Categorized as Education,Health

I was a teenage mom

A Child Having A Child: A story of Denise Ramos and Nijear Howard
Created by Denise Ramos, Ellie Markovitch, Cindy Khoo, Andrew Lynn, Nijear Howard, and Branda Miller. A Youth Media Sanctuary project with NY Media Alliance and the Missing Link Street Ministry. First shown at the NY Shout Out Youth Media Film Festival, June 5, 2010.

sammieoluyede80BY SAMMIE OLUYEDE

Even though the number of young girls who get pregnant has been decreasing since the late 80′s and 90′s, teenagers still see teen pregnancy everywhere—in society, in their schools, and in the media.

That’s why Denise Ramos worked with the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, NY to create a video documentary called “A Child Having a Child.”

“I saw so many people pregnant,” she says, “so I made a video about me because I had my son at fourteen. I wanted to send a message to young teens.”

Challenges ahead
“A girl who becomes pregnant at a young age is definitely going to face some challenges that her peers without kids might not face,” says Meaghan Carroll, director of education at Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood in Albany, NY.

Completing school seems to be one of the biggest challenges. It is also one of the biggest determinants of future success, says Carroll.

Citing a March 2010 study, “Why it Matters,” published by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (NCPTP), Carroll explains that children of teen mothers who aren’t married and don’t finish high school are nine times more likely to live in poverty than a child who doesn’t have those three factors.

The same study reports that sons of teen mothers are two times more likely to end up in prison than the sons of mothers aged 20-21. Daughters of young teen mothers are three times more likely to become teen mothers themselves when compared to mothers who had a child at age 20-21.

Finding Support
After Ramos became pregnant, she had a Teenage Opportunity Program worker, an advocate who helps pregnant teens for the first two years of their child’s life. The worker took Ramos to doctor’s appointments and parenting classes, and told her where to go to get information she needed.

“Providing programs and opportunities that will support a teen who decides to parent and having those things in place so that they’re able to continue their education gives them a shot at getting the skills and support they need to parent well,” says Carroll. “There are programs that include young males too, giving them the same things that you give to moms.”

Ramos also attended School 1, an alternative school in Troy, NY.

“Kids that got kicked out of Troy High School went to School 1—and pregnant teens. When I first started going to School 1, it was hard because I thought people were judging me,” says Ramos. “But when I saw that other teens like me were there and we had groups where we talked about what it was like going through pregnancy, having a child and what we wanted to do as we got older, I felt better about it”

The most difficult part about being a teen mom for Ramos was trying to concentrate in school while her son went to daycare.  “I didn’t feel comfortable leaving my child with someone I didn’t know.  Najear was only six-weeks -old.”

Ramos tried to go back to Troy High School, but decided to go to the access center to get her GED instead. Ramos says that being back at Troy High was when she realized that because she was a mom, she wasn’t a teen anymore.

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  1. Thank you so very much for a wonderful story of this young ladies life she is the epitome of hard work and dedication, and without your journalism expertise her story could not have been told with such urgency as well as with such professionalism!!!! God Bless You and Smile Upon the entire staff at Millennial Youth, you are the Greatest Lori!!!!!!!
    Pastor Willie

  2. This was an amazingly courageous video that this strong individual decided to share. A teen mom with a determination to survive the struggle it takes to do all she can for a child she gave birth. How courageous because she said it was not a mistake and she did not treat it as such. I wanted to cry and wish my teen mom felt that way about me and had not abandoned me and then later intercepted my life with my daughter whom I had at 23. The anger my teen mom bore for my father was extended to me. Most teen moms do resent their babies. What a blessing to have watch such love displayed. Thank you, you have certainly made my day!

  3. No, no, no. This article has too many things wrong with it. Ok, this young lady said that if she had not been a teenage mom, that her life would be different. Because she would have finished school and went to college. SHE GOT HER G.E.D. That is the equivalent to high school diploma. She could’ve gone to college if she wanted to. But I am glad that she did not go to college because right now college tuition is out of control and constantly rising. Young Americans today are oppressed with extremely high tuition costs and oppressive student loan debt. And on top of that insanity millions of young Americans graduate and can’t find jobs. The older babyboomer generation did not face these issues.

    Now another problem is that it said this young lady was in a video documentary titled “A Child Having a Child.” This is another myth that we have been brainwashed with in this post-WWII pos-Industrial Babyboomer reigning society. Millennials PLEASE WAKE-UP. A TEENAGER IS NOT A CHILD. Teens are merely young men and young women. From the beginning of time up until WWII, teen pregnancy and teen marriage was normal. The most famous teen pregnancy that ever took place was when the mother of Jesus Christ was pregnant. Mary was 13 years old when she gave birth to Jesus. God chose her. OH MY GOD! WHY WOULD GOD CHOOSE A 13 YEAR OLD GIRL TO HAVE HIS BABY?! Because Mary was NOT a 13 year old girl. Mary was a 13 year old woman. As a millennial what puzzles me is, why was a young lady from historical times considered a woman at age 13? And why is a young lady in modern society considered a girl at age 13? Why were the teens from the past so much more mature than the teens of the present? Why do we insists on delaying a teen’s maturity process? Why didn’t God choose a 20 year old woman to bear his only son? Why do we look upon teen pregnancy with so much negativity in today’s post WWII society? Are we so much better than the people of the past?

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