Monday, August 29, 2011

Meet Caitlin Shay

Caitlin, Juliette, Chris and Dalton.

I've known Caitlin for about ten years now. I was very excited when she agreed to do an interview because her story is very different.

HI! Can you tell us a little bit about you?
My name is Caitlin Shay I am 22 years old. I’m married and have two children. Juliette is four years old and Dalton is two. I had just turned eighteen when I had my first child.

Who was the first person you told? My mom.
How did you tell her? I just came out and told them[My parents]. I thought to myself why prolong it; it’s going to come out anyways
Did you use protection when you were sexually active? No, not really. My children were planned even at a young age. I don’t know why but it was like God was telling me to have her. It's hard to explain.
What was your biggest fear as a teen mom? Not knowing how to handle things by myself. I lived with my boyfriend and he ALWAYS worked which meant that I was always at the house by myself.
What was it like losing your normal teen life? Very different, I had my daughter in 2007 (the year I was suppose to graduate high school) when being a teen mom kind of started booming. Friends turn their backs on me, called me names and didn’t even care if they knew my story or not. Another thing I experienced was not being able to hang-out or even act my own age.
What was the hardest thing about being a teen mom? Well, the first hardest thing was there was, and still is, a lot of judging. You know things like friends and family. People look at you different as if you were sick with a disease. The second thing would have to be having the responsibilities for another life. Not only do you have to take care of yourself (which in most teen mom cases, they have no clue) but you have to take care of this little person that grew inside of you for 9 months. For me it wasn't as hard because I was on my own since 15, but being alone while my boyfriend was at work was really hard. That’s why we moved in with my parents when she was 4 months old.
Wow, sounds like it was very challenging to be a "single" stay at home mom with little to know friends. I can totally relate.
Were you able to complete school? No, I wasn't able to complete school. However, I didn't drop out because I was pregnant either. When I was 17 my parents abandoned my sisters and I, Brittney (15) stayed with me and my boyfriend for a while then she moved in with her friend and Tabitha (10) lived with me until my mom was out of jail. I didn't want us split up and my boyfriend was older so he took care of us.
That's tough and was a courageous thing to do, taking on your sisters and your own family that was just starting out at the same time.
Did your friends stick around like you thought they would or they said they would: Not really. I would say that I did have a lot of friends in high school, but only a couple stuck around and were really there for me. Like my best friend, Katelyn was there for both labors, she threw my son's baby shower, and we hang out all the time. The funny thing is she isn't even a teen mom, no kids, no nothing. But you do find friends in the teen mom community. I was one of the first of my friends to have a baby, but now half of them do have kids or they are pregnant.
Did you feel more pressure as a teen mom to prove yourself in all aspects of your life: Yes and I still do. Not only do I want to prove myself to me, but to my kids the most. I want to set a good example for them and I feel like if I don’t do a good enough job they will think it's okay because “mommy did it.” I could care less about proving myself to anyone else, but those two give me more pressure than anything in the world.
What advice do you have for teens that are thinking about being sexually active: Well, we all know it's going to happen but I have come to find out the first person you have sex with isn't going to be your last. I started having sex when I was fourteen; he was my first boyfriend and now my husband. Having sex with one person or more than one, isn't as important as having sex with the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with.

Even though he was my first and now my husband, I wish I could go back wait until I was married. You may think it "feels" good at the time but I envy those who do wait, because not only are you giving themselves pure, but it's one of the first thing you get to do with the love of your life. I think that’s how it should be. My grandma always told me "You know he is the one when you can’t live without him, you can’t go one day without him in your life, that’s how you know it is the right one for you".
What about the risk?
If you have sex, you have consequences. You could get pregnant, or get an STD or HIV. Not all STD's have cures either and HIV doesn't have a cure at all. Plus if you do get an STD you have to tell the person you are going to have sex with. You can DIE from STD's and HIV! Is losing your life worth having sex with someone? Is having to tell people you have STD's or HIV fun? Just think about what you do before you do it. It's a big choice you have to make. You shouldn’t wait until the last minute and have to live with the consequences for the rest of your life. If you are one of those teens who have made that choice already, educate yourself, use protection, and talk with someone like your doctor. Or even your parents.
How do you feel about shows like Teen Mom? Some people feel that it shows the true life of a teen mom and keeps teens from becoming teen parents. While other people say it makes the life of a teen parent look easy and encourages teens to become sexually active and parents. I think that they are stupid and the kids get pregnant for the shows money.
What advice would you have for teens that are feeling pressured to have any form of sex? I would say that NO means NO. If you are not ready to have sex or any kind of sex, then you shouldn’t have it. No means NO!!!
What about teen moms? What would you tell them about life after the initial shock and what to do to get ahead? If they are still in school, STAY in school, that’s the best thing you can do for yourself and your baby. Half of teen moms don’t even stay with their “baby-daddies” and having a high school diploma or any kind of school will further you in your journey.
How do you feel about shows like Teen Mom? Some people feel that it shows the true life of a teen mom and keeps teens from becoming teen parents. While other people say it makes the life of a teen parent look easy and encourages teens to become sexually active and parents. I think that they are stupid and the kids get pregnant for the shows for money.
How did you tell your parent(s)? I just came out and told them. I thought to myself why prolong it; it’s going to come out anyways
What is life like today? My life is good. My kids are in school now. Their father and I are finally married (which means a lot to me). Now I can get my life under control with going back to school and really being something.
Did you think you would be a teen mom? Well being that both of my kids were planned, there is a time and a place for everything.  I feel like we should have waited a couple more years before having kids but everything happens for a reason and if I didn’t have my kids or waited to have them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
Have you thought about how to explain being a teen parent to your child when that time comes? Yes. I sometimes wonder if they will think, “Well mom and dad did it so why can’t we” But I will explain to them that school is very important and that they do not need to be thinking about having sex until they are married. Don’t do what I do, Do as I say.
What will you do to ensure that your child doesn’t end up a teen parent? Be open and honest with them. Make sure they can come to me or my husband if they need to for anything. Make sure they don’t hang out with the wrong crowd and they show their full potential.
What are your plans for the future? My plans for the future are very clear. My husband and I are looking to buy a house and I’m going to back to school. I either want to go for cosmetology or a horse trainer. But I do know that I want to do something good.
Horse training! That’s very interesting. I say horse training!

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