Nicole C AyersHer mother and father were just high school students when they got pregnant with her. They felt like they “had to” get married. The marriage didn’t last. Now Nicole C. Ayers is herself a mom of daughters, married to a great guy who is enormously supportive. But it’s hard to ignore that the unplanned pregnancy that gave her life has implications that ripple down through the generations.

Her mom loved her. She poured that love into raising her. But it wasn’t easy as a divorced woman. Nicole feels closer to her dad to this day. Her relationship with her mom remains difficult.

It’s easy to see how there would be moments of doubt for her mom — feelings of resentment that this baby took away her youth, rushed her into adulthood. Even if a teen parent never gives voice to those resentments, kids pick up on it.

Now Nicole is trying to be the best mom she can to daughters in adolescence at a very different time. I’ll never know the complications of a mother raising daughters. There is so much that is unspoken. Even in the best of situations, the mother/daughter connection waxes and wanes from girlhood to young woman.

Once a single woman is pregnant, every choice has consequences and none is perfect. You won’t catch me second-guessing any choice. I once asked my birth mother completely without judgment if she considered aborting me. It was a question born more of curiosity than shame or blame.

Abortion, adoption, parenthood. Each choice has consequences and in this adoptees view, each choice should be entirely that of the pregnant girl or woman. If she’s old enough to conceive, she’s old enough to say what happens. Easy for me to say. No one has ever asked me to take responsibility for an unplanned pregnancy.

Not that I was a chaste monk or a socially responsible sexual partner. I did have one ex-girlfriend tell me that she had a spontaneous miscarriage from a pregnancy she believe to be mine. She said it was “the Lord’s will.” I said, “Well thank the Lord.” I dodged the hard choices out of dumb luck, not because I was a good guy.

Any talk of my experience hit the cutting room floor in this podcast with Nicole. I found her to be open, grounded, and real. I’m grateful she made time to talk.

Nicole has written “The Love Notes Collection,” a three-part series of books affirming her body in the face of overwhelming cultural expectations of young women, expectations mostly from men but internalized by women. Her mother has loads of experience with that. I hope they can talk about it.


Nicole C. Ayers’ conversation with Stuart drops Thursday, October 22, 2020 @ManListening #podcast.