We spoke to teen moms about parenthood, family, and judgment
‘Oh you’re a baby having a baby!’
There are some who, either purposefully or with a surprising turn of events, found themselves thrown into parenthood before having the chance to fully grow up. We reached out to a few teen moms that I went to school with back in the day to ask them about their stories. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like, or if you’re having some urges to start your own little family sometime soon, here’s some insight into the world of teen moms:
Melia, 20, Durango, Colorado
She graduated with her GED at 16 and was working as a live-in nanny when she got pregnant with her daughter, Isabella. Unlike some young parents, Melia and her, now husband, Robert knew they wanted to start a family already.
After their Isabella was born, they moved into their own place. Robert now works full time to support them while Melia stays at home with Isabella and occasionally takes babysitting jobs.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of being a young parent?
My favorite part is that I met my daughter sooner. I really don’t have a least favorite… Motherhood has its challenges, but that doesn’t come from being young.
Have friends and family been supportive?
Everyone was extremely supportive. Some of my friends had been waiting for it.
Have you received much judgment or any negative comments?
I do get negative comments… A lot of doctors and nurses act like I probably don’t know what I’m doing, but it doesn’t bug me because my daughter is happy and healthy and everyone knows I’m a good mom.
What’s the most rewarding part of motherhood?
The most rewarding part is watching this small human grow and become so incredible. Honestly…the whole journey is rewarding.
What was your reasoning for going through with the pregnancy?
We had known we wanted to start a family. We knew we were going to have to make sacrifices, and we were ready to do so.
What’s a normal day like?
We get up pretty early, around 7-7:30 normally. Usually our mornings are just me and my daughter. My husband goes to work around 5-6:00 in the morning. We watch a movie and have breakfast. On a nice, warm day we go to the park around noon. My husband is home by 3pm and we have family time (watch a movie or another activity together). Our days kind of vary but those are the basics. My daughter goes to bed between 7:30-8 pm. I clean the house or do dishes and then watch a movie until I’m ready for bed.
Issy, 18, Laguna Beach, California
Issy lives with her boyfriend Jakob and their daughter. She was pregnant with her daughter Scarlette a few months before the end of her senior year of high school. She and Jakob immediately knew they wanted to keep the baby, but she decided to keep it a secret until she was out of school in order to live a normal life for a while longer.
She just gave birth to Scarlette less than a month ago and so far they are loving parenthood. Jakob is working two jobs while Issy takes care of their daughter. They are currently living with Issy’s dad.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of young motherhood?
My favorite part is being able to experience having my daughter; it’s a love that you can’t really understand until they’re born and it’s something I love, feeling and seeing her every day is a wonderful feeling. It motivates me to be a better person and it’s beautiful seeing someone you created grow.
My least favorite part is probably just being on such a separate page from the people my age. They’re all doing way different things than me now.
Have family and friends been supportive?
My family and friends have all been supportive. Some have distanced due to the now little in common that we have but no one has been unsupportive.
How has your boyfriend helped with the whole process?
He’s always there for me and the baby, he’s a huge help with the household and a huge help emotionally. He always makes me feel better in times of doubt and he is the most loving dad to her.
Have you ever felt judged or received any negative comments?
I’ve never received negative comments but I’ve felt vibes of judgment from people around in public or when I went to high school. I could feel the judgment, they didn’t need to say anything.
What’s it like raising a child at such a young age?
It’s very hard because at a young age you’re still figuring out how to find yourself and take care of yourself, so being in charge of another human really does come with a lot of responsibility but it’s completely worth it. It’s an amazing experience that I’d never trade for anything.
How are you and Jakob liking parenthood so far?
We’ve been doing very well and it’s been an awesome experience and is really the most loving time I’ve ever had. It’s been really hard with money and mentally adjusting to it all but it’s definitely something I’m grateful for and I’d never take it back. Before being a teen mom I thought “Wow, being a teen mom would be hard,” but now that I’ve actually been one it isn’t what people think it is. It’s like being a mom at any age, you just need to really work at it and be motivated. I love being a mom and my boyfriend loves being a dad, it’s been great.
Jamie, 22, Laguna Beach, California
Before her first baby, according to Jamie, she was a “partier.” At 19, it was her second year out of high school and not in college. She wanted to go to cosmetology school but didn’t have the family push to go. She spent most of her time working at Forever 21 and going to parties. After she had Jadalynn, she wanted to go back to school.
She started cosmetology school but it got shut down due to financial problems. After she stopped school she got pregnant with Avery who was born just 3 months ago. Her plans now are to go back to school when she’s 6-7 months old and continue her current job at Gelato Paradiso, hopefully getting a more stable job to support her daughters in the future.
What are your favorite and least favorite part of young motherhood?
My favorite part is definitely my kids. Like being their mom is such a rewarding thing. Just being with them, taking care of them. They say instantly you just fall in love when you have a baby and you really do. You just want to be with them and do everything with them.
My least favorite part would probably be that there is so much responsibility when it comes to being a parent because you are their voice. You have to do everything for them. Sometimes, especially with two, it’s extremely overwhelming but I mean you just do it because you have to. The part that nobody really sees is how much responsibility there really is. I did not know half of the stuff that was coming.
Have family and friends been supportive?
Have they been supportive? Well yes, and no. So the first time I thought I was pregnant, I was 19. I didn’t tell my parents until I was like 20 weeks in, I was so scared. I told my friends on social media, which was almost a mistake, because half of the people were so happy and excited for me, but then I got a lot of negative feedback too. I had someone repost my ultrasound photo and basically talk trash on me. Luckily I had a lot of people who were really supportive but that’s just kind of always how it is.
My family with both of my pregnancies were very unsupportive in the beginning. They wanted me to get an abortion. I said no and continued on. Obviously now they love their grandkids. At the time I did understand why they weren’t supportive, they were just really worried about me and about my future. I actually lost all of my friends for a little bit with my second pregnancy.
They were so concerned because Avery’s dad isn’t the same dad as Jada’s. I already had one failed relationship and they were so worried that would happen again. I’m actually not with Avery’s dad but my friends did come back and now they’re some of the most supportive friends I could ask for. It’s been a rollercoaster with people being supportive and unsupportive of my situation.”
Have you felt judged or received any negative comments?
You just learn to move on. This journey has showed me who my real friends are. After I had kids, not that many people stuck around. And I learned to find people who had kids like me. I realized that those people that I met were ten times better friends than I’ve ever had in my life.
When it comes to strangers, I’ve probably had every possible thing said to me. “Are you 12?” I look really young too so from a lot of people I get “Oh you’re a baby having a baby!” You learn to put on a smile and say “Yeah I had kids young but I love my kids and that doesn’t change anything.”
Sometimes if I have both my kids at the mall and one is crying while the other is running away, I’ll get a lot of looks. It just passes right through me. Everyone is going to have an opinion and their opinion doesn’t matter unless you take it personally.
What led to you having your second daughter?
After having my first daughter, her dad cheated on me and cheated on me, so I left him and moved back in with my mom. I reconnected with an ex and was seeing him for about six months when I got pregnant out of nowhere which was really shocking and really scary. Almost as scary as having my first child because I wasn’t sure if I was ready for two kids. I knew from the beginning I wanted to keep the baby because personally I’m not about abortion. Her dad was not ready at all. He didn’t have his life together but we decided as a couple that we would keep the baby and got an apartment together. We started a whole life but then he decided he wasn’t ready for that.
Having my second kid, if I had to go back, I wish I wouldn’t have gotten off my birth control. I wish I could’ve had her in maybe two more years. But I love my daughter Avery so much and I’m so grateful. I truly believe everything happens for a reason. But for anyone who is thinking about having a second baby, I would really make sure you are completely prepared for that. Because you aren’t just changing your life this time, you’re changing the older child’s life too.
I definitely was not ready for this, but I worked my whole pregnancy and saved up all the money. I bought everything for my daughter myself and I’m super proud of it. I’m happy it worked out the way it did and having two girls is awesome.
What are your suggestions for girls looking to have kids?
I would say to any other teen mom who is thinking about having kids, finish your school and then be with someone. Get married first and make sure that person is the right person.
What’s the most rewarding part of being a mother?
Jada didn’t really talk in the beginning. I put her in speech therapy and would practice talking with her every day and now she’s a chatterbox. So that’s awesome, just to see how much she’s grown.
And I think the most rewarding for me right now is just to see my two kids talk to each other. When I see my older daughter love my little daughter, and see my little daughter laugh or smile, those are definitely the moments I live for. It makes all of the other struggles that I have, because my life is not easy right now, it makes it all worth it how hard I worked for that.