Wary of the challenges facing a 17-year-old mother, Gloucester High School sophomore Brianne Mackey's first reaction to learning she was pregnant last fall was to throw the plastic home pregnancy test kit in the trash.
"I was scared," Mackey said yesterday while holding Karlee, her 17-day-old infant girl. "It was an accident that I got pregnant. I cried and battled with what to do for weeks."
Mackey's reaction to the news she was pregnant, confirmed by a second test performed at the high school health clinic days later, contrasts with news reports about high-fives and exclamations from students celebrating the news they had were moms-to-be.
Unlike the joyous reaction some officials have said came from some girls when they received positive results, Mackey said the days following her positive test included meetings with her parents and the high school's student assistance program and hours of agonizing debate about what to do next.
Ultimately, Mackey said she couldn't stand the thought of having an abortion or putting her child up for adoption and decided to go through with the pregnancy.
"I never could imagine putting her up for adoption," Mackey said. "Of walking down the street and seeing kids and not knowing if it were mine."
Mackey said she had been taking birth control pills, but something must have gone wrong.
With summer vacation underway and her newborn baby, for now, quietly sleeping for much of the day, Mackey knows the challenges of being a teen mom have just begun.
To support his new daughter, Mackey's boyfriend of two years, Michael Mitchell, is working as a lobsterman and at a local bait supplier. Mitchell, also 17, graduated from Gloucester High School earlier this month and said that he is doing everything he can to support the new family.