A few years ago, at 17, I got pregnant with my son. And six weeks after giving birth, I was pregnant again with my daughter.
People have felt sorry for me and my children ever since. For a while I almost did too, I struggled with feeling like I had become a statistic or that I had let my family down, because after graduating from high school — instead of going off to college — I was growing a fetus.
But it’s hard to think I’ve done something wrong when I watch my children bring joy into so many lives.
Yes, being a mother is a daily challenge and statistics do show that a home run by a teenager does not create the ideal environment for a child to grow up in. But sometimes in life stuff happens, so you have to figure out a way to deal with it.
For nine months all I could think of was this: if I could barely take care of myself, how in the world am I going to raise a child?
At first, it was rough. I gained weight, my body was changing, I had no money and one day I looked at my phone and realized I no longer had friends that I could talk to. I moved three hours away to hide a pregnancy for seven months because the thought of running into somebody I knew from high school was enough to make me sick to my stomach.
If I could go back in time, I’d tell myself not to worry so much about what other people think and that I didn’t need to prove to anybody that I can be a good mom; that even if I had waited for another five or 10 years I still wouldn’t be prepared for this, whether it was a failed relationship, or friendships, or any of the other usual stresses
I take comfort in knowing that I’ll always have my children to love me unconditionally.
As the years went by I became a better, more responsible, likable person. After having children, I was forced into adulthood. It was no longer all about me. I was soon waking every three hours to replace a pacifier and working diapers and formula into my monthly budget.
But I managed. It was hard but not impossible. I never want my children to ever feel like they are at a disadvantage. I want us to live comfortably, with a stable life just like everybody else.
I know that means for me. I have to go to school and constantly work hard to better myself. For them.
I’m proud of the person I’ve become after having children.
Sure, I could walk around with my head down wanting people to feel sorry for me because of something that I caused. Or maybe I can recognize that having children is a privilege that some women don’t get to experience, and I was blessed with a beautiful son and daughter that made me get my life together. Being a mother has given me a purpose that I never had before. I should be proud of that. I’m ready to be proud of that.