Regina says the biggest surprise of being a mother so far has been the connection she has with her son. “It's cliché, but I cannot remember what life was without him. He feels like he has been in my life for so long.”
But being a young mother does come with its expected criticisms. “I get really frustrated when someone tells me what they think I should do with my child,” Regina said. “This type of thing hasn't happened too many times yet, but I can already see how more and more people will give me advice I don’t want in the future when it comes time to rearing and disciplining Caiden.”
Jessica said she sometimes feels underappreciated for how hard she works. “A lot of times I feel like I don't get the recognition I could be getting, but I think about how it makes me feel knowing I do all that I can and it helps.”
Jessica makes an effort to stay positive, although it is easy to get overwhelmed with the burden motherhood puts on her everyday life. “I try to remind myself every day that I'm not just waiting for something, now is the time to live and do what I'd like to do and be the person I want to be. Sometimes it's hard looking towards the future and having big goals like that on your mind a lot, so I have to remind myself to stay in the now.”
The family of a teenage mother plays a huge role in how the child is raised and how well the family thrives. Jayne E. Schooler, author of Mom, Dad, I’m Pregnant: When Your Son or Daughter Faces an Unplanned Pregnancy, says “It depends on the whole family system; if the family has done well in the past weathering other crises, they’ll figure it out.” Regina and Jessica are lucky because they have that support system, but it’s not unusual for girls to be left to raise their child completely on their own.