Every 26 seconds, a teen girl in the Amercia becomes pregnant, and 11 years ago, I was one of them...I'm familiar with the heartbreak and the struggle to break free from being a statistic. Without my husband (my boyfriend), and my strong desire to give my babies everything, I wouldn't be where I am now; providing a stable home.
Shows like 16 and Pregnant show the harsh realities of teen motherhood. It puts a glaring spot light of the epidemic affecting teens. The pressures and longings of sex versus love. As I mentor teen moms through Teen Mops (Mothers of Preschoolers), I get know their background, their heartbreaks, and their dreams. There's no difference in the desires they have for their kids versus any other mom minus the age. They want a better life for their child, and struggle to provide that while still growing up themselves. Each mom has a story and wants to leave a different legacy for their child. It's up to us to provide support, resources, and Christ's example to help them create a better life.
Motherhood is supposed to be a season in which we can't wait be feel our baby move, wear maternity clothes, drink in our babies smell, love on them, and enjoy the moments we spend with our baby. While we have our worries about getting enough sleep and if our husbands get to spend enough time with our children; my teens worry about how they are going to make it. They worry about making ends meet as they work one or more full time jobs, on top of going to school. They worry about meeting their educational requirements to get into college. They worry about whether or not they've worked enough hours at Walmart. Still being kids themselves, they feel guilty about missing their high school years and all the parties. The part they worry the most about is all the hours their children are in daycare. If that doesn't seem stressful enough, they are still learning to navigate the waters of being a teenager, parenting, relationships, and dreams.
Each of my girls have one desire, for their surrounding community to know they are doing the best they can and they are good moms. Most of my girls have matured so much since they've given birth. They now see the tragic circumstances that brought them into early motherhood. Aware of the pattern of dysfunctions from their childhood; they are trying to create a new life for themselves and their child, while breaking the cycle.Each mom is in the process of using resources and parenting skills they have to create a better life. All of them want nothing more than to stay home with their child.
It's up to us as a community to invest ourselves into teens before and after they become pregnant, preferably before. If we can pour ourselves into them, we can help them take a stand. To know they are worth waiting for in a world where sleeping with a cute boyfriend is the norm. Teen moms are coming from broken homes, as well as stable homes. They are looking to fill the gap their families are supposed to fill or somehow missed. Most girls have stories like mine. Without a father around and my mom working all the time, I felt insignificant, and in many ways not worthy of saving myself for marriage. When I started dating my boyfriend, I gave into the pressures of sex. It was something so grown up! By giving into my boyfriend, I thought he was showing me love in return. It was something physical and tangible that I could measure. Looking back I know my boyfriend would have loved me if I had chosen to wait. 11 years later we are still together, but keep in mind, we are one of the few rare couples that do and it hasn't been easy. We've had to fight for every inch we've gained.
Each day is a chance to make a new choice. Though small and seemingly insignificant, one choice builds on another. Combined these choices equal self sacrifice. Hopefully one day as I pour out my time and prayers for each mama, I pray each of them will reach their full potential as they step into the world of mothering.