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young-moms-myths

10 Myths about being a Young Mom

Here’s the video of the Live hangout where we talk about 10 myths about being a young mom.

 

We’d love to know if there’s anything you would add to this conversation? Let us know in the comments and be sure to join the clubso that you don’t miss out on any future events like this!

Thanks again so much Roxanne Ford for educating and entertaining us 🙂 Be sure to check out Babymamas.com.au!

how to dream big

How to Dream Big when you live in a Small World

Do you ever feel like a goldfish, wanting to swim in open water but stuck in a tiny bowl?

It can be really tough when you want to learn how to dream big but people or circumstances are trying to keep you small.

Watch today’s video to find out what you can do right now to start outgrowing your little bowl and make your place out in the great big ocean.

How to Dream Big when you live in a Small World- Video Transcript

 

Do you ever feel like you have really big dreams, like you think big and you just want to grow but you feel like you’re trapped in this small world? If that sounds like you, then keep watching this video.

I’m Danielle Ford, the founder of Young Moms club where young moms go to empower themselves and design their perfect lives.

how to dream big danielle ford

And I want to talk to you for a minute about goldfish which is totally random but you’ll figure out in a second why. Goldfish are really special creatures, they’re actually able to grow depending on the size of their environment. But unfortunately sometimes they’re kept in a very small fish bowl and they’re only able to grow so much. But if you allow a common gold fish to swim wherever it wants to, like in open water, it could grow to be a foot long. And that’s really sad, even the little gold fish thats stuck in the little bowl might think it’s happy but it has no idea what kind of potential it has and how big it can be.

And that same concept actually applies to humans. And I’m not talking about your size, I’m talking about your goals, your dreams, the way you think, all of these things will stay small if you stay in a small environment.

Not everybody wants to play big and dream big and think big and that’s ok but if you do, and you think you might be stuck in a fish bowl, then you need to get your ass out in the ocean, pronto.

Now let me just clarify something. Your fish bowl isn’t where you live necessarily. You could live in a tiny apartment, tiny house, wherever and not let that stop you from thinking and dreaming really big.

Your fish bowl could actually be your family. You know its really hard to be a big dreamer and be a big thinker when everyone around you is just very small minded. Your fish bowl could be someone else.

It could be someone else who thinks of you in this way and they’re portraying their thoughts onto you and its really hard to have a belief in yourself when they see you as small.

Your fish bowl could also be a belief system, some people get so into their belief system that they become really small minded and short sighted and they’re kind of unable to get out of that little fish bowl of their belief system and become a bigger fish.

And your fish bowl could actually be you.

If you allow yourself to give into fear, to let negative emotions control your life, then you could be your own worst enemy and you could be the one who is keeping you from being the biggest fish that you can.

So now lets talk about some ways that you can grow bigger.

  • The first one that pops to mind is travel. If you can experience different cultures, see the way people live, see how big the world is, realize that it makes you feel so small when you tale somewhere and you’re away from everything that you know. Now I know that many people don’t have the option to travel and that’s ok, you can still learn about other cultures and all sorts of places. But really just getting out of your house and your neighborhood, just driving to a different city, and just seeing how big things actually are.

 

  • Another way is the internet and a lot of people are on the internet, everyone’s on the internet, but many people get sucked into their little circles on the internet and they’re in silly groups and they’re surfing for things that don’t matter and they’re just reevaluating everything that they know. But you can use the internet to do so many awesome things. You can join groups that are actually beneficial. You can find things to learn. You can connect with people from across the globe. there’s so many things that you can use the internet for and that’s gonna help you see the world differently, think bigger, dream bigger, become bigger.

 

  • Another way that you can start to get bigger is by reading books. There are lots of books that make you think bigger, there’s tons of books that are amazing to just inspire you and get you going. One book in particular that I love, I read it a few years ago is called  “The Think Big Manifesto”
    by Michael Port and that book is fantastic and as soon as you read it, it makes you want to go and do everything. That’s a great book, check it out.

 

  • You can also search out people, no matter how small your city is, search out other people who are desperate to think bigger. Start a group. Start a mastermind group. Start a club. Anything, and just talk to each other and learn from each other. Connect with people like you.

 

  • And the last thing that I can think of right now for you to expand your mind and dream bigger and think bigger is to interact with people from all different walks of life. You know we tend to hang out with people who are just like us, who are the same age as us and the same nationality and the same social status and all this stuff. Hang out with other people. Go try to meet the richest person you can. Go have conversation with the poorest person you can. Make friends with people from other cultures, any culture that you’ve never been friends with, younger people, you probably have kids but teenagers, older kids, they all have different perspective. Older people, people in their 40s, the elderly, all of these people have different perspectives on life, they all have amazing stories, they have ideas, they have insights, and just talking to them, making connections with them is going to make you think bigger and dream bigger.

 

Well, that’s pretty much it for today but I want to know from you, I wanna know, are you a big fish or a little little fish? How big do you wanna get? What kind of fish bowls are holding you back? And what kinds of things are you going to do to start to dream bigger? Let me know in the comments and we will chat about it.

And if you liked this video, then please click like and subscribe and if you’re not yet part of the club then head over to YoungMomsClub.com and enter your name and email, I’m gonna send you a little ebook I wrote and also connect with you one on one. Thank you so much for watching and I’ll see you next week.

<3 Danielle

P.S. Did you miss last week’s video? Watch it here—>Never get Offended again! (if you remember these 2 things)

never get offended

Never get Offended again! (if you remember these 2 things)

Here’s a fact about me: I like, never get offended.

Even if people are mean to me, talk behind my back or say horrible things to my face. I just don’t take offense to it. Even if it’s true.

It wasn’t always like this, though.. I spent most of my childhood, teen years and early twenties being offended when people were mean to me, which was a lot.

But then one day I noticed that I hadn’t been offended in long time, like years. At first I thought that maybe I had just built up a tolerance. But after really thinking about it, it dawned on me that nothing had really changed except my thinking about 2 things in particular.

So if you ever get your feelings hurt about things people say to you or about you, if you take it personally that certain people are trying to hurt your feelings or if you are trying to figure out why people are such rude assholes sometimes, then you’ll want to watch today’s Figure it Out Friday video..

Never get Offended again! (if you remember these 2 things)- Video Transcript

Hey, Whats up, it’s Danielle Ford, the founder of Young Moms Club where young moms go to empower themselves and design their perfect lives.

I’ve encountered a lot, a lot , a lot, a lot.. of offensive women in my life and I also had a really offensive husband, so I am no stranger to being offended.

And it’s probably because of those people, it’s kind of one of those “glass is half full” kinds of things but it’s probably because of them that I don’t really get offended, it takes a lot for me to get offended by something.

I still encounter people who say rude things or who don’t like me (if you can believe that) , it still happens to me but I can’t even remember for the life of me the last time I actually got offend by somebody.

So in today’s video I’m going to tell you the realizations I’ve had that assured that I never get offended by anyone ever again, so keep watching.

There are 2 things that you need to have in place to make sure that you never ever get offended again.

never get offended againNumber one is: You need to accept yourself the way you are. Now you don’t necessarily have to like it, but you have to accept it.

And number two is: You have to fully accept the fact that you don’t have any control over any other people. The absolute only person you have any control over whatsoever is yourself.

And If you fully understand and accept those two things then you’re never going to be offended again and the reason for that is really simple.

When someone says something that is offensive, then their opinion is either one of 2 things. It’s either wrong or its right, right?

So if their opinion is wrong, like if somebody says something that is wrong, well then, who really cares? Like  what if somebody says like “You’re a bad mom”.. If you know that you’re not a bad mom then why do you care what they think? Even if they give an example tof something you did that they think is and like “You picked your kids up late, or you’re too protective, or you’re not protective enough, or you’re this or you’re that”. Even if they’re right about that, maybe, but you know that you’re not a bad mom, then who cares? Why should you care about that? They’re completely wrong. Fuck em.

And that applies to everything, your appearance, your skills, your smarts, whatever. If someones giving you their opinion, it’s negative and they’re wrong, there’s no reason to take offense to it.

Now there is a second element to that can make you offended if you choose to, and its when someone says something offensive and you know you’re wrong like we just talked about- or you know they’re wrong- like we just talked about but then you take offenses to the fact  that they said it. You’re like “well why would you say that! You know how hard I try to work be a good mom. I’m so offended that you said that to me” well that’s where the second part comes in

Because If you fully realize that you don’t have control over other people, you do not need to understand them, you do not need to agree with them whatsoever, then there’s no reason to be offended.

So if like your best friend out of nowhere is like “You’re a shitty mom” instead of being like “oh my god, she thinks I’m a shitty mom” you would be like “hmm well that’s not true”, you know? and then, instead of being like “why would she say that? why is she trying to hurt me?” you know you can be like “well I don’t have control over her and I wonder why she’s doing that did something happen? why is she being a bitch? is she posing, you know, whats going on?” and so you know it’s not personal, you don’t take offense to it. And then you can then choose to go deeper into it, or not, it’s your choice, but there’s no reason to get offended by it because it’s not true and you cant control her.

Now what if someone says something to offend you and they’re right? Well that is where fully accepting yourself  comes in. And I’m not saying that it’s easy, it’s something that everybody struggles with, but you have to do it, you have to really work on fully accepting yourself.

You have to fully accept that you are in the right spot, the way you look, where you are, financially, whatever else is going on, your family, your career, all that stuff, you are right now, where you need to be.

And that doesn’t mean that you need to be 100% happy with it and you can be wanting to change your appearance somehow or wanting to work on your education or grow in your career or change where you live, or whatever, but you have to fully accept and love the way that you are right now, that’s so important, just love yourself, imperfections and all.

So then if someone offends you and they’re right, then you’re just like “Ok tell me something I don’t know.”

And then we’re back to that other topic of like “Why would they say that, to me, you know, why would they want to hurt me and offend me in that way.” and then we go back to the fact that we can’t control other people, we have no control over other people, we have no understanding of why they do the things they do, we don’t need to understand it, and we don’t need to validate  like why they’re such an asshole.

So lets say that maybe you’ve had a baby and maybe you have some weight to lose. And you’re not happy with it and you look at your body and you’re like “Oh man I really wanna lose some weight, maybe I should diet, exercise, yada yada”. But in the mean time, you’re like, “This is my body, I had a child, this is what happens, I love myself,” and just be happy with the way you are.

So now let’s say that you get in a fight with your boyfriend and he knows all your insecurities, he knows what’s going to hurt you, and he knows that you wanna lose some weight, and that you might not be 100% comfortable with your appearance, and so you know, you get in a fight and he’s like “Well you’re fat” cause he’s really trying to hurt you.

But that’s not gonna hurt you or upset you!or offend Because you love yourself the way you are, and even if he is right, you know it doesn’t matter because you’re happy with how you are and you’re right in the exact spot that you need to be. And of course again that crosses over into the like, “Why would he say that” aspect and you have no reason to understand everything he does because that would make you crazy, it’s not your place to know why he’s being a total dick. The reasons behind why he’s being a total dick crosses into relationship advice and that’s just like a whole other video or series of videos.

But that’s all for today. So my point is really just love yourself, be happy with where you are, you don’t have to necessarily love it, you can want to change, there’s a million things that I want to change, you know, like I’m always working on stuff, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not happy with where I am right now.

And if you really get all spiritual and everything and you really believe that everything happens for a reason, then you can’t not believe that you are in the right spot, right now, and just remember not to let anyone offend you, not to let them hurt your feelings, because whether they’re right, wrong or indifferent, you are just you and no one else is.

And as far as like, caring what other people think, my dad said something one time about my ex husband. And I couldn’t understand why he was doing some of the things he was doing and saying and everything and he’s crazy but my dad said “You cannot rationalize with an irrational person”. You can’t. If you are a sane person, then you can’t understand why somebody else is saying thing that don’t make sense or they wanna hurt you or whatever. Because if you could understand them, then you’re just as damn crazy as they are. So be lucky that you can’t.

“You cannot rationalize with an irrational person.” -Click to Tweet this wisdom

 

It’s very hard but work on loving yourself in the meantime and being very happy with where you are right now.

Ok that’s all for today, if you liked this video then please click like, subscribe to the YouTube Channel, share with any friends that need to hear this, and if you’re not part of the club yet, then head over to YoungMomsClub.com, enter your name and email and I will connect with you one on one, I’m gonna send you a free e book, its an easy read with a little work book at the end, called “The 7 Steps to Being a Kick Ass Young Mom” and I will send you videos like this weekly and any other important updates that you need to see. Ok so, thank you so much for watching, and I will see you next week.

<3 Danielle

Did you miss last week’s video?? Watch it here—-> My list of Healthy Foods: 5 things I CANNOT live without

list of healthy foods young moms club

My List of Healthy Foods- 5 things I CANNOT Live Without

I’ve been fighting the flu a cold, all week. Everyone I know, and their brother, and everyone at the kids’ school has been passing around sickness, so I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised when I woke up with a sore throat. The first day it came on, it was progressing really fast and I was like, “I CANNOT GET SICK!”  So, I sprang into action…healthy flu shot danielle ford

I have a list of healthy foods that I take regularly and I haven’t gotten sick in years. (I’ll walk through each of them in today’s video).

So, I doubled up #1 and #4 and I also went to a favorite local juice spot here in Vegas called “The Juice Standard” every day and got a “flu shot”.

..Look, I’m gonna be honest with you.. I’m no stranger to throwing back some shots, but this was definitely the most hardcore.

That drink, along with my normal sickness-fighting routine, kept me from getting full-blown sick. My symptoms died down after the first day and I spent the rest of the week with a little bit of a weak voice and a mildly sore throat.

I’m considering that a win.

🙂

My List of Healthy Foods- 5 things I CANNOT Live Without – Video Transcription

Hello, happy Friday! I’m Danielle Ford, the founder of Young Moms Club, where young moms go to empower themselves and design their perfect lives.

In this video, I’m going to share with you my list of healthy foods, well the five foods that I cannot live without. Ok so just a disclaimer, I am not a health professional, I am not a health coach but I love studying about health and fitness, all that stuff and me personally, these are the 5 things that are pretty uncommon, that a lot of people don’t really know about but when I learned about them and I started using them, they all seriously changed my life and so I’ll start, I’ll explain each one individually and why I love it OK?

So first on my list of healthy foods that I cannot live without is apple cider vinegar.

benefits of apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is terrible, it’s so disgusting, I hate it, like, It’s so disgusting. But I love the effects of it. So, people use it in different ways. I just drink it pretty straight up. You can use it as a salad dressing but I just pour like a tablespoon or a little teaspoon maybe into cold water and dilute it and just chug it with my nose plugged and it’s so terrible. It smells terrible and I dropped a whole bottle one time and it went all over my kitchen and the house smelled horrible for like a week, it’s disgusting. But apple cider vinegar balances out your ph levels and if you can balance out your ph levels then there’s no way to get sick. So its awesome for that. There’s also lots of other ways you can use it. You can use it as a toner for your skin, you can put it in your bath, it smells terrible though so I don’t really do that very often but it gives you.. the biggest perk for me at least is that it gives you instant energy so before I do like a workout session or just like waking up in the morning to kinda get my system going, I drink like some water and some apple cider vinegar. And I probably have it like three times a day if I can remember to. So that is my first health food that I cannot live without.

Now, my second health food that I live by is quinoa.

benefits of qunioa

It’s pronounced keen-wah, not quin-o-uh like I used to call it, it is quinoa and this is basically a grain and it’s gluten free so its not like rice, it’s.. let me think, it’s used by, I think the Incas, you know, hundreds of years ago, whatever, they used to only give quinoa to the biggest, strongest warriors. They would save it. They only had so much and they would save it for the men that were going into battle to give them lots of energy. So in that grain, there’s tons of, actually there’s tons of antioxidants, you know like blueberries and fruits have, which are not usually found in grains like that but there’s a ton of protein, fiber, all sorts of nutrients. Again it fills you up and gives you lots of energy, so I like to cook the whole package and I’ll cook and it’s just a 2:1 ratio so if you have 2 cups of quinoa then you need 4 cups of water, boil it, it’s just like rice, it’s delicious, you can just eat it by itself, sometimes I put some butter in it, crushed red pepper, mix it, sometimes I’ll just store it in my fridge. It’ll last like a few days and then I’ll just cook up some veggies, grill them, whatever. And just like mix it all together and eat the quinoa with it. It’s so good for you and it fills you up and is a good starch without being too heavy. So that’s number 2 on my list, quinoa.

Number 3 on my list is coconut oil.

benefits of coconut oil

I love coconut oil and I actually did an entire video on coconut oil and why its my number one beauty secret, but I’m not really talking about it as a beauty product today, but as a health product. So, I use it to cook with, instead of olive oil, which I still use olive oil sometimes but instead of olive oil, definitely instead of other vegetable oils, I use it to cook with. You can use it as a spread like butter, you can just eat it itself. It’s a really healthy fat, you know, fat is good for you, it’s good for your brain and all this stuff, it’s a really healthy, healthy fat. I use it for myself for oil pulling. And I’ll put it in my mouth and swoosh it around for ten to 20 minutes and it pulls out all the toxins in your mouth, helps your gums, your teeth, everything. And then you spit it out because you don’t want to swallow after you’ve pulled all the toxins. So, if you’re going to eat it, just eat it. If you’re gonna pull, spit it out. I give it to my dog, it’s really good for animals and their hair and skin. It’s good for our hair and skin. It helps from the inside out. So, coconut oil is a huge staple, and if you want to know how to use it as a beauty product, I’ll post that right here. And it’s my favorite beauty product as well.

Now number 4 is kale and I probably shouldn’t show you this kale because it’s gross.

how to eat kale

I bought it like a week ago and I’m gonna throw it out after this but I’ve been gone from my house for a couple days and I’m leaving again in a couple hours for New Year’s Eve, but this is very wilty. Usually its much more crisp and brighter green. But this is kale and I use kale in three different ways, one is I juice it and I did a whole video on juicing and specifically how to get energy from juicing, so I’ll put that right here if you want to watch that but I just with kale. Kale is usually super, super green and the more green a vegetable is the more chlorophyll it has and chlorophyll is what gives plants life and then when you ingest it it gives you life, so it helps regenerate cells, and all that stuff and all that healthy stuff that green vegetables do. It’s full of antioxidants, nutrients, minerals, blah blah blah. Kale is a super, super food so besides juicing it, I’ll make a salad either with just kale or add it into a salad. Do some apple cider vinegar on top, some tomatoes whatever. You can just eat it straight, it’s good and then the third thing that I do, the third thing that I love it to make kale chips. They are bomb.com. So, I might do a video on that separately. Note to self: make a video on kale chips. But basically you just tear the kale leaves into little pieces, wash it first, obviously. Dry them, toss it with some coconut oil, some sea salt, toss it all together and then just bake in the oven and they come out crispy, delicious, like chips but really good for you. So if we’re watching a movie or something like that, I love to eat kale chips and you can store them for a few days. So kale is my fourth health tip.

And my fifth favorite health food is maca.

benefits of maca powder

Now this is maca powder, it’s a superfood. So maca is a root. I’m pretty sure it’s from the.. oh Peru. It’s from Peru. it’s a Peruvian root and it’s amazing. You only need a little bit. Too much of it can actually have side effects but you only need a tiny bit. A lot of people use it in different ways like sprinkling it on different food, blending it in juices and smoothies, and all that but I’m like, lazy.. so I do it like, twice a day. Once or twice a day, no more than that. But I’ll put it in with almond milk, mix it up, it kind of is a little chunky but I don’t care, I just chug the whole thing. Maca root is really good for stress. It’s really good for mood balancing, any type of depression issues, mood stability, especially when you’re on your period or any type of menopause symptoms, it really helps balance those hormones. Again, full of nutrients, vitamin b, vitamin c, all that stuff, and there’s other things, too. I can’t think of them right now but it’s mostly for energy and for mood stability. So, I love those 5 things.

That is my list of healthy foods, if you have any other questions about those, let me know.

I’ll try to add some links below on the blog to where you can find those, besides the kale, you can find kale like, anywhere. You so if you want to try those out, let me know how they work for you. I do a lot of other weird health type stuff but those are my five staples.

Ok, so that’s all for today. Thank you for watching. If you liked this video then please click Like, and Subscribe on YouTube and if you’re not part of the club, then head over to YoungMomsClub.com, enter your email and I will send you a Free ebook, connect with you one on one and send you more of these videos. Ok, thanks for watching and have a great day. See you next week! <3 Danielle

 

Did you miss last week’s video? Check it out here: 5 Goals in Life that you NEED for the New Year

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.

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..

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…
gratitude

Gratitude.. Use it to get more of the Good Stuff!

Get on the Gratitude band wagon!

I’ve just started to prepare for Thanksgiving next week. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I have to cook or host anyone at my house, thank God.. But I do make a mean green bean casserole and me and the kids enjoy making Thanksgiving themed projects to give as gifts to all the houses that we visit.

gratitudeYou never really know what’s gonna go down at my family’s house, though. after everyone’s in a food coma and a little tipsy drunk.

If it’s a good year, we all end up playing Cards Against Humanity and laughing until we’re crying. Have you played CAH? Seriously, so fun. There’s nothing better than watching the grown ups get super embarrassed when they pick up cards like “the clitoris” and “sharing needles”. The best is when they don’t know what a word means. I’ll never forget having to publicly explain to my mom, in detail, with drawings, what the word “taint” is. That’s just something no daughter should EVER have to do.

Thanksgiving definitely has the ability to turn real bad, real fast, though. For instance, if you bring home a boy that your mother doesn’t approve of. Just ask my sister, she’ll never get over that Thanksgiving.

But family drama aside, I just LOVE Thanksgiving because everybody and their brother jumps on the Gratitude band wagon. All of a sudden, in the same week, everyone is grateful and happy.

But it’s no coincidence that the happiness soon follows the gratitude, there’s a big reason for it and THAT is exactly what I’m talking about in today’s video.

So check it out and tell me what ya think!

 

Also, I want to know what YOUR family does for Thanksgiving.. Are they as crazy as mine? Have you ever played Cards Against Humanity? If not, you NEED it!

Let me know in the comments below 🙂

 

With gratitude, <3 Danielle

high school motherhood

From High school to Motherhood: 6 Things to remember during your Teen Pregnancy

We came across a fantastic new blogger, Alyssa, and were so inspired by the positive spin she is putting around her teen pregnancy.

high school motherhoodThis girl is what Young Moms Club is all about and we’re so grateful that she offered to be a guest blogger and honestly and vulnerably share her story and advice.

Whether you’ve experienced high school motherhood or not, her story will inspire you and I’m sure you’ll fall as much in love with her as we did….

 

Sometimes life does not go the way you planned. I’m not talking about being late for work one day, or not passing your drivers ed test, or Victoria Secret running out of that super cute pair of underwear in your size. Sometimes life takes you down roads you never thought would exist for you. But often you’ll find if life leads you there, it’s where you’re meant to be.

In high school I had a pretty great experience. I had lots of friends, an amazing boyfriend, some wonderful opportunities to participate in musical productions, and so on and on. Life was amazing and everything seemed to be going the way I wanted. Until my life changed, literally for the rest of my life, my senior year.

The year had just started; my senior year in high school. The year you look forward to and cannot WAIT to experience. I was about 3 months into my Senior Year when I began to feel different. Something was definitely not right. I was tired out of no where and all the energy I was so used to having felt like it had been sucked from my body. It was a nearly IMPOSSIBLE task for me to get up and I had to force myself out of bed everyday. I was so confused. What is wrong with me? I started to think I had come down with some kind of flu or illness because in the days that followed I lost my appetite and felt nauseous almost daily. I had never been this sick or tired in my life. A week or so after, the nausea left, but the exhaustion did not. I would go to bed so early and still woke up feeling like I’d slept on a bed of nails. Eventually though the tiredness subsided as well, so I figured it was over and done with.

A month or so had passed and I was counting down the days until my 18th birthday. But I was also counting up the days my period had been late. At this point it had only been a week or so behind, which happened often since my period was usually irregular. But by the time two more weeks had passed and my birthday was around the corner, I began to worry. The daunting thought had passed my mind several times, but I wouldn’t bring myself to entertain the crazy idea that I could be pregnant, and not even 18 yet. I pushed the thought from my mind and promised myself if I turned 18 and still hadn’t gotten my period, I would discuss it with Steven and we would figure it out together.

Let me talk about Steven for a minute. You want a man who is unwavering and loyal, amazing and compassionate, supportive and loving, that’s him. Of all the fears I had with the possibility of a teen pregnancy, not once did I fear he would leave or refuse to help me, no matter my decision. He has been there for me since we were kids in Jr. High. A good friend, great listener, and always my secret admirer.

When most girls would be excited for their huge 18th birthday, I dreaded it. As the days crept closer, so did the horrific realization that I had been worried about the past 2 and half months. On the day of my birthday, Steven came over to my house and picked me up for a surprise Disneyland Day. He bought me a pair of jeans that I loved the second I saw. He knew exactly what I liked. They were the right color, fit, and size. I went upstairs to try them on and sure enough they were pretty snug, almost to the point of not buttoning. My heart jumped to my throat and my heart started to pound. What is happening? How can this be? I wiggled into the pants and changed into a looser top so no one would see just how tight these were around my mid section. The whole ride to Disneyland I was silent. I knew eventually Steven and I would need to find out once and for all, though deep down I knew what was coming.

After a day of fun at Disneyland, reality sank in. My 18th birthday had come and gone and sure enough I had yet to receive that long awaited visitor. We decided that night we would go buy a test. I waited in the car while Steven bought it. I couldn’t bear the thought of someone we knew seeing us both there purchasing a pregnancy test. After what felt like an eternity, Steven hurried into the car with a bag in hand. I couldn’t believe we were at this point. Right now in the beginning of high school and the prime of our lives. We went back to my house and I went straight upstairs to the bathroom. I will never forget that feeling of sitting and waiting for a couple measly lines to appear on a plastic stick to determine the rest of your life. Three minutes is an awfully long time to sit and contemplate exactly what you’re doing and what might change the minute I stepped out of my bathroom.

I grabbed the stick and took one glance. Did I really think it would be anything other than what we dreaded? I shoved it into my purse, along with the box and instructions and stepped outside the bathroom onto the hall banister. I gave Steven a look that only he could understand and we headed for the front door. The minute we stepped outside I began to cry. How could this be? We were always so careful. Steven never moved from that spot until I stopped crying. I pulled myself together and we walked down the street a long ways away from my house. We threw away any evidence in a trash can outside of a stranger’s house.

The walk back took an hour? Two hours? I’m not even sure. The amazing thing about Steven is he was my boyfriend and best friend all in one. We could talk about literally anything.  We talked about our options, the pros, the cons, our family’s, etc. What would everyone say? How would I still go to school and have this baby? We eventually decided on an appointment to Planned Parenthood. I needed to find out how far along I was and talk to someone other than family.

Planned Parenthood is a scary place to say the least. All the workers are curt and make you feel uneasy. Everything is barred and locked and requires codes. The nurses are rude and to the point. I wanted to leave the second we got there, but I needed answers. When they called my name I asked if Steven could come back with me. A rude short nurse told me “No. No men. Put your stuff in the locker and come with me.” I did as I was told and reluctantly followed. I was taken to a cold, dimmed room and was told to strip and change into a cloth nightgown. I waited anxiously for what seemed like hours before a nurse came back with my urine test results. I was definitely pregnant. A little while later a different nurse came in, this one was licensed to perform an ultrasound. She asked if I wanted to know if it was twins or just one. Some women go in for abortions and don’t want any information. Of course I wanted to know, I was curious. She told me it was just one and I looked about 11 weeks. Then she looked at me very seriously and asked me “Do you want to see your baby?” This took me by complete surprise. It was the first time I had heard someone else say it. Baby. My Baby. Up until this point I hadn’t looked at it as a baby, but a nuisance and something I had been stressed about for weeks. I didn’t know what I wanted. I did manage to say that I DID want to see. This was it. She turned the screen to face me and there it was. This little alien that looked no bigger than a banana maybe. I could see it’s head, some little things that looked like fingers and toes. She let me look for a minute or two and turned off the screen. She left the room and told me someone would be in to talk about my options and I could get back in my street clothes.

Those couple minutes of waiting gave me a lot to think about. I had just seen my baby. This real living thing growing inside of me. I hadn’t intended for it to be there, but it was. Happy, and thriving, and absolutely beautiful. I cried to myself and managed to compose myself before the knock on the door. She discussed my options quickly and gave me her card in case I wanted to come back. You can guess for what. I walked right into the waiting room and straight to Steven as my eyes began to water. “I saw it.” I managed to choke out. “It’s 11 weeks and it’s beautiful”.

As we pulled out of the parking lot of Planned Parenthood we saw a small building not far from us. The banner above said “Pregnancy Resource Center”. We decided to stop by and see what it was about. We walked in to see the two smiling faces of older women secretaries. I told them I didn’t have an appointment, but I was curious what they offered. They had us wait for only a few minutes before an older woman called me back. She explained she was a sort of therapist and I could tell her anything I wanted about my situation. After I talked to her she explained that they offered free ultrasounds and prenatal vitamins if I was interested. I told her I would talk it over with my boyfriend and sure enough we went back a few weeks later. I had an ultrasound and they told me they had a good idea of the gender. I requested Steven to come in and they were more than happy to allow it. Steven held my hand as the nurse explained we would be having a beautiful baby boy who appeared to be growing and developing perfectly. The tears were no longer worry or fear, but happiness. They gave us a HUGE gift basket of little boy things. Blue teddy bears, diapers, a blanket that Jackson still has to this day, and several other little trinkets. For the first time this felt okay. I felt like it was going to be okay. Every thing I was afraid of melted away in that moment. I was carrying my child. My beautiful son. OUR son.

We kept it a secret for a long time. Mostly because we were afraid of what our families would say. NONE of them would see this one coming. I didn’t show for awhile. I got away with loose tops and sweaters since it was Winter and still chilly, but when February rolled around bringing the warmth and my fifth month, I began to grow. My stomach looked like a perfectly round basketball. Rumors had begun to spread around the school. “Alyssa looks bigger, just in her stomach” or “Alyssa is always sick and they’re never at school”. Obviously it spread like wildfire. As dreadful as it was, it was time to tell the truth. It couldn’t be just our secret anymore. We told my younger sister first. I was close to her then and I knew of everyone we would eventually HAVE to tell, we may as well have the first reaction be one of happiness and excitement. She was thrilled when we told her and she managed to keep it from our family and friends for a few days. This was the jump start we needed. As we told each of our families, I wish I could say it got easier. Our families were shocked. I was pregnant, almost seven months along by then! Not only was I telling them “Hey we’re having a baby.” it was also “And it’s a boy and he’ll be here in 3 months”.

young pregnant coupleAfter our families accepted our decision and this new member, it was easier to take on. We posted it on Face Book for all the world to see. Friends and students knew and were happy for us. I continued going to school, sickness, swollen feet, big belly, and all. I went to prom 7 months pregnant and Steven rubbed my swollen feet for hours afterward. I graduated 8 months pregnant, with Steven by my side. We planned a huge baby shower the week after graduation. So many of our friends and family came. Our boy was already so loved and spoiled, which made everything seem right. Almost a month to the day we graduated, our Jackson was born.

July 4th, 2012 was an amazing day for us. I gave birth to the most amazing gift and our lives began to shape from that moment on. We went from Steven and Alyssa to Mommy and Daddy to this new little stranger everyone had already fallen in love with. He was perfect. Long and healthy, and cuddly to boot.

It’s remarkable to me, to look back at all the choices I’ve made. All the things I did or didn’t do. The roads I did or did not take. Every one of those triumphs and obstacles eventually led me to Jackson. I’m convinced he was meant to be here. He is the light of my life, and Steven’s too. He didn’t make life easier, but he did make it better. He gave me something to wake up to, something to better myself for. This was not something I planned, but it’s not something I would ever change. He’s been with us for two years now and I’ve been the happiest I’ve ever been. Being a mother is such an amazing experience and it’s made me grow and become such a different person. He is not an easy responsibility and he gave Steven and I a lot to think about. We grew up earlier than most, but I can’t say it’s not worth it all. Because it is. When he holds my hand to show me something he’s proud of, when he sings with me in the car, when he wants me to kiss a cut he gets from the park. To watch him and Steven together is the greatest thing of all time. Their bond is inseparable and like nothing I ever dreamed of being a part of.

I mostly wanted to share my story because I know from my own experiences and others, it’s easy to make a choice that may take you down a path you’re not ready for. For girls my age, younger, older, or even boys, you are not alone.

 

Do not automatically choose the easiest path to break out of a difficult situation.mom mickey mouse ears

Consider your options and consider the weight you will carry with each decision. There are some amazing places like the San Bernardino Pregnancy Resource Center. They will make you feel at ease and comfortable with your situations because everyone’s teen pregnancy is different. In the end, make the best choice for you. I know I did.

Here are six very important things to remind yourself while you’re taking part in one of the most terrifying, painful, amazing, unbelievable, and indescribable adventures of your life- Teen Pregnancy.

Whether you’re a teen mom, a married mom, a single mom, a cool mom, or even one of the moms who swear they’ve got it all figured out… teen pregnancy is terrifying to say the least.

You’re suddenly responsible for more than yourself, and it begins even before they’ve left your womb. You’re going to get a flood of advice (sometimes- actually…. most times unwanted advice) but none the less you are more than likely to be bombarded.

Always Remember:

1.    OPTIONS. You as a mother and pregnant woman always have options. You are never confined to just one choice. People have different beliefs and different controversial issues that they feel strongly about, but in the end it is YOUR decision and YOURS alone to make. Unless the father of your child is in the picture and making choices regarding this pregnancy with you. Then of course, you should include him in your decision making process.
2.    FIND A SUPPORTIVE FIGURE. If you don’t have a relationship with the father of your baby or someone who will give you good advice, look to a friend or a family member that you trust. Someone that you know will give you their honest and sometimes brutal feedback, but in the end no matter what you decide they will support you and be there for you. You don’t want to make a life changing decision on your own. It’s relieving to have someone behind you saying “You got this. You can do it and I’m here with you to help and guide you” whatever your choice may be.
3.    TRUST. You need to trust yourself. Trust in your choice and that you made the right one. If you fully trust yourself and your decision, and you move forward with it you will find such happiness and peace at the end of your journey. If you trust yourself and your decision, you will fully be able to say “the decision I made was right for me, my situation, and my child.”
4.    IRRELEVANCE.  This one is ESPECIALLY for teen moms. I wish I could go back and tell my pregnant high school self, “These peoples opinions of you and your decision do. not. matter.” After all is said and done, YOU are living with your decision, not them. They don’t know your situation. They don’t know what’s best for you. Only you do. These people are irrelevant and after you graduate or after you move on from seeing these people, they are not relevant to you or your life.
5.    SELFLESS. You have to remember, mothering starts the minute you conceive that child. Not when they’re born, not when they can ask you for things, not when you need to punish or reward. It starts the minute you become pregnant. You have to put yourself aside from now on and put that baby first. You have to eat right. You have to stop the drinking, the smoking, the partying. You have to grow up. It isn’t about you anymore. It isn’t about everything you want anymore. It’s about creating the best life possible for your child. The best environment. It’s about keeping them safe at all costs. This all starts with you. For those nine long, amazing months, YOU are literally the ONLY person who can feed that baby, you are it’s protector. You can’t ever forget that. Just because you can’t physically see that little human you’ve created doesn’t mean it isn’t there. It’s growing and it needs you to make responsible decisions for it to thrive.
6.    ENJOY. As scary and emotional as pregnancy can be, nine months can go by pretty quickly (until those last few months; that’s when you’re ready to pop and the bloated misery sets in) It is such a beautiful and wonderful experience. Enjoy it. Enjoy the kicks. Enjoy the foot print you see across your stretched out belly, even if it’s only a millisecond. Enjoy getting to eat as much as you want because your cravings get the best of you. Enjoy people wanting to touch your belly. Enjoy picking the names. Enjoy never feeling lonely, always having that companion right below you. Enjoy it all. Soak it all in. It won’t feel like it, but you will miss it. You’ll look at your stretch marks as your toddler tells you a wild story and you’ll remember not long ago the small space he was crammed in. How far your tiny belly once stretched because it couldn’t hold all the love and life without being stretched to it’s limits- and then stretching further. Enjoy every moment because it will not last forever. The memories of how it once felt to feel the kicks and the sway of a little body beneath you will start to fade. You may be scared, and you may not think you’re ready, but who is ever really ready? Trust me it is worth it all. Every last minute. Every last stretch mark is worth all the love you’re about to endure. Enjoy.

teen mom alyssaAlyssa is a Southern California girl born & raised with a love for all things sparkly, pink, and fun! She lives for adventure, food, and fashion and has experienced a lot in her life. She’s a mom, a wife, a self-proclaimed beauty guru, a sister, a friend, a hopeless romantic, a personal therapist, a pageant queen, and now a blogger! You can read more about her and the rest of her fantastic blogs at her website www.lifewithlyssa.weebly.com