With a new season of MTV's Teen Mom 2 starting this week I wanted to speak with two mothers I know who both had children when they were in high school. I do not think that MTV wishes to glamorize teen pregnancy, in fact I think it does help open the door of conversation about sex. However, I know some people watching, young girls in particular, do not realize all that goes on when the cameras aren't rolling. Or the fact that the challenges can continue throughout the child's life.
Let me say, the courage and tenacity of these women amazes me. Some days I feel like I'm drowning, but I'm fortunate to have relief walk through the door at dinner time. So to all you single moms and dads, hats off to you. Seriously, you all are unsung heroes for sure.
The following is my interview with Kristin. She and I have been friends since high school. I have seen a lot of the highs and lows since her son was born. Her story is a great one. Thank you girl for sharing!
1. What were your first thoughts when you found out you were pregnant?
I was 17 when I found out I was pregnant, so like every other teenage girl, I thought about how my life would be affected. It didn’t take me long to realize I was big enough to have sex so now I had to be big enough to accept the consequences. I did not let the father have an opinion on what I planned to do, because it wasn’t about him. He was not carrying a baby. My final decision was to do what I had to do to give my baby everything he needed.
2. What was the hardest thing about being pregnant in high school?
Being a 17 year old senior that was pregnant my entire school year was not easy. I did not go to my senior prom (I was 8 months pregnant at this time) I didn’t get to play powder puff. No graduation parties, no skipping school. I had to be a mommy and focus on school so that I could be a successful mommy. The hardest part is learning to brush off the negative comments that people say about you when you’re pregnant in high school. The famous one was, you’ll never graduate. As soon as you have the baby you won’t go back to school. Well all that did was make me determined to not become a statistic, after I had my son I did home schooling so that I could graduate high school on time! And I did!
3. How did your relationship with the baby's father change when the baby came?
When my son was born, his father and I actually became closer. We never had a great relationship; we were actually broken up when I found out that I was pregnant. Once we both saw our son it pulled us closer together, at least for the first 2 years of his life. And please don’t take that out of context, babies don’t always fix or change a relationship.
4. What was the hardest thing about being a young mom?
Hardest thing about being a young mom was being willing to give up all the things young kids do. No parties, no beach week, no prom, no going out all the time, no sitting at home doing nothing, and most of all accepting that your life isn’t about you anymore. Someone is depending on you to do the right things, and you can’t let them down because you’re all they have. Finding a job so young, and having to work all the time then come home and take care of the baby and do it all over again daily, while all of your friends are out having fun and enjoying being young is very hard to do being a young parent.
5. How did your life change when you had the baby?
In all honesty, having my son was the best thing that ever happened to me. Before I found out I was pregnant, I was always skipping school, my grades were d’s and f’s, I was drinking all the time going to parties, sneaking out of my house, not listening to my parents. And when I had my son I realized those days were over. It was time to grow up and give him the life that he deserved. So I did, I made sure I graduated high school, I worked and provided him with all the things he could need and want as a child. And I ALWAYS put him first! If it wasn’t for my son, who knows where I would be today.
6. What helped you get through the difficult times (financial stress, relationship dramas, etc)
Honestly, my best friend Ashley and my mom helped me through a lot ☺ If it wasn’t for the two of them I would have been a wreck!
7. What’s it like now that the child is older, same stresses, different? Relationship with the father?
Almost 10 years later, being a mom is my favorite part of life. The older they are the more expensive they become, because of learning styles and that Wal-Mart clothes aren’t as cool as Brand Name clothes. But seeing the smile on my son’s face because I can provide him with the things he wants and needs is the best feeling ever!
Unfortunately, there is no relationship between his father and me. We are not even friends, when I need to discuss something about my son I communicate with my son’s grandma. We have grown apart over the years, and nothing will change that. Its actually less stressful to speak with my sons grandma verses his father. We can actually get along and communicate as adults.
8. What’s one thing you wish young girls would realize about having a baby at a young age?
No young girl should be trying or planning on a baby at a young age! Every person needs to live their life, experience and explore things, learn from mistakes and have an idea of what life is really and how to take care of you. You should know how to handle situations and control your life before you can take on a life that depends on you.
9. What is your advice to other single moms?
Never give up, you can succeed at anything and have the life that you want for you and your child you simply have to be determined!
I never thought I would be where I am today but I refused to give up, and now I love my life. And love that I can provide and take care of my son and me without any worries.
10. Anything else you want add?
If things do go sour with the father, promise your child one thing……. do not ever use your child against his father! You will only hurt your child, and you will damage the relationship you have with your child down the road.
*This post is not sponsored by or in any way associated with MTV, Dr. Drew, or Teen Mom.*