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teenage pregnancy statistics danielle ford young mom

Don’t be a Statistic

When I was a kid, pretty much every grown up in my life had a substance abuse problem or mental illness.

Until I was 25, the longest I ever lived in 1 place was 2 years. Nobody could take care of me for an extended period of time.

I attended 8 different schools growing up. Being the new kid became the norm and I got pretty good at it.

I spent many nights alone in whatever crummy apartment we were living in, in the worst neighborhoods, taking care of my little sisters. In the morning, I’d feed the baby and get the older one ready for school. I was 10.

I walked myself to and from middle school, through the ghetto, taking shortcuts through dirty alleyways where groups of men hung out during the day, drinking and smoking on their apartment balconies. Looking back, I know I had to have had a guardian Angel. Or incredible luck. Or something.

The only constant I had during my entire life was my grandma. During every custody battle, every move/eviction, every new drug problem a caregiver would develop, my grandma was always there to swoop in and save me, if only for a short time.

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When I was 14, I called my grandma collect from a 7-11 pay phone. I was locked out of the apartment and it was midnight. She picked me up and I slept in the bedroom that she had always kept for me. And then I just.. stayed. I officially moved in with her.

According to statistics, I should’ve been an alcoholic or a crack whore or dead.

It’s because of my grandma that I beat that statistic.

Life was smooth for a while. I was able to attend only 1 high school, I was in Honors classes, I got an under-the-table after-school job and saved up enough money to buy my first car.

And then at the end of my sophomore year, I met “the love of my life”; my boyfriend who would later become my husband, the father of my children and my ex-husband (not in that particular order).

My whole life revolved around him. I would pick him up for school, take him home from school, give him rides to and from work, ditch school to hang out with him. I only wanted to be with him.

This, of course, drove my grandma crazy but there wasn’t much she could do. I remember so many times just waiting until the moment I could speed away from my grandma’s house so I could be with him, not knowing that later all I would want is to be away from him and to have my grandma back.

2 years later, the statistics caught up with me and I found myself pregnant at 17.

I continued on following the life-plan that the statistics had in mind for me.

I dropped out of high school.(-Statistic.)

I got married and found myself in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship.(-Statistic.)

I had a 2nd child.(-Statistic.)

And I ended up divorced. (-Statistic.)

..and broke.(-Statistic.)

And then one day, I decided to stop being a statistic.

 

I knew that there were many more statistics ahead of me on the “Teen Mom Statistic Train” that I was on and I didn’t want them to come true for me.

 

For instance:

*Over half of all moms on welfare are teen moms.

*Teen moms have an average income of $23,000.

*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 in jail.

*and there are lots more…

 

F*ck those statistics.

 

I want you to know that wherever you are on the “Statistic train”, you can jump off.

Derail that bitch.

Get on a different train.

 

Now you tell me, how are you going to beat the statistics?

Leave a comment now.

Share your story.

And if you know anyone else who needs to read this, pass it on.

<3 Danielle

 

melissa-monk-teen-pregnancy-young-mom

The Spotlight is on: Melissa Monk

Is it possible to stay positive and focused while mothering as a teen? 18 year old young mom Melissa Monk is proof that you can help others while raising a beautiful daughter!

 

Tell us about yourself and your family:

Hello!! my name is Melissa! I am a young, hard-working, single mother to a beautiful baby girl named Mackenzee Ryanne, 10 months old.
I fell pregnant at 18 by my boyfriend of five years and I couldn’t be more excited! Then reality set in and of course he spilt. So now it is just me and my baby girl living out our dreams. I am currently working full-time in a clothing store while I finish school to become a 911 dispatcher!!

My daughter has always been my number one priority. Mackenzee’s dad became very abusive mentally and physically after she was born and I had to make the hardest choice of my life to leave him. Though I do miss him and I wish things were different, leaving him was the best possible decision I could have ever made for myself.

I am currently involved in helping to create a teen mom support group with my church!! I really want to help teen mothers who are struggling feel like they are worth something, and that their children are always a reason to continue to fight for what’s right!! I am also trying to become an advocate to help prevent teen pregnancy! young mom picture

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

I was really worried about my daughters father being able to let go of his horrible drug habit. He has a horrible addiction to smoking pot and drinking beer. I never noticed it as a problem until I was pregnant. I honestly handled it in the worst way possible at first. I used to nag him and yell at him and try to control him and then I realized that I cannot change him. The best decision I made was just walking away from him.

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

To treat myself, I take a bubble bath every night after my daughter has gone to sleep! and once a month I buy something for myself since I spend majority of my money on my daughter!

What are your favorite things about being a mom?

I know I’m not a perfect mother but I do know I’m a good one. My favorite thing would have to be the love and trust my daughter has for me shows daily when the first person she looks for when she wakes up is me. When she’s playing with her toys and abruptly stops just to make sure I’m still within sight and smiles as soon as she sees me looking at her already. When she’ll crawl over into my lap and snuggle up to me. I know I’m doing something right. And she is so oblivious (obviously) to how much happiness she brings me, how much she helps me on a daily basis and doesn’t even know it. I love her so, so much. Yes, I do get overwhelmed sometimes, but that doesn’t mean I’m a bad person. It just means I’m human.

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

In five years I see myself working hard as a 911 dispatcher, living in a house with my daughter and possibly a husband. I want to be happy, healthy, and over all just settled!

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

My advice to other young mothers would be to just keep fighting. It is so hard being a young mom but the ending result is so amazing! there is hope for us young mothers. If you always put your child’s needs and wants first, and you make sure to also take care of yourself, then you will be happy. Let go of all of the negative in your life and embrace this journey that you are on!! Do not let peoples rude comments and stares get you down because no other person on this planet has the right to tell you that you are not worthy of being a good mother!!!

So glad Melissa shared her inspiring young mom story with us!

 If you liked this article about this and would like to say hello, please do so in the comments below 🙂