Teen Moms Fight the Stereotype
as seen in the Dec. print issue of the HUBBy Maddy Shippen, HUB Correspondent–
While 18- year-old Lizzie Warden reads for school, her 10 month old son, Elijah, cries for attention. Warden attends Martin Luther King High School and is among with many others trying to fight the teen mom stereotype of the ‘high school dropout’.
“I don’t try and stress but I’m still catching up 10 months later,” Warden said. This is a stereotype that has ultimately discouraged and characterized teen moms.
“I think its [teen pregnancy] is pretreated negatively and terribly,” Warden said. “Yeah, it’s hard and it isn’t what teenagers in this generation should be doing and it’s not what society likes, but it happens.”
Fighting against stereotypes is something that cannot be done alone, especially in the case of a pregnant freshman. “My mom had me at the age of 15 in ninth grade, she continued high school, then went to college and got her bachelors and master’s degree,” sophomore Serena Cooper said. “She had her parents’ support through the pregnancy and after I was born. They were there financially and stably for her. My father stuck around as well.”
According to the National Campaign to prevent teen and unplanned pregnancy, over 58 percent of teen moms drop out of school. However, most teen moms in Davis stay in high school but don’t go to college.
While most teen moms can barely find their way out of high school, teen parents like junior Katy Sparkman aren’t letting teen parenthood or society change their future. “My plans are to finish up high school, go to junior college and then become a nurse,” Sparkman said.
With the proper support and encouragement, college can continue to be a possibility, especially in this generation with alternatives such as online colleges. “I will probably end up going to college but I’m not sure about right away,” Warden said.
“My mom’s parents showed her that having a baby isn’t an excuse to throw your life away. She got straight A’s all throughout high school and college,” Cooper said.
Even to teen parents that find ways to succeed in school, there are still many things they miss out on. “Sometimes, I have to put seeing my friends aside to do my school work,” Sparkman said.
“Having a baby gave [my mom] responsibility at a young age and she doesn’t regret it, but she didn’t get to do all the fun things she could have [done],” Cooper said.
Stereotypes like this are mainly influenced by rumors, but Warden says, “You can’t let the stereotypes define you.”