Between all the drinking and hooking up in college, the consequeces of sexual actions are one of those things that you never think will happen to you, such as STDs or pregnancy. So what happens when your actions do catch up with you and that little white stick tells you one little word that will change your entire life. “Positive.”
That’s exactly the situation Daniele Rubino found herself in her sophomore year at Temple University. “There are no words to describe the feeling,” says Danielle. I was scared and hysterically crying. I couldn’t even imagine that there was a baby inside me. It was unreal.”
Her best friend was the first person she confided in, but she advised her to do the same thing most of her friends would go on to suggest: get an abortion. While she had always been against abortion, Danielle found herself at an abortion clinic with her mother by her side. But before they could sedate her, she cried out, putting the brakes on the operation. She decided to keep the baby.
At a certain point, it dawned on Danielle that she would probably be raising her child without a father present. Her on/off boyfriend was the father and had a notorious reputation for being a player. She recalls breaking the news to him and getting confirmation that he would be an involved father. Then he disappeared for three months.
Her baby’s father, an aspiring rapper with no job and no education, caused a lot of the problems with her pregnancy. It broke Danielle’s mother’s heart that he was such an unreliable person, and she was even cut off from a friend who was appalled that she was pregnant by an African American guy.
“I lost a lot of friends,” she says. “But I really found out who my true friends were. I think it’s just immaturity because I really don’t understand why that would make someone not want to be my friend.”
Losing friends wasn’t the only difficult part of her pregnancy: she still had school to worry about. A high-achieving therapeutic recreation major, Danielle ended up missing two straight weeks of class due to her morning sickness. She was so close to finishing her fall semester and feared she would fail at that point, but her teachers showed her compassion for her situation and allowed her to get through the semester.
After delivering a beautiful baby girl, Callie, in August 2011, Danielle had to take the fall semester off to raise her daughter. She moved back in with her mother, who supports her financially, and put all her energy into being the best mother she could be to her daughter.
She even finds herself preferring to stay home and cuddle with her daughter rather than going out bar-hopping with friends. And since she doesn’t have anyone to babysit her anyway, she’s spent every waking moment with Callie since the day she was born.
“I’m so happy that I have Callie,” she assures. “But I think people see all the cute, happy photos I put on Facebook but they’re not so cute in the middle of the night.”
With a baby who is completely dependent on her, Danielle finds very little time for herself, even just to sleep. Imagine having to stay up all night with a screaming baby who won’t go to sleep, anticipating the moment when you fall asleep, but then realizing that you have to use that moment to take care of more stuff for the baby.
Danielle stresses that real life is nothing like it looks on Teen Mom, which she cites as the worst example of the portrayal of teenage pregnancy.
“They don’t even show half of the hardships,” she says. “I don’t think they’ve succeeded in lowering teen pregnancy rates. Young girls watching that should really be careful.”
Some of the hardships include having a father who is in and out whenever he pleases and does nothing financially, and not being able to focus on school. Danielle had planned to continue school this spring, but had to take a leave of absence because she didn’t have a babysitter and so she could focus on getting a job. But still, it’s very clear that her daughter means everything to her.
“I love waking up to her face,” Danielle gushes. “She’s so worth it. I wouldn’t change anything. I love her so much.”