By Ashli Mitchell, Campbell High School, Smyrna, Georgia
Having a kid at a young age doesn’t mean you have to be treated differently. The child isn’t a mistake but what you did to get the child might have been. Every day, a baby is born and more and more teens are the ones giving birth to these babies. In fact, in the United States since 2005 according to Childtrend.org, more babies were born to single moms than married ones. People will never know the truth about being a teen mom unless they are one.
I’m 16 years old, and I’m a teen mom. When I hear people say, how can you do it? How can you go to school and have a one-year old at home? But, from what I see, mothers older than me still attend college and have children. When it comes to teen mothers, we are judged and even sometimes very mistreated. Friends and even family come in and out of our lives. People make our life harder than it has to be. I am constantly hearing the saying, “babies having babies.”
Getting pregnant in high school was really hard for me because, not only was I young, but I was what you can say “popular.” That meant everyone knew and everywhere I turned I was questioned on how it happened and more things that are personal.
I hated having to wake up every morning to go to school. I hated the look people gave me as I walked down the hall. I hated thinking my life was over. No more going out with friends or to parties, those are just the few things that went through my mind.
I still hang out with friends and I take my baby with me. I don’t have as many friends as I had before I had Nylah but I kind of like my circle small. I am so much more mature and responsible now having had a baby.
When I hear about girls getting pregnant and having an abortion or giving up their kid for adoption and I think to myself what my life would have been like if I had done the same. Honestly, I’m proud of myself for taking a risk and keeping her.
Having a kid at 16 really is not easy. I lose sleep some nights and not having a job makes my finances and time management even harder. It is a good thing I have my mom and my family for help or else I don’t know where or what I would be doing at this moment.
My little girl is healthy, strong and smart. I can say I’m doing a pretty good job. My future hasn’t changed. I still want to go to college and make a wonderful life for us. I wouldn’t take back my daughter but if I would have waited, I would have wanted all this to happen a little later on in life. Then, I would be able to do everything that my mother does for me.
My advice to teenagers is to wait. Waiting to have children until your 20’s is worth it. Don’t rush into having sex because the outcome isn’t always what you think. Protection doesn’t always work. You also have to ask yourself, if you got pregnant at this very moment would you really be able to take care of a baby? What would be the best move? Questions like these can take you a long way, and waiting can do the same.
the original article from hsj.org, written by Ashli Mitchell