Courtney and Annessa

I wanted to share my experience with others in hope of helping people realize that teenage parents are capable of more than stereotypes allow. To begin, I am 18 and my daughter is six months old. I found out that I was pregnant the day before my senior year of high school started. I was scared and excited all at the same time. My daughter's father left me when I was two months pregnant and didn't call till a month after she was born. I went to school for three periods a day and then went to work. I worked full time the whole time I was pregnant. My water even broke at work, but more about that later.

I knew that I had to tell my parents as soon as possible. I told my mom first, then she called my dad and stepmother. My parents were mad at first, but then they realized that they couldn't change it and they finally accepted the fact that I was going to have a baby. They were going to be grandparents. I started my senior year almost two months pregnant.

At first, after her father left, I really questioned my ability to provide for my daughter on my own. I knew that it would be hard but there was no way I could give up my baby. I believe that abortion is murder and I do not think that I could handle my child being raised by strangers not knowing where she really comes from. These are just my opinions not meant to offend anyone.

I graduated mid-term from my high school and worked full time and attended four nights of night school for 2-4 hours a night. I was due on April 13, 2003 and my water broke at work on February 20. I was working as a childcare teacher and stood up around 11:00 a.m. and my water broke. At the time, I didn't know that was what had occurred. I called my doctor and told her what had happened, and she suggested that I come in and be seen.

I got there and the first thing she said to me was if your water has broken, you've bought yourself a hospital visit till she is born.

Of course she examined me and my water was broken so I was sent to the hospital immediately. I lay there till about 9:00 p.m. when my contractions started. I was rushed to another hospital because my local one could not take a baby that early. My labor was stopped and remained stopped for eight days. I lay in the hospital scared to death that my baby may not make it.

I was to be induced on March 2. My daughter was born on February 28. While I was pregnant, I dreamed of that first time seeing my baby and holding her, but due to the fact that she was only three pounds, all of that was taken from me. I didn't get to see my daughter until she was almost five hours old. She lay in the ICU for three weeks before they finally let her come home.

Now people told me that I should take the time to rest and get ready for her to come home, but who can rest when your baby is in the hospital and someone else is taking care of her? I cried every night that she was there because I felt bad that someone else was taking care of her and I, her mother, couldn't. The nurses were great, and they helped me out a lot in understanding what was going on, but it's the fact that only they could give her what she needed then.

I was the youngest mother in there at 17. The other parents looked at me funny when I would walk in and tell my daughter that Mommy was there. I know what people think about teenage parents and, to some extent, I can't blame them for having a bad outlook on us, but I wish that people would see teen parents for what we are, not just what we did. I know that there are teens out there who aren¹t ready when their baby is born, and it is our mistake, but there are some of us out there who are really trying to make a difference in our child's life.

My daughter watched me graduate high school and I couldn't have been prouder that I did it. I am now getting ready to start college and receive my degree. To some people, I messed up my life by choosing to bear my daughter at a young age. The way I see it, I'm no different than any of them except I will be a little younger when she graduates high school and college, and she will be a little older when I die.

To all of you who say that teen parents are irresponsible and don't deserve anything due to the mistake we made, I say this: There are two sides to every story. Whichever side you choose is your business, but don't look down on us till you know what we have been through. I made a mistake and I admit that, but my daughter is the best consequence that could ever be. I am not ashamed of her and I do not regret her in any way, shape or form.

I am a teen, I am a college student, and I am a mother. What better job could a woman have?

written by: Courtney Callis


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