I Was Sixteen and Pregnant

My junior year held lots of things for me.

I was a honor student with a 3.5 GPA. I was the secretary of our Student Council ,a  representative for Ethiopia in Model UN, a 1st soprano in A Capella choir. I had my driver’s license and my own car. I had a great job.

Oh yeah, and I also got pregnant.

I hate shows like Teen Mom and Sixteen and Pregnant.  Where they show the worst of the worse.  Not every guy is going to be a dead beat.  Not every girl is selfish and clueless.

Was having a baby in high school hard? Of course it was. If anyone tries to tell you differently then they are lying.  But, having a baby at any age is a huge adjustment.

My boyfriend and I had been dating for over a year and we had sex exactly three times before I became pregnant.  We were using birth control and it failed.  When I found out I was pregnant he decided to not go off to college like he had planned and decided to join the Navy.  My parents were very supportive but very clear that whatever I decided that it was my baby.  She was my responsibility.

When they asked The Boyfriend and I what our plans were, The Boyfriend replied, “Well I’d like to get married and join the service so I can take care of my family.” I know that this isn’t a typical response.

My parents didn’t let us get married right away, they didn’t want it to be for the wrong reasons.  I will admit that I was pretty angry that they wouldn’t sign the papers, but looking back I am sure that I would probably do the same thing.

When Giggles came along in December of ’94, I was now 17, engaged, and my now fiance was two states away completing basic training as a seaman recruit.  We were married in February of ’95.

When she was born I lost friends, I felt alone, I was overwhelmed.  These things are typical for many first time moms, not just the teenage ones.

Don’t get me wrong I am not an advocate for teenage pregnancy.  One of my biggest fears is that one of my girls will come home and tell me that they are pregnant.  But if they do I want them to feel comfortable talking to me about it.

If you ever find yourself in those shoes, don’t think your world is ending, it’s not. Surround yourself with a great support system and investigate all of the options for you. You will come out of this okay on the other side.

About Anissa Mayhew

You can read more Anissa at her blog Free Anissa and as a contributing writer at Babble. She's at Twitter, FacebookG+, and Pinterest too. And yes, she's probably up to no good either.



  1. I love this–strengths perspective of teenage pregnancy. I had some high school friends who got pregnant very young. Some, of course, struggled mightily. But most have very happy families today and wouldn’t change it if they could.

  2. FireMom says:

    Love you. This made me cry. Thank you for writing it. Sharing it now.

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  3. Kim says:

    You are such an amazing woman Heather. Your strength of character shines through to anyone who meets you. This is just further proof.

  4. Heather, you’re an inspiration. Your husband is an inspiration.

  5. Karen S says:

    my mom was sixteen and pregnant too. now i’m 55 and she’s 72, and my life has been amazing having her in it for so long. i’m not advocating either, but there is an other side to this door. hugs*

    • Glad to hear there are others on the other side of that door with no regret. Looking at my daughter now about to turn 17, and me just 34. I look forward to being involved for a long time and I know that God willing I will be able to spend lots of time with my grandchildren & probably Great grandchildren too!

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  6. Al_Pal says:

    Wow. Fascinating. A good friend of mine got pregnant junior year and gave the baby up for adoption our senior year. She had spotting and didn’t realize for a long time. Fortunately she was not a party-er!
    You and I are very close in age–I graduated HS in 95.
    Thanks for the perspective, and the sweet photo.

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  7. Amanda says:

    This parenting gig is tough no matter your age. I love the way you reflect on your emotions and your parents’ decision. Selfishly I’d love a “now” picture.

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    • Amanda, that is exactly what I was going for. For years it has been a pet peeve of mine to hear about how hard teenage pregnancy is from someone that was never a teenage parent themselves. It was just as hard when I was 20 when her sister was born.

      And I will post one, promise!

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  8. Pamela Gold says:

    I was 16 and pregnant too. My son is 17 now, the age I was when I had him. His father isn’t in the picture though. Although my life wasn’t anything like those shows either. I have three boys now and my now husband has raised my oldest since he was 2.

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  9. Kelly says:

    Wow, you wrote my story! Right down to us getting married and him joining the Navy! My baby was born in ’82 when I had just turned 17. Followed closely by her sister in ’84. Then one more in ’89 (a boy!) Now my kids are 29, 27,and 22, and I’m just 46. No one believes I have a child who will be 30 next year. I know people at work who are my age and just now having babies!

    I would never want my kids to do as I did (and they haven’t) but it was not all bad as TV tends to make it look, no. My family was incredibly supportive, which was wonderful. I am not still married to their father, but we are friends. We say “it seemed like a good idea at the time!” He has made a career out of the Navy. I went to college when all three of them were in school. It was hard, but looking back, I wouldn’t change it, and I can’t imagine how my life would have been otherwise.

    • I knew that I wasn’t the only one to walk on this path. Don’t you hate when people argue with you about the fact that you are the mom. Or when they realize how old your kids are and ask what facial products you use because they want to look as good as you do….LOL.

      I think having a great support system is key and knowing that you can do it. I am glad that you are your ex husband are still friends, that is so important to the kids (speaking as a child from a divorce)

      thank you so much for stopping by and sharing!

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      • Kelly says:

        I do have a baby face, and I’m just 5′ tall, in addition to having got an early start at it. I remember one time I took the kids to register them in a new school. The lady in the office looked me and the kids over, looked around and then asked me where our mother was! LOL

        • Last year when my oldest was very sick and in the ER we were waiting to get admitted and I was wearing sweats and had my hair pulled back and no make up on and was playing with my phone while Giggles slept and the nurse came in. She looked around the room and then just stood there, I finally asked if there was anything I could help her with and she said no she was just waiting for mom. I said whose mom, she said your mom and gestured to Giggles and I, it took a moment for it to click and then I started laughing. I am mom, I said. she blushed and apologized and then asked what skin care regiment I used….#headdesk

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  10. Malia says:

    Thank you for sharing this, friend.

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  11. Jen says:

    I can’t stand those shows like Teen Mom. They show such a distorted view on the issue. There needs to be more people out there like you telling the real story. Teen pregnancy happens and it is hard but people get through it with success and grace.

    Great post.

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    • thank you Jen. I always want to write about it, but always feel very strange, well strange isn’t the word, but I want people to know that it is okay, it happens, it will be alright without people thinking that I want all teenagers to have babies.

      thanks for your comment.

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  12. I got pregnant at 15. My boyfriend was 17. Back then, you got married. That was 30 years ago and we are still married. I know that is not typical, but I think we learned to cling TO one another in the difficult times as that was all we had, each other. We had 4 children who are all grown now. Almost.
    Times have changed a bit. I got a multimedia text 2 weeks ago from my 18 year old daughter. (she lives 3 hours from home) It was an ultrasound picture.
    Here we go!

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  13. Bernice, thank you so much for sharing your story with us and big (((Hugs))) to you and your daughter on her upcoming journey. At least you know how it is and you can be a great support for her.

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  14. Lu@luwho4u says:

    I honestly didn’t know this. I did know that you love your girls fiercely and you area great mom. This does explain your youthfulness though. ;) It’s nice to hear the “good” side, or best possible outcome situation. Your husband sounds like a gem. xoxoxo

  15. Robin says:

    This was excellent! I was a teen mom at age 17 and my life was nothing like the television. My son’s father and I did not get married but we are both in our son’s life and we are both self sufficient. He has an excellent career in banking and I own my own culinary business now. My so, who is now 16 is an excellent young man in honors classes in his high school. Thanks for sharing! It’s so nice to see that there are more of “us” out here.

  16. I was 19, but yes…a similar story. Was it ideal? No. But I’m proud that we’ve been married for 14 years, with 2 amazing kids.

    I’m really glad you told your story.

  17. Mimzy Wimzy says:

    I had a miscarriage at 17. Baby girl at 18 as a single mom. Baby girl at 20. Baby boy 5 days after I turned 22. With them I wish I had been a single mom, we would have been better off.
    Now as I am turning 40 in a few days… I am going to have my 1st granddaughter any day now. I just got a text Monday that my 2nd grandchild will be here around August.

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  18. Thank you for writing this post. I am the daughter of a 17 year old. It’s not the way people usually envision their lives unfolding, but I’m so glad to be here in the world :)

  19. Megan says:

    It’s always nice to see another side to these stories. Glad you were able to make the best of a difficult situation.

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