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My name is Ashley, I am 21 years old, and I was a teen mom….. 

When I was a kid I could talk to my mom about ANYTHING. Some things she wishes I would have kept to myself but we had a good line of communication. We did talk about sex and although she wanted better for me than she had for herself; I was a teen mom. I had my daughter Nevaeh at the age of 16.
I was born to a teen mom. My mom was 17 when she got pregnant with me and gave birth to me at 18.

I was shocked when I found out I was pregnant. I was going through a lot at that time in my life my mother was fighting a stage 4 cancer. We didn’t know if she was going to make it and I wasn’t using my head. I’m not even sure what my plans were for the future at that point with everything going on. I know at one point I thought I might go to college.

I missed out on a lot. I was in sports. Softball was my thing. I didn’t get to play ball anymore. I wasn’t involved in any after school activities, no dances or football games. I had a baby to take care of. I was only in the 10th grade and I didn’t graduate from high school.  I had gestational diabetes with my pregnancy but Nevaeh was very healthy when she was born.

I still haven’t finished high school. I’ve taken 3 parts of my GED but I still have 2 to complete. I just turned 21.  My mother and my grandmother have been a great support for me. I don’t know what I would have done without them. I didn’t know anything about babies.  I am currently working through a temp. agency but because I can’t find full time work I do receive assistance from the state. 

Nevaeh’s father is only around when it’s convenient for him. He helps out a little if the mood strikes him but most of my help comes from my mom. It’s really hard because I thought we would be together forever. He told me he loved me and I wasn’t in this alone. He lied.

Patience is probably the most difficult for me. I really work on my patience because it’s not her fault if I’m tired and don’t feel like playing. Finances and daycare are always a struggle. I don’t know what I would do without my mom and my sisters. My mom helps me a lot financially even though she struggles herself. Both my mom and my sisters babysit my daughter so I can work.

I don’t want my daughter to follow in my footsteps. I want to see her graduate from high school and go on to college. I don’t want her to struggle like I am. 
My message to you is….wait; don’t be in such a hurry to grow up. If your partner really cares about you he/she will wait. If you end up pregnant your whole life will change. It won’t be all about you anymore. That baby will come first and whatever you want or need will have to wait. Go to college and get yourself together before you think about having a family because nothing hurts more than to have Christmas or birthdays come along and you can’t afford to buy anything for your child. It’s hard to be in the store and your child wants something, however small it may be, and you have to tell them no because you can’t afford it. If you won’t wait for yourself then wait for that potential child. You don’t want your child to hurt because you didn’t use your head. For my daughters sake; I wish I would have listened to my mother. I could have done better by her and for myself, if I had waited.