Nov. 10, 2005 was the day that changed my life forever. At 17, feeling the flesh and warmth of a brand new baby boy in my arms was not the greatest feeling. The only thing that ran through my mind was: What am I going to do now?
In the hospital I was asked to participate in a survey, and a researcher asked me if I was aware that most young mothers get pregnant again within two years of their first pregnancy.
I was unaware of this fact, but as soon as she told me this, I thought of my mother. She had me at 15, and my three sisters and brothers soon followed.
My mother dropped out of high school and began working to support the family. Watching her struggle made me work harder to make sure she would not have to worry about working hard again. There were many aspirations she had that she had to put on hold. However she never complained of the sacrifices she had to make for her children.
My idea of making my mother proud was to finish high school and continue to college to earn my degree followed by a successful career. Getting pregnant was not a part of my plan. When I found out I was pregnant I instantly felt like a huge disappointment and all my hard work was now flushed down the drain. Even more, I feared disappointing my mother.
Six wonderful years later, I look back and laugh at myself for doubting my ambition. I let people talk down to me and scare me into thinking that being a young mother and successful was impossible. Now that I’m older and have experienced life, as a young mother I find these “facts” to be simply nothing but excuses. Being a young mother does not have to prevent you from following any dream.
The stereotype is that teen mothers drop out of school, but I graduated high school in 2005 and am currently a graduating senior at Florida A&M.
In February, I will have contributed six years to the Florida Army National Guard, and one of those years was spent in Operation Iraqi Freedom (2009-2010).
I am growing each day as a woman and mother. Faced with the fear of motherhood at young age did frighten me.
However, being a single mother has taught me independence, strength, courage, responsibility, selflessness and time management. My greatest accomplishment in life will be raising a son with all the knowledge and wisdom that, in a sense, he helped teach me.
Never allow yourself to be the stereotype.