The story you are about to read is from an INCREDIBLE young woman. She is a teen mom with an amazing disposition and heart. She breastfeeds, co-sleeps, cloth diapers, makes her own baby food, is a nanny, a talented blogger, has her own bow business AND is going to school! Her story is so inspirational and encouraging. Her heart is to let girls know that they don’t have to be faced with this reality, but if they are that life is not over. Even though you are young, you can still be an amazing mom and acomplish your goals.
Teen Mom: Jessie’s Story
How did you find out that you were pregnant?
I’ve heard many women speak about how their heart changed when they became pregnant, that they had certain feelings of insight and intuition. I knew that there was certainly a possibility that I could be pregnant, but more than anything I felt my heart changing. I knew I needed to take an actual test, so I drove to CVS and casually walked in… as casually as you can, I mean. Of course I was embarrassed and was scanning the store for anyone who might recognize me. After purchasing the 3 boxes of pregnancy tests (Wow, they are expensive…) I drove to the other side of the parking lot and parked my car. I scanned the shopping center to pick which store I would go inside to “use the bathroom” aka “pee on the stick”. I went into the grocery store with three tests in my wallet. I slowly walked into the handicap bathroom stall. I unwrapped the scary thing and did what I had to. My gut feeling was confirmed. I was pregnant. Now what?
My initial response was to be calm. I sat still. I remember talking out load in the bathroom stall, and saying to myself, “Be honest with yourself. Be realistic, Jessie.” There was no decision to be made, I was going to keep and raise this baby no matter what. Sin doesn’t have to eat you up. Thankfully, I knew that. I allowed there to be a short-time of mourning for what I had done, but I also knew that forgiveness is a free gift that God gives us and I humbly received that. God gave me peace. That doesn’t mean I didn’t struggle with fear and anxiety. I was absolutely scared. I knew what I was going to do, but….. what was everybody else going to do?
How did you tell your parents?
After finding out I was pregnant, one of the very first thoughts that came to mind was: What are my parents going to do? I was very afraid of telling them, there’s absolutely no doubt in saying that. I was very anxious and nervous. I knew they loved me, and I knew that they would always accept and support me through anything but nobody wants to disappoint the people who love them. I remember every second exactly. I remember the shock in their eyes and the fear in their words when they started asking me questions. Listening to them try to make reason of it all.
I came into the kitchen while everybody was making dinner, my little sister was making cupcakes. I figured this was a good time to tell them. I asked my parents to sit down at the table. My mom said she would listen while washing dishes, so I began. Unfortunately, when I’m nervous I laugh…. Which made for a very suspenseful explanation of my news. I remember I kept apologizing for laughing, and that what I was going to tell them wasn’t funny. I could tell my dad was frustrated. I finally just did it. I blurted out, very loud and sharp, “I’m pregnant”. There it was. Right on the table. I immediately felt better. The things we hide have power over us; finally telling them truly freed me. The first words my dad said were, “Really?….. Okay….. Okay….. We can do this.” There were tears and uncomfortable laughs. They say your true character shines under hard circumstances and my parents were truly wonderful, gracious, loving, forgiving and supportive. I wouldn’t be the mom I am today without their initial response of love and support.
How did being pregnant as a teen change your life?
Pregnancy is visually noticeable, there’s no hiding it. Age is also visually noticeable. People noticed that I was young and pregnant. It was very difficult getting used to the stares and whispers from people I had never even spoken too. I knew I couldn’t let their judgment hurt me, because it was misplaced. Coping with the judgment from my friends and people who have known me for years… was a lot harder to deal with. I said a lot of goodbyes. I think a lot of people had placed me on a pedestal and therefore were pretty surprised by the fact that I was pregnant. I had to have some hard conversations.
Tell us about your daughter’s birth?
I developed preeclampsia during my pregnancy. I was scheduled for induction on March 1st, 2013 at 6:30am. I was nervous to force my body into labor, but I still had peace. I woke up that morning around 4:30 with severe back pain. I was frustrated because I couldn’t get back to sleep… I began to get very anxious. I noticed the pain in my back was coming and going… I started to watch the clock: 2-3 minutes apart. I realized that I might be having contractions. I got to the hospital at 6:30, and I had my sweet Wylie at 11:40 that morning. I did not have to be induced; I went into natural labor. It was truly a wonderful experience and God’s hand was all over it. It happened SO fast. My doctor walked in to check me and I had dilated 6cm in 45 minutes… She said it was time to push. “Wait, it’s time……” I had no idea what I was doing, or how I could possibly have this baby. It’s amazing how your body just knows what to do.
Meeting my baby for the first time was the most surreal and time-stopping moment of my life!! My labor happened so quickly that it didn’t even seem like meeting her was actually going to happen. How do you meet somebody that you already love unconditionally and wholeheartedly for the very first time!? I greeted her with open arms and tears. I remember looking at her and telling her I was her mommy; over and over again. She was still, and peaceful and barely making a sound. It was beautiful and special. That moment marked the beginning!
What was life like for you after you had your daughter?
Validating. Our bond was instant and all of my previous doubts of capability were gone. I knew I could do this.
What are some of the greatest obstacles you have overcome?
From day one my biggest obstacle has been people. Juggling family dynamics, failing relationships and choosing who to fight for and who to let go. It’s hard. Because I’m responsible for my daughter and creating the absolute best environment possible for her; it’s hard sometimes dealing with the pressure of making the right decisions. I’m not talking about little decisions like whether I was going to use cloth or disposable diapers… but choices that would potentially follow me and Wylie around for the rest of our lives. I’ve realized that I cannot please everybody. I’ve realized that ultimately my job is to do what I believe is in the best interest of my daughter, easy or hard, convenient or challenging, life-changing or not… It’s my job. My testimony is growing every single day.
What is it like to raise a child on your own at 19?
Most importantly, I am very blessed to have a child. At any age, married or single, God has blessed me with Wylie and she is an absolute gift, and I am so thankful for her.
It’s very hard. There are a lot of battles, and it usually feels like I’m up against something or someone at all times. Trying to get everyone (family/friends) on the same page about things, learning how to mesh a family in such a short amount of time, combining traditions and households so suddenly is a recipe for absolute disaster. Losing people who don’t understand. Judgment from people who thought I was “above” getting pregnant as a teen. Changing churches. Earning an income and being a student. Trying to understand and work on my relationship with Wylie’s dad. It’s all very hard. I’ve learned that it’s impossible to be in control. That each day you have to choose love and choose grace for yourself and the people around you. My future is unknown. There are so many questions before me and I can’t answer most of them, but thankfully I can rest assured that God knows what he is doing.
I have a very tight and special bond with Wylie. We are together 24/7. Just one look into her eyes and I’m reminded why I am where I am. For her. This is all for her.
Wylie is seven months old, so I’m only seven months into motherhood… I don’t know everything and I make plenty of mistakes. I never imagined my life being like this; I never thought I would be feeding my daughter while doing home work. We are capable beings if we allow God to enable us.
What advice do you have for sexually active teens, pregnant teens or parents of either?
1.) Sexually active teens: Be smart. I don’t mean use protection. I mean, be smart. Understand what you’re doing before you do it. Every choice you make in your life will have a consequence… some of those consequences will last much longer than the temporary decision to have sex. Is it worth it? Do not settle for lust when you could have love.
2.) Teen Parents: Breath. Wherever you came from and wherever you are going, give yourself grace. Stop comparing yourself to other moms. Moms who are in their 30’s are different from you. Just like moms who are in their 40’s are different from moms who are in their 20’s. None of us are the same… but we are all trying to do the same thing aren’t we? Love our kids and give them the best of ourselves. We are on the same team. Don’t be angry when people stare for too long or you hear something hurtful while standing in a line. People will assume the worst and have low expectations of you. You are capable of much, so do much.
3.) Parents of either: Love your kids. It’s healing. I know you didn’t plan this for us, I know this might not be what’s best for us. But love us. Even if we push you away. Love us. Don’t blame yourselves. Don’t beat yourselves up. But instead, spend that time praying for us. We’ll thank you for it one day.
It’s 2013. It’s not THAT rare to see an 18-year-old walking around the mall pushing a stroller. I don’t think there is any one source to blame, but I can definitely think of a few contributors. Media. Media is HUGE in this generation, it almost runs our lives. Shows like Teen Mom, 16 And Pregnant and movies like Juno make being a teen mom seem “almost” appealing. Not to say that girls are out there TRYING to get pregnant, but it makes the reality of teen-motherhood seem a lot less serious. It’s serious, trust me. I also think teenagers are lazy. I’ve heard the, “Oh, it was in the moment… I just didn’t think about using a condom” excuse so many times. Maybe it’s embarrassment or having to buy them, or it being inconvenient. What about the teens who grow up in church? The ones who feel untouchable or invisible. Who knows, I guess. I just want to make some sort of difference. I RAN to God when I found out I was pregnant. If I hadn’t done that, my life would look much different.
What an incredible person Jessie is. Our thanks to her for opening up and sharing her story.
If you would like to read more from her, please check out her blog ToOurCapacity.com by clicking here.
Also, if you would like to help support Jessie on her journey, please think about purchasing some bows from her amazing collection on Etsy.com by clicking here.