DIARY OF A TEEN MOM
Interview with TAYLOR YOXHEIMER, 18
My name is Taylor, and I have a 6-month-old son named David Jr. I got pregnant at the end of my junior year, when I was 16. I started high school partying, playing sports, hanging out with my boyfriend and enjoying life. When I found out I was pregnant, my whole life changed. A lot of people at school stopped talking to me. I was made fun of a lot. At one point the whole girls' soccer team prank called me and said a lot of nasty things to me! Once the baby was born, it was a different world; they definitely don't teach you how to give birth and be a mother in high school. They don't tell you how badly labor hurts (I pushed for 4 hours!); they don't teach you how to wake up all throughout the night or how to change a nasty diaper without throwing up. My son is also biracial; his dad is black and I am white so I'm always looked down on in public. Being a teen mother is hard, but my son is worth it, but if you're not willing to sacrifice your life for someone else's, don't have unprotected sex.
Did it ever occur to you that you might become pregnant as a teen?
NEVER. I was a good girl in high school, never got in trouble for anything besides being lazy from time to time. I couldn't accept the possibility that I could be pregnant until I took a test 3 months into my pregnancy.
Were you using protection? If not, why not?
We weren't using protection. I never thought it would happen to me. It never crossed my mind that I would be "the pregnant girl."
How did your friends and family react when they found out about your pregnancy?
I didn't tell my parents until I was 5 months pregnant; I was so scared I would get kicked out. That was so selfish, unhealthy, and I thank God everyday my son is perfectly healthy because so much could have gone wrong. My parents were so disappointed and mad at me that they couldn't even look at me, and I lost a lot of real friends.
How is teen parenthood different than you thought it would be?
I had never spent any time with a baby before my son was born, so I had no idea what parenting was going to be like. It's so tiring and so exhausting, but it's definitely rewarding.
How has your life changed since your pregnancy?
I don't leave the house very much. My parents have to almost force me to go out with my friends, because every mom needs some time away from her baby, but it's very hard leaving him. My son's father and I aren't together at the moment. We're working things out, but having a baby changes your relationship completely. Don't ever think having a baby will save your relationship or keep your man around, because it won't.
What do you wish you knew before you got pregnant?
I wish I would have known how hard it would be. Someone else's life depends on you. Having that kind of responsibility is SO stressful. I love my son with all of my heart and soul, but I wish I could have waited to have him a few years.
Why do you want to share your story with other teens?
I want to share my story because unless you are a teen mother, you don't understand how hard it is to be one. We get looked down on a lot, criticized for being bad people and bad parents, because we made a bad decision. A teenager is still in school, still looking for a job, still finding themselves; add a baby into that mix and life can seem unbearable sometimes. If my story will make one girl think, "maybe I should be protected, I don't want to have to throw away my childhood", I will be extremely satisfied.
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)?
Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant show the good sides and bad sides of being a parent, which I can appreciate. It's not always hard times, and they show that. I'm assuming that's what many critics consider "glamorizing", but it's not. I think teen parenting is portrayed accurately on these shows.