When I got pregnant and became a mother at 15, I experienced an overwhelming onslaught of disrespect and shame from family members, friends, and perfect strangers.
I was a teenager dealing with an unintended pregnancy, a high school courseload, extracurricular activities, ob-gyn appointments, and friends and peers talking behind my back, all while trying to plan for my future and that of my unborn child.
More than ever in my life, I needed emotional support. What I got was the complete opposite. Everyone seemed focused on making me feel that I had singlehandedly ruined not only my life but also the impending life of my unborn child.
Society seems to think that pregnant and parenting teens must be punished and used for political prevention campaigns instead of being supported and treated as the full human beings we are.
I felt alone, disrespected, and depressed with no understanding that my mental health was important. I didn’t think I had any issues that needed to be addressed. That could not have been further from the truth.