DIARY OF A TEEN MOM
Interview with DESTINY DARBY, 22
I found out I was pregnant with my son Aiden on my 16th birthday. His father was in his first few weeks of boot camp for the Army.
Did it ever occur to you that you might become pregnant as a teen?
I never thought that it was going to be me. I had my whole life outlined to go to school and get a career. Marriage and having a family never entered my mind.
How did your friends and family react when they found out about your pregnancy?
Quite honestly they didn’t believe it. When my mom called my family and said, “Guess what my daughter did,” they automatically assumed she was talking about my 14 & 12 year old sisters. I was known as the good kid in the family. Not Destiny, she’s innocent. Not Destiny, she’s going to college. Needless to say, nobody talked to me for a while. My mom and dad were actually married then and she made me tell my father. I cried. He wouldn’t even look at me. He just turned his head and I could tell he was crying as well. That was the moment I knew who was hurt most by the news.
How is teen parenthood different than you thought it would be?
I knew babies cried, and that they were expensive. I never thought that it would be different than when you babysit them. You don’t get to have them for a night and go to a party the next. I was by myself for a long time, talking to an infant about my day.
How has your life changed since your pregnancy?
I went back to high school twice for my senior year after I dropped out the first time to get a job. Finally I graduated, but it wasn’t a typical senior year. After school it was work and Aiden. I got a scholarship to a great private university, but because my grades were significantly impacted after he was born, I was placed on academic probation. I only made it a semester before I failed to meet their grade requirements. People younger than me are now graduating college, and I’m still waiting tables to make sure I can pay my rent and keep my car running.
What do you wish you knew before you got pregnant?
I wish I knew how many people would disappear from my life. I wish I knew that Aiden’s dad and I would barely be able to stand talking to each other after creating a child out of what we thought was love for one another.
Why do you want to share your story with other teens?
Parenthood really isn’t glamorous. A child doesn’t make that person stay with you when the relationship is failing. You become responsible for someone else’s life, and it's up to you to make sure that your child is okay, even when you're not. My son has made me see a whole new strength in myself I never saw before. While I'm thankful for that, I also wish he didn't have to see the struggle that comes with teen parenthood. Children are meant to be innocent, and unfortunately, when you are a teen mom, they know more about the world than they should. I want other girls to realize that they are still growing up in their teen years. I want them to see how much better their own lives, not to mention their child’s life will be if they wait until adulthood.
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)?
I lean more towards positive because you really do see the struggles of bills, babysitters, jobs, and significant others. These girls allowed their lives to be aired on television in order to show what actually happens after a child is born to a teen mom.