teen pregnancy statistics and facts

10 Teen Pregnancy Statistics That Will Shock You

We have 10 teen pregnancy statistics that will shock you!

Having a baby when you’re still a teenager has been exploited through reality TV.

They sometimes even glorify being a young mom and most of them don’t talk about teen pregnancy statistics or even show motherhood for the harder side of things.

teen pregnancy statistics

Here’s a list of not-so-happy teen pregnancy statistics you may not know about teen motherhood. (Let’s beat the numbers and inspire change!)

 

1 Fame and Misfortune: MTV’s Teen Moms make $65,000 per season while real life U.S. teen moms on average have an annual income of $23,000.

While shows like “Teen Mom” or “16 and Pregnant” have helped to contribute to society’s drive to inspire young women to reach “success” through getting famous on YouTube or becoming reality TV stars, the skewed reality that they portray is misleading. Young teenagers think that having a baby can be glamorous or somehow the path they should take to fit in with current trends, but look at the financial reality of it… these girls behaving badly or even just getting publicity for having a child as a teen are raking in about $65,000 each season. The odds of striking it rich as a young mom are slim to none and you’ll probably end up with the millions of teen moms in the U.S. that only bring home less than $25,000 on average to support themselves and their baby.

2 Unhappily Ever After: Almost 80% of teen fathers don’t end up marrying the mother of their children.

When you’re young, you fall in “love” and you plan a future…. but sometimes things happen that we don’t plan. Teen couples that get pregnant can sometimes try to see the pregnancy as a blessing. They make a plan and set goals on how they will succeed in raising their child and face all of the obstacles teen couples face, and sometimes it works out. However, whether it accidentally fails after trying or even if the father just runs from the situation out of fear or neglect, the reality is that nearly 80% of teen dads don’t marry the teenage girl they got pregnant.

3 The High-Low: Teen pregnancy in the U.S. is nearly 11 times higher than other countries in the world.

In 2013, it was estimated that 26.6 of every 1,000 teen girls became mothers in the United States alone. The top 3 states in the U.S. for teen pregnancy are Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. This may sound like a huge number (it is) but surprisingly, this is much lower than the 400,000 births reported in 2009. Yet even with this significant drop, we still have the highest birth rate in the world compared to countries like Canada, England, France, and even Japan.

4 Beauty School Dropout: Teen pregnancy is the #1 reason girl teenage girls drop out of school.

Less than half of the kids in high school are having sex, but there are still so many girls getting pregnant that teen pregnancy is still the #1 reason that a teen girl will drop out of school. It’s actually shown that two-thirds of teen moms will drop out of high school and will not graduate. Even after high school, moms struggle to continue their education with less than 1% earning a college degree by the time they turn 30 years old.

5 Babies and more babies: 25% of teen moms will have more than one child.

Becoming a teen mom can be scary when you didn’t plan the pregnancy. Even through all of the judgement, shock, and concern 25% of teen mothers will have another baby within 2 years of the birth of their first child. In 2010, there were 365,000 teenagers that had babies and of that number 67,000 weren’t their first child. It has been shown it’s better to wait to have your next child as a teen mom since repeat births can cause health problems in their kids and can be the reason moms struggle more with their education and finding a job.

6 What about the kids?: Having teen parents can affect children in the long run.

Families that started when a young girl became an unmarried teen mom are more likely to be poor. In fact, only 1/3 of these families are financially stable. It’s not uncommon that a lot of teen mothers end up on welfare either. Actually, of all of the moms currently on welfare, over half of them had their first child when they were a teenager. Aside from financial trouble, studies have shown that the daughters of teen moms are 3 times as likely to become teen moms themselves and sons of teen mothers are twice as likely to end up incarcerated.

7 Black or White: Hispanic and black adolescents have a higher birth rate.

We hate stereotypes about race, sex, or age. That’s the whole reason this article is being written… so that people can start to make a change to beat the statistics. However, currently it is proven that Hispanic females ages 15-19 are the highest group for becoming teen moms (46.3 births for every 1000 teenage girls) and black females are a close second (43.0 births for every 1000 teenage girls). One in 8 white teenage girls will have a baby by her 20th birthday which results in about 20.5 births for every 1000 white teen girls. Regardless of race though, there has been a decline in teen moms throughout all different ethnic backgrounds in the past few years.

8 Surprise… You’re Pregnant!: 77% of teen pregnancies are unplanned.

Teen pregnancy has dropped by over 50% in the last 10 years or so which is a huge decrease. Of the existing teen pregnancies, 77% of young moms say that they weren’t ready and didn’t plan to get pregnant. There are many ways that these pregnancies turn out in the end, including 60% of them being live births and creating new teen mommies, 30% of them resulting in abortion, and 15% ending in miscarriage. 30% still seems like a high number for the abortion rate, but in reality, it’s the lowest it’s ever been since it became legal back in 1973.

9 Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby: 7 out of 10 teens have had sex by the age of 19.

On average, teenagers lose their virginity around the age of 17 but statistics show they don’t end up getting married until their mid-20s, leaving them open to a higher risk of unplanned pregnancy for almost a decade. Even though there has been an increase of the use of birth control, there is still a risk for female teens to get pregnant since 1 in 4 teen girls didn’t use any contraception when they last had sex.

10 No Regrets: Even through the challenges, being a teen mom can be a turning point.

As much as I am an advocate for preventing teen pregnancy, I was also a teen mom myself. After working for Young Mom’s Club and talking to many young women who became teen mothers, I have found that through all the struggles and obstacles we face when we have our children when we’re younger… we wouldn’t change it for the world. There are more young mothers out there that are making efforts to change society’s stigma against teen moms and accomplishing their dreams while still educating young girls about abstinence and safe sex.

A recent study actually showed interviews with teen moms who attended a teen parent school were mostly successful educationally and in other aspects of their lives which are valued in our society, such as careers and home ownership. As long as there is good education and support to meet the needs young families have, teen pregnancy statistics show that being a young mom can be an opportunity for young women to turn a new leaf and reach success in life. We all share the same goals and that is for younger generations to succeed, no matter what!

We can all use these harsh realities to work with each other to overcome the struggles of being a teen mom and educate young girls to make sure they succeed in life.

What advice can you give to teen girls who aren’t pregnant yet but are sexually active? Better yet, what are you personally doing to help to beat the teen pregnancy statistics and to overcome obstacles you face from having a baby when you were a teen? Comment below! We want to hear your feedback and ideas.

goals-in-life-615

5 Goals in Life that you NEED for the New Year

It’s a brand new year! (Which means you need brand new goals!)

In today’s video, I’m going to go through the 5 goals in life that you need for the New Year and share what some of mine are..

5 Goals in Life that you NEED for the New Year – Video Transcript

It’s a brand new year so I’m going to guess that you have some sort of new years resolution, maybe to lose weight, stop smoking, make more money, something like that. Am I right?

goals in life danielle fordI’m Danielle Ford, the founder of Young Moms Club, where young moms go to empower themselves and design their perfect lives, and I’m going to tell you why I’m a way bigger fan of goals than resolutions.

I’m going to tell you what the difference is, and also I’m going to explain to you the 5 different goals in life that you should have for this new year.

Ok to be honest, I’m really not  fan of resolutions, I much prefer goals, you see the thing about resolutions is it means usually that you want to create a change and the only way to change something is to create a new habit. and to create a new habit, you need to create goals that are going to help you create that habit. Also a lot of people have a new years resolution and its so big and thats really hard to stick with so even though I’m a fan of the new years thing and I usually do the new years thing around my birthday cause to me its a new year but its in January so it still kinda counts.

But I like to have some big goals in mind but if you call it a resolution, it’s too much pressure, so instead you should have a big goal and then you should break it down into smaller goals.

So every year I like to have a big goal around five different things and these are what I believe, the five goals in life that everybody needs to have.

So, the first one is business goals. There’s also health goals, family goals, relationship goals and social goals. So I like to have some biggish goals for the whole year and then I create quarterly, monthly, weekly, etc etc goals to make sure that they are accomplished. So for instance, one of my business goals is to publish my book by the end of the year and actually more like in the middle of the year so I don’t just leave it at that like my goal or my resolution is to publish my book, I then break it down into smaller goals like “write this chapter”, “meet with a publisher” , editing, front cover design, yada yada yada, all of these goals are going to help fulfill my bigger goal.

On the health side of things, my big goal is to get plates certified and that’s probably  not going to happen until around the Fall but its still my goal for the year so I’m not just gonna wait until the Fall happens and certification comes around again, I’m going to make smaller goals like “attend pilates 3 times a week, 4 times a week for an entire month or three months straight or practice whatever”.. so smaller goals to make it easier for when Fall comes around and I can accomplish that goal. And of course I have family goals, relationship goals, social goals.. and just like business and health, I’m going to break those down into smaller, actionable bites that I can accomplish much easier than the entire goal.

So now I want to hear from you, what are your five goals in life that you want to accomplish this next year?

Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this video then please click like and subscribe and if you’re not part of the club, then head over to YoungMomsClub.com, enter your name and email, I will immediately connect with you one on one, send you a free ebook and send you these videos, weekly.

Thank you so much for watching and I will see you next week. <3 Danielle

easy christmas crafts for kids

2 Easy Christmas Crafts for Kids

Looking for some easy Christmas crafts for kids to do this weekend? Here are 2 different ones that cost under $5 each!

Craft 1- Snowmen Ornaments

easy christmas crafts for kids

You will need:

  • Plastic, clear ornament ($1.00 at Walmart)
  • Non-toxic paint (white and any other colors you choose to decorate with)
  • Small Paintbrush
  • A child (grown up hand prints just aren’t as cute)

Angelina demonstrates exactly how to make the snowman ornament in this video:

 

 

Craft 2- Snowman Milk Jugs

christmas crafts for kids

You will need:

  • Milk jugs
  • Pom poms
  • Adhesive
  • Card stock
  • Chenille stems

Instructions:

  1. From black card stock, randomly cut eyes and mouth shapes. Eyes should be larger than the mouth pieces.
  2.  From orange card stock, cut triangles for nose.
  3. Glue pieces on to clean milk jug.
  4. Glue chenille stems to each side of milk carton, creating an arch above the eyes.
  5. Glue pom poms, jingle bells, etc on the end of each chenille stem to create earmuffs.

 

*Craft #2 is shared with us from my friend Brittany Donahue. She’s been happily married to her husband, Paul, for 9 years. They have 2 amazing boys, Jack and Parker. When Brittany’s not spending time with her kids and making fun crafts with them, she’s working part-time as a receptionist for AlliedBarton Security Services.

 

Aren’t these 2 easy Christmas crafts for kids super adorbs?? Are you going to try any of them?

If you’re looking for even more cute crafts for Christmas, check out this one that Angelina shared last year.

 

 

pay rent or buy christmas presents

Should I Pay my Rent or Buy Christmas Presents?

Around this time, about 7 years ago, I was asking myself “Should I pay my rent or buy Christmas presents?”

Money was really tight and there was no option for me to pay for both.

So that year, I didn’t buy any Christmas presents for my kids.

So in today’s video, I’m gonna tell you why I ended up making that tough choice, how I handled the guilt of feeling like I couldn’t provide for my kids.. and also what I probably should’ve done instead..

Video Transcript- Should I Pay Rent or Buy Christmas presents?

Hey this is Danielle Ford and RosaBelle Ford and I didn’t really plan a video for this week.

It’s just been one of those weeks that just kind of got a head of me and I just wasn’t feeling very good and kind of have a headache and just have a ton of stuff to do to get ready for Christmas and the kids are gonna be out of school soon so I’ve just been doing a lot of stuff. But it’s really funny, I actually decided to shoot this video because I’m sitting here wrapping presents and it’s late and the kids are sleeping and I’m like, kind of stressed, like “I have all these presents to wrap and I have to do all this stuff.

But the ironic part of that is that just a couple years ago I didn’t have any presents to wrap.

pay rent buy christmas presentsI was really struggling and when the kids were about 3-4, or 2-3-ish, I was working 2 jobs as an Esthetician during they day and bartender at night and I made money, I made OK money but I also didn’t get child support and had an apartment to pay for and daycare and bills and food and everything else..

So that’s where all my money went and I remember that I felt really bad and guilty that I wasn’t able to get the kids gifts, and I was really thinking, “Should I pay my rent or buy presents?”

And I thought ultimately, we’re not gonna have a place to have Christmas if the bills don’t get paid, so I didn’t buy them a single present.

Luckily, my mom bought them some things so it wasn’t like they didn’t have anything, But at that time, I felt like because I wasn’t destitute, or homeless.. you know how you always hear about feeding and helping the homeless? I had too much pride to tell anyone that I couldn’t afford presents.

And I just remember feeling really shitty that I wasn’t able to get presents for the kids.

And the next year, I actually went ape shit and bought way too much stuff which was dumb but I felt like I was making up for it.

But my whole point of this is to say that I’m sure there are a lot of people watching this that are in that situation now that I was in and it really sucks. When you have to ultimately make the decision to buy something frivolous for your kids like presents or be responsible and pay the bills, the bills come first, obviously.

And looking back, there was no reason for me to feel guilty. For one, the were taken care of by my mom and if they hadn’t been, I would’ve totally been in a perfect place to go ask for presents. There’s so many people and organizations and people just waiting to help a single mom, and people just waiting to donate, especially around this time of year. So, I probably should’ve done that, but I had way too much pride and that was stupid.

Another thing that’s really important to remember is that quote that: “Children want your PRESENCE, not your PRESENTS.” -Click to Tweet this!

So, it doesn’t matter what they get, they ultimately want to do something with you, so if you can take some old stuff you have and re-gift it, create a little game, do a little scavenger hunt, or whatever, there’s always fun things that you can do with your kids on Christmas.

That’s kind of just what I was thinking about because I just want to let you know that it gets better, it does, I promise. And you don’t know how or when, but it does. And one day, you’ll look back at the tough times and you’ll be like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I got through that. But I did. So that’s good.”

So, I’m gonna wrap this video up because I have presents to wrap and a puppy to play with. So let me know if you’re in that situation, don’t feel guilty if you can’t provide much for your kids because you’re doing the best you can and one day, one day you’ll be able to look back and be like, “I’m so glad I’m out of that situation” and you’ll actually be able to help other people that are in that situation.

It sucks when you’re in it but you get through it. That’s my story.

Sorry this video is kind of all over the place, I didn’t even plan it, I just put the camera up and started talking, which doesn’t really work out very good because I just kind of go on little random tangents and talk everywhere and I don’t know what I’m talking about and then my dog attacks me and I love her.

So if you have any comments, questions, concerns, opinions, wanna tell me I’m dumb, or not, leave them in the comments and if this is your first video you’re watching, I make better videos, I promise, so go to YoungMomsClub.com and join the club.

I also have a free e book that I wrote called “The 7 Steps to Being a Kick ass Young Mom” that I’d love to share with you. A lot of girls write me back and tell me that it’s really inspiring, and it really came from my heart, so go there and sign up and I will connect with you after that. Ok?

If you liked this video, then like it and if you know somebody who might need to hear this message, that they are enough as a mom, with no presents, or little presents, or even a feeling of guilt because somebody else has to buy presents for their kids, share this video with them, ok? Alright, I will see you next week.

<3 Danielle

Did you miss last week’s video? Check it out here: Are you Brainwashed by the Media? 3 questions to ask yourself..

young teen mom jesse cooper

The Spotlight is on: Jesse Cooper

Read about this awesome teen mom, Jesse! Her handsome baby is only a couple of months old but she’s loving being a young mom.

Being a NICU mommy can be really difficult but this teen mom has kept strong and all of the hard work and patience is paying off. Read about what progress baby Emerson is making and what having a baby and becoming a young mom did to improve Jesse’s life…

teen mom with baby boyTell us about yourself and your family:

I’m 18 and a single mom. I have a son who was born on August 1, 2014 but was due on September 29, 2014. He was 2 months early. His name is Emerson James and he was born naturally at 9:54 a.m. weighing 4 lbs. 5 oz., 17 inches long and so, so perfect! Being a NICU mommy is really hard. My first night being home without him I bawled my eyes out. Luckily I got to live with my grandmother for that period of time so the hospital was only 30 minutes away. So from then on I was at the hospital everyday.

He completed every milestone with flying colors. I get so excited when I think of how well he is doing. At 3 months old he is roughly 9 lbs. and rolled over for the first time on October 27th! I couldn’t be more proud!

What were your biggest concerns when you first found out you were pregnant? How did you handle it?

Well, I was mainly concerned about how the dad would take it because we had broken up the day before I found out I was pregnant. He didn’t believe me at first, which was rough, but eventually he got used to the idea. I was also worried about how my family would take it because my mom got pregnant her senior year of high school as well.

jesse cooper teen momAnother concern I had was my past that was full of struggles like depression, abuse, and suicide attempts. But the second I found out I was pregnant, all those feelings pretty much disappeared because I finally had something to live for. My son truly saved my life and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

What kinds of things do you do to treat yourself, for fun and to stay relaxed?

My main focus right now is Emerson so I don’t do much to treat myself. But when I get the chance to do something without him I usually find some friends to hang out with. Honestly, my relaxation time is when me and Emerson can just snuggle and I can love on him 🙂

What are your favorite things about being a mom?

My favorite things about being a mom are spending special time with my little man. Stuff like co-bathing and him sleeping with me. I wish he would have latched on better when he got home from being in the NICU for a month so I could have breastfed him longer.

cute baby boyWhere do you see yourself in 5 years? If you didn’t have any obstacles, what dream would you pursue?

In 5 years I’ll be 23, and hope to be continuously pursuing my dreams of being a mental health therapist/counselor. And a kick ass mommy 🙂

I love helping people, especially kids and teenagers. There are a lot of things I have gone through in my short 18 years of life, things that no one should ever have to, so I feel like I can help others who have gone through some of the same things.

What advice would you give to other young girls who just found out they’re pregnant or recently became a mom?

Believe in yourself no matter what. No one can make you feel like you’re going to be a bad mother if you don’t let them. No matter what age you are, whether it be 14 or 25, everyone goes through struggles, but they make us all stronger in the end.

Thanks for sharing your story about what a teen mom goes through with a preemie baby! We can’t wait to keep up with you and Emerson in the future.

Have you had a preemie baby or had to deal with being away from your little one while they were in NICU? Does Jesse’s story inspire you or do you have feedback to share with her? Leave a comment below!

Do you have a story you want to share about your experience being a teen mom? Apply to be a Spotlight Young Mom, by emailing us your photos and filling out the Spotlight Young Mom form for a chance to share your story!

brainwashed by media

Are you Brainwashed by the Media? 3 questions to ask yourself..

Could you be brainwashed by the media?

Maybe.. in the same way that a crazy person doesn’t know that they’re crazy, a brainwashed person doesn’t know that they’re brainwashed.

This might seem like a kinda random topic to discuss for a Figure it out Friday video, but it’s actually one of the most important because if you are allowing yourself to be brainwashed, none of the rest of it matters. All of the goal setting and self-improvement and being a great young mom.. none of that will be as effective if your mind isn’t in the right place.

So here are some questions to ask yourself and if you answer “yes” to any of them, then you might be moderately to severely brainwashed by the media and I suggest you watch this video..

brainwashed media1. Do you ever find yourself idolizing or admiring celebrities who are famous but they actually don’t have any real accomplishments?

2. Do you judge the attractiveness of the opposite sex based on the popular standard of attractiveness, meaning that girls: you only find tall, dark and muscle-y attractive and men: you only seem to like women who have Barbie doll-shaped bodies.

3. Do you ever find yourself trying hard to be that standard of beauty?

There are a lot more questions I could ask but I think those are the 3 most common indicators.

I’ll explain more about how you become brainwashed by the media and what you can do about it in the video..

(Be sure to watch to the end because you’ll see a side of me you’ve NEVER seen before… Don’t judge me..)

As usual, after you watch, I’d looovvee to hear back from you, so let’s continue the conversation in the comments..

<3 Danielle

young mom olivia lightfoot

The Spotlight is on: Olivia Lightfoot

Hello, Beautiful! Meet Olivia and baby Emma Elizabeth on their new adventures!

This teen mom is telling the world about her brand new journey as a young mother. Even with having to struggle to get her family to support her pregnancy, she has stayed strong and is loving being a mommy! Read more about her great advice for teen girls who are pregnant…

teen mom with babyTell us about yourself and your family:

Close to the end of my junior year I became pregnant with my boyfriend (at the time) at 16. I puked every single day and was 100 lbs the majority of my pregnancy. And at 37 weeks and 3 days on December 28, 2013 after 28 hours of labor, I gave birth to my beautiful Emma Elizabeth at 8:28 p.m. She is the light of my life and the best thing that has ever happened. I would not be alive if she wasn’t here. As soon as I looked into those beautiful blue eyes my depression and other issues completely disappeared. Her father and I broke up around 4 months after because he would refuse to help take care of her, let alone hold her. Even if I needed to take a shower or simply go to the bathroom she had to come with me, so I couldn’t be with someone like that. My mom and dad and sister help me out sometimes but I provide for her 100%.

What were your biggest concerns when you first found out you were pregnant? How did you handle it?

My biggest concerns were mainly my dad. We were fighting previously and didn’t talk for a year and when he found out I was pregnant it continued until we talked when I was around 16/17 weeks along. What made us really get back on track was at my 19 week 2 day ultrasound when I found out my baby was a girl and that I was naming her Emma. That made his heart melt. I’m still not his little girl and our relationship still gets rocky but he is a softie when it comes to his granddaughter.teen mom

What kinds of things do you do to treat yourself, for fun and to stay relaxed?

Honestly, what makes me completely relaxed is when I’m with my daughter. She really is my life and I’m not ashamed of it. When I’m away with friends or with my current boyfriend I’m always slightly on edge and always checking on her to whoever has her.

What are your favorite things about being a mom?

Watching my little one grow and learn (even though I do have the occasional teared up moments realizing that she’s going to be 1 soon). Also connecting with her and listening to her laugh or breathe. How she feels my face or plays with my lips and gives me kisses. And how I see how much more and more beautiful she gets everyday.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? If you didn’t have any obstacles, what dream would you pursue?

I see myself in my own place, graduated, my own car and license. Maybe in a long term relationship oralone. Either I would be fine with. But I definitely want to make a stable living environment for Emma. Which I should have accomplished at least 2 years but whatever; goals.

What advice would you give to other young girls who just found out they’re pregnant or recently became a mom?

teen mom babyTake a breath. Or two. Or ten. But, just know that you can do this. If you are positive and think about what’s best for you AND your child, you will do just great! Realize you have to grow up faster than your friends and give up a lot (or not much, depending on who you are). But, being a mom is the most rewarding thing you can ever do in your life. There’s more to a pregnancy than morning sickness and crampy feelings or pain. There’s the first ultrasound where you can see that little bean and possibly the heart just fluttering away! And hearing the heartbeat for the first time is just… WOW. A feeling I won’t forget. And seeing the little bugger move or wiggle or even wave! Then the gender scan! It seems like forever but you get to think of names and imagine what your little one looks like. And the hours and hours of labor and pain but I would relive those 28 hours. Nothing can be compared to seeing your baby for the first time. Everything is so worth it. Your baby is SO worth it. I promise.

What awesome advice for young moms everywhere! I can think of a time or two I’ve had to take a few breaths myself, but Olivia is totally right… it’s ALL worth every moment! Do you have any advice for Olivia or any other Young Mom’s Club member? Comment below!

Don’t forget, you could be the next featured Spotlight Young Mom, so submit your photos and fill out the Spotlight Young Mom form for a chance to share your story with young moms all over the world!

 

overcome overwhelm

Feeling OVERWHELMED? Overcome overwhelm with these 3 Steps..

Last week I was having sushi with a girl friend and she was telling me that she has so much to do for her new business venture and she just doesn’t know what to start with.

overcome overwhelmShe just gets super overwhelmed and then she gets nothing done.

Honestly, this happens to me a lot, too.

I have tons of things going on, from Young Moms Club, to SocialLights Video, Cub Scouts, PTO, etc.. (I actually talk about how I get all of these things done in this video) but it’s very easy for me to get overwhelmed and then be like “OMG! I have so much to do! I don’t know where to start.. Screw it!” and then be unproductive.

So in today’s video, I’m going to share with you “The 3 S’s” that I use to overcome overwhelm and make sure that I stay on task.

 

After you’ve watched, let me know if you have any tips to share to help overcome overwhelm!

<3 Danielle

 

parenting mental illness

10 Steps for Parenting with a Mental Illness

Parenting is hard work.

 

Adding mental illness to the equation just amplifies it.

 

Thankfully we have a fantastic role model for any young moms who find themselves parenting with a mental illness.

Brooke Coleman has struggled with this for years and is now going to share her story and 10 tips with you..

 

Mental illness has been a part of my everyday life for much of my adolescent years. It started when I was fifteen. I had been admitted to a hospital and treated for depression and anxiety. A few months after being released, I was admitted once again.

 

The hospital was a place of safety for me. As much as I had resented it in the beginning, it is ultimately where I learned safe and effective ways to cope with my mental illness in everyday situations.

 

Four years later, after all the counseling was done and I was off all of my medications, I found myself pregnant. My mental illness wasn’t gone, but I had learned new ways to cope that made it easier to deal with. For the most part, I had a happy and safe pregnancy. Until I was nine months.

 

At nine months pregnant my emotions were like a roller-coaster. I was crying excessively and would lay awake for hours thinking of every possible way that I would fail as a parent. It was hell. It got so bad that one night at four in the morning I had one of most severe panic attacks. I couldn’t even begin to calm down. I soon found myself back in the same place that used to make me feel safe. The hospital.

 

But it didn’t have the same effect.

 

There were doctors telling me to take medications that I didn’t feel were safe for my

daughter. There were psychologists asking me if my boyfriend had abused me – which was absolutely not true. And finally, there was CAS (known as CPS in America). This is probably what I feared most of all. The last thing I wanted was the threat of having my child taken away from me.

 

Having a child – especially your first child – is supposed to be the happiest day of your life. Isn’t it?

 

Don’t get me wrong, it was pretty damn amazing, but my emotions were still way out of whack and now I had Children’s Aid Society hovering over my shoulder. Yet I still managed to find ways to cope, to find help and to work with my social worker.

 

This is how I was able to regain control of my life and my mental illness throughout the struggles and never ending work of parenthood in a step-by-step guide.

 

Step One: Create a Plan of Action.

 

Your mental illness won’t magically disappear when you want it to – as amazing as that would be – so you are going to need to plan ahead. Create a Crisis Plan. If you are admitted to the hospital or become suddenly unable to care for your children decide where you children will go. Who can take care of them, pick them up from school, etc.

 

Write a list of everything you do to care for your child, as if you were writing instructions for a babysitter. Their allergies, copies of their health card, school information, bed time routines, etc. This will help you keep a level head in times of emergency.

 

Step Two: Be Active.

 

With many mental illnesses, not leaving the house and secluding yourself can seem like the easiest option. It can even feel impossible to leave the house. But your children need activity. If you are not able to meet these needs, why not enroll them in classes, sports or arts? It is a great way to get them out into the world and even learn a thing or two!

 

Step Three: Seek Help.

 

This can be scary. Of course, if you seek help and admit the way you are feeling, you run the risk of having third parties involved in your parenting life (a.k.a CPS, CAS). But it is important to remember that these third parties are not the enemy. They are not horrible people nor are they a horrible organization. As you do, they have your children as top priorities over anything else. Ensuring their safety is their only job and if your mental illness and your life does not endanger your children, the risk of these third parties having a huge impact on your life is very low. In fact, these organizations can actually help you connect with resources that you wouldn’t have found elsewhere.

 

Step Four: Seek More Help!

 

In my city, there is an organization that can actually come into your house and help take care of your children for up to three hours a week. You stay home the entire time and are free to do anything you need to – as long as you don’t leave the house. You can nap, get laundry done, work from home, etc. It is absolutely amazing what resources are actually out there once you ask for the help you need.

 

Step Five: Aren’t Ready to Seek Professional Help?

 

Like I said before, this can be an intimidating step. Whatever your circumstance is, if you are afraid to seek help, there are still other options! You can reach out to friends and family. But it doesn’t end there! Call an anonymous hotline, talk to a therapist anonymously over email – I believe Kid’s Help Line has a resource that allows you to email back and forth with a therapist without cost and with confidentiality. Check out the web for other helpful resources!

 

Step Six: Create a Vision of the Future.

 

It is easy to get caught up in the idea of a bleak future. I often believed that my illness would never go away and that I would be broke and unfortunate my entire life. Do a little research, find things you like and find ways to get what you want! – If you have trouble with this step or need more information check out the amazing articles on this site that go so much more into detail!

 

Step Seven: Take Care of Yourself.

 

When you’re feeling down and depressed, taking care of yourself often comes last. But never underestimate how amazing a shower, a hot bath or a facial can feel! Take an extra ten minutes out of your day everyday to relax and focus on yourself. Find what makes you feel better. For me, it’s makeup. But this really can be anything. Do this everyday and I promise, you will feel so much better about yourself and about the situation you are in.

 

Step Eight: Worst Case Scenario.

 

When I started seeing one of my counselors while I was pregnant this is something she asked me. What is the worst thing I could imagine happening? Make it a chart. On the first side write everything you fear. Be specific. For me, it was having an unhealthy child.

 

Next, write down what the possibility of your fear actually happening is. If you determine that it is possible, move on to the next step. Next, write down things you would do if this actually happened. If your worst fear came true, how would you manage the situation?

 

Who could help you? How can you prepare for this? Practice this over and over until it becomes something you can do in your head every time you begin to feel anxious or out of control. It will help you cope and regain the control you need. Often when you face your fears, they become less daunting.

 

Step Nine: Set Goals.

 

This is something my counselors had told me to do since my first meeting years ago. I dreaded this so much. Yet, when I actually sat down and came up with a realistic goal each and every day I began to feel more accomplished and was able to get out of bed each morning. It can be as simple as writing a resume. Or getting that last load of laundry done. It should be simple. If you can’t do it in a day, don’t make it your goal.

 

Unless you consecutively set out to work on this goal every day until it’s done, it’s probably not realistic enough. If you have a big goal, dissect it. Break it up into partial, daily goals and work on it slowly. It will not only make it easier, but it will get done.

 

Step Ten: Fake It Until You Make It.

 

This is something that my dance instructor told me when I was very young. I didn’t quite see how it applied in that situation, but I was able to apply it later on in life. If you can’t feel happy, fake happy. Go out and socialize. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are beautiful, smart and that you are more than your illness. If you surround yourself in your illness and your misery, you will never escape it. Create an environment where you and your children can thrive. Happiness won’t be found in a dim, depressing room.

 

Parenting with mental illness can present so many challenges in every part of your life.

 

But it is not the end. Never settle for anything less than you would want for you children and don’t surround yourself with your disease.

It is important to recognize that this is in fact an illness and it is not your fault.

Do not blame yourself. Help yourself.

Have you or someone you know struggled with parenting with a mental illness? Tell us what YOU do to cope and strive, we want your advice!

young mom parenting mental illnessMy name is Brooke Coleman and I became a mommy to my beautiful little girl when I was 18 on October 3rd, 2013. I am now nineteen and am very passionate about writing, makeup and blogging! I live in Toronto, Ontario and am going to school for business management while running my own makeup business on the side called Beauty and Blush. I hope to one day create my own makeup line and sell in retail stores.
Here’s where Brooke hangs out…
young-mom-jenna-faccenda

The Spotlight is on: Jenna Faccenda

Jenna is a guest blogger for YMC who wants to share her story with us!

This mom blogger has as passion for writing, loves to spend time with her one year old son, and has so much drive to follow her dreams and to make sure her age doesn’t dictate her own fate or the future of her sweet little boy. Check out her story and see what she’s doing to get ahead in life…

teen mom jennaTell us about yourself and your family:

My family consists of my one year old boy, CJ, his father, and a bunch of supportive aunts, uncles, and grandparents. I like to think of my family as a beautifully chaotic bunch. Nothing is ever normal, peaceful, or perfect. But, that’s ok. My little man is my world and is growing up so quickly. He loves animals, playing with his toys (and even sharing), bananas, and watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I am grateful for the amount of support I have while I work 40 + hours a week and am enrolled in my third year in college. I love to write and hope to be able to turn that passion into a career.

What were your biggest concerns when you first found out you were pregnant? How did you handle it?

I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to give my child the life that he/she deserved. I felt as though my age made me inadequate as a parent and financial supporter. The only thing that got me through this insecurity was the thought that if I gave my child all the love I got and worked as hard as I could, it would be close to enough.

What kinds of things do you do to treat yourself, for fun and to stay relaxed?

Every once in awhile I will get my nails done, hang out with friends, and write. These moments aren’t able to happen often but I cherish them when they do.

What are your favorite things about being a mom?young mom jenna

I love the fact that here is this human being that I created who is going to love me no matter what just like I am going to love him no matter what. I didn’t know the true meaning of true love until I had my son.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? If you didn’t have any obstacles, what dream would you pursue?

In five years I hope to be established in a permanent home with a career. I hope that my son will be involved in school and activities that he enjoys. I hope to be married and happy. I mainly just hope for a privileged lifestyle for my son. I don’t want the fact that I had him at a young age to affect his opportunities in life.

What advice would you give to other young girls who just found out they’re pregnant or recently became a mom?

Stop thinking it’s the end of the world. Thanks to this child your life is just about to begin. You are going to be ok. No matter what you are not alone. Yes this was not planned but most things in life aren’t. It’s what you make of it that counts.

What a positive outlook and strong determination! Thanks so much for sharing your story and helping to motivate young moms everywhere.

If you want to leave a comment for YMC or for Jenna regarding her story or your own teen mom story, go ahead! We love to read your comments.

Are you a writer with a passion for blogging like Jenna? You could be featured as a guest blogger right here on Young Mom’s Club too. Simply visit the Write for Us page and get started!

Don’t forget, we always want to have other young moms share their stories, so submit your photos and fill out the Spotlight Young Mom form and you could be next!