May 01

Teen Pregnancy: My Story – Can we stop the cycle?

How did an academically excellent student, class officer & athlete end up pregnant? Being a teen mom was one of the hardest things I’ve endured in my life. When I got pregnant, I was ousted by my dad, my coach, some teachers, and my mom. I was told that I should consider abortion, that I wasn’t going to graduate from high school or make anything of myself, “I don’t know what to tell y’all, but I’m not helping you with anything;” and so on. Hell, I wasn’t expecting anyone to do anything, but I wasn’t expecting them to be jerks about the situation either. I’m sure they were shocked and didn’t know what to say or do, but to tell someone that they won’t amount to anything is a little harsh. Those words deeply effected me, but I continued on with my “whatever” attitude and made it work for us. As I got older, I fully realized that they really didn’t know what to say or do. Them not knowing what to say or do is partially the reason I ended up being a teen mom in the first place.

My daughter was born 2 weeks into my senior year of high school. It’s kind of funny because we were watching a live birth in Physics class the day before she was born and I was joking that I was in labor. Little did I know, I was actually having contractions! I stayed out of school for the next 6 weeks and returned with a lot of catching up to do. My mornings began at 4:30 and my days ended at midnight. I would get up to catch the first city bus out to take my daughter to daycare and get to school by 6:30. I was in the co-op program, so I was able to leave early in order to get to work by 1pm. My daughter’s father would get her from day care and I’d pick her up from him when I got off work around 9pm. I’d take the bus home and prepare to do it all again the next day.

Upon returning to school after giving birth, I was faced with so many questions and it seemed that many of the girls were elated that I had a beautiful baby girl. They’d ask things like “Oh, why didn’t you have a baby shower, and how much did she weigh, and who does she look like and blah, blah, blah?” I WAS ASHAMED DAMN IT, that’s why I didn’t have a shower! Was having a baby at 17 years old supposed to be a glorious and glorified occasion? Why didn’t anyone understand that I was ashamed? Why didn’t anyone understand that I was tired? I was a baby with a baby, little support, and a statistic – another one drowned by the social perils faced by many.

Although, I still graduated in the top 8% of my class, I was very disappointed in myself. In my opinion, my GPA sucked. I was not able to be in National Honor Society because I missed the first 6 week period of school. I didn’t properly prepare for college the way I should have. I didn’t even apply for scholarships or anything. As smart as was, I didn’t know everything. No one in my family had gone to college before. Well, no one that I was close to, so I had very little guidance and very little knowledge about the procedures. While the other kids were soaking up the help and guidance of the school counselors, I was busy being a mom. I saw all of the other kids constantly going to the counselor’s office to get help and fill out financial aid and apply for scholarships, but I didn’t fully understand what they were doing. I also subconsciously felt that I was a failure and that I wouldn’t amount to anything. If it wasn’t for one of the coaches, I probably wouldn’t have gone to college at all. She asked me what school I was going to and I just simply shrugged my shoulders and said, “I don’t know.” That was quickly followed by a severe tongue lashing that I truly needed. I finally applied to Texas Southern University; it was too late for scholarships, but I did enroll in school.

So, I ask again, how did an academically excellent student, class officer & athlete end up pregnant?

I was careless and needed attention; however, I still feel that my daughter’s father and I are only partially to blame for my pregnancy. Don’t look confused, I did type that we are only partially to blame. I take full responsibility for my role, but I’m not the only one who should be held responsible. Some of you may think I’m full of *ish, but let’s put this in perspective. I was not properly educated about teenage sex or birth control. I wasn’t told about the physical or emotional ramifications of being sexually active… UNEDUCATED. I was not raised by both of my parents…DIVORCE. Because there was discord at home, I left the first time at the age of 14…BROKEN HOME. I left because my home was faced with another social peril…DRUG USE. The drug use led to distance and LACK OF ATTENTION. I’m not making excuses, but these are facts that contributed to my situation. My situation was not different from many others at the time and the same thing continues on now, we need to do everything in our power to break the cycle and it starts at home.


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  1. MANChild

    Yo, this is real. You really came harder than hard this time T – and I applaud you. You were very poignant and honest with regard to identifying the factors that contributed to your journey… but more than anything else that I’ve read here, there is something else that should be realized: it was a successful journey. I believe that your ability to realize and understand “factors”, conditions etc. really provided you the drive, motivation and will to be the great mom that you are.

    Kudos for keeping it real. You are an inspiration for those that conjure thoughts of negativity and self defeat. Your words resonate in my world today… thanks.

  2. ~Akanke~

    WOW. I am so happy I happened upon your blog. Tears come to my eyes as I read this. It reminded me of one of my God sister. She found herself pregnant at 18. She was living with her dad (parents divorced as well) and to her surprise she was kick out the house. She struggled, finished school and now her daughter is 16yo track star and honor student. At her daughter’s sweet sixteen celebrations, my sis did a speech that was so moving. In it she talked about getting kicked out her house… She said that when she called other family members to tell them she okay and had somewhere to live, she found out her whole family was through with her. She was saying how hard it was and how she couldn’t understand why she was treated that way. She went on to tell her daughter that she was a great blessing and she would go through it all again. I’ve always admired my sis for being able to forgive all those people and allow them back in her life. And she told my just as you said, they didn’t know what to say or do.
    My mom was pregnant at age 17. She was forced to get up at church (during announcements) announce she was pregnant, apologize and resign from everything she participated in.
    I guess people feel like if they embrace a teenage mother, they will be condoning the situation. But I feel that in most situations, if the girls were receiving the love and attention they needed at home, they would not have ended up in the predicament.
    I was talking to my mom and we were saying how the world has changed so much that nowadays you’d hope to get pregnant as opposed to all the other consequences of having sex. Black women are getting HIV like crazy in addition to other STDs.
    Anyhow, I could go on and on. I love to talk and type :-) Thanks for that post. One of the blessings of experiencing difficulty is being able to share your experiences with others.

  3. Tonya B.

    Ron, you guys are cracking the shell to my hard exterior. Thank you so much for your words.

    Akanke, thank you for sharing. Feel free to stop by and add at anytime. Being a teen mom was hard and you have witnessed first hand the difficulties associated with this. When I wrote this, I had know idea that this week was some type of national awareness for teen pregnancy. I’m hopeful that with both of us sharing our experiences, it will help someone else through.

  4. Monica

    Tonya, that was a deep & beautiful message. If only all young girls could read this. You've gone through what so many of them are heading towards……and you are so right, as adults, sometimes we just don't know the right thing to say: but remaining loving, supportive, and positive should always be at the forefront of our thoughts, words, and actions. Thank you for sharing!

  5. That Tech Chick

    This is real. And I feel ya. I too was am uneducated statistic. I was pregnant and on my own at 15. No body in my family has attended college or even graduated high school for that matter. But now 17 yrs later I am a college graduate with my own work from home business and blogging away. I pray and hope I am doing the right things when it comes to my kids and they don’t become a statistic. I pray I am educating them about it all sex, college, life. Thanks for sharing your story. But know you have a support system even though you are grown now.

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