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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Teen Mom Speaks: Your Life Isn't Over!

[Today's guest post by Erica Shupe is part of our paid blogging program.]

There you’re waking up in the morning just like any other morning, but this morning turns different quickly. This morning you are stuck with an overwhelming feeling that you are about to vomit and you don’t know why. The smell of the eggs you’re cooking for breakfast, that never bothered you before, is now seeming to hit you so strong, it’s like a skunk sprayed you directly in your face. The next thing you notice is your period is a week late and you don’t know why, so you opt to take a pregnancy test.

As you take that test there are so many things running through your mind. I can’t be pregnant. I’m only 16. I have no money to raise a baby, I have no one to support me, and I can’t handle giving up my youth. You wait the next two minutes and nervously pick up the test to see the result, and bam you see two lines—you're pregnant! Now you’re thinking what can I do? I must have an abortion; I’m not ready to become a mom.

Like many young adults and teens I have found myself in the same situation or similar situation you’re in. I want you to know that you’re not alone and someone out there is going through the same thing.

The author, at 16, with her baby
My story started when I was in high school; I was in 11th grade and had so many dreams before me. When I took my pregnancy test, I had many of the same thoughts in my head, but for me my biggest one was: how was I going to tell my parents? I found myself going to school sick as a dog, worrying about what all the other students said about me. Furthermore, I was worried about what my grandmother was going to say about me. My story was slightly unique in that my grandmother had mainly raised me from when I was a year old. My grandmother had her first child when she was just 15, and had dropped out of school in the 8th grade, so as you can imagine she had high hopes for me to do better in life.

I will never forget the day when she asked me if I was pregnant, while I was sitting on her living room couch; I bet if you were there you could probably hear my heart beating from across the room. I was honest with her and told her I was indeed pregnant, but as I told her she began to fall on her knees and cry. It took my grandmother 9 months to speak to me again, because after that day she disowned me.

I also was told numerous times: Well, you ruined your life, basically no hope for you now. It was hard not to sketch that in my brain, because I too was down about my future. I had plans to go to college for a least 4 years to be a nurse, then eventually become a doctor. I also realized I’m pregnant and may never finish high school, so now what do I do? Although this story seams glum now, it does have a happy ending.

Erica's daughter now
I was told by counselors at school about a program to help me graduate faster. I went to a program that allowed you to get your credits you needed to graduate online. I could work at my own pace, have a small classroom setting with people just like me, and still have help from instructors. I ended up graduating early; in fact, I finished up before my baby was even born. At the time, I also received help from a local organization called the Pregnancy Resource Center. The program allowed pregnant families to watch parenting videos in exchange for mommy dollars. Mommy dollars was a blessing because you could use the mommy dollars to purchase diapers, clothes, strollers and bottles for your baby. The program even did free medical visits, so you could have ultrasounds even if you didn’t have insurance. In addition, I had help from WIC which is a program that pays for free healthy food for you and your baby.

I’m now 23 with three children, I’m married and have a rewarding job. No matter what the obstacle is you're going through, you can get through it without abortion!

According to the CDC, 22 out of a 1000 births are born by girls ages 15-18, and the total births in 2015 where around four million. As the statistics show, there's an abundance of young people having babies, so please don’t feel alone. Along with births, there also comes assistance. I personally want to introduce you to some helpful links and programs:


In closing, there are so many resources for pregnancies: you can talk to guidance counselors at school, go to your local social services, or even just join a mom support group like Baby Center online. I know you feel like your life is over or you’ve been told your life is over but it’s not, your life is just beginning. You have a choice to have a beautiful bundle of joy, but also still thrive in your life. Take it from experience nothing compares to hearing that babies heart beat inside you, feeling those little feet kick you, and kissing the head of the one you made!

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