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17 and pregnant

Senior chooses adoption over being a teen mom

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In the blink of an eye, senior Emma Montes’ life was turned upside down. An event typically reserved for adults made a surprise appearance in 17-year-old Montes’ life.

“I didn’t even know I was pregnant at all,” Emma said. “I was four months pregnant whenever I first went and got my first check up. Kind of ironically, my mom was the one who got me to be like take the pregnancy test like she thought I looked different”  

I didn’t even know I was pregnant at all,”

— senior Emma Montes

“I just knew something was different,” mom Jenni Montes said. “It was just so hard to be right. I so did not want to be right. So when she took the first test I was like you know what you’re doing this again and she did and my heart dropped.”

“I was a little bit devastated,” Emma said. “I was really shocked. I didn’t know how to take it in. right then and there though I knew who like I was the father was and I knew that we have to figure something out.”

Montes knew she needed to go to a doctor as soon as possible to see how far along she was.

“We find out I’m 16 weeks pregnant,” Emma said. “Sonogram pictures were already showing the gender and everything like that.”

Her pregnancy confirmed, her doctor gave her advice about her choices:

“You need to go home and write out adoption, keeping, and abortion and write out the pros and cons for every single one,” Emma said. “All three of the choices were valid choices, but as soon as I start writing cons for abortion, I can just write point after point.”

Faced with a decision that could impact Emma for decades to come, there was one thing she didn’t want to do.

Emma Montes
Several months into her pregnancy, senior Emma Montes takes a selfie showing her baby bump.

“I don’t think people realize how much emotional damage it actually takes on a person,” Emma said. “A lot of people think about themselves but then you think about how later on you’re going to regret it, because you’re gonna think “wow that could’ve been a human being that could’ve done a great things. And I’m not not bashing anybody who’s done it, just personally, for me, it has a lot of cons for me.”

With abortion not an option for Emma, she moved on to the idea of adoption, with a prospective family already in mind.

“That helped the whole process tremendously- that it seemed like it was meant to be,” dad Mike Montes said. “Everything just clicked. To me that made it a lot easier.”

“Me and the father came up with the name Noah and we ran it by his adoptive mom and they go ‘oh my goodness that’s the number one name on our list’,” Emma said.

Emma often reflects on the decision she made, comfortable that she made the best choice for Noah.

“Some days I’ll be like I’ve made the worst decision of my whole life and some days I’ll be like this was the best for not only myself but definitely for my son,” Emma said. “That was my main thing was “it was good for him?”

Teen pregnancies often have an impact that reaches far beyond the couple, with each member of the Montes family affected in different ways.

“Adoption is something that is very painful and it is really has hit me very hard,” Emma said. “It’s a very damaging thing. You love somebody so much, and then all of a sudden you just kinda gotta let them go. I’ve seen my son for probably not even a week and that’s about as much as I know of his personality, anything. Most of that it was he was in the hospital on a ventilator.”

“It was hard because we were trying to keep everything so secretive,” mom Jenni said. “That was the hardest part. Living a lie, pretending that everything is okay, and you can’t pretend it’s not happening. Living a lie was hard.”

When you make that decision, when you put your child above you, that is the number one thing that makes a mom a mom,”

— mom Jenni Montes

“I would say I never worried about all of that,” dad Mike said. To me it was worrying about her and how it would affect her down the road. I don’t worry about what other people think. I mean we all have our life experiences.”

Emma’s support team extended beyond her family tree.

“The number of kids and parents who just loved on her during summer that was great,” mom Jenni said. “Once we decided to be open and honest, things got a lot easier. “

Over the years, shows on MTV have put teen pregnancy in the spotlight. there’s debate as to whether or not such shows glamorize teen pregnancy, but according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human services, The teen birth rate has declined almost continuously over the past 20 years, but less talked about is, is the decision made by Emma.

“I don’t think people understand that the reason I chose adoption is because I love my son so much that I would hurt myself to make sure he’s okay,” Emma said. “I never want him to want anything I never want him to worry about “when can my mom buy my next meal” I never want him to have that because that’s what it would end up being because I’m only I’m only 18. I’m not ready I’m not prepared.”

“Her case worker told us ‘we don’t see high school girls make this decision. They’re usually older and more mature’,” mom Jenni said. “The fact that she was able to have the wherewithal to do that I’m so proud of her.”

provided by Emma Montes
Laying in her hospital bed, senior Emma Montes awaits the birth of her child.

“It’s gonna sound strange but we’re proud of her and I think sometimes parents tend to strain, and in the end we are proud of her,” dad Mike said. “Obviously we are not proud of what happened, but in the end we are proud of the maturity she showed beyond that.”

For many moms, giving up their child for adoption means a lifetime apart, but not so for Emma.

“He has a picture of me and our family next to his bed and like she tells him every night how much I love him and stuff,” Emma said. “I’m really hoping that we’re gonna go far with this relationship with him because that’s what I want and I’m hoping that once he gets older that’s what he’s gonna want too. He’s gonna be curious about where I come from and my story and stuff like that.”

It’s a story that often goes untold in Frisco, but it’s one the Montes family wants to share.

“I’m speaking from a mom’s point of view right now. Not her mom, but a mom,” mom Jenni said. “When you make that decision, when you put your child above you, that is the number one thing that makes a mom a mom. We are not an anomaly here in Frisco, the statistics don’t back us and I feel sorry for the people that have to live in that shame and silence all by themselves. That’s heartbreaking to me. So I hope if anybody sees this and is going through their struggles and whatever decision they chose that they find the help that they need so that they can be loved because they deserve it.”

Sitting by a window at school, senior Emma Montes chose to give her boy up for adoption rather than be a teen mom.

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17 and pregnant