. I’m honored to assist my girl in staying on her amazing life trajectory, empowering her and Love Nugget’s daddy to be the best parents they can be, and being an intimately involved Glamma. I won’t ever pass up a chance to invest time with my granddaughter—my littlest best friend—or to sing and dance with her, the same songs I sang and danced to with her mama. Every time her bright eyes meet mine and hold the gaze, I choke up and spill over. She is the most precious, unexpected gift I have ever received. 

As I reflect on my daughter’s bravery to choose life when a great deal of the world would have approved of ending it, I’m gratefully overwhelmed by the promise of God’s mighty glory that begins as a tiny soul tucked into a cluster of cells chosen to bloom into a magnificent, worthy human full of endless possibilities. I won’t ever doubt the magnificence or significance of life again.

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Stephanie Regalado

Stephanie Regalado is the editor-in-chief of her city magazine, blogger at SisterhoodShared.com, podcaster at SheSays and founder of the If They Only Knew project. Stephanie is mom to three daughters (ages 20, 20 and 14) and one son (18), and glamma to the ever-precious Love Nugget (3). Highlights of Stephanie’s life are traveling with friends and family—including her two walnut-sized brain canines—and frolicking waterside, anywhere. Her first book If They Only Knew, a collection from the popular magazine column of the same name celebrating the perseverance and strength of women, is due out in 2020.

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