A teenage pregnancy is usually always a curveball that throws a wrench into a kid's life. What's most important is how the people involved respond and react to it. Things can turn for the worse or for the better. These are some of those stories from the kid's perspective.
It Was A Strange Childhood
“My mom was 15 when she got pregnant with me. My dad was older and got me and my two brothers in the divorce when I was 4 years old, so I don’t have the full experience of being raised by a mother with a small age gap.
I saw my mom viewed by other people and treated as an attractive object from a young age. I didn’t really understand it, but I definitely observed it. She was young and very attractive. As a kid, I often felt like an ugly duckling compared to her.
She had a lot of boyfriends and also re-married a few times. Since she was still in her early to mid-20’s, every time she got a divorce or was single again, it wasn’t long before she’d find someone new, so there was always a revolving door of boyfriends/step-dads. I remember one particular boyfriend who would always let us play his Super Nintendo; he was the best.
When I was 11 or 12, my mom ‘settled down’ and started a new family with her husband, so now I have four half-siblings. She would have been 26 or 27 at the time, which means she had already been married and divorced three times and had four children by the age that my generation is barely getting married.
I probably missed a lot of the experience of being raised by a mom who’s close in age since she and her new family moved to Japan when I was 13. I never had to experience us being mistaken for sisters or anything like that.
I’m now twice the age my mom was when she had me and still single and childless.”
They Learned From Us
“My parents have two sets of kids. They raised my older brother and I when they were teenagers and had my little brother and sister toward their 30/40s.
Growing up my parents had no money or family support. We didn’t have many toys, we ate simply and the presents we got were necessities wrapped up nicely. What they did have was time and energy and we were rich quality time.
Now my parents are much better off having finished school and established themselves professionally . My (20 years younger) siblings are drowning in toys and camps, playgroups and activities…but my parents are tired. I took for granted how much time and energy my parents had to simply play and engage with me as a kid. I can’t help but see the activities as a way to get the little ones out of the house and the toys as an apology for being burnt out.
I have a great relationship with my parents. I like them as people and enjoy their company. It was (and is) odd to watch them become adults, settle into themselves and their lives. It did set me apart from other kids growing up and of course other parents and teachers whispered. I put effort into living well to spite them. My parents sweat blood to make sure siblings and I have what we need, and we do. Occasionally we joke about about being neighbors in an old folks home and racing walkers down the hallways.”
That Is A Big Age Difference
“My mother was 16 when she gave birth to my older sister. My dad was in his 40s.
When she got pregnant her parents disowned her, and she moved from New York to Oregon to be with my dad.
Growing up it was a strict religious upbringing, obviously dominated by my father. He died when I was young. Which in a way was good, cause my dad stunk, but in another way left a high school drop out stay at home mom the primary breadwinner for two kids, one of whom was disabled.
She was and is a great mom, but at the time she struggled to provide for us. We were homeless for a while. Then lived in a popup for a couple years. But eventually she got her GED and a job as a school lunch lady (I ate lots of cafeteria food), continued at school and eventually got a career. She is a teacher now. I’m very proud of her.
I’ve never met any of my extended family.”
A Childhood That Was A Blur
“My mom got knocked up at 15 and had me. Neither could keep me but didn’t want me in an orphanage, and my grandparents had something against Christianity. They decided to keep me at my grandparent’s house.
My dad would come three days a week and visit and play with me and my mom would come maybe once a week. Then she went to college in a far away city and my dad stayed back to work since he had a kid and didn’t want my grandparents to pay everything for me. He didn’t want me to live with him because he knew my grandparents lived in a better area with better schools.
He eventually had his own family and stopped coming around when I was 11 years old, and my mom stayed in the city to work and to further her studies. She’d still visit during Christmas and holidays and a few times a year when she’d visit just like that, but I still felt very alone. Being 11 and seeing your friends being picked up by their parents and going to birthday parties and outings with kids with parents is strange. You just feel odd, it’s so weird, and having neither parents around you is even weirder. You just don’t understand and I think that’s the worst part. Young me didn’t understand why I was the only kid in a good neighborhood whose parents wouldn’t call him when he was out late, wouldn’t prepare me lunches with notes and wouldn’t help me with school projects, from 11 onward it was just me basically.
My mom came home when I was 13 and brought home a man. He didn’t really like me. I don’t think he hated me or anything, but we didn’t click, and I think at this point it really broke me. Just seeing my mom with someone and actually being able to care for that person and be happy, it was so surreal since I had no experience of seeing her with someone like this and it wasn’t even me. I started being extremely rebellious after this: I’d stay out late, sometimes wouldn’t come home for days and would sleep on park benches/take buses and trains to far places, a few times other states too.
Most people remember their time as a child, but to me, in my mind, its all just one big blur. I remember the 13-15 years the most, as this was maybe the time I was most angry, the rest is just a blur though. When I was around 16, my mom moved back due to my grandparents’ declining health, and she kicked me out to live with my father. My father didn’t really want me so at some point I just packed up and moved to a friend’s place because his dad and mom were always kind to me.
I’m now 21, and I haven’t seen either parent in years. My grandparents died and my mom moved to a really nice neighborhood where I’m sure she wouldn’t like people knowing she has a 21-year-old son and my dad has a second kid.
I celebrate holidays alone, and I don’t have a desire to end that anytime soon.”
I Saw What Not To Do
“My mom was 15 when I was born.
She didn’t finish high school and my dad died before my second birthday. We were rejected by his family.
My mom remarried before my fifth birthday. My step-dad worked a lot but when he was home he was pretty mean. He takes great care of my mom and I have a half brother eight years younger than me, but the step-dad and I don’t talk much. When I got out on my own, I realized what a terrible parent he was. I used his example as what not to do when parenting.
I have three kids and one has gone to college on a full academic scholarship. One is in college with an academic and athletic scholarship. The third works hard to be as successful as her siblings. They are great kids, and I am proud of their accomplishments.
I still talk to my mom a lot, but as a teen I never understood why she let him treat me the way she did. She always defended him and apologized for his behavior. I get that she was uneducated and has some anxiety issues, and this relationship provided her a good life.
I’m not mad, just smart enough to not continue the cycle of abuse.”
We Made It Normal
“My mother had me her last year of high school with my father. My father really isn’t a bad guy, but he was a stupid 20-year-old who loved money. He ended up going to jail for selling narcotics while the rest of my family already presumed that since my mom has a child before even graduating from high school she would be unsuccessful (in a family of high expectations).
She attended college while her parents watched over me during the day. Which is a good reason why everything turned out okay. She used her resources instead of being prideful and not wanting help with raising a child.
She pulled through and I can honestly say my childhood didn’t miss anything. We lived with my grandparents until I was 6 years old, and she finally got her ‘Career’ job to make it on her own. She was young and smart and did everything for me. She also wasn’t one to deny help when she needed it which is probably why she beat the odds and succeeded so well. So yes as far as I know I had a normal childhood.”
We Were Like The Gilmore Girls
“My mom was 14 when she had me. She had run away from home and I lived with her and my dad who was in his early 20s (gross) for a couple years. They got married before I was born. So unlike most people in this situation, I can say I wasn’t born out of wedlock.
Eventually, they split and I got between them and grandparents for a while. I think a little bit of me died at that time. It was really stressful on a young kid to never stay in the same place. My mom’s mom took me in with her husband. They raised me and when I got into fourth grade my mom got her self together and took me back. That same year, my dad died after being in jail for a few years for selling pot.
Somehow though my mom never fully emotionally matured. She was amazing to hang out with, and we had a wonderful relationship (like Gilmore girls…even though I’m a boy). We moved out west with my aunt where my mom got her Master’s degree and my aunt got her PhD. It was really tough because they were both students, and we were extremely poor. My mom met my step-dad, and he was an amazing dude, but eventually they got into substances somehow. After she graduated, and right when i was gonna start high school, she dumped me back with my grandparents and split up with my step dad.
We stayed close though and would talk frequently. She died at 46 of a medication complication with drinking about two days after she successfully defended her PhD. Despite being tossed around as a kid by her we had a wonderful relationship. She lived abroad most of her life, so I would spend summer and winter breaks in really cool places in Asia and Europe. My mom throughout my whole childhood was always more of a friend, but she somehow managed to cover off on all the parental stuff really well. I could talk to her about anything and being so close in age she totally understood most of what I was dealing with.”
There Were A Lot Of Ups And Downs
“My mom had me a couple weeks after her 18th birthday, as a high school dropout. She went back to school, finished high school and got a college degree while raising me with help from my grandparents.
She left my dad when he tried to beat me when I was a few weeks old for crying. She shielded me from the punches and left that night while he was asleep. I’ve literally never heard from him, and don’t care to. My uncle still sees him on the bus sometimes, and he looks ragged.
My childhood was pretty good, for the first while we were dirt poor, but things got better. One of my favorite memories is when she told me she couldn’t afford a PlayStation 2 for months before Christmas, and then when I unwrapped it, I kind of had my mind blown. We’d been poor and not getting big presents was kind of the norm, so I wasn’t expecting it.
Later, when I was around 15, my uncle killed himself while living with us, and that messed everything up and I wound up moving out to live with a different uncle around 16. Mom was horrid, and she’s since started medication but now we are very close. Those few years when I matured, learned how to take care of stuff and whatnot, and basically how to adult did a lot of help to our relationship.
I can’t work right now (schizophrenia), so I do rely on her, but I also do my best to help out and take care of my niece. My sister is another story and seven years younger than me. She grew up being spoiled and having everything she wanted, so that’s basically useless in pretty much every sense, even though she had a kid a few months after turning 17. My niece recently listed her favorite people using fingers on her hand and left off my sister, and she didn’t even realize that had happened because she was so wrapped up on her tablet.”
He Learned To Be Independent
“My childhood was… complicated. My mom had me at 15, and my sister at 19. She finished high school, and did just over a year of college, while working full time and raising us. When I was in elementary school, we were really poor. My mom would need government assistance here and there, and she regularly worked two jobs. My uncles would watch us when my mom had work, or we would go to my grandmothers. I have a lot of fond memories, but it did kinda suck at times.
One thing I will always remember, is that despite being pretty poor, my mom always made sure that on Christmas or birthdays, I got that one gift I really wanted. I remember one year it was Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past for SNES, and despite it being pretty expensive, my mom made sure I got it. I had had the original Zelda for the NES, and played it for hundreds of hours, so she knew it was really important to me. I remember getting Pokemon games for birthday/holidays when I really wanted them, and even a bike when I was like 4 or 5. It was mostly simple things, but I could tell my mom knew that sometimes making sure you get that one gift rather than a bunch of smaller ones made the difference.
I think that upbringing kind of shaped who I was in some regards. I have a soft spot for what I call ‘garbage food.’ I like stuff that’s just easy to throw together, really basic, and/or can be microwaved. I ate a lot of Ramen Noodles and Hot Pockets as a kid, so those kinds of food are almost comforting to me. My favorite foods are the pretty basic as well–my mom/grandmothers home made Mac and Cheese is hands down my favorite, and they both make killer Shepard’s Pie. I never grew up eating anything all that fancy, so as an adult I don’t really cook–much to my girlfriend’s dismay–and it’s a lot of sandwiches and microwaved stuff.
I’m also a lot less demanding than my sister. My mom met her first husband who made good money when my sister was probably 5 or 6. Most of her childhood was with our first stepdad, who made sure we had the things we wanted. He wasn’t exactly financially responsible, and he spoiled my sister. As we’ve gotten older, my sister regularly had my parents help her buy her first car–and 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. She is still on my mom’s cell phone plan, and has my mom and her current husband help her out whenever she needs stuff.
I, on the other hand, have had my own cell phone plan since I was 15, have bought all of my cars, and rarely ask them for anything. The trade off is, if I really need some help (which has happened), my mom knows it means I really need it and always helps out. But we’re just very different in how we handle things. I’ve always done things myself and worked my butt off to get the things I wanted, but my sister always kind of expects a certain level of leniency.
Overall, I think my mom is one of the most amazing women I’ve ever met. At 19, she had two kids, worked full time, and was going to school. I don’t know how she did it, but I’m grateful for how much energy she put into making sure we could have a somewhat normal life. It gave both me and my sister some perspective on not judging people as well, so I am kind of thankful for that. Just because you see a teenage girl with her baby, doesn’t mean she’s inherently lazy, or a harlot, or undeserving of empathy.
My mom had a hard time raising us, and I’m amazed we both turned out decently well. But she’s an amazing woman, and an amazing mother.”
My Dad Is Perfect
“I’m about 19 years younger than my dad. I’ve never known my mom, my dad raised me basically on his own for as long as I can remember. I’m not sure at what point my mom left, but I’ve still been somewhat close with my grandparents on her side of the family.
I guess I got lucky because I have an amazing dad and amazing grandparents (on his side). My grandma was around a lot, so I guess she would be the motherly figure in my life. I did have a step mom at one point but that ended pretty early in my life because she ended up cheating on him (I want to say I was around 9 years old at this point). After that, it was just me, my dad, and my grandparents.
My dad was honestly the best. He always tried to be my friend while also making sure I learned basic manners. Because of this, he was able to (somewhat) spoil me without me turning into a brat.
It might sound weird to hear this if your parents are still together, but not having my mom there just became the norm for me. I’m honestly not sure if it had any impact on me mentally other than my extreme fear of rejection, and I can’t even tell for sure if she’s the cause of that.
When I was about 11-12, my dad gave me a few letters that my mom had sent to me, because he believed I was ready to read them. Within the letters, she left me her number and her email and my dad made sure that I knew that it was completely up to me if I wanted to establish a contact with her or not. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t text her, but after the first few messages I’ve decided to leave it up to her to text me because I felt that she owed me something.
My dad had to grow up fast, having a kid at 19 and raising him as a single parent can’t be easy for anybody. I came out okay and if I had the choice to go back and make it so my mom never left, I don’t think I could do it. My dad became such an amazing person, and it would kill me to see that change.”
She Wasn’t Ready
“My mother had me when she was 17 and still in school.
As a result, my grandparents watched me whenever she wasn’t able to do so, and as time passed, that happened more and more often. They actually ended up raising me but still encouraged a relationship with her. Looking back, I’m convinced that did a lot more harm than good. She just wasn’t ready to be a mother so young; she was the sort who was very social and loved to party and needed to be part of the in-crowd.
When she was finally ready for children, she went on to have a replacement kid — a ‘do-over’, someone once described it — who, to this day, is by far the favorite child. My mother and I are not close at all, and I still have a lot of lingering issues I’ve needed to work through over the years because of it.”