"It was an agonizing moment and it was a hard pill to swallow. Here it is MY daughter who literally gave me no problems is suddenly pregnant. What will people think of me? My parenting? My child? What about her future? Will she get married? Can she go to college? This is surely not a reflection of me."
I am sure these were all of the thoughts floating in my moms head when she found out I was 17 and pregnant with my first child. Even when I say it, its unbelievable. Initially, abortion was definately on the table. I mean, this was going to be the only way I could fulfill my college ambitions. There was no way I could bring a baby with me to college and there was definately no way I could not go to college (like, that was not an option). I was on schedule to graduate from high school a semester early, there was surely no way all of the work I had done up until that point goes wasted on the idea of just finding a job and not going to college. Basically, I was faced with some decisions that only I could answer.
So, I pulled myself up by the bootstraps and I began to make a plan.
I enrolled into junior college March 2003. This was a VERY temporary idea, but it was something I had to do, because I knew I was officially a statistic and all of the odds were against me. I could hear people talking about me and labeling me, "Teen mother, grew up without a father, derived from a single mother household, welfare recipient." You get the idea. I began attending the local Junior college and I made the decision to make this teen mother mission my responsibility only. This didn't mean I didn't ask for help because I understood I would need it but I had my game face on. I had to make this situation better, besides I was about to be a mother!
I delivered my baby girl Jaylah, July of that year and continued on with school 6 weeks later (literally
to the date, God is amazing!). I experienced a severe case of FOMO as my friends all had trunk parties in preparation for leaving out of state to live their footloose and fancy free college life, while I made bottles, changed diapers and soothed my baby while I worked part time and completed homework. I was literally friendless practically! However, I made a decision not to allow that to get me in a slump so, I rocked out a year at the junior college and the next fall, I enrolled into Elmhurst College. Its a small 4 year Liberal Arts college located in Elmhurst, IL (a suburb of Chicago). Although the school was literally minutes from my home, it allowed me to have the college experience that I always wanted, however that came with some sacrifices. I lived in off campus family housing which was initially designed for students like me and eventually it transitioned to be for upper class-man, I also had to take her to the campus daycare depending on my class schedule and I also had to lean on her father to pick her up in the morning and take her to daycare (off campus) while I made it to my 8am class.
Thankfully, with the support of my AH-MAZING family (Especially my mother) and my daughters father's parents, it all worked out. I graduated on time (4 years), I joined a sorority (Delta Sigma Theta) and the bonus is I eventually met my husband there. I say all of this to say, turn your lemons to lemonade today. Being a teen mother was extremely difficult and it caused me to make many sacrifices and grow up quickly in some areas (practically overnight). Nevertheless, I did it and I am so blessed to have such a brilliant almost 16 year old daughter who has grown up alongside me and introduced me into the motherhood club. It is because of her that I am probably blogging today, it is because of her that I have learned so much about me as a parent and it is because of her that I have grown as a parent, it is because of her that I have been able to be a bonus mother and birth her sisters. Everyone has a different story about their journey into motherhood, this is mine.
This is for the teen mom who needs a boost. For the teen mom who feels she is in a season of complete despair. For the teen mom that feels some of those goals are no longer on the table. You can do it mama, now knock out those goals!