Each month on the blog we will feature one of the eight winning essays from the TeenNow California 2012 Scholarships for pregnant and parenting teens throughout California. The essays are simultaneously inspiring and heartbreaking; each lends insight into trials of adolescent childbearing and the need for continued support for young families. This month’s featured essay by Maeve McDonald was the Regional 1 winner, as well as the statewide winner, earning the student $800 towards her education. McDonald plans to study at Shasta College in Redding, CA this fall. We wish her the best of luck!! Thank you to TeenNow member Tracy Conry for sponsoring.
From Diva to Diapers: My Life as a Teen Mom
by Maeve McDonald
It seems like only yesterday I was surly freshman, fighting with my mom getting D’s and F’s,
and caught up in the latest high school drama. I remember thinking that my life was so hard
and complicated. Little did I know how easy I had it. It took having baby to open my eyes and
show me the real meaning of responsibility and … wait a minute I have to go chase down my
son before he throws a ball in the toilet. What was I talking about? Oh, yeah … responsibility.
I met Nick in February of my freshman year. Back then we were all about each other and had a
great relationship. When we became sexually active the last thing on my mind was becoming
pregnant. September of 2009 was a very eventful month. Nick’s mother committed suicide,
he broke up with me, and I found out I was pregnant. Being sixteen and pregnant, I wondered
if I could handle the stress of losing my boyfriend and having a baby all by myself, with little
Right away voices came from all directions…”you should give the baby up for adoption”… “You
should think about abortion”… “You’re too young to raise a baby by yourself.” … “What
about your future?” Even though I was terrified, I began to believe I could never give up my
baby and I could be a good mother.
My mom and I had always had a lot of problems. I never had much respect for her or
appreciated what she did for me, so when I decided to keep the baby my mom and stepdad let
me know I wasn’t allowed to live at the house. Right from the beginning I had a huge
problem … I didn’t know where I was going to live with my baby. My older sister was one of
the only supportive people throughout my pregnancy and offered to let me live with her.
Kingston was born on June 9, 2010, a day after my seventeenth birthday. I started my new life
as a single mom and the work involved in caring for a newborn was a lot more than I expected.
I decided to stay in school and attend an independent study program that helped teen moms.
Even though the program I enrolled in made it easier to get through high school, it didn’t
change that fact that it was hard to juggle being a mom and getting my schoolwork done.
There were many times when I felt alone and wanted to give up, but then I would look at
Kingston and remember this was the life I chose and I had to stick it out.
The first year was really rough for me. My sister and I weren’t getting along and she decided
she didn’t want me living there anymore. Kingston and I stayed at a friend’s house for a few
months. My living situation was unstable and I wasn’t happy with the way things were going.
Finally things started to turn around. My mom and stepdad helped me find my own place
when Kingston was eight months old. When I look back I realize that getting my apartment
was the turning point in which I really started to grown up and feel like an adult. Before
having my own place I wasn’t a very neat and organized person, but now I had baby crawling
around so I had to make sure I had a clean, safe environment.
I began to see myself as a different from all the girls my age. I became more focused on
maintaining a 3.90 GPA, graduating, setting goals for my future and being a responsible, good
mom and role model for my son. When I look around I see girls focused on partying, boys,
prom and clothes while I’m busy studying college catalogs to figure out the best path to take
to become a registered nurse, the profession I’ve decide to go into, so I can support myself
and my son. My mom and I have become very close and I have grown to respect her deeply
and appreciate our relationship.
Being a teen mom is extremely hard and tiring and I would not recommend it for girls my age.
It wasn’t the path I would have chosen for myself, but I realize now it’s the thing that changed
me from being a self-centered, irresponsible teenager to a motivated young adult who’s ready
to handle any curve ball life throws my way. All I care about now is making sure my son has a
good future. Kingston is now my world and I wouldn’t trade being his mom for anything.
Learn more about our scholarship program on our website: http://teennowcalifornia.org/scholarships.php