**This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.
Working in an office, you tend to bond with certain people that you work closely with on a daily basis. Over my twelve years working for one particular corporation, I became very close with one of my older co-workers.
She had a dark, sarcastic sense of humor just like I did and we had a lot of fun together at work giggling over gossip or complaining about our managers. Typical stuff for an office. She was about ten years older than me and she was a single mother of two children, a thirteen-year-old girl, and a nine-year-old boy.
At the time, I was in my thirties, divorced, and happily child-free. I would often go over to her house to hang out or go to the movies together. I got to know her kids pretty well and they were good kids who were very close to their mom.
As a single mom, this co-worker worked odd shifts alongside me, from the wee hours of the morning until the early afternoon. She would use her lunch break in the mid-morning to drop her kids off at school and pick them up after work. She was a devoted mother whose world revolved around her children.
One day, my co-worker informed me that her daughter had a boyfriend and said that he had started coming over to hang out, supervised of course. He was actually younger than her daughter, at twelve years old. This young relationship seemed pretty innocent at first and the two quickly became inseparable, doing everything together, holding hands, and he was always over at the house whenever I visited.
This young boy was included in most of my co-worker's family activities. Apparently, he came from a broken home where the environment at his house was not the healthiest. You could say that my co-worker pretty much took him in since he was always over at her house after school and fed him.
Even though this couple seemed very young for dating, the relationship continued for many months.
Then, one day, I got a phone call from my co-worker. She was crying and I could barely hear the words she was trying to form over the phone.
Eventually, through hysterical tears, my co-worker told me that her daughter was pregnant.
I was stunned. I didn't know what to say. She was thirteen! I stayed on the phone for quite some time, trying to calm down my co-worker as best I could while asking some questions as to what she knew about the situation.
It turns out that she had no idea that these two young kids were that physically serious and that she had never had a conversation with her daughter about how to prevent something like this. The boy had apparently been sneaking in through her daughter's window while she was either sleeping or at work. As a person who didn't have kids at the time, I couldn't even imagine what she was going through. She was shocked, angry, and emotionally broken.
Her daughter was many weeks along already and had been afraid to tell her mom for quite some time. She had been keeping it a secret until she couldn't anymore.
After a time of serious conversation, crying, and healing, my co-worker and her daughter decided that the pregnancy would proceed.
Amazing as it was, even in this seemingly impossible situation, my co-worker managed to help her daughter navigate this situation and her daughter ended up giving birth to a beautiful little girl when she was fourteen. I visited her in the hospital the day she gave birth, and both the young new mom and her baby were healthy.
My co-worker was now a grandma and she doted over her new granddaughter whom she adored.
Unfortunately, soon after the baby was born, the young man who was the father faded out of the picture and was rarely a part of the child's life. My co-worker supported her daughter by helping to care for the child while her daughter finished school. She was able to do most of her classes from home and then ended up graduating early.
Now that I'm a mother, I cannot even imagine having to deal with this kind of situation. I never forgot what happened to my co-worker and her daughter and it reminds me to always keep an open line of communication with my own daughter and educate her about reproduction in the best way that I can.
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