Donald Sigette, Roswell, GA

I am happy to tell my view about my daughter [a former teen mom] and granddaughter. I hope that it may help others who find themselves in a tough spot in life and encourage them not to be afraid to ask for help.

My name is Donald Sigette and my wife’s name is Bonnie. My wife and I were married as teens. Even though the odds were against us, we remained in love and have been married for 33 years now. Garnett (our daughter) was born in 1974 and 17 years later she became pregnant and was not married. She felt very alone and ashamed. She was afraid to say anything to anyone about her pregnancy at that time, except to the father of their soon to be born child. Although not really knowing for sure the thoughts that were going through her mind and how desperate she was never to let me know about the pregnancy, she told her mother about the pregnancy. (You know, thinking about it, I do remember how hard it is to be afraid of a parent; not knowing what the outcome would be if anyone ever found out…for I had a very hard childhood myself and vowed never to raise my child the same way.)

I was so hurt when Bonnie told me about Garnett’s pregnancy, wondering what I had done as a father to cause her to be so afraid of me or what I would do. For you see, the father of her unborn child just stopped coming around all together. Because Bonnie asked me not say anything to Garnett, and to give her time to come to me herself about the pregnancy, I said nothing for many weeks. As time went by, it became harder and harder for her to say anything to me at all and even harder for her to hide the fact that she was expecting a child. I finally sat Garnett down to talk to her. I told her that I felt that she wanted to talk to me, and that this was a good time if she was willing. I handed her a card with the words, “whenever you are in need, you can always call on your father, for a father’s love is everlasting”. I also handed her a gift: Inside was a baby’s first clothing set. I then told her that the last few weeks she had been acting strange, and it didn’t take much for me to guess why. (I didn’t want to give away the fact that her mother told me that she was pregnant.) Now that her pregnancy was no longer a secret, we could work together on preparing for our new family addition.

The father of Garnett’s child, Matt, never came around (as it seems to be the case of many young soon-to-be mothers. I wonder why that is? Maybe they are also afraid and don’t know how to handle being a new father.). The day came that Garnett was to give birth to a beautiful baby girl named Rachel. My wife called me at the shop to tell me that Garnett was on her way to the hospital. I told her that I would be there soon. Before going to the hospital I went to Matt’s house. I knocked on the door and told Matt’s father that I didn’t care if I ever saw him or even talked to him again, but that I was not going to allow him to miss the birth of his new child. I told him that if I had to be there, he too was going to be there with me waiting.

When we got to the hospital Matt was greeted with bitter anger from Garnett’s other family members. They all felt that he was not welcomed there, so I had them leave: Matt, my wife, and me remained. After the birth of Rachel, Matt remained a part of her life, and five years later I sung at their wedding. They are still a close family today and I feel that part of the reason is due to the fact that Matt had a chance to watch the birth of his daughter. I am still a little hurt inside that Garnett was so afraid to come to me about her pregnancy; I wonder what the outcome of this story would have been if my wife had not told me about my daughter’s pregnancy.

This story came to a great ending although many do not. We all need to remember that we have people who love us regardless of the choices we make. I would ask anyone who faces parenthood for the first time to seek out the wisdom of someone to help them through the trying times in their lives. Also, you fathers out there… Tell your children that you love them, be there when they need you, your life will be so rewarding…and if you should fall, stand up; take a step.

Thank you for letting me share a small part of my life with you, and I wish you very well.