Hi, my name is Christina, and I was a teen mom.
I was the least likely person to become a teen mom. I wasn’t a trouble maker; I made good grades; and, I had the same boyfriend for two years. Yet, when I was 17 years old, I found out I was pregnant. The way I told my mom was by handing her the positive pregnancy test while uncontrollably crying. I was confused and terrified.
Eventually I came to terms with the fact that I was going to be a teen mom. For me, it was never a question of whether I would take responsibility for my actions. The baby was mine. I knew that from the beginning. I also knew that I was going to finish my education for my baby. I went to school day after day with my baby growing inside of me. My boyfriend remained by my side throughout the pregnancy, but he was 20 years old, so he was already out of high school. So, while he was by my side in every aspect he could be, I had to endure the constant stares and ridicule from both students and teachers by myself. But that didn’t matter to me because I was doing this for my baby.
I attended school up until the very day I showed signs of labor. Unfortunately, these signs were false. Four days later, I still had not gone into labor. I was tricked by my own doctor into being induced. I was young and terrified, so when she told me that “some women come in at 40 or 40 and a half weeks and their baby is dead,” I was convinced that being induced was the best choice. I know now that this is a common ploy doctors use to have a baby on their terms instead of nature’s. If I could go back, I would’ve 100% refused induction because there was absolutely no medical reason.
However, I was induced on my due date with Pitocin. It was a rather traumatic experience that involved intense pain, doctors not listening to me when I was telling them something was wrong, my daughter having a bowel movement while in the birth canal, pushing for two hours, and the cord being wrapped around her neck. But, in the end, I had a beautiful, 7 pound 14 ounce baby girl.
The next six weeks were spent battling with breastfeeding issues, reoccurring RSV (which I am convinced was a result her weakened lungs from the meconium she inhaled), and sleep deprivation. And with this, I was also having to keep up with my school work from home.
After those six weeks, I had to return to school for the last semester of my senior year. I somehow found a way to balance my schoolwork and my mommy duties, and when my daughter was 6 months old, I graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA and 6th in a class of 256 students. I was able to graduate with my daughter in the stands cheering me on!
But my story doesn’t end there. After I graduated, my daughter and I moved in with her daddy. We had the summer to adjust to becoming a family, then I started my first semester of college in the fall. All was going well until winter break when I found out I was pregnant again even though we had been actively trying to prevent a pregnancy. I found comfort in the fact that I had the support of my now fiance and my family, but I was, yet again, terrified of the unknown.
What I did know was that I couldn’t give up on my education. I completed the spring semester, then endured 12 hour days during the summer semester while beginning to look and feel as if I had swallowed a watermelon so that I could take the fall semester off for the arrival of our son.
He measured very big the entire time I was pregnant. I was constantly told that I would probably need to be induced or else I would need a c-section. However, I had taken the time to educate myself this time around. So, when 38 weeks came and my doctor told me we WOULD induce the following week, I told him we would NOT. 39 weeks came and he tried to convince me that I was too small to deliver such a big baby (I’m 5’2″ and around 125 lbs when not pregnant), I still refused. I was not going to put this baby through what my daughter had to go through. Two days before my due date, my doctor told me that I was more than likely going to end up with a c-section, but I trusted my body and my baby.
That night, labor began, and twelve painful, yet relatively uneventful hours later, my 9 pound 15 ounce baby boy made his appearance after only fifteen minutes of pushing. However, he too had the cord wrapped around his neck. When they briefly laid him on my stomach to cut his cord, I looked into his eyes as he made not a single sound. I can still remember my doctor saying, “We’re going to have to give him some help.” No one would tell me what was going on as I continued to ask if he was going to be okay. I remember crying as it seemed like hours were passing without hearing anything from my baby boy. Then, finally, the most glorious cry came from the crowd of nurses. I was able to hold him for a few minutes before they realized he was still having some trouble breathing. They took him away from me for three hours. But he was finally brought back to me and he has been healthy ever since!
Being a 19 year old mommy of two took some adjusting, but we’ve found our groove. My son was a champ sleeper and breastfeeder (he’s still breastfeeding at 20 months old). My daughter has been an amazing big sister. And my fiance has always been a wonderful father. I consider all of things to be blessings.
After taking a semester off, I returned for the following semester and have remained in school since then. I’ve never dropped a class and have made B’s in three off my classes and A’s in all the others. In the fall, I will be entering my program of study and will only have two years left.
My children are now 3 years old and 20 months old, and I am now 21 years old. My journey has not been easy and there are things that I missed out on, but the things I have gained far outweigh anything I lost. It’s not the path I imagined for myself all those years ago, but my children are my world. I couldn’t imagine life without them.
Unwatermarked photos by Sylvia Hill of Shades of Love Photography