Young wife and mom “wanted to make things right”

Jill Davis holds her son Garner as she does her homework.

COLBY QUALLS – Hoof Prints Staff

Huddled in a church restroom, Jill Spray waited for the results. Her boyfriend, the son of the new youth minister, had brought her the pregnancy test. Memories of her mother’s similar situation came to her mind. She knew what she had to do. Time was up. She glanced down. Pink. Pregnant.

It was not enough though to know that she was pregnant. She had to know how far along she actually was. She arranged to meet her boyfriend at National Park Hospital during school. It was the only possible time she could pull this off without her parents being suspicious.

Missing school was fairly easy. Jill simply told her mother, an employee of the school, that she felt queasy. Her mother allowed her to leave without hesitation. Once Jill arrived at the hospital, she was told to urinate in a cup. Within moments, she felt the full reality of the situation. The doctors told her she was four weeks and five days pregnant. Jill knew she had limited time before people, especially her family, would find out. It was now or never. She knew what she had to do.

That night, Jill and her boyfriend decided it was time to tell his parents. Both trembled from head to toe as they bluntly told them the predicament. His parents surprisingly took it better than expected, but they still had to face Jill’s father.

Jill called her mother to let her know that her boyfriend’s parents would be visiting later that night. Jill wanted to be sure her father would be home for this meeting.

“She knew,” Jill said. “Whenever I called and told her they were coming over, she knew right then.”

While the gathering grew tense, Jill finally told her father. Not soon after the words escaped her lips, her father stormed out of the room. For an hour or more, he remained alone. He refused to speak to anyone. When he left his room, he headed straight for Jill. He hugged her and reassured her that they would get through this.

After that, it was never the same with her father though. He was very uncomfortable with the situation. Many times he refused to talk about it or even acknowledge it.

“I used to be daddy’s little girl,” Jill said. “And now, I don’t feel like I’m his daughter anymore.”

Almost a year later, Jill came to terms with what she had to do. In her mind, there were no other options. She was nervous as she made this decision that would affect the rest of her life. As she stood behind her grandparents’ house in her green wedding dress though, all worries and doubt vanished for that brief moment. Once she looked into that red-headed boy’s eyes who wore the yellow shirt with Levi’s, nothing else mattered. She knew she made the right decision for her infant son, who was present at the ceremony.

From the beginning, Jill knew that a family was necessary for her son Garner’s well-being. She wanted to give her child everything she did not have, including married parents. Being raised with separated parents really took a toll on Jill.

“I don’t want my son to go through everything I went through,” Jill said.

Being a mother, a wife and a student isn’t easy for Jill though. Routine is essential. Most mornings she wakes up whenever her husband does to see him off to work. Sometimes it may be earlier if Garner can’t sleep. Then she must feed Garner and make sure someone is able to watch him while she goes to school. After school, she goes home to resume taking care of Garner.

She changes all of his messy diapers, holds him and cleans him. Later in the evening, she helps to prepare dinner for the family. Next she will clean the dishes and wash bottles. She feeds her son one last time before bed. Then she must lull her son to sleep, which is easier said than done at times. If she has spare time, she will work on homework and study for upcoming tests. Hopefully she will lie down at a decent hour. The cycle then repeats. Before she moved from Centerpoint, she also held a part-time job.

“I’m taking care of myself, my husband and my baby,” Jill said. “That takes a lot of growing up.”

Before she closes her eyes each night, Jill knows that she is doing the right thing. She remembers how her mother was very distant to her. She remembers the loneliness, the feeling of abandonment that can be present when a parent doesn’t take an active role in raising a child. It fills her with determination to not repeat the mistakes of her mother.

“People have always told me, ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.’ My momma has never tried raisin’ me. She pretty much gave up on me. And I’m not going to do that to my child,” Jill said.