Monday, August 12, 2013


David and Destiny met when Destiny was just a sophomore and David a junior in high school. They were classic high school sweethearts and had so much in common. At the end of her junior year, Destiny's parents decided to move from California to Indiana. Destiny stayed in California because her parents thought it would be too hard for her to relocate during her senior year and start all over at a new school. So she moved in with David’s parents while David was away at marine boot camp and training. Destiny was legally emancipated just after her 17th birthday. She lived at David's parents' house for 6 months before he even came home in April 2007, but when he did, she got pregnant. So she was 17, still in high school, living miles away from her parents, boyfriend gone a couple weeks out of the month, and pregnant.
She finally told her parents when they flew to California for her high school graduation and they were very supportive. They agreed instead of her moving to Indiana, she should stay to be with David when the baby was born. On her 18th birthday in August of 2007, David asked Destiny to marry him (scavenger hunt style) and she said yes. They got married two months later in October, and in January of 2008 Julian was born.
She was only in labor for 4 hours and pushed about 11 times and he was out. He had jaundice and had to stay in the hospital until he was cleared which was about three weeks. When he did finally come home he was healthy and  hardly got sick. Julian was a healthy little man.
When Julian was 3 months old Destiny found out that David was hiding something from her. As heartbroken as she was, she was determined to find out what it was. After months of digging, she found out that he was secretly talking to Destiny's really good friend behind her back and building a “friendship” with her. Destiny saw it as a form of emotionally cheating. She was crushed that he would tell her friend things that he had once told her and that he would do that to her just months after their son was born and  he spent the first 3 weeks of his life in the hospital.
Destiny and Julian
There she was, married, living miles from her family, no job (she was a stay at home mom), with a three month old and only 18 years old with marital problems. Destiny grew up with two different households and she did not want that for her son. David and Destiny talked everything out and came to terms with how to deal with their situation and they made it work. Living as a military family was hard enough, they didn't need more stress to add to that. So after a long year of David proving his trust, they were back to themselves again raising a beautiful toddler and planning another.

Being a teen mom and military wife comes with a lot of responsibilities. Destiny has not only had to raise her son sometimes on her own, but she has had to deal with keeping her marriage intact and running a household all before she was even 20 years old. Here are some words of wisdom from Destiny: "if there is one thing I have learned from this experience is that you have to have faith that things will turn out okay in the end. Be patient, when one door closes another door opens."
David and Julian

Monday, July 29, 2013


Kaniesha has a unique story because she did not know she was pregnant. She was 15 years old. She was still getting her period. She gained weight, but her tummy didn't get big. She went to the doctor because she was gaining so much weight and her doctor told her to go see a nutritionist. She did and even though she changed her eating habits, she continued to gain weight. It wasn't until July 17, 2007 that Kaniesha and her family found out why she was gaining weight. On July 17, Kaniesha came home not feeling well. It felt like she had to use the restroom. She tried, but nothing happened. The pain only got worse. Kaniesha asked her mom to take her to the emergency room. 

When she was finally taken back into a room, they gave her a sonogram to see what was going on in her stomach. The doctor looked at Kaniesha and told her that she was in labor. All she could do was cry and ask how that was possible. 25 minutes after Kaniesha found out she was pregnant, her daughter was born. All that she could think about was how she had failed her parents. They too were teen parents and they had wanted her to have a better life than she did. 

While Kaniesha and her daughter were in the hospital for two days, her parents had to go get everything she needed for the baby. Kaniesha says that if it weren't for her parents, she honestly doesn't know where she would be. They were, and still are, her support system when she wanted to give up on her dreams. 

Kaniesha graduated high school on time. In 2010 she got her certified nursing assistant license while still in high school. Even though she didn't start college right away, she started in January of 2010 and is going to become an RN. 

Her daughter's father is around but does not support her financially like he should. Her daughter is now 6 years old and entering first grade. 

Here are some words from Kaniesha: "No matter what, never give up on your dreams and just keep pushing forward. You can do whatever you want as long as you stay positive. I'm not saying it's easy but just keep your head high and you can do anything."

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Caitlin and Noah met when they were 15 years old. They were at the mall with mutual friends the first time they met. For Caitlin it was love at first sight. He had brown eyes and blonde hair with a Justin Bieber haircut. His smile lit up the room when he was with her. Caitlin was head over heels for Noah. She can still recall the butterflies she got in her stomach when they had their first kiss on March 20, 2010. For Caitlin it was especially amazing to feel such a strong love. She had just gotten out of an abusive relationship so she didn't know it was possible for a man to treat her as well as Noah did. It was crazy to her that Noah was so kind to her. He didn't call her names, he didn't hit her, he was nothing like her previous boyfriend. It was amazing to her to feel loved and needed. They continued to date for several months. They broke up briefly, then got back together in August of 2010. The saying "absence makes the heart grow fonder" could not have been truer for this couple. She had missed him and needed him in their time apart. This just made their relationship that much stronger the second time around.

Caitlin and Noah dated through 10th, 11th, and 12th grade. They were always there for each other. They grew together, dealt with high school drama together, talked about their dreams, how many kds they wanted, they shared everything with each other. Life could not have been better for these two. Then, shortly after graduation, Caitlin became pregnant. She was so grateful that from the moment they found out, Noah was by her side. Her "friends" turned on her, but Noah stuck around. He was her shoulder to cry on, the hand to wipe her tears.

Caitlin found out she was expecting a little girl. She was ecstatic. Noah told Caitlin he was so excited because he now got to love a mini Caitlin too. Caitlin's heart melted. Her life had never felt so happy and whole. Noah was with her through everything.  He was all she needed in life.

On April 27, 2013 Caitlin went into labor. She was in labor for six hours before she started pushing. Noah was there the whole time and he was so patient. He kept whispering in Caitlin's ear: "good job baby, I love you baby, you can do it." This just made Caitlin push harder. Noah was her motivation. Finally, after two hours of pushing, Arianna Rae was born at 6:16 am. She weighed eight pounds two ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long. The moment Arianna was born, Noah cried. He loved her from the beginning.

Caitlin says that Noah has been there for every tantrum, every doctors appointment, every poopy diaper. He even moved 12 hours away from everyone he knew to take a job in order to better their daughter's future. Caitlin and Noah are, and will be successful. The two are recently engaged and are almost 20 years old now. Some words from Caitlin are: "age is but a number and true love is forever."

Friday, July 26, 2013


Emily was 14 when she moved out of her family's home in Australia. She chose to move into a friend's house where she went off the rails a bit. She left school and decided to take up a part time job. She continued this way for two years before she decided that this was not the life she wanted. She moved to a town where she knew no one, started school, and worked in a kitchen part time. She had always wanted to be a chef so she chased a career in a kitchen. During her last year of school she was offered an apprenticeship with a chef. She was so excited that she decided to put off studying and take the job while she could.

Emily was struggling to pay rent and bills on an apprentice's wage as it was. Then she met a boy that she got intimate with. She didn't think anything of it because she took her birth control pills regularly. In the beginning of December 2010 she started to feel really sick. She wasn't able to be in the kitchen for long periods of time without feeling nauseous. So, she took a pregnancy test. Then another. Then another. When all three tests came back positive, Emily just sat in her bathroom and cried. She didn't understand how this could have happened, she was on the pill. The next day she went to her doctor's office. Her doctor confirmed that Emily was four weeks pregnant. She knew she had to tell her mom, but she held off for a week. They had never had a good relationship since Emily had moved out. She decided to tell her work first why she had been so sick lately, and sure enough they fired her. Emily then called her mom on Christmas Eve and told her she was expecting. Her mom offered to take her in and Emily had to accept considering she no longer had money to pay her rent or bills.

Emily's pregnancy went by really quickly, she didn't have any problems. At 19 weeks she found out that she would be having a boy. She had no way to support herself financially so her parents bought everything for her new baby. Then forty weeks rolled around, she had still not gone into labor. She was done being pregnant. She was uncomfortable and agitated. Finally, five days after her due date she awoke to contractions one minute apart. Her mom raced home from work and took her to the hospital.

Emily's labor was not easy. She was in so much pain. Then, 12 hours into labor the doctor realized that the baby was turned the wrong way. The doctor ended up having to use forceps to get the baby out. At 6:23 pm Cooper Rhiley was born. Emily says holding him was the most precious moment in her life.

In the time since, Emily says she and Cooper have been through some amazing ups and downs. She gave up a career that she had spent so much time chasing in order to be a single mom. She notes that being 18 and having a child was hard and she couldn't have done it without the support of her parents.

Here are some words from Emily: "I don't regret a thing. I love my son more than anything. I only wish I would have had him further in the future so I could have had a good career and been with a man that I know would always be around to love my son!"

Thursday, July 25, 2013


It was a hot New Zealand Summer day in November 2010 when Tori took a pregnancy test. She was 15 years old and it turned out positive. She found out she was 10 weeks pregnant and was due on June 16, 2011. Her pregnancy flew by. She celebrated her 16th birthday in March and her boyfriend celebrated his 21st in April. He worked as a digger operator, so they were financially stable. They had a lot of support from their families despite initial disappointment. Tori thought they had it made. She had no worries for her future. It all seemed to be coming together perfectly.

By the beginning of June 2011, they were all prepared. All were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the baby. They were in for a long wait. Tori's due date came and went and still no baby.Tori went in for an exam on June 24th and found out that her water had been leaking. She needed to be induced that day. At 10:30 pm that night she was induced and told to go to sleep as nothing would happen for 12 hours. She laid down and tried to sleep. But 20 minutes later her hips and back were killing her. There was no way she could sleep. She got up and walked around the hospital. When she got back to the labor ward she was having pains lasting between one and two minutes. They were very close together but they were in her hips and back so she didn't think she was having contractions. Tori thought contractions only happened in the stomach and abdomen area. She alerted the nurses of her pains anyways. They told her she was overreacting.

At midnight that night a nurse came in to check Tori and she was five centimeters dilated. Tori was told to walk to the delivery suite. After she got there, things progressed quickly. She started pushing at 3:30 am. The monitor could not find her baby's heartbeat so they had to place a monitor in the baby's scalp. The heart rate was very faint, the baby was in a lot of stress. The doctor told Tori that she had two pushes to try to give birth naturally or else they were giving her a cesarean section. Tori did it in two pushes. At 3:50 am on June 25, 2011 Tori gave birth to her beautiful daughter, Ava Belle. She weighed nine pounds, three ounces!

After Tori's boyfriend never showed up for his daughter's birth, she started seeing his true colors. He started becoming abusive towards Tori physically, mentally, and verbally. It was extremely hard for her, but in September 2011 she left the guy she had loved for three years and the father to her daughter. Tori is glad she did it though, she and Ava are better off without him. Ava continues to grow and is such a happy child and Tori is so proud of her daughter. Tori and Ava live with Tori's mom and Tori started business management courses in 2012.

Here are some words from Tori: "16 and Pregnant opened my eyes and has made me more aware of birth control. I now know to make sure I am more careful by taking precautions when having sex."

Ava Belle at 5 months old

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Jessica was 18 when she became a teen mom. When she first found out she was pregnant, her boyfriend at the time (whom she would prefer remains unnamed) insisted she get an abortion. This was not something she believed in so she therefore sustained the pregnancy. He was never really supportive but he came around to the idea of having a child. He got a job that paid minimum wage and Jessica moved in with him and his parents. Being in a relationship with him was hard for Jessica but she really wanted to make it work for the sake of the baby. So, she dealt with him for the whole nine months.

Jessica gave birth to her daughter on December 2, 2007. She was overjoyed to meet her baby girl. But things with her boyfriend just got worse after their daughter was born. Jessica tried to mend their relationship by having sex with him. They used protection but nothing is ever 100%. She got pregnant again. Jessica believes that everything happens for a reason so she embraced this second pregnancy. However, her boyfriend was not as understanding as she. The pregnancy became harder to handle when she found out she was going to have a little girl that was going to have Down Syndrome.

Jessica knew it would be hard but she felt that she was given both of these babies for a reason. She raised her first daughter on her own while she was pregnant because her boyfriend refused to help her. His friends were always more important to him than Jessica or his daughters. Even when she was put on bedrest, her boyfriend wouldn't help her with their daughter. He insisted that the new baby should be put up for adoption so he refused to support Jessica. Since she had to take care of a baby while she was supposed to be on bedrest, she went into labor early.

Jessica gave birth to her second daughter on September 22, 2008. She was 19 and already had a nine month old at home. Her daughter was born weighing just four pounds, two ounces and Jessica wasn't even able to touch or hold her. There were many complications when she was born. She couldn't regulate her temperature, she was unable to bottle feed, and she had a heart defect that needed to be monitored. On top of all this, her father wasn't even there to witness her birth. By the time he arrived at the hospital she was already being taken away for monitoring.

Their daughter had to remain at the hospital for a full month until she was able to eat and keep her body temperature normal. When she was sent home at one month old, she still weighed four pounds two ounces. Right away Jessica noticed that her daughter wasn't able to keep any sustenance down. She kept taking her to the doctor but it took them three months to realize that her daughter had Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD for short.) The following is a brief description of the disease that I found on : Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic digestive disease that occurs when stomach acid or, occasionally, bile flows back (refluxes) into your food pipe (esophagus). The backwash of acid irritates the lining of your esophagus and causes GERD signs and symptoms.

By the time she was diagnosed she had lost so much weight that she had to stay in intensive care. While she was there, her father refused to hold her because she felt so fragile. But Jessica thinks that was just his excuse because he didn't want the responsibility of a Down Syndrome baby. So, when her daughter came home Jessica decided things weren't going to work out between her and her boyfriend. Since she had always been left to take care of her children alone, she figured she might as well be alone. She broke things off and moved out. She rented a room for her and her girls and things were tough because their dad never paid child support. She was on her own and he hardly came to see them. As her younger daughter got older there were more health complications, but Jessica handled them on her own as a single parent.

Then when her youngest was eight months old, she met a guy who was enamored by her and her daughters. They started dating. Her ex found out and he freaked out. He broke into her place and hit Jessica. They got into a huge argument. Jessica filed a restraining order against him and won full custody of her daughters.

In the time since, Jessica got married to the new guy she started seeing and she has loved her life since. She says her husband is a great father to her kids. She has had no communication with her ex since she got the restraining order against him and she is glad. Her younger daughter's health has improved somewhat. She stil has pending surgeries but together with her husband, Jessica knows they can handle it. Jessica says: "I wanted to share my story not just to tell teen moms out there that they can do it but to tell them that if your relationship is bad, it's not worth your health or your kids' health to make it work. Things aren't always easy, but you can get through it."

Here are some photos Jessica shared with me of her two beautiful daughters (:

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


When Lacey was 17 years old she had a big crush on a family friend she had known for about 5 years. His name was Anthony. He had a little girl who was about 2 years old from his ex-girlfriend (or so Lacey thought.) The two began flirting and spending a lot of time together. They knew they liked each other and she always questioned him about the relationship between him and his daughter's mom. He always swore they were not together and she believed him. This was due to the fact that all his family knew he was at her house quite often and they clearly didn't have a problem with it. He and his baby's mom did not live together, and he talked about her like he hated her. Lacey notes that he was a very good dad to his daughter. He always had her with him and talked about her constantly. Lacey was in love with this about him. She remembers him coming over one day while she was watching A Baby Story on TLC. Lacey told Anthony he could change the channel. He said he wanted to watch the show with her. He then made a comment about them having a child together and it melted Lacey's heart. She thought he must really like/love her for him to say something like that.

They began having a sexual relationship after that. This continued on for about 6 months and then Lacey asked Anthony if he thought she should get on birth control. He responded: “No, way we would be having way too much sex if you did.” So, she didn't. About a month after this conversation Anthony was at her house and the two had intercourse. Lacey says that the next morning she went to the restroom and found a broken condom on the toilet paper when she wiped. She says she didn't think much of it, sometimes they used condoms and sometimes they didn't. She definitely never thought that she would get pregnant. Lacey continued on with her life and  about 8 weeks later she noticed a very small drop of blood. But she still didn't start her period. After 3 days she decided to take a pregnancy test. It came back positive.

Lacey called her older sister and told her. Her sister took Lacey to the doctor to confirm. The doctor confirmed she was about 10 weeks pregnant. Lacey was excited about having Anthony's baby and being a family together but she was terrified to tell her mom. She and her sister met up with their mom that day and told her the news. Of course her heart was broken. Her teenage daughter with no car, no job, who had dropped out of high school when she was 16 now had a baby to look after. Her mother told her she needed to call Anthony and figure out what they were going to do. Lacey called him and asked if he could come over. He said he couldn’t but asked what she needed. She told him she was pregnant. Instantly his whole tone changed. He began asking her to have an abortion saying later down the road they could have a few kids but now was not the right time. Lacey refused. She even told him he didn't have to support this baby financially as long as he was part of it’s life, he could just go to the doctor with her and be a dad. He said that doing those things for her baby would take away from his daughter. Then he finally admitted that he and his daughter's mom were in a relationship.

Lacey and Anthony talked long into the night. She tried contacting him a few times after that but slowly and surely he stopped all communication. Lacey thanks God for her parents and family members who were with her 110% throughout her hard pregnancy. Lacey was in and out of the hospital with high blood pressure and the baby never moved. Finally on May 27th, 2004 at 3:59pm her baby boy, Nathan Blaze, was born 7 pounds 7 ounces. As soon as he was born he was rushed away to the NICU with respiratory distress. But after 3 days he came home with Lacey. Her family pressured her a lot to contact Anthony and file child support but she couldn’t do it.

Lacey was able to move on with her life because she was so in love with her son. Anthony never tried to contact her in any way to learn anything about his son. Her parents were great but she was still 18 years old with no car and lived at home with her parents. Finally when she was 19 she met a man named Jaime who was amazing. He was kind, sweet, and older. He had a car and a really good job. Lacey fell head over heels for him. Two months later she was pregnant. This was her second pregnancy as a teenager and this time with a man she barely knew. She had never been as scared in her life as she was to tell her mom she was pregnant for the second time. But she did. Her mom was enraged and didn’t talk to her for over a week. When her mom finally spoke with her they decided Lacey would move in with Jaime.

It was wonderful for awhile but after a few weeks she discovered Jaime was controlling. One day when Lacey was 8 weeks pregnant he threw all of Lacey's and Nathan's belongings outside. So Lacey went to her mom’s house and asked her if she could come back. She wanted to tell her mom she wanted an abortion but she was scared of what her mother and her grandparents would think since they were very religious and thus against abortion. Lacey stayed at her mom's house and kept quiet. She had no contact with Jaime for 3 days. Then he came over and apologized. Lacey went back home with him just for the sake of not having to live with her Mom and Dad.

Lacey and Jaime’s relationship was very difficult. They fought a lot because they were just learning how to be together and getting to know each other and they had the added stress of an instant family. Lacey went into labor September 2nd, 2006 at 11:35pm. Her baby boy Isaiah Richard was born 7 pounds 2 ounces. Lacey and Jaime continued to get along and try their hardest for their son but there was infidelity. She found out Jaime cheated on her. This led to a huge falling out. Lacey went home to her parent's house once again. This time she stayed for about four months. Lacey had to support her kids so she got a job at a local apartment community. She made decent money but she also had to pay her mom to watch her kids during the day. She was starting to move on and become okay with her life. She had not heard from Jaime in about a week when he finally stopped by. She gave him the third degree and he admitted he had a girlfriend. Lacey immediately stopped contacting him and letting him see Isiah.

Finally after 3 years she filed for child support against her oldest son’s dad, Anthony. She felt guilty because none of his family ever found out they had a baby together. But once they had the meeting about child support, he said he wanted to be a part of Nathan’s life. Anthony came around and introduced himself twice and then they never saw him again. Lacey filed child support against Jaime as well. About a month after Lacey filed against him, Jaime showed up at her mom's house when Lacey was not there. He said he wanted to see his son but her mom told him no and to get lost. Lacey agreed to meet with him. He begged, even cried for her to come back to him. Of course as a single mom to two kids, she didn’t want to be alone so she went back.

They struggled with their relationship and continued to try and do their best for their kids. On December 7th, 2007 Jaime was arrested by Immigration (he was not a legal resident). Lacey's world came crashing down. Once again she moved in with her parents. She lost everything, her house, her furniture, and her boyfriend. She finally realized how much this man meant to her and how much she loved him. After years of struggling and fighting she regretted all the bad times they had and the bad things she said to him. She realized it was time wasted. She contacted a lawyer and tried to hire him but it was too expensive. She knew she had to let Jaime go back to Mexico. She would never be able to see him again, it was over.

Then Jaime's uncle contacted Lacey, a man she had never spoken to before. He gave her the money to hire a lawyer and get Jaime home. After two months, he was released by immigration on a $5,000 immigration bond. After he got out, the two got married and settled into a life together. They welcomed a baby girl, Jessica Maureen, in August 2009. Lacey knows that she and Jaime had a lot of problems but she says that he helped her more than anyone ever has. While she has been with him she has gotten her drivers license and pursued a real estate career. Nine years after Lacey became a teen mom she is proud to say that she is madly in love and has a perfect little family. Lacey's words of advice are as follows: "Being a teen mom was the hardest thing I ever had to do. If I could go back and do it over I would have waited and not fallen for every man who looked my way and said something sweet to me."
Lacey and husband Jaime
Nathan, Isaiah, and Jessica