a teen mom studying on the computer with her child beside her


From One Teen Mom To Another: Please Don’t Quit School

Aug 31, 2020

As a woman who had her first child at 15, I know what it’s like to be a teen mom. I still am a teen mom. And I still deal with the judgments of others and the struggles that go along with becoming a mother, at any age.

"I know having a degree ... doesn’t promise you a job, but it opens up opportunities and chances."

But one piece of advice I wish I could give my fellow teen moms, or those about to become a teen mom, is please don't quit school. Don’t give up on it. It’ll be hard, and I understand not wanting to go for fear of what people will say, and not being able to go because you’ve just given birth, but try. Speak to your high school and local colleges to help you find a way to finish school or receive your equivalency, in person or online. In the long run, it’ll be so worth it.

In my personal experience, I found out I was pregnant in Grade 9. I finished the rest of the year at home and quit after that. After a year and a half, I decided to find a high school online so I could get my diploma. Unfortunately, the school was a scam and I was out $1,100. It was a terrible and discouraging feeling, but there was nothing I could do.

When Sabrina tragically had a miscarriage in December, she found she had to stand up for her right to grieve.

I felt betrayed, discouraged and like I should have given up. So I did. When it came time to find a job, most places required an equivalency or a diploma and experience of some sort; it was difficult to find a job that would accept somebody with no diploma, and no experience.

When I found my first real job, it was a terrible experience. I was treated poorly. I know having a degree doesn’t ensure being treated well in a workplace, and it doesn’t promise you a job, but it opens up opportunities and chances.

"I have a beautiful child to take care of and one on the way, but that doesn’t mean my life should just stop. And I felt like mine had, for a little while."

I’ve been out of work for a little while, due to the pandemic and my daughter not being able to go to daycare. But in this time I’ve had a chance to speak to a local college, and after doing an exam over Zoom, I am now officially eligible to attend a four- to six-week course, allowing me to receive my equivalency and making me college eligible.

And it’s not just about being able to find a place of work for me, but about being able to follow my dreams. After I finish this course, I'll receive my high school equivalency certificate and I’ll be eligible to pursue higher education. I’d like to get a degree in journalism and professional writing, and later, I hope, a bachelor of psychology.

I've come to realize that school isn’t just about finishing high school — it's about what comes next. I have a beautiful child to take care of and one on the way, but that doesn’t mean my life should just stop. And I felt like mine had, for a little while. But I was wrong. It took courage and perseverance, but I took the next step I needed to better myself. Not just for my children, but for me.

I refuse to be stereotyped and classified as just a teen mom who isn’t self sufficient, is doomed to go nowhere, will feed off of government funds their entire life, will never receive a higher education and who is unable to provide for their kids. That is not me. It doesn’t have to be.

Sabrina has a young daughter with another child on the way, and she can't help but feel worried about her partner's job as an essential worker.

I grew up in the exact environment that I am now accused of creating for my family, but I refuse to have my daughter live in my footsteps. I chose to keep my child, and I am choosing to provide her with a better environment than I had. Even if it takes me a little longer to get there, I am positive that she will grow up seeing a mother trying her hardest — a woman who is pursuing and achieving her goals. For me, that wouldn’t have seemed possible without pursuing my high school equivalency.

"Becoming a mom so young doesn’t equal failing."

I will be able to follow my dreams and make her, my future child and myself proud of me. Becoming a mom so young doesn’t equal failing. It equals having to try just a little harder to achieve what I want to achieve.

So please, fellow teen moms, don’t quit school. And if you do, I hope you can go back. In any way you can. Not just for your child, or because it’s expected of you, but for yourself.

We all grow up with some sort of dream. Some change, some disappear, some come back. I believe that dreamers like me can still achieve things. Now we just have somebody along for the ride who looks up to us, and while mine are looking up I’m going to show them what perseverance looks like.

Article Author Sabrina Boileau
Sabrina Boileau

Read more from Sabrina here.

Sabrina is a student, worker and full-time mother of a beautiful daughter and son, Charlie and Harrison, whom she loves more than anything. When she isn’t hopelessly trying to match socks, Sabrina is a freelance writer, who hopes to get a degree in journalism, and one day become a published author.

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