DIARY OF A TEEN MOM
Interview with KAILEI BARTHOLOMEW
My name is Kailei, I have a two year old daughter named Annabella. I got pregnant when I was 18. My life was all about hanging out with friends, going to high school parties and just having a good time. My boyfriend and I were not together that long before I found out I was pregnant. I didn't know what to think or even do. I hid my pregnancy for a few months before my mother found out. She was so mad with me she kicked me out and I stayed with a friend for about a month before she let me come back home. All the stress and drama with my mom made the relationship between my boyfriend and I hard for us to even get along. Once the baby came the stress between all of us didn't get any better. I ended up moving out with my boyfriend and now I don't just have the stress of keeping my family together and trying to raise a child, but now I also have the stress of living on my own and all the responsibilities that come along with that.
Did it ever occur to you that you might become pregnant as a teen?
I never thought I would be the girl that got pregnant. I had all these dreams and plans for my future and now everything's been put on hold. It took me two years just to finish my senior year of high school Between working full time and taking care of my daughter, I don't even have the time to think about going to college.
Were you using protection? If not, why not?
We always used condoms every time we had sex, the one time we didn't I got pregnant. I just thought 'it's only once I'm not going to get pregnant'. I was wrong.
How did your friends and family react when they found out about your pregnancy?
My family wouldn't even speak to me and the relationship with them hasn't been the same. We only speak at family gatherings and it's hi and bye kind of thing. As soon as my friends found out I was pregnant (which meant I couldn't go and hang out like I used to) they all stopped calling. Only a couple of friends stuck by my side and now I know who my true friends really are.
How is teen parenthood different than you thought it would be?
I knew it was going to be hard but I never thought it would be like this. Words can't even explain how much I love my daughter but I wish I would have waited and had her a few years later when I was more mature and ready.
How has your life changed since your pregnancy?
Before I got pregnant the only thing I really worried about is what outfit I was wearing that day and who I was going to hangout with. Now I have another life to take care of. Having a baby is not like getting a new puppy or a toy. You can't pick it up and play with it whenever you feel like it. They are depending on you every second of the day.
What do you wish you knew before you got pregnant?
I wish I knew how everything was going to turn out. I wish I knew how hard it was really going to be. I thought my life was going to be the same but just with a baby, I was so wrong.
Why do you want to share your story with other teens?
I want to share my story with other girls because I want them to know how it really is to be teen mom. Maybe hearing my story can make them realize that being a teen mom isn't the new cool thing. It's hard work and a lifetime commitment.
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 find it to be both positive and negative. The positive is that girls can see what those girls go through day to day to raise their kids. The negative side of it is you have some girls thinking if I get pregnant I could sign up for a TV show and become famous. Also all the negative that those shows bring make people think all teen moms are all the same and we're not. There are some really good teen moms out there that do anything and everything to make their kids the best they can. And I wish people could see that.