10 Things I Wish I Knew As A Teen Mom

When I got pregnant with my oldest at 19, there was no MTV crew, Dr Drew, or thousands of dollars to support me. I was a college student whose only job was to go to class and make good grades. Then IT happened, the two lines appeared on the stick of horror and life got really real, really fast.  Before I knew it, I was married, pregnant, and trying to figure out how to support a child when I was basically a child myself.

Lately, I’ve noticed quite a few teenage pregnancies in my home town. One hit pretty close to home and inspired me to reach out to a few of my friends who are young mothers like myself.  We all agreed that things would’ve been a lot easier if we knew then what we know now. Together we came up with a list of things we wish we knew when we found out we were pregnant.

1. You are NOT alone.

It may seem as though you’re the only one going through this situation, but I promise you’re not. You aren’t the first girl to meet your baby early in life and you won’t be the last.

2. Your life is not over.

Who ever says having a baby means your life is over is an idiot.  Things will be a lot harder for you, but not impossible. You can still finish school, get your degree, and pursue your dreams with a baby in hand.

3. It’s OK to struggle, but don’t settle.

Being a parent comes with a lot of different struggles. Whether it’s financial, emotional, or physical, it’s important to push through.  When it’s all said and done, you’ll be proud of yourself for doing so.

4. It’s OK to admit you need help.

It really does take a village to raise a child. You don’t have to do everything by yourself. It’s ok to ask someone to watch your baby so you can take a nap. I promise we’ve all done it!

5. A baby will NOT make him stay

I made the mistake of thinking that I had to get married because I was pregnant.  I tried to force something that wasn’t there for the sake of my children and all it did was hurt me in the end.  While I do believe that a child does need both parents, I learned the hard way that a baby will not fix a broken relationship.  It’s ok to let go.

6. Having a baby shows you who your real friends are.

Those 25 best friends you have right now will more than likely turn into two or five. Having a baby makes it difficult to go out and do whatever it is that teenagers and young adults do for fun.  Your friends are not going to understand why you can’t just leave the house at 12 am, or why you’re too sleepy to go hang out during the day. It’s not their fault, it’s just hard to relate to something you haven’t experienced yet.

7. Don’t let outside opinions discourage you.

People are going to talk and there is nothing you can do about it.  I’ll never forget the stares and whispers from family, friends, and people at church.  People that have known me my whole life talked about me like I was nothing and I almost let it ruin me. It’s important that you don’t let what others say get to you. Being a mom is hard enough without holding on to all of the negative remarks that other people are going to make.

8. Trust your own instincts.

Everyone is going to have advice and opinions on what you should and shouldn’t do. Don’t second guess yourself! You’ll know what’s best for you and your baby.

9. Reacting to things with your emotions can hurt more than help.

While your child’s father may be the world’s biggest butthole, blasting him on social media isn’t going to help anything. Your child’s grandmother may be overbearing, but you don’t have to tell her that. I’ve done both of these things and learned the hard way that it does more harm than good. Being a mom means you have to set an example for someone else. It may feel good to tell someone how you really feel about them, but things are going to be hard enough without the added drama. Take a deep breath and revisit the situation when you’re calm.

10. You WILL be OK.

Bringing a baby into the world is scary, but there is no greater love than a mother and child. As long as you remember who you are and who you’re doing this for, everything will be fine.

Words of encouragement from a few of my friends:

“Everyone thinks that once you have children your life is over. Although your kids should come first, it’s important to still take time for yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself,  you can’t be the best you for your children.” – Tyler Smith

“I won’t sugarcoat this life, it’s HARD. From 3 AM feedings and diaper changes, to packing a bag to go to the emergency room because you don’t know how to break a fever, it’s HARD! There will be days that you cry for a break or just to take a nap. There will be days that your anxiety may get the best of you. No matter how tough it gets, please understand that there will be better days and it will get easier. You will learn things about yourself, you will see how strong you can be, and you will now know the definition of true love. Just remember, EVERYONE makes mistakes. It’s what you make of those mistakes that determines your destiny.” Marketta Hobbs

“Create a savings account! Don’t think a baby holds you back from chasing your goals. Go to school, get that degree, and trust that God will guide you through it all!” – Brittney Jenkins

“There is no manual for being a mom. It’s OK to let your baby cry, it’s OK to miss your pre-mommy days, and it’s OK to take time for yourself. Find a few good mom friends to lean on for support. – Aubrey Carthen.

“Don’t stop! Don’t stop chasing your dreams. The process may seem sluggish at first with a child, but the reward will be great in the end for the both of you. Be the example for your child and show them how to grind under pressure.” – Ashleigh Mitchell 

I don’t want anyone to think that I am in any way promoting teen pregnancy because I’m not. I just know that in situations like this, young girls need to know that someone understands what they are going through. A few words of encouragement can go a long way.

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Hi, I’m Chantal. I’m a mom of two, self proclaimed naturalista, and Author of Growing Girls With Curls: Short Stories For Girls of Color. Being a mom is hard. Pair that with being a single, black, millennial in America and it’s a whole different monster. Feel free to join my mailing list and follow along as I blog through this crazy thing called life.

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  1. Monica Brigham
    July 24, 2018 / 8:27 pm

    Hey Chantal! I enjoyed this read and learning more about you! Thank you for sharing! πŸ™‚

  2. July 24, 2018 / 9:29 am

    I was pregnant with my oldest when I was 20. Oh, I THOUGHT I had it all figured out. Ten years later, and I’m finally humble enough to realize that I still don’t have a clue.

    I love this post so much. I love that you’re highlighting responsibility and hardship, but that you’ve also managed to put some positive spin on it. Life as a young mom isn’t easy, but it’s doable. It’s equally as doable to become your own success story.

    I shared this on Facebook. I know it will be an engagement to many!

  3. Kayla
    July 24, 2018 / 8:53 am

    I think the important thing you mentioned was that your life is not over…it’s just beginning!

  4. Jessica
    July 24, 2018 / 3:23 am

    Wow, each one of these is a truly powerful point made. I hope any teen mom struggling finds this post. Truly helpful.

  5. July 23, 2018 / 1:45 pm

    This is so good! Some tips I believe all young moms should read and know! I got pregnant with my first at 21 and this list would have been so beneficial for me then. Thanks for sharing!

  6. January 16, 2018 / 9:56 pm

    Great truths you have here. I had my first girl at 19 and it was the most difficult but rewarding thing I have ever done. Prepared me to be a mentor to other young mamas so I’m very grateful. I’ll be sharing these tips Chantal. Xx

    • Chantal
      January 17, 2018 / 11:26 pm

      Thank you so much for reading!

  7. January 16, 2018 / 8:30 pm

    This really hits home because I was also a teen mom at the age of 19! Everything you said is so true and I wish I knew those things 6 years ago!

  8. January 16, 2018 / 7:54 pm

    Chantal, Having a baby is such a blessed journey. Many teen moms don’t feel that way. I am so glad to see this post b/c I know it will inspire and give hope to many. Blessings and thank you! <3

  9. January 15, 2018 / 10:25 pm

    Although I am not a teen mom these points also could apply to someone who got pregnant unexpectedly. All great points and I loved reading. Thanks!

    • Chantal
      January 16, 2018 / 5:40 pm

      Thank you so much for reading.

  10. January 15, 2018 / 5:55 pm

    These are all great points, and I KNOW sharing them will help so many other young girls that are in the middle of this! Thank you for writing this πŸ™‚

    • Chantal
      January 16, 2018 / 5:39 pm

      I sure hope so! Thank you for reading

  11. Floby
    January 15, 2018 / 3:19 pm

    I am now starting and yes this is all I need. I have to know my instinct, follow my heart and learn everyday. Our family is not perfect, we are struggling financially. I am very happy and contented that my husband support me with blogging. Thanks for sharing this! I should take note of all of it! πŸ™‚

    • Chantal
      January 16, 2018 / 5:38 pm

      You got it mama!

  12. October 23, 2017 / 12:45 pm

    This post was the truth… I had my first child at 19 also. I can’t express how much you are so right. When I discovered I was pregnant, it was like a crossroads… But I decided I wanted to be the best person for the child I was given. I ended up finishing college, earning a master degree. The baby is now 20 and is now in college himself. You are right…. It WILL be ok…

  13. October 19, 2017 / 2:15 am

    Great points! Im sure they’re priceless for young moms but I think many can be useful to any young adult. I know I would have loved for someone to remind me of 3, 7, and 8 while I was figuring out life in my 20s πŸ˜‰

    • Chantal
      October 19, 2017 / 11:10 am

      Hi Kate!

      Thank you so much for reading !

  14. October 19, 2017 / 1:39 am

    I loved what you had to say here. I was 23 when I had my first and even though I was married, a lot of your points resonate with me. I think that motherhood can be so isolating for so many reasons, and it’s always important to know that we’re not alone, like you said. Thank you for sharing!

    • Chantal
      October 19, 2017 / 11:11 am

      You’re so welcome Justine, thank you for reading!

  15. October 19, 2017 / 1:09 am

    I hate so much when people blame not be able to do things on kids. They do not stop your life!

    • Chantal
      October 19, 2017 / 11:12 am

      Hi jordyn!

      I definitely agree. Thank you so much for reading!

  16. October 18, 2017 / 2:54 pm

    I wish every young mother could read this post. I was also a young mother and didn’t receive many words of encouragement. It’s comforting to know it will be okay when you’re a young mom.

    • Chantal
      October 19, 2017 / 11:13 am

      Hi Lawna!

      It’s crazy how people look at you when you have children young. Thank you so much for reading and sharing your experience.

  17. Jane
    October 18, 2017 / 1:47 pm

    This had to be really emotional to write but I think is so important for this type of information to be out there for other young women who find themselves as moms. <3

    • Chantal
      October 19, 2017 / 11:13 am

      Hi Jane,

      Thank you so much for reading!

  18. October 18, 2017 / 1:12 pm

    I love these suggestions. I’m sure that your story and this article could be so relatable to many young women. Good for you for never settling!

    • Chantal
      October 19, 2017 / 11:14 am

      Hi Brittany,

      Thank you so much for reading. I’m hoping that by reading this, other young moms do realize that things will be ok.