DIARY OF A TEEN MOM
Interview with CATIE KIDD, 20
I became a mother just a couple months before I turned 17, and wow did it turn my life upside down. I graduated high school a year earlier than I was supposed to and I've held a full time job since my daughter was born. I'm no longer with the father of my daughter, but I’m very blessed that he is one of the very few teen fathers who sticks around to help raise the child.
Did it ever occur to you that you might become pregnant as a teen?
I always knew there was a possibility but didn't care much when it came to trying to "please" my boyfriend. I grew up raising my youngest sister when she was a baby and always babysat for extra money during the summer time so I always thought "well hey if I end up getting pregnant how hard could it possibly be? I have the experience it takes to raise a child......." Little did I know, I really wasn't thinking of the big picture.
How did your friends and family react when they found out about your pregnancy?
My parents were very upset initially, and they still to this day blame themselves for not educating me on safe sex. My friends on the other hand were very excited in the beginning. Later on, my large group of cheer and softball friends all vanished…right before my baby shower.
How is teen parenthood different than you thought it would be?
I always thought that since I had the experience of babysitting and raising my youngest sister, raising my own child would be a walk in the park. I didn't think I would lose my friends. I didn't think I would have to drop out of school. I didn't think I would have to get a job as soon as she was born. I never thought of any of that! I never knew I would stay up all hours of the night feeding my daughter and changing wet diapers. I didn't know doing the simplest of things like taking a shower would be such a hassle and always have to be planned around a naptime or something.
How has your life changed since your pregnancy?
There’s a lot of stress on me with trying to raise a child on my own, work full time and try to go to school. Plus, I can't just randomly go and do things that I could do before pregnancy. On a positive side, I believe my daughter changed my life for the better. If I hadn’t gotten pregnant when I did, there is no telling what I would be doing right now. I was hanging out with the wrong crowd.
What do you wish you knew before you got pregnant?
I wish I had knowledge of birth control. My parents never gave me the sex talk so I was kind of lost on a lot of information. I know when my daughter reaches her teen years I want to educate her as much as possible about safe sex, etc.
Why do you want to share your story with other teens?
The main reason I would like to share my story is because I feel like I could make a major difference in some young girls’ lives. I want those girls to know the facts, know that having a baby at a young age is NOT what it's made out to be. I also want to share my story just in case there is a girl out there that is stuck in the situation I was in when I was a teenager.
Do you think the way teen pregnancy is presented in pop culture is positive or negative (i.e. MTV Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant)?
Even though I do enjoy the shows, I think it's a big negative. Mainly because most of the girls don't have actual jobs (because they are paid by MTV) and they are just in it for the fame. I do appreciate 16 and Pregnant though, because it portrays all the drama (child's father, parents, etc.), and it goes deep into showing how hard it is to actually finish school with a baby.