Finding out that you are pregnant in your teenage years is frightening. And that’s not meant to be negative, it’s just the truth. As a person you’re still figuring out who you are, what the word ‘responsibilities’ even means. On top of that, becoming pregnant and choosing to follow through with the pregnancy means that you are now responsible for another life and responsible for creating a healthy environment for them to grow up in. And, you have to do this with another person.
As a teen mom you have to grow up ahead of your years. By no means is this easy but every young woman who makes the bold choice to move forward with their decision is executing a selfless act. They are choosing to put someone else before themselves and take on the challenge that comes with being a parent while still [potentially] being parented themselves.
The Hard Decision of Choosing Adoption
In 2009 Tyler and I made the very difficult decision to put our first daughter, Carly, up for adoption. Coming from broken homes we felt that it would be in Carly’s best interest to be with parents who could provide for her in ways that we couldn’t at the time. At the time of giving birth Tyler and I chose not to see our baby girl because we knew that it would only make giving her away harder than it already was.
Brandon Davis and Theresa Davis are the kind souls who adopted Carly from us. I’ve shared in previous interviews that we have a relationship with Carly and her parents and we still do. Because of COVID we had to go pretty much two years without seeing her but, we were recently reunited and it was beautiful. And don’t get us wrong. As great as it is to have a relationship with Carly and her adoptive parents is as scary as it is as well. Tyler and I understand the magnitude of it. And, it’s the snap of a finger they could just take her away from us entirely if they wanted to. So there are anxieties that come with it. But, overall we are grateful for what we have.
The Stigmas of a Teen Mom
Everyone has heard and everyone still continues to. Teen pregnancy is surrounded by stigmas. “Teen moms will never amount to anything.” “Teen pregnancy is the result of sex craved teenager.” “Teen moms are too young to care about their babies.” And, the list goes on. Although, every situation is different. And to say that this goes for every teen mom out there is ignorant. Like I said earlier, it takes bravery to become a parent. And to choose the selfless act of becoming one is not easy. But, 16 or 26, either way, the learning curve of becoming a mom or dad is there.
Nicole Lynn Lewis, CEO and founder of Generation Hope- a Washington D.C.-based organization that provides support and mentoring to young parents in high school and college, shared her knowledge on the misconceptions about teen parents. When referring to a woman's age playing a role on how “good” of a mother she will be, Nicole shared, “The teens in our program are willing to put in time and make the necessary sacrifices to succeed because they all know how necessary their success really is for their children. I always tell them they need to work 200 percent harder than the person sitting next to them in class and they all do!” Nicole even shared some statistics about the college women who worked with her. “In 2015, 100 percent of the senior class of Generation Hope students graduated college - 20 percent of them had a 4.0 GPA, '' wrote TeenVogue.
Most importantly, Lewis recommended that you “sit down and talk to a teen mom or dad. Just talking about their situation and trying to better understand them is the best way to begin to push past all the stereotypes.