‘I was 18, too in my prime to be PREGNANT! Boy, were those two lines so clear.’: Young woman navigating single motherhood urges ‘it doesn’t define who you are’

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“I was 18. I had just graduated high school and was off to living my best life. Hot girl summer was about to be in full effect! Finally being a legal adult and off on my own gave me this sense of freedom. The ability to finally do what I wanted. So of course, as some teenagers like to do, I spent that summer of 2019 going to parties, getting high, and feeling completely free. One night, my friends and I went to a party and there I met my then-boyfriend. We hit it off and I fell head over heels. And that is how it all quickly started. Summer 2019 had then changed my life in the most drastic way possible.

Young girl takes a photo at her high school graduation in a red cap and gown while holding her diploma
Courtesy of Willow Young

I found out I was pregnant on September 19th. It was almost midnight and I’d just come home from a party. Weird time to take a pregnancy test I’d say, but something in me said to go ahead and just take it. At that moment all I could think was how the test was going to show up negative. There was just no way, no absolute way! I had just graduated school, turned 18, had a new little boyfriend, just started my first few weeks of college. I was too in my prime to be PREGNANT!

I sat on the toilet as it was time to find out my results. Boy, were those two lines so clear, I couldn’t even question the possibility any longer. And then, the word ‘Pregnant‘ showed up. All I could do was stare at both tests in total shock. No words could ever describe the mix of emotions I’d felt in those moments. How could I possibly bring this up to my boyfriend? How in the world was my mom going to react to this? My family, my friends? I honestly thought I was doomed. Little did I know, this was just the beginning of a journey that would push me to grow, empower me to be a better young woman, and bless me with the best gift of all, my Son Syre.

Young teen about to start college takes a photo of her two positive pregnancy tests
Courtesy of Willow Young

Possibly one of the hardest initial plans to make when going through an unexpected pregnancy is the actual decision itself. I will be one to admit abortion and adoption did cross my mind at a point in time. I didn’t feel as though I was fit to be a mother, especially a mother so young. I had a lot of growing up to do still and I didn’t think now was a good time at all. I’ll never forget, one afternoon having a phone call with my boyfriend’s older sister after I’d finished balling my eyes out. She told me how much of a blessing this child would be. How much support I would have with this new baby. She encouraged me that just because I may choose to have this new baby, wouldn’t make me a failure. I could still be capable of doing great things even with a new baby at 18 years old, so I continued. I was fortunate enough to never have to experience any complications or sickness prior to giving birth, but everything that occurred during that period felt just as bad.

My relationship with my child’s father was slowly crumbling to pieces, my friendships were slowly disappearing, and my relationships with my family and my mother were all at a standstill. I came to a point in my pregnancy where I felt like I had no one. I came across a quote on Instagram a little while ago that said something like, ‘The way you treat a woman when she’s pregnant, she will never forget.’ My entire pregnancy, I felt betrayed, and still to this day, almost 3 years later, I still remember the painful moments.

Teen mom shares photo of an ultrasound of her little boy growing in her belly
Courtesy of Willow Young

I was promised my boyfriend would be there for me in the times I needed him most, and I never felt it. Because of my circumstances, my party life had stopped. Meanwhile, his kept going. There were nights where I was left to go to bed alone because he would rather go out to the bar. Days where I felt as though I wasn’t being given the same love and assurance as I gave out. The amount of tears I shed during my pregnancy often made me question if this was really all worth it? Was it worth the heartbreak, the feeling of being unsure? Unsure if he even thought I was beautiful anymore because of how much I’d gotten bigger. Unsure if he even still loved me the same? It took me more than a year to finally answer that question. From there, I began to relearn how to navigate my motherhood journey as a single mom.

New teen mom holds her son in the hospital for the first time after giving birth to him
Courtesy of Willow Young

When my son Syre was about 9 months old, I finally made the decision the to step away. It was probably one of the most painful decisions to make for my family, but I had to do what was best for me and my own sanity. Questioning my relationship so often drained me to the point of becoming depressed. I had already been dealing with a lot of normal postpartum feelings such as anxiety, stress, and trying to figure out what the next steps into becoming more independent in my life were going to be. At this time I was 19 and contemplating whether or not I wanted to go back to school. As a new mom, I had no idea how I was going to balance my baby and my school work at the same time. And if I’m being quite honest, I really didn’t want to go back. Deep down, I had other dreams and plans I wanted to step into, but I was afraid of what my mom would think. I felt like I had a message to share with people but could never seem to put my finger on it no matter how hard I thought about it.

Throughout my pregnancy, I had stepped into the YouTube space and creating videos about what it was like for me to be an expectant mom at 18. One video I had filmed on my pregnancy story had gone relatively viral and I had a lot of other young women in similar situations reach out to me saying how much they enjoyed the video and wanted me to document more. From there, I began doing more videos on advice for new moms, monthly pregnancy updates, and other interests of mine. But I felt like I could do more; I WANTED to do more! Blogging, YouTube, and capturing moments of my life – I wanted to do it all. I realized I had a valuable message to share with people and cultivated my platform, Raising Syre.

New mom holds her newborn son while they take a photo together in his nursery
Courtesy of Willow Young

Raising Syre has been my outlet, my creative space, and my platform. Over the past year, I’ve branched out from YouTube and began sharing my life across my blog and my Instagram page. Giving advice for fellow first-time moms has always been something I’m passionate about, but more than ever I’ve found a huge calling for being more transparent about what it’s really like being a single mother. The highs and lows of dating again, co-parenting, finding time for yourself again and so much more. Raising Syre has given me a newfound sense of purpose and a voice I never really thought I had.

From following my passion, I’ve been able to connect on such deep levels with other moms, been approached by some amazing opportunities, and believe it or not, healing my own wounds. I never liked to speak about the difficulties I had to face with my child’s father because I was ashamed, I felt embarrassed to show the real me postpartum because I wasn’t comfortable with the way my body had changed, I was too afraid to reach out and connect with other moms after feeling as though I’d lost all the friends I once had. This is why I am always so grateful for not only the wonderful community of women I’ve met from my sharing my story, but I am truly blessed for my son. He has been my blessing in disguise. He has taught me how to blossom and make the best of situations in my life that once had me at my lowest. He has taught me how to love unconditionally. He has taught me how to let go of my anxious feelings and show up as the best me possible. He has taught me how to push past the judgment of others and chase my dreams, and for that, I am forever grateful for Syre.

Young single mom takes a photo of her son clapping while enjoying the sunshine
Courtesy of Willow Young

If I could give anyone who’s been in or currently lives in the same shoes some advice, it would be to embrace your hardships. Over this past year, I’ve learned how to turn my pain into a lesson I can teach others how to navigate. Grow from the things you’ve had to overcome and make it into something beautiful. Share your story! I had no idea how being so transparent about my life situations as a young mom could resonate with so many people. Whether it was from me simply sharing about my difficulties with self-love and embracing my new body as a mother, dealing with a toxic relationship, escaping that toxic relationship, sharing tips I’ve learned from parenting – you never know who may benefit from hearing your words.

To my other fellow young moms, you can still be successful and have a wonderful life ahead of you despite your circumstances. This was something I greatly doubted myself when I found out I was pregnant. Believe it or not, it took me a year to drop out of college twice (Definitely don’t encourage that! It was a huge leap of faith and took a lot of trusting in God to do), but I knew it was my passion and I didn’t want to give up on those dreams just because I was a mom so young. I’ve worked extra hard since to be able to make a living from the work I do on the internet and finally feel as though I’m at a point in my life where I was truly meant to be. Being a young mom doesn’t define who you are. You have a purpose, find out what it may be, and live in it fully!”

Young solo mom takes a photo with her son while she wears a white sweater and black hat and he wears a blue onesie
Courtesy of Willow Young
Young solo mom and son take a serious selfie together, showing off how much they look alike, while spending time in his nursery
Courtesy of Willow Young

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Willow Young of New England, CT. You can follow her journey on Instagram, YouTube, and her blog. Submit your own story hereand be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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