Billie found out she was pregnant at the age of 18, and soon after, her parents kicked her out. She had no means of supporting her twin babies at the time, so she gave them away. Years later, she came back into their lives unexpectedly.
Billie East was 18 when she found out her boyfriend got her pregnant. Soon after finding out, her boyfriend left her, and her parents disowned her.
Her father was a drunkard, and her mother was a devout Catholic who did not want their family name to be tainted by her child's mistake.
As her stomach got bigger, she would find clever ways to hide it from her family. She would wrap scarves and tight clothing around her waist in hopes of concealing her bump.
Unfortunately, there came a time when she could not hide her baby bump any longer. Her mother saw her and was convinced she had to be condemned. "Billie East, how dare you bring shame to your family!"
Billie was determined to keep her babies. | Photo: Shutterstock
When her mother was about to hurt her, she ran out of the house with nothing but her mother's bag which she found on the counter by the door, and the backpack she was wearing on her back.
That day, Billie ran so fast she hoped her parents wouldn't catch her. She found a nearby fast-food chain and sat on one of the counter seats.
At that time, she knew that she only had about a hundred dollars in her bag, as she just purchased her prenatal vitamins. She decided to open her mom's bag and saw she had an envelope with 500 dollars in it.
Without a second thought, Billie whipped out her phone to book a ticket to Los Angeles. As she did not enter college, all she had to her name was her singing talent. She wanted to try her luck in Hollywood.
Billie ran away from home and booked a one-way ticket to Los Angeles. | Photo: Unsplash
While many little girls end their dreams of becoming a star once they reach a certain age, Billie's goals never changed. She wanted to become a singer.
Unfortunately, Hollywood was no place for a pregnant 18-year-old. She ended up singing in the streets, placing a cap on the ground to ask for donations.
One morning, she woke up because of excruciating pain. She was finally going into labor. When she was rushed to the hospital, she gave birth to a girl and a boy. As the nurse put the babies in her arms, she was in tears.
"Hello, my sweet children," she whispered, still sweaty from the painful birth experience she just endured alone. Soon after, her happiness was overpowered by grief. She knew there was no way she could take her children with her in the streets.
Billie knew that she couldn't take her children with her back on the streets. | Photo: Unsplash
Once the babies were taken to the nursery and she had enough strength in her to walk, she got up and got dressed. She wrote a note that read:
To whoever is reading this, I am Billie East. I have not been dealt with good cards in life, and have no means of supporting my children. My twin babies' names are Joseph and Martha. Please take care of them and I will try my best to come back. If I can't, let them know that their mother loves them very much. Please keep them safe.
Billie cried as she walked out of the hospital, thinking about the life she was about to leave as she walked out of those doors. She had no idea what lives her children were about to live, but she knew it was better than what she had to offer.
A couple of days after going back to the shelter she stayed in, she found an abandoned guitar on the sidewalk. She decided to head to Hollywood Boulevard every single day to sing songs on the street in exchange for change from tourists.
That guitar ended up being her best friend. At first, she sang covers from hit artists, until she started singing her own creations. She would sing about heartbreak, true love, and being free.
Billie endured the streets while she tried to earn money. | Photo: Unsplash
Because of her heartfelt lyrics and her relatable tunes, crowds would often form in front of her. The tips started to increase, and more people started to record her.
One day, a man went up to her and said she was trending on YouTube. "You must be mistaken," she said, doubtful.
He showed her a video from a couple of days prior, where she was singing one of her original songs. That same day, a famous morning talk show went to her spot to record her, and she was interviewed.
Her luck did not stop there. One day, a famous pop star decided to see her in the flesh. "I found you on YouTube, and I really love the messaging of your songs," she told Billie.
The pop star asked Billie to sing her songs, one after the other. She loved them all and commended her for her songwriting ability.
Billie's talent went viral on social media, and this led her to a great opportunity. | Photo: Unsplash
Right then and there, the pop star asked Billie if she was willing to join her team as a songwriter. She agreed without hesitation, and that stable job allowed her to earn well.
While it took a while for her to settle down with an apartment and a car, she was able to save up for both. When she was finally doing okay, she decided to look for her kids.
For months, Billie would just watch her children from afar. She could see that they ended up in a good family, with loving parents that provided them with everything they could possibly need.
Seeing that they were doing well, Billie decided she would not approach them, and that she would slowly learn to let them go.
She made the decision while watching them in the playground of their school, and she was crying as she sat on one of the benches. "Are you okay?" a voice asked from behind the wired fence of the school.
Billie looked up and saw Martha. "Hello, sweetheart. I'm fine, thank you," she said, wiping her tears. When Martha asked her why she was crying, she wanted so badly to introduce herself, but she stopped.
Billie would watch her twins from afar. | Photo: Unsplash
"Well, I'm crying because I have to let something go," she explained. Martha sat beside her and patted her back.
"My twin brother and I, we haven't seen our mom since we were born. She left us because she wanted us to have a good life. So I know what you mean by having to let something go. My mom experienced it. It'll all turn out well. Look at us, we're doing okay," Martha smiled.
Billie nodded and took a good look at Martha. "I'm sure your mom loves you very much and misses you a whole lot," Billie told Martha before she left for the school bus.
For years, that was the last time Billie and Martha saw each other up close. Billie wrote a song about that encounter, and it became a huge hit.
Although she promised to stay away, Billie still tried to check on her children from time to time. In one particular occasion, she came across Martha who ran out their front door crying.
Billie was surprised to see Martha crying one day. | Photo: Unsplash
Billie decided to follow her and spoke to her when she stopped to sit down on a park bench. "Are you alright, sweetheart?" she asked.
Martha shook her head and buried it between her knees. "No, my life is over," she sobbed.
"What happened?" Billie asked, sitting beside her.
"I'm pregnant," Martha started. "I want to keep my baby and live with my boyfriend, but my parents don't want me to keep the baby. They think it'll ruin me," she shared.
Billie rubbed her back and assured Martha that her parents are likely just surprised by the news. She suggested she went back home to talk things out properly, offering her a ride.
When they got to the house, Billie rang the doorbell with Martha beside her. Martha's mom opened the door, and it was clear she had also been crying. "Sweetheart, where have you been?" she said, pulling her into a hug.
Billie stood behind her while this was happening, and Martha's dad took notice of her. "I'm sorry, who are you?" he asked.
Billie took a deep breath and decided it was finally time to speak her truth. "Well, you see... I'm Martha and Joseph's birth mother. I've been observing them from afar and today, I saw Martha crying in the park. I decided to ask her what was wrong," she explained.
The entire family was surprised, but they wanted to hear more about Billie's story. She shared how she gave birth at 18 and had to play the guitar and sing on Hollywood Boulevard for years to survive.
Billie decided to speak her truth. | Photo: Pexels
"I actually watched you two from afar years ago, I looked for you. But when I saw you were doing well, I decided not to approach you anymore," Billie added.
"I couldn't raise you in a good environment, Martha and Joseph, but now that I'm doing a bit better, I'd love to lend any support you might need," she said, squeezing both of their hands.
After realizing that both Martha and Joseph have a bigger support system now, their parents allowed Martha to marry her boyfriend, James. She had her baby while she was in college, and they moved into Billie's home so she could help take care of her granddaughter.
Joseph followed in her biological mom's footsteps as a musician. They often have gigs together, and Billie writes some of Joseph's songs. For once in her life, Billie felt welcomed in a family, and it's something she cherished for the rest of her life.
Billie was welcomed into their family. | Photo: Pexels
What can we take from this story?
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