Danielle Packett with Jude. Photo by Itxaso Garay of Casa Grande High School

 

By ITXASO GARAY and CAMILLE GASSER
CASA GRANDE HIGH SCHOOL

Danielle Packett, a student at Casa Grande for two years and now a junior at San Antonio High School, never noticed any changes for six months. She went about her daily life care free and unaware she was carrying something that soon would change every aspect of her world. Packett was six months pregnant before learning of the baby inside of her. At 15, she discovered she was going to be a mother.
“When I found out I was pregnant, I was pretty shocked because my mom had to tell me: I didn’t realize I was pregnant for a while. I had always loved kids, so when I found out I was pregnant, I was anything but sad,” said Packett.
“Because my mom found out with me, I never had to tell her. My grandmother told my dad for me. Both of my parents weren’t mad and were just really supportive. My mom was the one who has supported me the most because she helps me on the daily, with the baby.”
Because there were no complications with the early months of her pregnancy, Packett did not realize she was carrying her child. Her lack of awareness of her pregnancy did not prove to be a problem because she had not been drinking or smoking and her relationship with her boyfriend, D.J. Beaudoin, progressed as usual.
“For me, birth was the closest to hell you can get,” said Packett. “But 53 hours, 3 epidurals and a nap later, I met my son for the first time.”
Jude Skyye Beaudoin was born at 7:55 a.m. Dec. 1, 2011. He was 9 pounds, 12 ounces and 22 inches.
“Seeing him for the first time in the intensive care was breathtaking, and I loved him more than I ever thought was even possible,” said Packett. “I don’t even know where to begin on what’s most rewarding about being a mom, but I guess if I had to pick just one, it would have to be when he looks up at me and smiles, because that’s when I know that he loves me like I love him.”
Packett does not find much difficulty about being a mother, other than the limited time to herself. The only drastic change in her life since the birth has been entering a new school: Packett now goes to San Antonio because there is a day care, staffed by trustworthy child-care professionals, where students can drop off their children while at class.
“I think my priorities and plans have definitely changed, but I don’t really mind not getting the same amount of time to myself because he is worth every change. My baby to me is everything,” said Packett. “I have never once regretted him, and I guarantee I never will. I wake up to him every morning and go to sleep with him in my arms every night, and I would never wish it any other way.”
Unlike some teen pregnancies where the teen mother is forced to take care of her baby on her own, Packett has the full support of her boyfriend, who is the father of Jude. Both Packett and Beaudoin have remained together throughout the difficulties of the pregnancy, birth and caring for their child. Beaudoin tries to be a part of Jude’s life in as many ways as he can: He feeds, plays, talks to and gets Jude to sleep whenever he has time off of work.
“When I told him that I was pregnant, he was only partially in shock because for some reason he had always thought that I was pregnant,” said Packet. “I just didn’t ever take him seriously. He loves his son more than anything and he tries to see us every day, but on the days he can’t, I send him pictures and things like that. With the baby, he is still a little scared because Jude is so fragile, but he’s getting better.
“Having the baby has changed our relationship: We get into arguments more but nothing crazy, and it has also changed us for the better, too. I feel our relationship getting stronger every day.”
After she has completed high school, Packett plans to find a career that will allow her to continue to care for Jude as well as have success to make a life for them.
“I have plans of going down to Southern California for college and getting into a sorority,” said Packett. “My priorities are Jude, myself, my boyfriend and my family. I will be successful and make a life for us.”