DIARY OF A TEEN MOM
Interview with HANNAH BUNCH, 23
Did it ever occur to you that you might become pregnant as a teen?
My name is Hannah Bunch and I have a 6-year-old son named Walker. I got pregnant my senior year of high school. I was a very active student and my family was very involved in the community and our church. I had been accepted to college. I grew up in a very stable home and environment. I give all these details because I wasn't the one anyone expected to get pregnant. I seriously thought, "It would never happen to me - look at what I had accomplished, where I was going, who I was...." I was shocked that it happened to me.
Were you using protection? If not, why not?
No. I thought that to get protection, I would have to tell my parents and I didn't want them to know I was having sex. I thought I could never get pregnant. I wish I had confided in my mom or a friend instead of trying to hide it because I know now that telling them I was having sex would have been much easier than telling them out of nowhere that I was pregnant.
How did your friends and family react when they found out about your pregnancy?
My parents were devastated, my boyfriend was scared, and I was numb. It was so hard to go to school and see my friends going out, going to spring break, being tan, and having the time of their lives. It was a lonely nine months as I felt like no one could relate with what I was going to. My friends said they would always be there and even threw my baby shower for me, but they had no idea what I was going through.
How is teen parenthood different than you thought it would be?
My boyfriend and I decided to share the responsibilities of Walker but not to get married or live together. That was the wisest decision we have ever made! As my mom said, "Two wrongs don't make a right". I lived with my parents for three months and then moved into the house my grandmother lived in before she died. I was able to go back to school and work but I was a single mom at 18 years old, living all alone. Life was a blur! I managed to graduate from college. My family was a huge help through those three years, but most of the weight came on me. I have lost most of my high school friends through all of this.
When Walker was two years old, my boyfriend and I decided to get married. We are still together and working hard to make our lives work. I am a graphic designer and he is pursuing his Bachelors degree. There are days when I think I cannot go on, that I wish I had freedom, but I don't and I am finally okay with that. It has been an emotional struggle for the past 6 1/2 years and it has taken me this long to come to terms with what has happened in my life.
What do you wish you knew before you got pregnant?
That it CAN happen no matter who you are or what you are doing in life. I was so naive and clueless. The only time I was really told about sex, other than my parent's brief talks, was in middle school and it was more of an "STD talk". I hope now that I can raise awareness and show how hard it is to be a teen mom. If I had been able to glance at my life in the future, I would have probably never talked to my boyfriend again because I would be so scared!!
Why do you want to share your story with other teens?
I love sharing my story with others so they will see that nothing about teen motherhood is glamorous. Even at 24, I still feel unprepared for another child. I also want people to know that teen moms can be good moms.
Do you think shows like Teen Mom and the Secret Life accurately portray teen parenthood?
I don't really have time to watch them but from what I have seen, it's a double-edged sword. It is good because it is raising awareness about the realities of teen parenthood: taking care of children while balancing school and maintaining relationships with family, boyfriends, friends, etc. It is sad to see the abusive situations that some of the teen moms endure. But, I also believe that some teen girls will see the shows as a way to get "famous" and get attention.