I love Emily of Your Mom Goes to College for obvious reasons. Hello? That blog name? Awesomeness. But I love her even more for what she is doing–breaking the mold of teen pregnancy with an attitude like this: “My son does not hold me back from being the person I want to be; he does not inhibit my life in any way. I know that the things I dream of doing are within my grasps, not despite the fact that I have a four year old…but BECAUSE I do.” Oh, and this: “Never underestimate the power of a child’s love and the strength of a mother. You CAN do anything you want if you are willing to put forth the effort.”
Tell us the story of your two lines:
I vividly remember the day I found out I was expecting. It had been weighing on my subconscious for a while, though I never admitted it to myself. I was unable to “suck it in” and had been feeling nauseous. On that Tuesday morning in October, I awoke from a dream where my high school science teacher asked if I was pregnant, because I was getting fat.
For some reason, I was freaked out enough by the dream to stay home sick from school, drive myself to the store, and buy a single pregnancy test. It was one of the expensive brands that read clear as day: pregnant.
I was only seventeen at the time and had just begun my senior year of high school. It was overwhelming. After lunch and much discussion with my sister, we bought six more cheap pregnancy tests. All two lines. All positive. I was most definitely pregnant.
But I really needed somebody else to tell me the news. (Editor’s note: I know how that is!!) So I called my best friend and we went to a local clinic that gave free pregnancy tests. No surprise, my eighth test came back with the same result, and the kind, old lady sat me down on a couch to congratulate me on my pregnancy.
Describe your typical day:
My typical day starts out around 7:45 am. After pressing the snooze button a couple times, I roll out of bed and get ready for the day. Then comes the difficult task of getting Oliver up and dressed for preschool. In the mornings, I swear he acts like a teenager. To be fair, though, neither of us are morning people.
He gets dropped off at preschool around 8:30 and barely looks back anymore. He is getting so big! I hurry to campus for my 9 am Spanish class. Every single day. Three days a week I have classes until noon, and on Tuesdays I go until 4pm.
This semester, I am taking a ridiculous 19 credit hours. So I spend much of my afternoons either studying in the library or at home. During this time, I will also run errands, clean house, and do whatever else needs to be done.
Ollie gets picked up from preschool/daycare at 4:30pm. Tuesday’s are our “special dinners” where we go to Denny’s, because kids eat free. We both love this time to just sit, talk, and spend time together. Other days we go to the library or bookstore, play at McDonald’s, or just spend time at home playing Just Dance 3.
As bedtime approaches, Oliver gets bathed and tucked in. Every single night I kiss him and say, “I love you! I will miss you. You are my best friend!” before bed. Then I get to snuggle up with my laptop and do homework. A majority of my classes are online, so I will be taking tests or finishing up papers. I finally get to bed around 11pm, if I’m lucky. Then I get to wake up and start all over the next morning!
Rudest comment you’ve received as a young mom:
I don’t know if I can pick one honestly! I think as a young mom, so many assumptions get made, and everybody is so quick to judge you. Even strangers. The amount of disapproving looks I get in public still to this day astound me. People will look and see that I’m young, and it is almost like they automatically think they know what type of mom I am. Obviously, people have been watching too much Teen Mom. But I hate feeling stereotyped because I had a child at a young age. I work very hard to break the mold of what people expect from teenage mothers.
What do you want other women who are unexpectedly expecting to know the most about your experience?
I became a mother at the mere age of eighteen. It isn’t something that was expected or planned, but it happened. I spent my entire senior year of high school pregnant and searching for peace of mind. I knew that I needed to enter motherhood at ease with my decision, because the last thing I wanted was for my son to feel unwanted.
Now at twenty-two, and the mother of a rambunctious four year old, I could not imagine my life any other way. My son does not hold me back from being the person I want to be; he does not inhibit my life in any way. I know that the things I dream of doing are within my grasps, not despite the fact that I have a four year old…but BECAUSE I do.
Oliver is an inspiration to me. He is what constantly drives me to do better, be better, and make a difference. I am the strong individual standing in front of you today because of that little guy. I will never regret my choices in life, because I have found my best friend and other half as a result.
(Editor’s note: Anyone else tearing up right about now??)
I just hope that other young mom’s realize that they are capable of doing the same. Do not let individuals try to tell you that something is impossible because you have a child. Never underestimate the power of a child’s love and the strength of a mother. You CAN do anything you want if you are willing to put forth the effort.
How did you make the decision to continue your pregnancy as a 17-year-old high-school student?
I wish I could say that it was the easiest decision I ever made, but I would be lying. At seventeen, I definitely was not ready to be a mother. I considered all of my options, but at the end of the day I just knew I wanted to step up. I wanted to be responsible for my actions, and as my baby grew inside of me, I slowly grew into a “mother”.
This decision is not for everybody, and it is extremely personal. I was able to grow up tremendously. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I was up for the challenge. And there is not a single day that I regret this decision. My son, hands down, is the greatest accomplishment of my life.
Where are you at in your education?
Currently, I am working towards a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Human Services. I am finally a senior and hoping to walk across the stage in May 2013. It will have taken me five years, but I am dang proud!
I am about to start applying to graduate schools for next fall. My hope is to get into a program of Family and Community Services or Family Studies. Eventually, I hope to get my Ph.D!
Fave part of being a young mom:
Since I’ve only been a young mom, I don’t really know the difference! I do think as a young mom, my personality has rubbed off more on my son. I’m only 22, so I am still goofy and silly. It will be interesting for me to have kids later in life and be able to compare the teen/young parenting to normal age parenting.
What are your goals for the next five years? I dream really big!
- Continue my education (Master’s then Ph.D)
- Begin the steps of starting a nonprofit that helps young moms get a higher education
- Find an amazing man to marry and start a family with
- Have a job that helps people
- Be insanely involved in my son’s life (PTA, coaching, bffs)
- Write a book
- Inspire other young mom’s and make a difference
- Buy my own house!
- Drive a mini-van
Something tells me you are going to accomplish all of your goals, Emily. Thank you so much for sharing your story and I can’t wait to follow your progress! You go girl!!