Saving the World One Teen at a Time - Column on Parenting Tweens and Teens

My Teenage Mom and Me.

by Kristy Campbell

 

Teen pregnancy is a hot Hollywood storyline at the moment. Shows like MTV’s 16 and Pregnant, ABC’s The Secret Life of An American Teenager, and Fox’s Glee all showcase the topic. Bristol Palin, the most recent celebrity teen mom, is also doing a great job of
making teen parenting seem glamorous. She is featured in the June issue of Harper’s Bazaar and was named Teen Abstinence Ambassador for the Candie’s Foundation. She asks $15-30,000 per speaking engagement to make speeches about abstinence and pro-life, and while she speaks about how hard it is to be a teen mom, she certainly makes it look like a lucrative goal.

 

I have an issue with giving teenage motherhood an air of intrigue. My issue isn’t based on moral or religious bias, it’s based on the fact that I’m the child of teenage parents
and I know the truth about having a teenage mom…it’s far from glamorous. We weren’t on MTV. There weren’t any wealthy family members to help us out nor did my mom
command thousands of dollars as a speaker. The most she ever received was an African violet for being the “youngest” mom at a church supper as I hid under the table horrified. As a child, I never knew how to interpret the “your mom seems too young to be a mom” comment.

 

My mom and dad were 17 when my mom got pregnant with me. She was kicked out of her house, moved in with my dad’s family, and saw her college dreams go down the
drain. My dad was released from his Varsity baseball team and lost a scholarship. My parents received their high school diplomas, were married the following week, and were then launched into the world on their own. For my mother, going from being someone’s daughter to wife to mother within a 3-month period was a tough transition, but it was only later that her stress fractures gave way.

 

My parents worked to get my dad through college. A few years later, my mom went to nursing school while working as a waitress in order to make ends meet. I remember many nights saying goodnight to my mom as she studied and then waking her up at the same table. I’d make her coffee, make lunches for her, my brother and me, and hug her goodbye as I we all left for school. She graduated at the top of her class, and I was so proud of my young mom. She started working at a hospital on the afternoon and evening shifts, often pulling double shifts in order to earn extra money.

 

Maria.Nunez007
09.25.10

This story reminds me when I was a teenager and became pregnant at the age of 15 and I had ti learn to a mom and wife and go ti school by the time I was 19 I had four kids and I had to stop my life and my drems to raise my children Noe I'm 33 and my youngest daughters is 10 and now is te time that I started working on my dreams now I'm in college. Is not easy been a teenage mother and you lose your whole youth and the best time of your young teenage life.... I wish i had choosen another path

msheryle
08.04.10

I also agree. I was 19 when I had my daughter and it sucks. I see my granddaughters (who I am now raising, that sucks...) watch those shows and they seem to only be about sex, not so much the life around being a parent, single or otherwise. My life changed drastically as a young parent and I have done nothing but work, work, work all my life. These shows are far from reality which is tough decisions, doing without, making sacrifices and long term planning.

katiesmama
06.30.10

I couldn't agree more. I was 19 when I had my daughter, and it sucks. Not that I don't love her, or that I somehow resent her, but giving up your life at a crucial point is awful! I feel robbed of my youth in the years it took me to work and put myself through school as a single parent.Your parents are amazing in that they stayed together. I don't know any teens who would have even considered that option! Seeing these pampered and delusional young mothers irritates me to death. it's all well and good to want to do the right thing, but reality is frustrating and the free rides dry up really quick! At 30, an 11 year old is frustrating to explain. Many other mothers are quick to dismiss you, and it's hard to make friends, relate, hold playdates, etc. No one considers those things.