Every Mama has heroes in their life. Not every one is lucky enough to call one of them her sister, and her best friend. I hope that her teen parenting advice not only helps, but inspires all of you, as well.
My sister Natalie, at 17, gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy, Shane David. Being a teen mother is not glamorous or easy by any means, but with lots of support and motivation, it is possible to take control of the situation and still achieve your goals in life. I can honestly say that, at 22, my sister is one of the bravest, strongest, and most beautiful mamanistas that I know.
I remember exactly where I was the moment that I found out that my baby sister was having a baby of her own. I was worried for her, but so excited to have a new baby in the family!
As for Natalie, her world was turning upside down. She was very involved in high school and had a huge circle of friends. She had a steady boyfriend at that point who luckily had a stable job and was ready to take on the responsibility of a family. Even so, a baby at this point was going to change everything.
While I was away at college, my nephew and godson, Shane, was born. My sister had a strong support system, as the two families pulled together to help her with baby Shane so that she could graduate high school. They even supported her in getting her cosmetology license. (To this day, Natalie is my go-to person for everything fab and fashionable in the hair-styling industry!)
Television shows such as MTV’s “Teen Mom” have set out to show young girls about the harsh reality of becoming a mother at a very young age. But, with the world’s current obsession with stardom and reality television, this show has idealized that lifestyle for many young girls— so much so, in fact, that many of them believe that if they get pregnant they can have their own reality show.
The Best Teen Parenting Advice
Well, ladies, Natalie is here to set the record straight.
Thinking back to the moment that you first found out you were pregnant, what was going through your mind?
After I took the pregnancy test, I had thought it was negative. After [a moment] I finally saw the faint pink lines. My heart stopped—I was in complete shock. I had no clue what my parents would say, how my father would react, and how I would support a child. I also didn’t know how I would finish high school and beauty school in the next 2 years. I was scared.
How has your relationship with your high school friends transformed? With Shane’s father?
You definitely find out who your true friends are when you go through something as hard as a teen pregnancy. I only have a few good friends from high school that show support and love to my son and myself. There were times when people spread rumors, talked about me and made me feel like there was something wrong with me. I felt ashamed and nervous just to walk into school, let alone any store around Gibsonia, PA.
My relationship with my son’s father went downhill after my son was born. He felt as if I took away his childhood, when mine was robbed as well. He went from being supportive to demeaning.
What were your life plans before you found out you were pregnant, and how have they changed?
I am fortunate to have a supportive family and I was lucky enough to make it through beauty school, which is something I always wanted to do. I took on the responsibility of a newborn, school, and a job. It was hard, but I knew I had to support a child. I didn’t want to lose my dreams so I worked very hard for both.
I love my job and my son, and I am one of the few teen moms that can say that. The support I had made my goals [a reality].
What have you learned from being a young, single mother?
I have learned a lot being a young, single mother. I have learned that life isn’t easy; it isn’t predictable. I have an amazing son, but nothing is handed to me, nor comes easy. I have had to work harder than most girls my age. I am not able to do everything that my friends are able to do. I have learned that it is okay to not sleep 8 hours every night. (I am lucky if I get 4 sometimes!) Not only do I have to work, but having a full time job with a 4 year old is hard, especially when sharing custody and getting him to the babysitter before work.
Is there anything that you wish you could have gone back and done differently?
There are lots of things people wish they could do differently in their lives. In my case, I can’t wish for or think of my life any different. There is nothing I want more in my life than my son, and to teach him and raise him to [improve] his life and make better decisions than I did. In my case, I don’t look back. I can’t look back. I don’ t let myself live in regret [because] of the decisions I have made. I have learned that life does not care about your plans. You have to take what God gives you and stay positive, and focus on moving forward.
What advice can you give to teenage girls who are having unprotected sex or just found out they are pregnant?
My advice to young teens having unprotected sex is that it can and will happen to you if you do not protect yourself. So many girls think that it will never happen to them, and I was one of them. Think about your life in 5, 10, 20 years. You have so much time to become a mother. The child you are given can make no decisions for itself. Would you want your child to come into a life with stability, love, and respect, or a life of uncertainty, instability, and struggle?
You grow up very fast when a child is involved, no matter what age you are. Every day is a struggle to lose baby weight, get sleep, and make ends meet. I wish I could give my child a mom and dad that love each other, and stability, instead of 2 holidays for every one holiday, and not being able to sleep in the same bed every night. Teen girls need to live for their future, and not the moment. After you have a baby, you don’t get sex, sleep, or sanity!
If you are already pregnant, you do have options, and adoption is one of them. I did not choose this for myself because I felt I could take on the responsibility of motherhood.
If you do not think you are ready, there are so many loving families that cannot have children and are in the position to have a child. There are open adoptions that could keep you in your child’s life.
If you choose the responsibility, that child deserves to be your life from the moment you conceive on. There are support groups out there if you don’t have one. You need to be prepared, because this is a lifelong commitment. There is no one saying that child will come out healthy [either]. Everything about a baby affects you. You change regardless of whether if you want to or not.
Well , there you have it! Teen parenting advice in it’s truest form. Please pass this article on to the teenagers in your life!