National Adoption Month Series: StandUpGirl and Love’s Choice

StandUpGirl is a 501(c)3 charitable organization dedicated to providing pregnant or at risk adolescent and young adult women with insight into alternatives to abortion. The mission is to change hearts and save lives by educating young women on the development of the unborn child and alternatives to abortion. is a rapidly growing website whose scope is world-wide. We have volunteer “StandUpGirls” who moderate the site’s chat rooms, blogs, forums and respond to emails – from across the United States as well as in Canada, Africa and Japan.

Young women from all over the world are coming to StandUpGirl looking for information about pregnancy. They find educational material, real answers to their questions, and a community of women they can talk to about their unplanned pregnancies. currently has over three million visitors each year, and while it is a great encouragement to see this many young people coming to the site, we are barely scratching the surface of the potential number of visitors on the internet.

Perhaps the most important component of the website is the real-life stories of girls facing their own crisis pregnancies and how our StandUpGirl team provides personal and individual guidance and encouragement to help these women make a choice that they and their baby can live with. The team provides visitors with contact information of local pro-life pregnancy centers where they can get the support and resources they need to journey through their pregnancy. Most guests remain on the site an average of 23 minutes, looking at phenomenal fetal development photography, life-like illustrations and remarkable videos. is one of the most visited abortion-related website in the world! This energetic and beautifully designed website can now be viewed in several foreign languages and the StandUpGirl App can be downloaded from the Android and Apple markets.


Love’s Choice was created to take an honest look at the painful beauty of adoption, and to provide tools to help each woman honestly assess the choices before her.

For girls out there that might feel overwhelmed as they try to make the best plan for their child, Love’s Choice is here to help and encourage, providing facts about adoption and tools to help them plan for birth, and either adoption or parenting. And, most importantly, Love’s Choice shares personal stories from real people who have experienced adoption –  adopted children, adoptive parents, and other birthmothers.

We want the girls that visit Love’s Choice to make an informed, confident decision about adoption or parenting. If they choose parenting, we hope the process of answering hard questions will make them a better, more intentional mother.



StandUpGirl and Love’s Choice are not adoption agencies, nor are they in any way affiliated with any adoption placement programs. For more information about them, please visit them at and and on Facebook and


Unplanned Motherhood: Day 4 – Marleny’s Story

This story is part of the M2M Series, Unplanned Motherhood: Stories of Teen Moms. To read the others, please click hereIn order to capture the purity of these young women’s accounts and the integrity of who they are as teenage mothers, I have done very little, if any, editing, so please be warned; their stories, in addition to being choppy, are raw, unadulterated and may not be suitable for all readers.

In December 2011 when I found out I was expecting a little bundle of joy, I was only 14 years old. I was so scared! I didn’t know how to tell my dad that I was pregnant. I knew that he was going to react negatively. My stepmom and I were really close at the time so I went ahead and told her. She promised me not to tell him until I was ready and had everything figured out. I knew that abortion wasn’t an option I don’t believe in abortions. I never have. I was thinking about keeping the baby.

One day I came home from school and my dad called my name. He sounded so mad at me. It turned out that my stepmom had told him that I was expecting. He slapped me across my face and told me that he was upset with me. That he never imagined his baby having a baby. I felt really bad inside. I kind of understand where he is coming from now that I have my daughter. I could never imagine her getting pregnant at 14. He told me that I wasn’t old enough to have a baby and that it was his decision whether I was going to have the baby or not. I told him I wasn’t going to have an abortion and he told me, okay, we will work around it. But he would change his mind all the time. He told me one that that he would help and that I had his support and the next day that I wasn’t old enough to have a baby. My stepmom and I talked about it and she said that I was going to have the baby, to not worry about anything because she was going to talk to my dad. Well, she did and it turned out that he agreed with me having the baby, but that they had to be the legal parents of my baby at the time. I didn’t know if that was true. They told me since I was underage the baby needed to be signed over to their custody. It was really weird that they were telling me all of that. What made it weirder was that my stepmom was trying to get pregnant for a really long time. She was even reading fertility books and it seemed pretty strange to me.

On my first appointment, I went ahead and asked questions about all the legal papers and who would be the legal guardian of the baby. The doctor told me that my age didn’t matter. That if I have a baby no matter at what age, I would be the legal guardian. I was so confused. I didn’t understand why they wanted to take the baby from me, but once I saw my stepmom reading all these books and talking to my dad about all the plans they had with my baby, it all made sense. They had wanted a baby and since they had trouble conceiving, they were planning on taking my baby away from me. I had a big conversation with them about it and they kept on saying the same thing; that I wasn’t old enough and that I was going to have an abortion. I refused to have an abortion and he told me that if I didn’t, he was going to kick me out of the house. So I just left the house.

When I came back all my stuff was outside and I was really confused. I didn’t think my dad was really going to kick me out, but he did. That day my mom came and picked me up. She took all my stuff to her house and we talked. She asked me why my father kicked me out and I told her everything that happened with my stepmom and dad trying to take my bundle of joy away from me and how they were telling me that since I was underage, they had to be the legal guardians of my child. She was mad, but once I told her that I didn’t agree to it and that they told me if I didn’t have an abortion, they were going to kick me out, she was furious. She called my dad and they had such a long conversation. Till this day, I don’t know what she told him. All I know is that she was really mad and that they had an argument about it. Months passed and my dad didn’t talk to me at all, I would see him around but we wouldn’t speak. He was still pretty mad and at that point I really didn’t care because all I thought about was my baby.

I was about five months when I found out that I was having a baby girl. I was so happy. When I got home I showed my mom and she was pretty happy too. It kind of sucked not being able to share my happy moment with my father. I called him but he didn’t pick up. I guess he was still kind of mad.

Months passed and August came. I was excited because my birthday was coming up. On August 3, I turned 15 and I had such a good day. I went out to eat with some friends and went swimming, too. It was a fun day. On August 17, I had such a good day as well. I was sitting down, eating a big burrito and drinking a big cup of pop. I guess I didn’t have such a great diet. I was just there relaxing and eating and all of a sudden I got the urge to pee. I got up and went to the bathroom. When I got up to flush, I realized that it wasn’t pee, it was blood. At the moment I was really scared. I wasn’t having any pain, so I didn’t understand why I was bleeding. I called my aunty and she rushed me to the hospital. I thought I was miscarrying, but I was too far along to have a miscarriage. When we got to the hospital, they asked me if I was in pain and I said no. The lady checked me and told me that I was 5 centimeters dilated. They told me that they were going to take me to a different hospital because I was only seven and a half months along, but that they couldn’t because I was dilating way too fast and they thought I was going to have the baby on the way there. The set me in a room and I still couldn’t feel the contractions, but once I got around 8 centimeters, I started feeling them and they were horrible. I thought I was going to die.

On August 18 at 1:00 a.m. in the morning, I delivered a beautiful baby girl. I named her Isabella. I was so happy. I went through so much just to have her in my arms. We stayed for 3 days in the hospital and got dropped off at home. My dad still didn’t call me to see if I was okay or if my daughter was okay. It was all over Facebook, so I’m pretty sure someone told him that I gave birth. He was just mad and didn’t want to talk to me.

Time passed and when Isabella was about a week old I found she was sick. She had something called Jaundice and was hospitalized for 4 days. It was so boring being in that hospital with no phone, no access to any internet. All there was to do was sit there and watch TV. I was going crazy. They told me that I was allowed to leave, but I didn’t want to leave my baby there alone.

When Bella was released I was so happy I was able to go home with my chunky butt. But then a month and a half later, she got sick again. She started spitting up a lot of mucus and it was coming out her nose at the same time. It got really bad so I took her to the doctor’s office and they told me that she was okay. It was just phlegm and babies spit that out a lot when they are newborns. They told me I should take parenting classes so I would know when things were going wrong with my baby. I knew nothing was okay when I took her back again and they told me the something. She just kept getting worse and worse. One night, she was having trouble breathing and I had to rush her to the hospital. It turns out she had pneumonia. Her lungs were filling up with fluid, I was so scared. My little bundle of joy was going through so much. She had to be hospitalized again because of it. I felt so alone being in and out of the hospital with my daughter and no one would call to see how she was doing. It was only me and her, no one else. I kept telling myself I had to be strong for my baby. It broke my heart knowing that she was sick, but I kept moving forward. I told myself that there is always a storm before sunshine. She got released from the hospital and for once I knew my daughter was okay.

Bella grew and grew. She started getting more independent and started talking, sitting up by herself and eating solids. She is the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me. Now, I’m 16 years old and Bella is one and a half. I have a job and I assist at a school in Cornelius called Create. Things are going really good for me and Bella. Yeah, it’s hard being a teen mom, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love being a mother. I love all the hugs, kisses and helloes my daughter gives me every morning and seeing her grow and the cute things she does and faces she makes. At the end of the day, I overcame everything to have my baby girl. I didn’t really have the help of anyone and I was only fourteen. I’m pretty sure anyone can do it.


Unplanned Motherhood: Day 3 – Ana’s Story

This story is part of the M2M Series, Unplanned Motherhood: Stories of Teen Moms. To read the others, please click here. In order to capture the purity of these young women’s accounts and the integrity of who they are as teenage mothers, I have done very little, if any, editing, including their use of bad language, so please be warned; this story, in addition to being choppy, is raw, unadulterated and contains heavy profanity. Therefore, reader discretion is advised.

I would love to introduce myself to you, beautiful person. I am Ana and I am 17 years old expecting a baby and have a one year-old. My advice to you, young mothers and fathers out there is to never give up, have faith and hope in yourselves! You’re not alone in this. I struggle just like you and nobody said having a baby was easy.

As a teenager, I was one-of-a-kind, running around and thinking I can do whatever I wanted and whenever I wanted. I was the girl that hangs out with more guys than girls. I thought that guys bring less drama than girls, which was somewhat true. I always got kicked out of school, did drugs and used alcohol. I used to lose myself doing my thing. Sometimes I wouldn’t even show up to my house or school. I was loved by a few and hated by many! Still, to this day that is a fact in my life and I’ve learned to deal with it.

One day I fell in love with a boy I used to know from my hood, where we both live in Forest Grove. I started to date him and thought I was seriously, deeply in love with this guy that when he asked me to move in with him, I agreed. After dating for two years, I got pregnant with my baby boy. On May 12, 2012 I found out I was pregnant and I was the happiest girl in the world! Me and my man at the time were together and happy . We both were excited to have a baby together. That same day we found out, we went to my parent’s house and told them the big news. They were so happy for us. They supported us through it. By the time I found out, I was already 4 months, so I only had 5 months to go and the next month I would know the gender of my baby. The day we found out we were having a baby boy, my baby’s dad was happier than before.

Around my last trimester of my pregnancy, me and my man were having problems, so I left him and moved back with my parents. Around that time I moved out he still came looking for me, but I didn’t want to see him no more, not even in pictures.  I was fed up with him and his games. I disconnected my phone so he wouldn’t have a way to get ahold of me. I moved on with my life, I was set that I could do this. I always knew that God would not have put something in my life that I couldn’t achieve.  I enrolled myself back in school, stopped doing what I used to do. Not for me but the human being I was carrying inside me and my future. I was still this crazy girl inside but I knew I had to grow up. It took me a lot of time, but one thing I didn’t ever do was give up. I took baby steps. I’ve had my bumps in the road, but I’ve conquered them all successfully.

I got induced and on October 6, 2012 I had Damian. I was the “happiest woman alive!” I am not the kind of girl that cries, but I cried when I saw him for the first time. I remember that day like it was just yesterday. After that day I put my all to my son, till one day I got back to my old ways. I was hurting inside because I had a kid of my own to take care of. I was happy, but some kind of feeling I can’t explain was in me. I had a big bump in the road and I ended up being away from my son for a couple months. My parole officer sent me to a 4-5 month program/shelter home. I missed my baby like no other and it was the hardest thing I’ve done my life. It’s like someone killing you slowly, or worse. I would see him like every week or sometimes twice or on my passes if I didn’t get them taken away. I stayed longer than others because I smoked on my first pass. We usually get a urine analysis the next morning after you went on a pass. I was finding the sad part about this is that I knew what I was putting myself into.

This was a year ago and its crazy how time flies by. I successfully graduated from the Harkins House. Then soon after I got out I went back to detention because I went back to my old ways. I didn’t learn my lesson that easy! I would drink and smoke every day I would show up to school. I would leave my kid at home with my parents to go and do my thing, which is really cold and now my heart aches just sitting here and realizing the fucked up shit I would do to my handsome baby boy. At that point I didn’t give a fuck about NOTHING! I was really selfish, always wanting it to be about me and only me. I didn’t realize that I was not just hurting myself, I was also hurting the people around me. I spent like 2 or 4 whole weeks in a juvenile jail. I didn’t come out of my room. I wanted to be alone and when I put my mind to something I accomplish it like a champ! It took me that long to be alone in my cell, to get everything inside my selfish self. I even had court and didn’t want to go to a rehab where my parole officer wanted to send me to, so I stayed longer. I finally cleared my head up being isolated, thinking and sinking in all I’d been through in the time I’d been out and knew that I actually needed help. I then called my attorney and let him know what’s up with me. He was happy for me, so was my parole officer.

On October 2, 2013 I got into rehab. It was located in the same place but on the other side of the building. I kept realizing a lot of things there as well that I had to do and change about my lifestyle. I am thankful to that place even though it’s not a good place to be. I learned a lot of good shit in there! I’ve accomplished a lot of things up in that place and I am really blessed to have these people taking all bullshit I’ve put them through! I thank God for sticking with me and till this day keeping me sober and being a boss!

I graduated on January 30, 2014 from my rehab program. That’s when my “new journey” had just started for me and my baby boy and family. On March 2, 2014 I accomplished a year and a half being sober! I am Ana and still an addict inside and need help so I attend my narcotics anonymous (N.A.) meetings three times a week. I am the happiest and most blessed woman in this universe! On May 2, 2014, it was 8 months that I have changed my lifestyle and my decisions. I am like a new person, with good intentions, but still got that bad bitch in me! This July I will be getting off my paper/probation. I am so excited, there is no words to explain how I feel about myself and what I have done to be who I am today! One thing I would not change is my life. I believe that everything happens for a damn reason! I have no regrets, I’ve just made mistakes just like anybody in this lovely earth that our Lord gave us. I know that God has a plan for me and I am slowly getting there. This is not even half of my “crazy story,” this is just the top facts about what I’ve been through after I had my baby boy. I thank you all that take the time of day to sit here and let me share a part of my life with you. God bless you all!


Unplanned Motherhood: Day 2 – Patii’s Story

This story is part of the M2M Series, Unplanned Motherhood: Stories of Teen Moms. To read the others, please click here. In order to capture the purity of these young women’s accounts and the integrity of who they are as teenage mothers, I have done very little, if any, editing, including their use of bad language, so please be warned; this story, in addition to being choppy, is raw, unadulterated and contains light profanity.

On April 11, 2012 I had just found out that I was pregnant. After a couple days went by I met up with my baby’s dad. I had told him that I was pregnant. He looked at me with a disappointed face. He had not taken the news very well. When he went home to tell his mom, he started to cry and asked her what he was going to do. He didn’t know how to take care of a child and he didn’t know how he was going to raise a child. His mom looked at him and said, “Son, everything’s going to be ok. We are here for you through good and bad.” When his mom was telling him this, his sister came through the door and said, “what?! Who’s pregnant?” He said, “my girlfriend’s pregnant.” She looked at him in an angry face and started to cry. She started to tell him how big of a slut I was and how many boyfriends I have had in school, but yet she didn’t even know me or ever take the time to speak to me. She didn’t like me one bit. I didn’t know why, the only thing I knew was that she wanted him to date one of her friends. That’s the reason why she would always talk smack about me.

After a few months went by my boyfriend and his mom invited me to eat. I went over to their house for dinner. When I was there his sister still hated me and started to talk smack to me saying to his mom, “what is that bitch doing here? Tell her to leave.” Her saying that made me feel awful and I started to cry. While I was crying she was arguing with her mom. Her mom told her to leave the house and not come home until later. She right away said, “I’m just not coming back. I don’t want to see this bitch.” So while she was saying that I got up and left. I felt so left out, I didn’t know what to do; I didn’t want to go home crying and my dad asking why I was crying. So I just went to the park till I got over it. Ever since that day I didn’t bother even going over there. Of course my boyfriend and I would hang out even though it wasn’t at his house. His mom would tell him to tell me to come over, but no way was I going to go over after what had happened with his sister.

When I was 6 months my boyfriend and his mom had asked me to move in. I thought about it and said to myself, “maybe his sister is not mad. Maybe she’s over it already.” So there I go moving in to his house thinking everything was going to be fine. When I moved in to his house I was still enrolled in school. So the time his sister would be there, I would be at school. So I really wouldn’t see her that much but when she would be there when I would be there she would just roll her eyes at me. I would ignore her because at the end it wouldn’t really make a difference in my life. This girl made my life hell throughout my whole pregnancy. But one day she will regret everything she said and did to hurt my feelings, I said to myself.

After I had my baby some of my family members and my boyfriend’s family came over to meet baby Jay R except his sister, of course. She still didn’t like me but I thought maybe by that time I had Jay R, she would grow up and realize that he’s her brother’s baby, her nephew. But same old news, she didn’t go of course because she didn’t want to see me. But it was fine with me; I really didn’t care because I knew that when I go back to her house she’s going to see him and want to hold him. Of course that hurt my feelings and everything but it’s not the end of the world so why worry about it.

When we were on our way home my boyfriend was talking to me telling me to ignore his sister and to not listen to what she says or did. When we got home his whole family was there and as soon as his sister saw me, she went straight to her room. I started to cry because it hurt me for the fact that she knows that he is her nephew and doesn’t even want to see him or meet him for the first time. While I was crying, his mom told me that she was going to get over and I said yeah, hopefully.

So days passed, months passes and a year passed. It took her one year to actually start talking to me. I thought it was so pathetic the fact that she didn’t talk to me or like me for the fact that she wanted her brother to date her friend and not me. But by the time she started talking to me I really didn’t care about her or anything because during my whole pregnancy she treated me like garbage. The only reason why I would cry about it was because I had the baby blues really bad. But by a year, they wore off so I didn’t even care about her.

To this day his sister still hates me but I can care less because she doesn’t buy me diapers, clothes, food or buy my baby girl formula. Yes, I got pregnancy three months after having my baby boy Jay R. Her name is Allison and she is the cutest, most wonderful, awesome baby girl. I love my babies and don’t know what I would do without my beautiful children. All I can say is that I’m one lucky momma and even if I had struggles and had to climb a mountain to get to where I am now, I know any momma can make it with struggles or problems. You just have to keep your mind straight and positive, telling yourself that you CAN DO IT! Because at the end no one helps you change, bath or feed your babies.


Unplanned Motherhood: Day 1 – Abby’s Story

This story is part of the M2M Series, Unplanned Motherhood: Stories of Teen Moms. To read the others, please click hereIn order to capture the purity of these young women’s accounts and the integrity of who they are as teenage mothers, I have done very little, if any, editing, so please be warned; their stories, in addition to being choppy, are raw, unadulterated and may not be suitable for all readers.

In spring of 2012 I went in to my school clinic, worried because I hadn’t gotten my period and had been sexually active recently. So I went in and just waited for my name to be called, looking around at all the pamphlets, wondering what all these other students were there for, wondering if they knew what I was there for. When I went in I needed to pee into a cup and they told me it would take a couple minutes. I waited anxiously and then the nurse comes back in and tells me the news I was dreading to hear, not because I did not want a baby but because of what my dad would do when he found out. The nurse said “the test came back” then there was a long, silent pause… “POSITIVE.” Right when I heard that word, tears immediately started rushing down my face from the fear I had of my dad finding out. After I calmed down the nurse proceeded to ask me are you planning to continue this pregnancy as if she was expecting me to say no I’m going to have an abortion. I look at her and I am distraught. I think, how can she even ask that? Of course I am going to keep my baby, I replied. The nurse then asked me are you sure? Yes, I replied. So I went and finished my day out at school.

When school ended I called my boyfriend and told him that I was pregnant. He was very calm and said everything will be fine. After I got off the phone with him I called my sister. As I was telling her I was crying and she was crying, saying how could her little sister get pregnant? We both knew how my dad was and knew we couldn’t tell him, at least not right now. So every day that passed I acted normal, went to school, came home, acted normal and took my prenatal vitamins without my dad knowing of course.

After a few weeks it started getting much much harder to hide because I got morning sickness and was throwing up constantly. I could not keep anything down and was not eating much. At that point everyone knew about my pregnancy already: my little brother, my sisters and my mom, everyone except my dad of course. My sisters convinced me to let them tell my grandma who is a pastor at a Christian church and we all thought she would be sympathetic seeing as how my mom was a teen mom also and what not. But we thought completely wrong. My grandma was the worst person to tell. She started calling me a prostitute, saying that I open my legs to everyone and that she doesn’t want me to go over there and doesn’t want my sisters helping me. How can my grandma can say those things!? She is a pastor! She is supposed to help me. Not only is that the right thing to do but I’m her granddaughter, we are family. How she can do this to me? Soon after that my dad found out and confronted me. I didn’t even know what to say he was so angry. He didn’t even want to talk to me. He had told me that my grandma told him.

My dad talked to my boyfriend’s parents and they came over to talk to me and my boyfriend, telling us how hard it’s going to be and all the responsibility and everything. Then we just went on with our days acting normal. Because of my morning sickness, I was not eating, was losing a lot of weight and I looked really sick. I went to my first doctor’s appointment with my boyfriend and his mom to fill out some paperwork. I was getting really warm and took my sweater off, but I was still so warm. The receptionist was getting ready to hand me some more paperwork when all of a sudden I black out. The next thing I knew a nurse and my boyfriend were holding me up and putting me into a wheelchair. I went into the examine room, they ran their tests and proceeded to tell me I was very very dehydrated, and that I needed to drink water or they were going to put me on an iv. After that my boyfriend’s mom insisted I go to her house all the way in Cornelius so that somebody will be watching me in case I faint again. I didn’t want to, I only had 2 more weeks of school left and I lived in Portland. I couldn’t move with only 2 weeks left.

That night my dad came into my room and said he thought it’s better if I went with Alex (my boyfriend) and his mom. I immediately started crying. I knew my dad did not want me there and he was just using that as an excuse to get me out. I said ok I will move with them. My boyfriend of course was very happy about the news of me moving in. So I went to their house and I missed the last 2 weeks of my sophomore year. Since I did not do my finals, I failed all of my classes. But things were going good at my boyfriend’s house, we got along just fine and things were great but having no money and no nothing was starting to get very boring. I felt very lonely, missing my sisters and hated my dad for making me leave, and even more when I found out he gave all my stuff to my sisters.

Another thing I had to go through was my boyfriend’s parents constantly telling him to leave me and talking about me a lot, saying that I control him too much and that I’m just going to take all his money and leave him. I could not stand being around them. Lucky for me my boyfriend would not listen to them and stuck by me through everything.

Once my daughter Nataly was born and 6 months old, I started working because we had no income at all and my boyfriend’s parents were constantly asking if I could lend them some money. I did not want to do that because they don’t borrow, they just keep and I never see any of the money I lend them again.

The next year was my junior year and I did not go to school because I moved all the way out to a city I never even knew existed. I had no friends out there, and I needed to notarize a paper in order to go to school which my boyfriend’s mom never did. So I missed out on my junior year of school. So summer went by and I worked, but once school started up again I was determined to go. I registered for an alternative school, needing 14.5 credits to graduate, so I started going to school and working after school. It would be a bit stressful at times because my boyfriend didn’t work or go to school but he did get his GED and started to work.

During my senior year something horrible happened. My boyfriend’s stepdad was a drug dealer and he got arrested. Police came to the house and searched through everything. Luckily we were not involved in any of that but DHS started coming and I got terrified, thinking what if they take my baby, what would I do? How can I live without Nataly?! I got so scared and left. I moved to my cousin’s house for a while and then when everything calmed down I went back to my boyfriend’s house.

Now I am trying to graduate by this summer and I am planning to go to college to be a dental hygienist. I may have lost all my friends once I got pregnant but I’m not worried about that. If they were really my friends, we would have kept in touch and I made a couple new friends with kids also. Now I just look at Nataly and cannot even begin to imagine how my life would have been if I didn’t have her. I never once regretted having her. I love her more than life itself and I am so thankful for her.  I have a very good feeling about what my future has in store for me.



Unplanned Motherhood: Stories of Teen Moms and Motherhood Monday LinkUP #4

I’ve got an exciting series planned for you this week! One of my mom friends teaches a parenting class at an alternative High School Program called “Create” in the little town where I live. Create is a place where students who aren’t able to keep up with the normal classroom routine can finish up their credits with additional support. It’s also a perfect place for teen mothers because of the on-site child care provided.

Outside of class, my friend began to meet and mentor some of the young woman through YoungLives. YoungLives is a fabulous organization aiming to meet teen mothers on their turf, while trying to show them God’s unconditional love and grace through mentoring and monthly activities. For more information about YoungLives or how you can get involved with the program, please visit their website here.

After teaching a class in Parenting Basics, my friend decided that the world needed to hear what these girls have to say and she thought that M2M was the perfect place to do it! When she sent me four different girls’ accounts, I was completely blown away by the passion, heartache and struggle that emanates throughout their stories. In spite of the crudeness in their typing, broken English and their evident youth depicted by their simple and sometimes explicit vocabulary, their tender, young hearts and their love for their children and  families shines through to weave a beautiful picture of the essence of motherhood, no matter their age.

In order to capture and show you the purity of their stories and the integrity of who they are as teenage mothers, I have done very little, if any, editing, including their use of profanity, so please be warned, some of their stories, in addition to being choppy, are raw, unadulterated and may not be suitable for all readers. Despite this, I hope you will take a journey with me this week into the hearts and lives of these four very young mothers, witness their struggles and trials, and get just a tiny glimpse at the pure and powerful love of a mother, in the simplest and almost child-like form.

I hope you enjoy and are moved by them as much as I have been as I post a new one, each day this week, starting tomorrow.



And now for the Link Up! Please also visit M2M on Twitter @made2mother and like on!

Made to Mother
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The Made to Mother Project is dedicated to encouraging, supporting and inspiring women by sharing their stories of motherhood. I hope that this link-up will continue to grow our community of mothers. Please read the guidelines below for information on how to join!

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Being Myself: An Unconventional Mom – Sarah’s Story

I never planned on being a mother. While other little girls were rocking little dolls to sleep I was spending time in my room doing…well, I don’t really remember what but it was important! I spent hours upon hours of my childhood alone in my room and was perfectly content there. Things were organized to my liking and I could read, daydream and listen to music. Basically, I could be myself.
You see, when I was growing up, I thought that becoming a mother meant that you lost yourself. I was raised by a fantastic stay-at-home mom who sacrificed every bit of herself for her family. She got up early and stayed up late. She cooked, cleaned (sort of) and basically ran herself ragged being a wonderful mother. This was my example and while it wasn’t bad, it gave me pause. I didn’t want to be like that; I wanted to be ME.

It has never been important to me to following others’ expectations or typical life patterns. I had my eldest daughter a month before I turned nineteen. Right out of high school and dating a boy my parents detested, I rebelled and married him just to spite them. I had my daughter in the summer of 2001 and, at the time it was strongly suggested by well-meaning family and friends that I should give her up for adoption. I refused. And while I concede that it is certainly not the right choice for everyone, I knew the moment I found out I was pregnant that I wanted the baby. I didn’t really know why, except that everyone was telling me that I couldn’t do it. And them’s fightin’ words to me! I would prove them all wrong!
I didn’t go to birthing classes, nor read any books; I just had a baby and worked it out. Truthfully I think that was the best way for me. There was no pressure to conform to certain standards because there was so little expectation of my success. So I was just ME, with a baby. I parented the way I lived my life; with many mistakes and awesome comebacks.
The demise of that first marriage came upon the realization that my husband was an angry alcoholic and also using methamphetamines. I just couldn’t stand to see my daughter exposed to that and so I did my next rebellious act and left my marriage. I say it was rebellious merely from the standpoint of my parents, who were initially adamantly opposed to the marriage and, as it turned out, equally opposed to me getting divorced.
I took my daughter and moved 35 miles away from all my family and most of my friends and started over from scratch at the ripe age of twenty. It was during that time, fighting for custody of my daughter for two years, that I really came to understand my full potential as a mother. I had always been someone who was easily intimidated and now I faced down an angry, verbally abusive man for the right to raise my child on my own. It is the times like these, when we are forced to do things that make us petrified, that we understand how much we are willing to do for our kids and then to realize how much we actually CAN do for our kids.

As the dust settled from my divorce battle, I met someone new. I had my second child within the context of a second marriage, and found the experience both wonderfully different and yet distressing all at the same time. For this child I was married first (as opposed to being married nine months into the pregnancy with the first one). People had different expectations of me. I was no longer just the teenage girl who got knocked up and would surely fail at any attempt to parent on her own. Now I was the responsible mother who everyone expected to register for baby gifts and go to ‘mommy and me’ yoga classes. Fortunately for me I was already used to bucking the trend as a parent. While I embraced some of these different expectations, I tossed most of them to the wind. I didn’t need all that societal pressure to conform into the perfect parent! I already was a good parent, with a beautiful and accomplished seven year-old child to my credit.
When my younger daughter was not quite a year and a half I went through a second divorce and, similar to the first time, I plowed ahead on my own. Yet, as is always true, it was different this time as well. I had lived on my own before and raised a child. I could do it again. There were no drugs or alcohol concerns involved and we resolved our divorce amicably, without fighting. This time around I was not nearly as devastated by the divorce because I had already proven to myself and those around me that I could be a good mother even if I was single.

So far, through all the ups and downs of being a parent of now twelve and five year-olds, I have come to the conclusion that I am a good mother because I am ME as a mother. Being a mom has not robbed me of the opportunity to be myself. I am still me. I still like to thumb my nose at the rules and be a non-traditional parent in many ways and in other ways I have found great comfort in traditional methods of child-rearing. I have not ceased experimenting with wild ideas like going vegan for ten months, homeschooling while working full-time, trying to learn Italian, extreme home-cooking everything from bread to condiments and making my five-year-old do her own laundry. I also have strict bedtimes and chore charts and make sure they eat their vegetables and behave respectfully.
The key here is that I have refused to let my own preconceived ideas about motherhood and those thrust upon me by society to define what it means to be a good mother. I am a good mom because God made me to be the mother of my children. In His infinite wisdom He knew that my children should be with me and I with them. He knew that we would grow, learn and fight with each other and come out on the other side exactly who we were meant to be. I have not lost myself; I have gained an expanded version of myself.
From the divorces, custody battles, moves, financial crises and blessings, vacations, snuggle times and every other kind of curve or victory life gives me I have remained ME. The biggest blessing I can give my girls is a mother who is herself! How else can my daughters learn to be confident, secure women who will go out and conquer the world? If they don’t have a mother who is willing to be herself then will they ever learn to be themselves? I must model the behavior I wish them to exhibit and so I have come full-circle. I want to be myself and being myself is ultimately the best way for me to be a mother and being a mother is the best way to be myself.


Sarah is currently living in Damascus, Oregon raising her two daughters the best way she knows how with the loving support of her family and church. She works in the health care field and chronicles her thoughts on faith in her blog, Musings of a Christian Black Sheep.


A Life of Adventure – Beth’s Story

My mom jokes that I was always a little mother. I constantly had an eye on my little sister and from ten years old and on I babysat and offered summer day-camp programs for local children. I figured that someday I would end up with kids, but it wasn’t something I really thought about during my childhood or early teen years because I was too busy making other plans for my life. Between wanting to travel, write, create art, go to college, have a career and build a life of adventure for myself, I just figured that children would factor in once I was ready to settle down.

My oldest child is sixteen years old. I watch her dance her dance of rebellion and tenderness and not wanting me and still needing me. I ache as she grows and I remember my own dance at that age.

I was sixteen. When the bell rang for third period and the halls cleared, I ducked into the bathroom near the end of the building. I entered a stall and locked the door while my boyfriend paced outside in the hall. My hands shook as I fumbled with the box. I read the directions twice and then checked them once more to be sure before I took the test. Staring at the lines as they quickly formed on the stick, I was terrified and hoped one would fade away if I waited the full three minutes recommended on the box.

Although things moved quickly after that, time stood still. I was raised in a small community where nothing is private, sent to a Christian school through eighth grade and held to the belief that life started at conception. Not knowing what to do, I was paralyzed with fear and shame. My boyfriend wanted me to make it go away and I felt like it would be remiss not to consider all my options, so I called an abortion clinic and asked a lot of questions. They tried to have me schedule an appointment right then, but knowing I could not live with that decision; I promised to call back and then threw away the number. I also feared my family finding out and perhaps trying to force the issue, so my boyfriend and I hid the pregnancy from everyone and continued to weigh options, finally stumbling on open adoption. I started meeting with an adoption counselor and found prenatal care that I could hide from my family.  With no car and no license yet, I made up stories and walked to a lot of places when I couldn’t bum a ride. I poured over the profiles of adoptive parents and literally read every single profile the agency had. I cried and prayed a lot.

Days passed, and then months. I wrote poetry and letters to my child. I hid my belly, but finally confided in a couple of people when the secret became too heavy. At roughly 34 weeks, I broke down and told my mother that I was expecting.  I had written her a letter and gave it to her along with a thick manila envelope stuffed with brochures for parents handling their teen’s pregnancy, support groups, my proof of prenatal care and information about the adoption agency I was working with. After handing her the envelope, I poured myself a bowl of cheerios and sat across the living room, sobbing as she read the letter that betrayed everything she had thought and hoped and dreamed for me. I couldn’t swallow a bite and the cereal turned soggy as I waited for her reaction. She was disappointed, devastated even, but promised to be there for me.

I wanted to keep silent, but people talk and rumors spread in a small town. Soon strangers were contacting me and asking for my baby. I was angry, desperate and lost in my grief as I prepared to lose the child I was growing inside me. My family had made it clear that I was not allowed to consider alternatives. Adoption was the only choice. My boyfriend and I selected a prospective adoptive couple and met with them several times. They met my family and it seemed like the right thing to do. I got my license and a car, signed up for Lamaze classes and went through all the motions of finishing my school year. Everyone told me I was on track for a bright future and that I was such a good person for giving the baby to a family who could offer more than I could.

Just days before my due date, we met with the couple again and signed all the preliminary paperwork.  They chatted about their preparations for the little one and I sat silent as they excitedly discussed their plans for what they would do with my heart when it was ripped from my chest. A casual remark startled me out of the practiced distance I had created; one little question that had never been asked. The adoption counselor asked the woman if she had ever been pregnant before and she answered without a thought to her words, saying yes, but the situation hadn’t been what she wanted and she decided it wasn’t the right time for a baby. I made hasty excuses for needing to leave and rushed out the door, angry tears clouding my vision as I weaved my way through traffic, trying to find my way home.

The tears didn’t stop. For the next two days I hid in my room and wrote and cried and refused to talk to the people around me. I had made a plan. I would give birth, sign the papers, go home and kill myself. I knew the how and where and why. But on the morning of my due date, I woke up from the cloud of grief and pain and saw another choice. I told my mother I was keeping my baby. I called my boyfriend and told him that he didn’t have to stay, but that I couldn’t give it up.
I spoke to the adoption counselor and apologized. I wrote a letter to the adoptive family and begged their forgiveness. To this day I pray that their child found his or her way into their arms, because my baby was not the right one for them.

All of a sudden I realized that I was going to be a mother. I had to find a place to live, a way to care for my baby. I needed to buy clothes and diapers and a car seat and find daycare so I could go back to school for my senior year. And my baby was going to be here ANY DAY!
Never before has a woman been more grateful for a 42 week pregnancy. God gave me the time I needed to prepare as best I could; time for my family to understand and accept my decision. I was seventeen years old when they placed my baby girl in my arms, but I had become a mother the moment I stood in the stall in my high school bathroom, listening to the tardy bell ring and staring at two pink lines.

In a way, it all worked out as I expected when I was a child, but not at all how I thought it would. I graduated high school with honors and an 11 month old on my hip; I earned two undergraduate degrees and completed a study abroad in Spain while juggling playdates, potty training, preschool, marriage, another baby and then divorce. I finished my master’s degree as a single parent with two little ones, then packed the minivan and headed to Mexico for an experience of a lifetime. Now I travel to various places around the world and continue to pursue my passions. I married again and had two more little ones. I write and create art through various mediums, but most often through my photography. I live a life of adventure; I just happen to be sharing this adventure with my children.


Beth lives with her husband Thomas and her four children, ages 16, 12, 5 and 4. She loves being a mom, although parenting is a tough job. You can capture glimpses of life through her lens at or on Facebook at