Tag Archives: encouragement

Missing The Father of My Child As A Teen Mom

It was the winter of 1995. I was 15 years old and due to have my first baby that summer. Terrified to my core, I knew I had no real relationship with the man who had got me pregnant. I was facing the total upheaval of my life without a partner or even a responsible party. I was deeply ashamed. Everyone seem to be involved in my personal life and the drastic situation I found myself in. As the truth came out about my pregnancy, so the relentless questions followed. Mostly, all had one primary concern:

“Who is the father?”

It was known to most that I wasn’t involved with anyone. It was known to me that the last few months had consisted of a some scattered interactions with men that could basically be summed up in the term One Night Stand. I was enjoying many aspects of being in high school, but finding a serious relationship among my peers, in a town that I was not from, didn’t work out for me. Similar was the occasion when I met the father of my first child. We hit it off right away, but it wasn’t a relationship I was able to mentally maintain. He was a young man juggling college and fraternities. Our worlds were separated. He called for months after our meeting, I never returned one call.

My life from that time went on, slowly but surely. I adjusted. My mom and I moved back to our hometown area only weeks after finding out I was expecting. Just like that, I had a clean start. My mother handled much of our care. She was the real backbone for my son and I those first few years. While I am grateful, I still struggled. I knew I didn’t have what most couples did when they fell in love, got married and started a family; I didn’t expect that. I just desperately wanted the father of my child in our lives, regardless of where that would lead for me romantically. The birth of my son made everything new in a way that went beyond dating and being in love, I was now part of a family. It was a family that felt so very incomplete without the support of a co-parent. Many times over the next decade of my life I wondered and thought about this missing man. After things settled I considered trying to find him, but it was too late. I knew too little about him and we no longer had mutual relationships. I stressed, I suffered, I wept – but I did all alone. I felt as though it was a load to heavy to bear. I hadn’t gotten pregnant by myself, so why was I solely responsible for my son’s needs? I got my first job at sixteen, graduated on time from high school and then college. We moved out of my parents home when I was 18 and my child was 2. We seemed to be coping, but there was always a hole, especially for my son.

The toughest part about being a teen mom was facing those questions. This was never more clearly covering over all my undertakings then on the days that those questions were asked by my child. To be alive and not know who you come from is an isolating pain that I can only imagine. I saw how my son longed to know his dad. My answers to his inquiries were too brief and empty. I could not explain to the heart of this little boy why every else had a dad, but he did not. I could only offer him my faith in God. I could only answer with utter certainty that I knew everything would work out for the best in the end. That God had intended for me to be his mother and we could trust Him for our future. My son is grown now, and I have never once regretted my choice to give him life. I do know now from experience that the role of a father in a child’s life is invaluable and cannot simply be replaced or over looked. No matter how little the involvement, we must instill in our youth the immeasurable value each of us play as responsible adults and parents. We are needed.  It’s time to rethink manhood and what that means coming of age in America. We need to place a higher value on the stability of the family and the integrity of a gentlemen. Sexual liberation in our day in age is costing us something: The emotional wholeness of our children and subsequently the moral stability of our nation. Fatherhood is that profound! With communication and unity we can make that difference.

Author Bio

 My name is Jennifer Hoge. I am a woman of God, the wife of a fearless American and a homeschooling mom to seven. I blog to encourage teen moms and change the negative statistics surrounding teen parenthood. I self publish to fund my adventures, 3rd book due out summer 2016. #Amazon

Synergy As A Source

The power that comes together when like-minded people join forces, Synergy. In this life of struggle and dog-eat-dog, let’s face it, we need all the support we can get. A huge part of my ability to overcome negative statistics as a teen mom was the devotion of responsible mentors who wanted to see me succeed. I was down. I was overwhelmed and I needed a team of people to set my feet on solid ground. Trust worthy caregivers to care for my son who was only weeks old when I returned to high school. Compassionate counselors who knew my pain and the kind of direction I needed to be imprinted with. And of course, the administrators who ran the programs and saw to it my educational needs were accessible. My life changed drastically when I became a first time mother at sixteen, but I have a success story that came out of despair and I can promise you it was not something I could have done alone. It required synergy as my source.

As life went on I found seasons change. I settled down to have a family. The simple fact of having a baby (or 6) at home can make it seem like there is no getting out. I became very isolated during the thick of my childbearing years. Suddenly, I was submerged. The long hours and the sleepless nights that went on for years. The challenges of money that come with acquiring more responsibility, it all was too much to handle alone. I looked around one day and realized losing my support system, or failing to ensure a new one, was a mistake. I needed help. I needed friendship and quality people in my life for it to be balanced. Though I benefited from the support of other good people during my single years, I had let it go thinking that was the normal thing we all did as spouses and parents. I excepted that everyone became more involved with tending to their own families and I followed suit.

When God called me to begin this ministry, my instinct was to surrounded myself with people who were already living ministry leadership. I changed my news feeds so I only saw posts from these mentors. I began to seek out my guidance and direction through anointed relationships. God was using others to bring me into this new level of my life.  I had reached a place were I understood it was no good for me to operate alone. The work God was doing required MANY. I faced the issues of hard relationships. I faced the issues of negative relationships. Both of these complications had kept me closed off and isolated in the past. I needed tools and I needed synergy again to beat the odds, to be a success at what God was calling me to do. One of these important relationships came in the form of a Twitter follow. Someone I had connected with recommended daily emails via #DailyProphetic and Neilvermillion.com. This became a powerful connection in my social media experience. I felt whenever Neil put a word out, it was an opportunity to meet with the Lord Himself and be refreshed.

 

Synergy as my source has become a motto in my life. I need the right people to break out into influence if I intend to reach the youth of this world with the love of the Father. It is a work I cannot do alone. It is bigger than me. It requires many experts. It will require a strength that must be tapped into through the anointed elect. Whatever you are trying to accomplish for God, I know you will find yourself in need of empowerment. Stay connected to the anointing of the Holy Spirit which is present in this age. Together, we can do great things! #PleasingAbba #DailyProphetic #TeenMomSuccess

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Writing As A Process

This website and blog originally began as a smaller part of a larger vision. A vision to write a book about my experience as a teen and teen mom. Why tell my story? It was not my idea. It was a calling.  Something I felt more that I had to do then something I wanted to do. I believe many teen moms have similar stories, but yet, mine needed to be voiced.

It all began for me in February 2014. Michigan is a hard place in February. You learn to embrace the white winters, but even for us seasoned mid-westerners, this month is a challenge. For me it was a desperate time. I had outgrown my schedule and routine. I was bored and I was telling God I needed something to focus on that would move me forward. His answer was simple,

“Write a book about being a teen mom.”

“Ok?” I didn’t reject the idea, because I was interested in writing as a career. I had always wanted to become a writer, just I had never done it. But my past, my teen years?  I would have rather forgot about all that and left it hidden.

I said yes to the challenge anyway,  and step-by-step, I made my moves. I told my friends and family. I started a page on Facebook to encourage teen moms. I began to call myself a writer and talk to other writers about advice. One lead led to another. I was always looking for my path to light up in front of me. Then, I accepted an invatation and joined a writing community. I met with other writers online face- to-face to network. I gleaned information on how to create images and so many other important topics. I started this blog on advice from my coworkers, things were changing for me and I was enjoying my new work.

This website proved to be good ground to breakout and learn new tricks in social media. I continued to soak up info on how to write a book. I had no idea how to do it since I never had. The blog writing was great prep work. My post were rounding out to be about 1000 words, the same amount I would need for a chapter minimum. The reality of the book was beginning to look more real in my mind. Finally, during the summer of 2015, I followed a lead to take a webinar. Investing those few hours paid off big- I was now inspired and given the tools I needed to tackle the book.

I want to encourage you to go after that goal, vision or pull in your gut to create the life you want. For me, telling my story and writing a book was the unknown. I would say as I moved in faith and kept the vision alive in my heart, opportunity and wisdom met me where I was; right at home with all my children and responsibilities. If I can do it, so can you! Live your dreams!

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#AmericanTeenMom

 

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Body Image

This may have been the most important topic I faced as a Teen Mom, or should I say, I was really into my looks. I think most of my friends were similar, but I had begun modeling school when I was twelve and I had been trained to be very aware of my look, walk, clothing and make up. I studied fashion. I learned how to prepare my mannerisms and voice. I did some work as a young teen, for L’Oreal as a hair model and representing Liz Claiborne’s newest line for a fashion show project. My main goal after graduating was working full-time as a career model once I turned 15. Like most girls in the modeling business, 15 was the age you moved to New York and started working. My path changed when my family and I moved to Jacksonville, Alabama half way through my eighth grade year. By the time I was turning 15 and completing my freshman year, I was emotionally invested in my high school. My dance team and friends were everything to me at that point. I mean, I lived and breathed high school and its social scene. Half way through my sophomore year, I found out I was pregnant. My life was thrown into chaos. Plans changed.

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I barely gained any weight at first, about 10 pounds the first 5 mouths. This changed once I moved back to Michigan and began attending an alternative high school with a teen mom program. I no longer had to hide my pregnancy, I began to use food as a comfort. Pregnancy is exhausting and I was experiencing it for the first time. I was still going to school 5 days a week, I never dropped out. I would usually crash as soon as I walked in the door. My mom and I stayed in a furnished condo while we house hunted, leaving the rest of our family behind in Alabama to wrap up loose ends and sell our home.

I could make excuses about the 50 pounds I ended up gaining as a teen mom, but apart from it being a super stressful season in my life, I was really uneducated about nutrition and weight gain during pregnancy. I was not monitoring my weight, even though I was regularly attending check ups. No one offered me diet help or said much about it. I gained a lot of weight quickly in the end, when hunger was the most intense. I was therefore left with a lot of weight to lose and, of course, I wanted to lose it very rapidly. I had my son in the middle of July and was due back at high school only weeks after giving birth. I was desperate.  I began a very restricted diet, even though I was breastfeeding. One day, walking down the stairs in my parents house, I began to black out. Luckily, I caught myself and sat down before completing my decent. That experience freaked me out and I learned I could not continue with too few calories. It was unhealthy. I could not starve myself and care for my baby. I did lose the weight, I am glad to say, but it took about a year – to a year in a half. It happened when I decided to go on vacation for spring break with some girlfriends to Fort Lauderdale. I joined a gym, gave up fast food and eating take out, and I finally lost that last 15 pounds that had just sort of lingered.

I’m now in a similar position as I battle off yet another round of excess body weight right after having a baby. I am older and caring for many small ones, so losing weight has become a science for me. I have to be smart and I have to find things that work for my ever-changing life and schedule. I did some research for this post recently, which I really enjoyed. I have made managing my weight a lifelong ambition, after all, once a model always a model. I am always wanting to look my best. Here are some things that have worked well for me:

Hydrate

I recently studied up on detoxing the body. The only problem was you can not detox during pregnancy or breastfeeding. But you can detox naturally. Avoid foods that don’t mesh with your liver like high fructose corn syrup and MSG. Drink half your body weight in ounces of water everyday if you are trying to lose weight. I like to use wide mouth mason jars to help me achieve this. I fill one with ice, a squeeze of lemon juice, a teaspoonful of raw honey and a dash of sea salt for electrolytes. It is a treat! The honey comes through in bursts and I enjoy it more than pop, which I have vowed to cut out of my diet. Of all the things that are easy to do to care for your body, drinking enough water has the added benefits of making me feel great and giving my skin a nice glow.

 I find Plus models convey a much closer vision of the real women I see everyday. Be careful, especially when looking at  photo shoots which are airbrushed and edited – selling an image that doesn’t really exist.

Yoga

I have been a walker all my life. I have been a runner, I have done 2 hour cardio sessions at the gym multiple times a week. Zumba, Dance, weight training class for a year, as well as, Pilates and Yoga. In all my workout searching, nothing has given me the results I crave like yoga. I was surprised, too. I only tried yoga during my second pregnancy on a whim, to pamper myself. I continued in it for the relaxation benefits it immediately brought into my life. Never did I expect it to transform my body in the ways I had been wanting, all those years before! A close second to yoga is Pilates. Pilates has given me quick results! I love Jennifer Kries method Pilates, its my go-to routine whenever I need to trim down my waist quick. For yoga, I was fortunate that my first instructor was from India. She was taught by her father from a young age and she was very knowledgeable. You can pick up some good techniques in a class setting and then continue to practice in your home. Working out at home is a must for me. I live in a region where weather is too harsh for several months out of the year and I need a plan that cannot be sabotaged by money needs or babysitter assistance.

Liver care

I have recently become aware of the powerful role our liver plays in weight loss. Certain foods and toxins regularly consumed can foil attempts to loose weight via exercise. This goes for alcohol, prescription and recreational drugs (never stop taking a medication without consulting your physician). We can care for our liver by numerous healthy foods like garlic, ginger, beets and coffee. We can drink lots of water. We can simply learn about liver care and make it a priority. If you have struggled to lose weight, this may be your problem. Oil pulling, salt baths and dry brushing are all techniques you can google to aid in liver health, All are safe for breastfeeding mothers, too! I have been doing all three for a month in preparation for this article, as well as drinking half my body weight in water. I can say that the most dramatic difference is the appearance of my skin. It glows, especially after the oil pulling. I have also lost five pounds, and do to a hectic writing schedule, I have barley had time to exercise this past month. I really credit the weight loss to the liver care regiment I have begun.

Cardio

Cardio burns calories and fat and feels amazing AFTERWARDS (NOT DURING). Cardio oxygenates every internal organ! Cardio activates the lymph by invoking gravity. Our bodies were made to move.The latest science in health care is linking muscle atrophy (not moving a muscle for extended periods of time) to a majority of diseases that plague humans as they age. Get moving and keep moving. Throughout your life, cardio is necessary.

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Keep a Food and Measurement Journal

I have learned this over the years. Just like anything, being organized and informed is key.

We hired a midwife for my second pregnancy, and it was my first experience with a midwife. They offer a much more personalized care plan than I was used to receiving and I loved it. One of the first things my midwife required of me was a food journal. She told me I could take a vitamin, but it would be better to get nutrients from my food. I wrote down what I ate everyday for a month and, WOW, did I eat better when I had to put it in writing! Using a scale and taking measurements are the same, in that you are tracking your progress and being aware. The times I gained too much weight in my life were times when I avoided the scale or didn’t own one altogether. Measurements are important for properly ordering clothing online, which I do a lot, and it has been helpful to keep track of my changes over the years. I always record my bust, waist and hip, thigh and upper arm. (I learned this in my weight training class). My measurements have generally been the same through all my postpartum months and I can see how long it took me to lose inches in the past. Knowing I have been successful before encourages me I can do it again!

Limit sugar

I have had great success by simply measuring my daily sugar intake. 40 grams per day is the standard consumption for sugar. This breaks down into 4 teaspoons equal 10 grams of sugar & 16 teaspoons equal 40 grams. 16 teaspoons is a lot of sugar, by the way. When I measured out my sugar for coffee and kept ingestion strictly under 40 grams per day, I lost weight and kept it off.

All of this equates to my main message of this post: Love Yourself! Now. Right Now. Just as you are. Because as women that have babies, our bodies are going to change. You can love yourself and take loving care of your body. You will feel better for it and you will look better, too. People will notice! Embrace your body. Love your body. You are a one of a kind stunner. Have the right body image by being the best version of you and not looking to society or media to dictate true beauty. True beauty is right in front of you, staring back from that mirror! #fight #love #TeenMom

 

Disclaimer: The previous tips are my opinions.They should not replace medical advice.

The Children of God

A Message for the Youth

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Philippians 2:5-8 (KJV)

 

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

This is the word of the Lord for the youth in this hour. Let this mind be in you.

The word mind in this verse is translated from the greek word phroneo: to exercise the mind, intensively to interest oneself in (with concern and obedience), set the affection on, be like- be of one + be of the same.

God is calling a generation of believers to rise up out from among the youth of this world. This is a generation who will not only acknowledge the God of the bible as the One true God, as well as Jesus Christ to be the savior of all mankind, but this following of young people will not consider it robbery to be equal with God. The word robbery here is translated from the greek word harpagmos meaning plunder. We do not plunder or strip God of any glory when we consider ourselves equal with Him. Why? Because we are His children.

Romans 8:29 “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”

Notice how the bible teaches that we are brothers and sisters with Christ. Not the servants or the slaves; we are a part of the family. The second chapter of Philippians is teaching how Jesus’ mindset worked here on earth and how He handled such power and status. Read vs 7&8 again

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

 It is a bold mindset. It calls for a balance of humility and selflessness and service. Obedience unto the death, even the death of the cross. Are you willing to embrace the calling of a true child of God? It takes a mindset not taught in schools or even most churches of today. It takes maintaining this oneness in your Spirit with God as you face your cross, whatever that maybe, to the end; faithfully standing. A servant in human form, a child of God in mind and spirit. A co-heir with Christ Jesus:

Romans 8:17

Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

The Word of God attached our inheritance and glory to our sufferings. Children of this world, you may have suffered much or may come to suffer much, but it is not without great purpose and power that you do so. You are to inherit! Even in the current moment, this mindset and knowledge are yours for the taking. Embrace confidence, God has a mighty work for His children in this hour! #pleasingabba

May I Have A Word? Encouragement For New Moms

Motherhood. It is a word that can bring lots of images and thoughts to mind. It is a beautiful experience and one that softens a women in a way nothing else can. The cry of a baby, so tugs at the mother’s heart that she must respond. The beauty is so real and raw, the stress and sacrifice also as consuming to a new mother. As a Teen Mom I really lacked patience. I was pretty selfish still, totally normal for a sixteen year old girl who’s only previous responsibilities failed in comparison to caring for a newborn. I also lacked parenting skills in general. We all have instinct as moms, it is a great thing. But the question I have to address is more about influence than instinct, more to do with lies than truth.

Why Do We As Moms Become Harsh and Impatient With Our Children? What Causes Us to Lose our Loving Nature and Become Annoyed With the Responsibility and Demands of Motherhood?

Now I know I am going to have to explain my way through this, but bear with me, I have a valid case. I was a short-tempered, stressed out Teen Mom. It was a common place occurrence in my younger parenting years. I actually developed this insane idea. I had a son and his father was never involved. I told myself I had to be both a stern disciplinary and a mother. If I did not raise my son harshly as a man would, I thought in my young ways, I would be failing him as a boy/man. It makes me shake my head just thinking about it, but this was the reality of an inexperienced mind. I know from my own situation that I was uneducated on parenting stragegies and outcomes. Most of my ideas had come from other people’s opinions which were also ignorant.

A child should be seen and not heard

A child should listen the first time they are Instructed to complete a task

If a child misbehaves, they must be punished

A child should have manners

A child should not run or be a nuisance in public

Certain places, like restaurants and movie theaters, should ban children because they are unwanted by adults trying to relax

There arewp-1456254468885.jpg so many false mindsets in society. I know that rules and discipline are important, but let’s call this training. Training a child is a lifelong commitment. It takes lots of love and endurance to see it through to adulthood. Let’s replace these former ideas with some truth.

We were all children at one time

Children are pure and innocent, unaware and in need of guidance

Children are sponges, soaking up everything new in a beautiful world

Ages 0-5 are the most influential years of a human being’s life

Children thrive in loving environments where they are respected and educated

I am all for a world of sweet, well-mannered children. To have well-behaved children, someone has to invest in them. Someone has to provide the skill sets needed to walk in obedience and respect. Children must be shown the way to go, not simply told. This takes time and hard work, which brings me to my next question:

Where do our expectations for our own parenting experiences come from?

Are we all caught up in images? Is it the fairy tale dream? Happy family, all dressed in coordinating outfits, smiling and healthy? (I love those kind of pics, don’t get me wrong) Do we only see the fun, the bliss and not the hours of hard work needed to be invested in parenting?

I couldn’t really prepare for the amount of hard work I was facing because I had no prior experience. Becoming a teen mom was scary for me. I was dealing with an internal war, one of survival. It was hard to focus on being a good mother, especially a single mom. I was in the dark, grasping for what I could to do my best. Of course I wanted to be a good parent for my son. Does anyone give birth and want to do wrong by their child? Young moms try to embrace your time with your child. Always yield to love, whenever you can. Know that discipline is something you teach your children only through a commitment and passion to see them succeed. Ignore the cold glances and criticism that tell you to toughen up on your little ones. Ignore the sarcasm you hear from other moms that tell you to be impatient with your child’s neediness and how burdensome it is.

I have done some research over the past ten years and have made a point to ask older women I come into contact with in the community, “What is your best piece of advice for a younger mom like me?” Hands down it is always the same answer,

“Enjoy your time with your children, it goes by too fast.”

Never once has a kind old lady who came to coo at one of my babies over the years said, “Hire a babysitter more” or “make sure you discipline them with punishments” or “Make sure you get enough you time”. It just doesn’t happen. They have all encouraged me to embrace motherhood, to give it my all, to ENJOY IT! Stay in love, you were made for this role teen mom. #PleasingAbba

What A Teen Mom Needs To Hear

So many things going on in the head of a new mother, how much more a teen mom? Teen moms have to combat stereotypes, negativity and sometimes the stress of being a single parent. It is a lot to carry around for a teen. Many may find themselves isolated from peers and circles they used to belong to. Because they are now caring for their child, it can feel like they just don’t belong among former friends or other teens. I felt this way. I felt a strange sense that I was different. It was always with me. I still went to parties, I still went to prom and other social events, but the fact that I was now a parent never really left me. If I went out at night, I still had this lingering feeling in the back of my mind that when I got home, my son was waiting. In some ways it was good for me. I avoided heavy drinking and drugs thinking,

“What if my son needs me? I can’t be high unable to get sober. I can’t afford to end up in the hospital or worse.”

Although I sometimes benefited by default, being a teen parent isolated me from the majority of same aged peers. Unfortunately, adults and teachers can also cast a judgmental light on a young parent. Even within my own family there was such a high level of ignorance and apprehension. They didn’t see what I had faced at school and the pressure I was under. They simply judged and held the assumption that I was bad. I must be. I got pregnant at 15 – good girls don’t do that, right?  Even though some people in my family and society never made a rude comment while managing to fake a smile at me and my child, their opinions were crystal clear. They lacked compassion and the ability to sincerely support me, a young lady, who had endured being victimized by her peers and culture. People on the outside did not know nor understand my story, yet they felt sure I was worthy of shame for the sake of tough love and being taught a lesson.

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So there I was, feeling all this. Different. Isolated. Hurting in so many ways with no real loving wisdom to commune with. The reality of growing up was still on me. I still was experiencing the pressure to be successful and make something of myself. I still had competition in my family and fellow teens. They were all making plans to graduate and go onto college. They were getting jobs and talking about moving out on their own. I was thinking about my future also, but I was doing it as a young parent. It was a lot. Priceless how as human beings we have the ability to survive and find a way.

I distinctly remember one of the ways I stayed encouraged. It was going to visit my Grandfather on Sundays. Ever since I was very young, my mother’s family had gotten together on Sundays after church for lunch. It was a casual get together, you never had to call ahead. Every single Sunday, my Grandfather opened his home to all of us. There was always a simple lunch of sandwiches or hot dogs on the grill, and there was always coffee with cookies for dessert. We talked and visited.  I was grateful for the familiar faces and to be fed, but that’s not really why I went.

At the end of every visit when we said goodbye, my Grandfather would give me a big hug and say, “You’re doing a great job!”

My Grandfather was known for his bear hugs. I had been receiving them as a parting right ever since I was a little girl. When we were small, we would all giggle in his arms after a giant squeeze and his “good-bye – I love you!”. But his message to me changed after I became a teen mom. I love you was still implied, but now he made sure to speak these words of power over me every time we met, “YOU’RE DOING A GREAT JOB!”.

I do not know if I can convey in this post what that did for me. I am not sure if my skills as a writer are up for the task, because when he spoke it, I didn’t believe it. I was so broken and overwhelmed, so isolated and alone; I really could not accept that I was doing a good job. This is true even though I had never given up and was doing my best. If I was doing a good work, why didn’t it feel better, easier?  I needed to hear his words. I went back again and again, Sunday after Sunday, just to hear that steady voice of optimism over my situation. I went just to hope he was right, just to be assured one more time. It was like a life line. It was like if someone in my world doesn’t believe in my chance to make it out, I won’t. Thank God for my Grandfather. Thank God for others like my Teen Mom mentor at school, who was another powerful voice I had to speak hope and confidence into our lives. This is what a Teen Mom needs to hear:

You’re doing a great job!

You can do anything you set your mind to!

There is hope for you and your child!

Keep going and keep chasing your dreams!

1 in 3 American girls will become pregnant by age 19, do you think you might come across a Teen Mom in your grocery store or at the local library? 1 of 10 babies born in the U.S. is born to a Teen Mom, do you think your children and grandchildren will have companionship with these kids as their peers in school? What about at your Church? If statistics tell us you will likely have a connection with a Teen Mom in society, can you make a conscious choice to support her with one word of encouragement? I hope so America – Together we can change the risks to these vulnerable families. #PleasingAbba

Combating Shame and Other Akward Questions

Maybe you are like me. Perhaps finding out that you are pregnant and you want to keep your child has turned your life into chaos. You’re not sure how things are going to work out and maybe you are feeling some regret – or a lot of regret. I really wanted to escape the consequences of my actions. I had been pretty careless doing whatever I wanted. Now that those voices of “sex can wait” were right, I was really hurting. I was embarrassed, overwhelmed, even scared. But I have to tell you, all of these feelings were different from shame. See, I felt remorse because I couldn’t perform under the pressures I had faced, and I had let my mother and family down. This is a natural response when we make a mistake. Yet always remember this point, mistakes are a part of being human and living. No one escapes this. When people try to shame you for making a mistake, it is just flat-out wrong. If you are facing teen pregnancy, rejecting shame from your peers and society may be something you have to confront often.

shame

It was hard enough facing my new world being pregnant, but being judged and questioned felt unbearable. I didn’t want to talk about my situation. I definitely didn’t want to explain myself either. People are curious and gossip is enjoyed, but this was definitely one of the worst parts of being a teen mom: Facing rude people with nosey questions. To tell you the truth it still happens. When people ask the age of my children, I usually get some kind of further probing questions that follow when my first answer doesn’t satisfy.
In many ways I have gotten used to it, but I definitely carry myself differently then I did when I was a teen mother. As young mothers, be prepared and know your worth. Own your current situation with responsibility and self-forgiveness for any mistakes you have made. Know that when people come at you with rude put downs or demeaning questions that they have no reason to ask, they are in the wrong. You have every right not answer questions that make you uncomfortable. Truthfully you are more than worthy of love and support. Do not feel bad about giving yourself time to adjust to your new life as a mom. Maybe you will not get the kindness you deserve from everyone in your reach of the world, but you can choose to embrace it where it is available. Support groups, social media, your family or friends, a teen mom community where other moms get what you’re going through – all good sources to fuel up on love. Soak up all the support and positive material you can find. Be ready for stereotypes and judgment, just never accept them for your life.
I heard a wonderful speaker from the civil rights era give a talk recently. She had lived and worked in a time when she had good reason to fear judgement and cruelty. She pursued her education and, step by step, she had lived a successful life. She said something that day that struck into my core,

“Never let others make you feel inferior, let someone else wear that label.”

How many times as a teen mom did I put my head down and wear what someone else said I was? I was hurting and overwhelmed, unsure and stressed out. I needed support, not judgement. Let’s strive as a culture to end the hurt. #Youngmamas, keep your head up! #pleasingabba

Need some suggestions on how to respond to rude questions or people? I found this post to be helpful:

 http://www.levo.com/articles/lifestyle/12-comebacks-for-dealing-with-rude-people