I was a teen mom when I was 17 years old and it was during my senior year of high school. I was a cheerleader, honor roll student, [and] on the outside I looked like I had my act together. When I got pregnant I remember just being depressed. My boyfriend broke up with me during that time. I dropped out of regular school and started just doing community classes at home. It was a really tough time for me. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I didn’t want to see anyone. I would sleep in until noon and just watch soap operas. It was a hard time but my Mom and my Grandma’s Bible study group started reaching out to me and they invited me to Bible study. They had a baby shower for me.
When I work with teens today, I have a weekly support group for teen moms, I just encourage them to reach out to people and to let people support them.
I just encourage them to think about their future and know that they can achieve all [their] dreams. All the dreams that they thought of when they were a little girl; what career they wanted to have, what families they wanted to have. Just because they’re pregnant during their teen years doesn’t mean they can’t make changes. Any day is a great day to start over and to start stepping out. I really encourage them to write out what those dreams are and then just take the first step.
If they want to go to college, maybe [they should] have someone go with them to the financial aid office to see if it’s even possible. Or [they can] look at a catalog of classes. They can go on and do great things.
That’s a great message to share with them. You mentioned that you had support from your family. Do you find that most teen mothers don’t have support at home?
Right away it’s a shock so their parents might be giving them messages of “You’ve ruined your future. Nothing good is going to happen now. That guy is no good for you.”
I tell [the girls to] give [their] parents time to get used to the idea. Some parents will come around, some parents won't. Just know that there are people out there in the community that care and that want to help.
It is difficult because you don’t know where to start with [teenage girls who are pregnant]. They need help with their education. They need rides to their doctor’s appointments and WIC appointments. They need help with school. So it’s a big problem.
How has your faith in God helped you to mentor others?
I think it’s the reason I’m able to do that. When I was a teenager I was heading [in] the wrong direction. I mean boys and parties and just trying to make myself happy with all these things. It was during my teen years when I gave my heart to the Lord and I told him, “Lord, I give you my life, I have messed it up big time and if you can do anything, please do something with my life.”
He has done amazing things. Just bringing those women [from my Grandma’s Bible study] into my life; they were the reason why I looked to God. I saw their love for me. I thought, “If these women could love me then maybe God can too.” Afterwards he brought a wonderful husband into my life. We got married. So many times you want to kind of forget past mistakes and put those things behind us and just go on with who we are now. As I started growing in my relationship with God, I felt God calling me to help mentor teenage moms.
There’s a [story] of a young woman who was going to have an abortion. She had scheduled an abortion at 3:00 and a friend of hers had text her mom and told her mom that she was going to have the abortion. Her mom got her [and] asked her if she would go to [a] clinic and she did. They went in at 1:00 and she got the ultrasound and counseling, and she missed her appointment for her abortion. She actually had her little boy!
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