Monday, December 30, 2013

Teen Mom NYC's Top Ten Post of 2013

2013 has been an amazing and eye opening year for me.
I've learned a lot about myself, my abilities, and I'm very happy with how the year as a whole went.

To end 2013 on a string note I have gathered the top ten most popular post of the year to share with you.

#1  New York City Teenage Pregnancy Ads

First up the post that started it all.... well not really but the post where I told NYC's Human Resources Department and anyone who agreed with them and their terrible ads to shove it. Things got pretty ugly in the comments section as people from all over poured in to talk shit however, more people stepped in to shut them up and tell them to take their trash talking elsewhere. (Love you guys!) 

Mother's day is a nice time of the year but even on Mother's Day the rude looks and glares don't stop so I decided to write a mother's day letter as who I am- a teen mom. 

Finally realizing and being completely okay with the fact that I can't give Leilani the family she wants was both empowering and liberating. 


#4 Traveling is an Educational and Enlightening Experience
We've done a lot of traveling and every time we go on a trip-near or far- we always seem to learn a life lesson and fall in love with life and family even more.

#5 Getting More Free Time During the Weekend
The words free time and parenting in the same sentence are kind of a joke but I was able to make getting more free time during the weekend a possibility by doing these few things.

#6 Pregnant and Parenting Teens Deserve to be Happy about Parenthood
So many ads and people in general love to think and behave as if teenage parents should and are never happy. I remember being pregnant and people basically telling me I should be depressed and sad the whole time because " I was ruining my life." One nurse provided me with the first happy moment of my pregnancy I ever had.

#7 10 Tips on How To Survive as a Single Mom
Being a single mom is amazing and difficult all at once. This year I learned and realized some tips that helped me not only survive as a single mom but THRIVE as well!

#8 Homemade Avocado Hair Mask Recipe
Homemade hair mask and healthy hair are awesome.

#9 Farrah- From Teen Mom- Waxed and Tweezed Her 3 Year Olds Uni-Brow
Farrah from MTV's Teen Mom decided to wax and pluck little Sophia's eyebrows this year because... well I'm not exactly sure why but this post was popular nonetheless.

#10 Tips on How To Deal With an Absent Parent
Growing and becoming more confident as a single mom includes learning how to deal with an absent parent. This year I learned and shared how I have come to deal with Leilani's 'father's' absence and be the best mom I can be in the process.

What is one of your favorite post of 2013? What would you like to read and see more of in 2014? Let me know in the comments! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

FREE Tickets to Odyssey's Shipwreck! Pirates & Treasure The Exhibition.

After a few of you expressed difficulty with entering the giveaways I changed the way to enter to something easier. Hope this helps!

Continuing on with the month of giving I present three awesome giveaways you can enter to win!
You can enter more than one of the giveaways below and ANYONE can enter.

image via NYC-e.com
Leilani and I had a great time at the Odyssey's Shipwreck! Pirates & Treasure The Exhibition. We learned about and saw buried treasure. This indoor activity is great to get out of the house but not freeze in the process and enjoy learning some pretty awesome things about underwater exploration.

Leilani and I really enjoyed Zeus the awesome underwater exploration machine which finds the treasure, a simulated hurricane machine, and much more. Exhibition closes on Jan 5th so be sure to enter today!

To enter the other two giveaways click HERE  and HERE.
To enter leave a comment below in the comments section and like Teen Mom NYC on Facebook. Deadline is December 28th. Good luck!! 

Paul Mitchell Product Giveaway

After a few of you expressed difficulty with entering the giveaways I changed the way to enter to something easier. Hope this helps!

Continuing on with the month of giving I present three awesome giveaways you can enter to win!
You can enter more than one of the giveaways below and ANYONE can enter.

I gave one of these away earlier this year and I'm giving away an other! The set includes four of the favorite Paul Micthell Hair products in a travel size kit. Set includes: Shampoo, Detangler, Freeze and Shine Super Spray, and Fast Form.


Image via GoodHair. 

To enter the other two giveaways click HERE  and HERE
To enter leave a comment below in the comments section and like Teen Mom NYC on Facebook. Deadline is December 28th. Good luck!! 

FREE Copy of The Four Agreements

After a few of you expressed difficulty with entering the giveaways I changed the way to enter to something easier. Hope this helps!

Continuing on with the month of giving I present three awesome giveaways you can enter to win!
You can enter more than one of the giveaways below and ANYONE can enter.

First up is the book The Four Agreements.  I read it shortly after moving to the city and have read it more than once since. It's a great short and easy to understand book on how to not sweat the small stuff in life. Read more about the book here.
Image via Amazon
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book). 

To enter the other two giveaways click HERE and HERE

To enter leave a comment below in the comments section and like Teen Mom NYC on Facebook. Deadline is December 28th. Good luck!! 

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Sierra Club Global Population and Environment Program Fellowship

Image Via the Sierra Club 

Are you interested in the connections between reproductive health, family planning, climate change, and sustainable development? The Sierra Club Global Population and Environment Program is now accepting applications for our Spring 2014 Fellowship, taking place in Washington, DC on February 8th and 9th, 2014!

I did the Fellowship last year and LOVED IT and highly encourage any teen mamas that are interested to apply! 

I learned so much, met amazing people from all over the world, was able to develop myself as an advocate while gaining knowledge, and till this day have a great network and connection with The Sierra Club. 

The Spring Fellowship Training offers young people and adult volunteers the opportunity to gain information and skills to effectively link these intertwined issues as leaders and activists on campus and in communities around the US.


After successful completion of the Fellowship, fellows will receive a stipend to implement their own campaigns to advance population, reproductive health, and environmental issues.
Please find the application here!

Applications are due by January 3, 2014 at 12:00am EST.
Please feel free to pass on this invitation to anyone you believe would be interested.
Any questions can be directed to population@sierraclub.org.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Teen and Young Mom Freelancers/Creatives and Organizations to Support this Holiday Season (and always)

Teen and Young Mom Freelancers/Creatives and Organizations  to Support this Holiday Season
As a freelancer I TRULY understand living in the space between doing what you love and sometimes getting paid on time for your work. It's hard, it's rewarding, it's draining, and wonderful all it once.
The mailbox struggle is REAL

I've been asking people to support freelancers and creatives this holiday season and realized I needed to make a list specifically for teen and young mom creatives and freelancers. Below are two list. The first is a list of creatives and freelancers who became mothers in their teens or at age 20. The second is a list of organizations that help support pregnant and or parenting teens.

This holiday season be sure to support at least one creative/freelancer who was a teen mom and one of the organizations that help us along the way!

If you know a pregnant and parenting teen these gifts are great for them, if you're a pregnant and or parenting teen ask your family and friends for something off this list. Whether you're a teen parent or not supporting freelancers and supporting organizations that help and support pregnant and parenting teens is great.


Teen and Young Mom Freelancers/Creatives to Support this Holiday Season 


Dr. Melanie Watkins's book: Taking My Medicine. "Taking My Medicine is a story of triumph -- overcoming the stigma of a teenage pregnancy and the journey to Stanford medical school." 
Dr. Watkin's website, Twitter, and Facebook.


Nicole Lynn Lewis's book: Glori. "Faced with tremendous obstacles including poverty, homelessness, an oppressive relationship and a drug-infested environment, Glori reveals the difficulties of surviving with a baby as well as the unforgettable triumphs and achievements along the way. 
Ms. Nicole on TwitterFacebook, and her personal website.

Alexandra Elle's book: Words From a Wanderer. "Words from a Wanderer" is a timeless and beautiful compilation of notes and poetry. This book was created with hopes of uplifting and encouraging readers in many ways."
Alexandra on Twitter

Tara Pringle-Jefferson's book: Make It Happen: The Young Mommy Guide To Creating A Career You Crave [Kindle Edition]. "This book is designed to help young mothers pinpoint their passion and find a way to pursue it that doesn't interfere with their role as a mom - in fact, it enhances it. Filled to the brim with tips and advice from other moms who've successfully built a career that fits their life, this is a must-have book for any young mother who is serious about building a career she can be proud of." 
Tara on Twitter, the blog The Young Mommy Life, and Facebook

Christy Herring's event planning services. The Divaz Network "[A]n event planning company catered to business revitalization and branding. Here at The Divaz Network, we are building a community of women entrepreneurs who are empowering and supporting one another in making their businesses a successful journey!" 
As well as Mommas and Munchkins. "a site for socialization of moms and their kids... with reviews, products, events and more!"

Ariel Gore's laundry list of books, Hip Mama Zine, and writing trainings and consulting. "Ariel Gore is the editor & publisher of Hip Mama and the author of eight books. Her latest, The End of Eve, chronicles her years spent caring for her dying mother. The memoir has been called “Terms of Endearment meets Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" 


Leslea's photography services: "Simply Classy Photography A natural light photography business in
Apopka, Florida (Orlando)  I know what's it's like to be short on cash but still want to capture my children growing up on camera so the packages are fairly priced...All photos are edited and placed on a CD for you to print what you like.
You can contact Leslea via Facebook, the company's website, and email.


Pregnant and Parenting Teen Friendly Organizations to Support this Holiday Season 


Nicole Lynn Lewis's Nonprofit: Generation Hope. "Generation Hope is a nonprofit organization that matches sponsors with teen parents who are attending college and are in need of financial and emotional support. " 
More about us. You can make a donation here

Massachusetts's Alliance on Teen Pregnancy. "We are the only organization in Massachusetts dedicated to ensuring that state policies and local programs effectively address the complex issues associated with teen pregnancy." 
More about us. Donations welcomes here.

The BETA Center. "With a focus on parenting, teen moms and at-risk families, BETA Center changes behaviors and lives. The agency offers a wide range of services to support children and families, increase healthy family functioning and prevent child abuse and neglect."
More about us. Donations page 

Resilience Advocacy Project. "Social Justice. A truly socially just society is one in which all individuals, irrespective of background, have equal access to the benefits of that society. All of our programs and policy initiatives aim to ensure that all youth have access to resources they need to maximize their potential and achieve their dreams." 
Be sure to check out their awesome teen dad program page.
More about us. Donations welcomed here. 

The Care Center. "Breaking barriers … lifting spirits … inspiring young women to excel intellectually and academically … providing access to arts and culture … supporting struggling young families as they move toward self-sufficiency … shifting from a community dealing with the challenges of poverty to one that is a leader in innovative education reform — these define the work of The Care Center." 
More about us. Donations welcomed here

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. Young moms advocacy program. "Some young mothers have been, and continue to be, dehumanized and stigmatized by many for carrying their pregnancy to a full-term. We decided to create a young mother’s group to have a safe space for them to come together and find strength in each other while countering all these attacks."
More about us. Donations page

Alley's House. "There was a need within the community to provide services to teen mothers. Our mission: empowering teen mothers and their children to achieve independence through support services, education and mentoring. We accomplish this by providing comprehensive case management services, tutoring and life skill workshops." 
Donations welcomed here

Covenant House. Covenant House has an international teen mother and child homeless shelter program. "Being a good mother is one of the toughest jobs in the world, and it's almost impossible when you are young, homeless, and without family. That is why our Mother/Child program was created to help these determined mothers and pregnant teenagers secure a brighter, more stable future for themselves and their babies"
More about the program here. Donation page here.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

KMart and Sears FREE Store PickUp Option Makes the Holidays Less Stressful


As great as the holidays can be they also make for the busiest time of the year. Between shopping, school, your child's school and or daycare, untangling lights, wrapping the presents just the right way, keeping your child away from the candy canes on the tree-and the present hiding spot, and baking dozens of cookies for that Christmas party, your regular life doesn't press pause. 

This year however I have learned that some stores are making the holiday season a bit less stressful for us be offering FREE store pick up! That means you order your items online, select store pick up, and pick them up without having to have an epic Jingle All The Way fight scene for that last toy on the shelf with that super caffeinated soccer parent.

Both Sears and Kmart offer free in store pickup, letting you shop thousands of gifts online in the comfort of your own home before picking up your items in store in 5 minutes guaranteed (or whenever you're ready). With in store pickup you'll avoid lines, busy stores and the wasted time of walking down every aisle. The bow on top: You can have a friend or relative pick up your order and pay in store with cash. YES a different person can pick up the order for you! So when you feel like you need to be in two places at once you can actually sort of do that! 

How great is it that Christmas shopping can be done right from your home while your child naps so you don't have to get a babysitter to watch them for the time you would be shopping at the store. Plus you can log off knowing your shopping is taken care of and spend more time with your family or hiding in the bathroom for a break. (come one we all do it once in a while) 

Learn more about this awesome service at Sears: http://bit.ly/HL896t and Kmart: http://kmrt.us/1bmIoRk

Presented by Mami Innovative Media, this is a sponsored post on behalf of Sears and Kmart.

All opinions expressed here are my own.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Meet Nicole Lynn Lewis founder of Generation Hope

Nicole Lynn Lewis is a former teenage mother, author, speaker, and the founder of Generation Hope a non profit based out of Washington, D.C. that supports teenage mother's in their pursuit to higher education.

I had the great honor of interviewing Ms. Nicole and love her honesty and positivity.

You can find Generation Hope and Ms. Nicole on TwitterFacebook, the organization's website, and her personal website. 


Let me know what you think about the interview below, on Twitter, or on Facebook! 


Monday, December 2, 2013

Win a FREE copy of Alexandra Elle's Book: Words From a Wanderer

To show appreciation for your continued support, encouragement, and for being you I am dedicating the month of December to giveaways! I will be giving away at least one gift each week during the month of December. Be sure to enter, encourage your friends to enter, and enjoy your giveaways!

First up is a book by former teen mom Alexandra Elle. Alexandra is a writer, creative, and over all inspiring, wise, and radiant woman. Her book is full of short poems and love letters to herself. Weaving self love with struggle, human flaws, beauty and encouragement all at once.

End this year and bring in the next year with love and positive affirmations.
You can find Alexandra on Twitter here.

Deadline to enter is DECEMBER 8th.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 22, 2013

Shame From All Over for Pregnant and Parenting Teens

Last night I found a professor of Social Work who believes (teaches) denying services to pregnant and parenting teens and making ALL children and families in the United States sign a FEDERALLY MANDATED morality clause before being able to participate in school activities will reduce teen pregnancy rates. My latest on RH Reality Check couldn't be more timely. Mind you she's teaching illegal and unethical practices.

Head over to RH Reality Check for my latest on shame from all over the political arena for pregnant and parenting teens. Here. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

This Semester Can NOT End Any Sooner

I have 9-10 days left of the fall semester. I  CAN NOT WAIT!

This semester started off horribly with Leilani having school troubles, us having baby sitter problems, and my having to miss a bunch of school. As much as I hoped that the beginning of the semester wasn't indicative of what the semester was going to be it was. It really has been just a drag! 

My stats class is a JOKE! 
My psych capstone class is... strange to say the least. In one class he began talking about how a female's mortal vagina may not be able to with stand the power with which a god like Zeus or a superhero like Superman may have when making love to her. I mean... really? Did I mention the midterms are all based off of our notes.
Spanish is spanish and my social welfare course is good but the truth of the matter is I didn't really start the semester with a strong school mindset. 
Seniorites is kicking in and I just wanna graduate! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Student Parents Problems

Yesterday I was going to meet up with a friend on campus to discuss an assignment we had to do for a class. The problems I faced were several.
  • My campus has a no child on campus policy
  • I couldn't secure a sitter
  • My computer (which I am desperately needing to replace) can't even open the assignment 
First, why does it seem colleges are so unprepared to address and meet the needs of parenting students given that a LARGE demographic of college students ARE parents. The amazing Tara Jefferson, founder of The Young Mommy Life has a great piece about this. I can't tell you how many times I have had to pay a sitter just to go on campus and do something very quickly but couldn't bring Leilani with me. In fact I had a HORRIBLE run in with one of the security guards during which he asked me "If I was even in the right place" just because I am a young mom with a child on a college campus. 

Even though I have a team of sitters I was unable to secure one, which is kind of upsetting but honestly  I don't feel I should HAVE to get a sitter to go onto MY college campus to meet with someone to discuss an assignment. 

As far as the computer situation I can not WAIT until I can change it and thank goodness for the public library. 

Being a student parent ain't no joke man. It's tough to get everything done when some things out of your control limit your ability to get things done. 


Do you have any #studentparentproblems? Let me in the comments on Facebook or Twitter by using #studentparentproblems.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Why Does the Phrase Teen Mom Even Exist?

I am someone who at 23 years old still identifies as a teen mom so when I saw a teen mom on Tumblr ask:

Why are teen moms called teen moms? It's not like old moms are called "old moms" so why are we called teen moms, aren't we MOMS too?

I couldn't help but to think she had a good point.
Why are we the only moms that have to have another title proceed our titles as mom? Is it to continue the thoughts that teen moms are "less," "different," or more teens than "actual moms?"
At the end of the day we are moms just like any other moms so we must we have the title teen mom when no other age demographic of mothers is identified as the age at which they had their child.

What do you think?

Was this (teen) mom over reacting? Does she have a good point?

Let me know below in the comments.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Baby Tigger and Tiger Play at the Zoo

Sometimes the zoo is fun and you get to see tons of great animals, then sometimes you're literally looking at the animal's back or just leafs and grass wondering where they are hiding.

However, this family found a great way to interact with an adorable tiger cub at the zoo in an equal parts adorable and feel good video.


Have you ever seen anything so adorable or had an animal interact with you like this at the zoo? Let me know below in the comments.

Single Young Mom Pays Bill for Federal Employees

Remember when the government shut down happen?
Well many military and other federal employes still had to report to work knowing they wouldn't be paid on not sure when they would. When two women from the National Guard walked into a Ruby Tuesdays they were worried about the cost of their lunch a very selfless server took it upon herself to pay the bill for them and left a note.

Turns out the woman was a single young mom of an 18 month old baby who lives at home with her mother. Ellen Degeneres had her on her show a little while after to thank her and pay her back in a HUGE way.


Young moms are amazing! 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Silencing Teen Moms Hurts Us

It seems all mother, that are not teenage mothers, can talk about how being a parent is difficult without being attacked. However, when a teen mothers do it we are told to "stop complaining", "this is the life you chose", "no one told you to get pregnant", "life is hard", or let you know they don't care either through their actions or bluntly telling you "I don't care."

As much as society tells us we can't be happy during our pregnancy they also tell us to stop "complaining" when things get difficult and we try to speak about it. Between being unable to speak about our challenges without "proving" being a teen mom is "horrible" or conveying happiness because we will be "glorifying" teenage pregnancy, teenage parents are in an emotional limbo.
A limbo that I am no longer wanting to be a part of. 

Truth is being a parent is hard! Sometimes it's full of wonderful and positive days and some days it's full of stress and can be overwhelming. Sometimes I struggle to have enough money for a metro card for school, sometimes I want to be able to buy myself a drink at a bar with friends without feeling guilt, sometimes I feel like a bad mom because I can't spend as much time as I want with Leilani, sometimes I just want to lay in bed all day and not have to "come here" every time she calls, sometimes I feel like work, school, life, parenting, and trying to figure out our life after graduation is overwhelming and damn hard, sometimes I'm happy and proud of myself and the mother and woman I am.

Being a mom, student, employee, child to your parents, and person all at once while society and sometimes even family and "friends" tell you you can't is A LOT to handle.

I'm HUMAN and even though I am a teenage mother I should and CAN feel all sorts of emotions and experiences and not feel like I should be silenced by society or rude negative people while expressing them.

Being silenced by society and shame is what leads to higher rates of postpartum depression in teenage mothers, what caused me to stay in an abusive relationship much longer than I should have, and what keeps teen parent from finding one another and completely sharing our experiences with one another.

Lets STOP letting society and shame silence us! Not one of us is winning anything by being silenced, in fact it hurts us! 

If you are in an abusive relationship you don't NEED to stay because of shame (like I did), if you are struggling to put food on the table you don't need to feel ashamed (like I did), if you are a homeless teen mom you don't need to feel ashamed and remain silent. Truth is A LOT of people are experiencing these things. Story telling and sharing is powerful, helpful, and healthy.

No matter what you are going through whether it is good or bad you can and should speak about it! Don't let society silence you.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Everyone Should Enjoy Halloween Even Homeless People Mommy

It was Halloween evening and I was taking Leilani and her friend trick or treating. On the way back we walked past our train station where we saw a homeless man sitting by the stairs. He had an absent and deflated presence about him. "Look mommy he is homeless. Should I give him some candy?" Leilani asked.

Huh? "Uh... sure baby. Yeah that would be cool."

She reached down into her pumpkin and pulled out a piece of candy, "here sir... sir... excuse me." The man looked up dumbfounded. He looked at Leilani, looked at me, and then a huge smile stretched across his face. "WOOOWW! Thank you! I... I don't know... God bless you and her. She... God bless her. Thank you." he said with his hands on his heart and a smile on his face.

Why did you do that baby? I asked her. "Well everyone should have fun on Halloween even homeless people. It's not fair that only people with houses get to have fun."

I couldn't believe it. I was and still kind of am at a loss about how amazing and giving her little gesture was. While everyone else around him was smiling at children running around in their costumes he was there possibly feeling as if he had camouflaged into the wall but Leilani reminded him that he wasn't.

It's important to teach ourselves and our children that all people, especially those society says are "lost causes" are important.

Homelessness is a serious problem within the teen mom community. Many pregnant and parenting teens are kicked out of their families homes EVERYDAY. Please take a moment to learn more about homelessness amongst our peers by reading Diamond's interview, Precious's interview, and the blogs Youth Homelessness section. 

When was the last time your child surprised you by showing you they have retained a life lesson you have been trying to teach them? 



Monday, November 4, 2013

Are You Holding Your Children Back?

Are you holding your child back?
Your immediate response will most likely be "NO! Of course not," but really think about it. Today as Leilani and I walked into a new park and she saw all the basketball courts she immediately said she wanted to play but since she didn't have a ball-and most the other people on the court were older boys- she couldn't.

We made our way over to the jungle gym where she played for a few minutes all the while telling me she wanted to go on the court because "basketball is my favorite sport." Out of nowhere as if the universe heard her request a lone ball rolled over right onto her feet.

"MOMMY! I got a ball and it says 'girl's ball'. Lets play!" she excitedly proclaimed. We played on the side of the jungle gym for a moment and every so often she would say "I'm ready for the court" and I would give some answer as to how she wasn't.

After taking a short break I look up and see little miss Leilani on the basketball court, the ONLY girl on the basketball court, and the youngest one out there dribbling and trying to sink the ball into the basket.

At that moment I realized I was holding her back. I was scared some boy would accidently land on her, or take her ball, or make fun of her; I used these fears as a way to hold her back. Leilani wasn't scared or worried at all she was ready. I watched in amazement as the little pink dot weaved in and out of the "big boys" playing basketball, kept trying to get the ball into the hoop, and maintained a smile on her face while doing so.

As parents we want to protect our children and push our children to reach new goals but we must remember not to let our fears or pride interfere with their ability to push themselves and reach new goals on their own. It's nerve-wrecking but it's worth it.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

I'm Joining #NaBloPoMo!

This month I will be joining NaBloPoMo. NaBloPoMo stands for National Blog Posting Month and was inspired by NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. Both month long activities encourage people to write EVERYDAY and as a blogger you are to post everyday. 

Being that I am starting two days late-yes I am counting this as a post- I will finsih a bit later than those who started right on the first. 

While I think I have a pretty good momentum with my posting I can always stand to better myself right? Through writing everyday I hope to improve my writing, carve out some "me time," and just write my heart out. If you are a blogger and would like to join in on the action you can sign up on Blogher and or just post everyday and be sure to use the hashtag- #NaBloPoMo- to share your post with everyone! 

I must admit that being that this is the last full month of the semester and the second to the last month before the end of the year that I might get side tracked BUT I can't and I wont! I can do this, I want to do this, and I hope you all like what I share. 

Is there anything in particular you would like me to blog about? Comment below, on Facebook, or tweet me your ideas! 


Monday, October 21, 2013

NYU School of Dentistry FREE Health Screenings

I have a terrible to, honestly, a non-existent relationship with the dentist which is really quite terrible.

My teeth hurt-I'm sure I have cavities and I know I need braces- but I have wrongly convinced myself that I don't need to really go so I don't. Last time I went to the dentist I had to get "surgery" and it wasn't even teeth related.
Don't be like me! (lol)

Take advantage of NYU's School of Dentistry's FREE Health screenings on Tuesday, October 23rd, Wednesday, October 24th, and Thursday, October 25th from 8:30am-7:30pm. 

They will be providing free health screenings, tooth brushes and tooth paste, and vouchers!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Know Your Legal Rights as a Pregnant and Parenting Teen Book

Becoming a pregnant teen is an extremely confusing and scary time. I vividly remember being especially confused and scared about MY legal right to parent since I was technically not an adult myself (I was 15 when I gave birth).

I remember my mother and her boyfriend making comments like "That's our baby because you're underage so you have no legal rights over her" and being scared out of my mind! Were they really the custodial parents of my baby? Could they-or anyone- just take her from me simply because I was underage? I have underaged teenage friends that have gotten pregnant by a male over the age of 18 (happens more often than you think) and the guy threaten her with taking the baby because he was the "real" adult in the situation and even had his family harass her too.

Then there are the countless amount of teenage mothers that have been kicked out of their familie's home and struggle with knowing if they can go to a homeless shelter, if they need to stay in or will get kicked out of foster care for being pregnant, can they have their children with them at the shelter or foster home, can they apply for WIC and other government aid even if they are under 18?

The reality is knowing your legal rights as a pregnant and or parenting teen is difficult and VERY SCARY!

Thankfully the NYCLU has a wonderful book that explains ALL OF YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AS A TEENAGE PARENT in New York State.
The book is FULL of answer for most if not ALL your questions about the legal rights you have as a pregnant and parenting teen in New York State and New York City.

You can find the information on their website here in a PDF form. However, I have a box FULL of these books and I'm giving away 20 copies to anyone who needs/wants them.

Leave your email address people if you would like one of the books so we can talk via email about how to get your free copy to you. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

On Mental Health Day Where is the Convo about Pregnant and Parenting Teens?

After my post about postpartum depression was shared and read several times I decided to expand my point of view on the overall nonexistent conversation about the mental health and wellness in pregnant and parenting teens over on The Push Back.

Read an expert of the post below and be sure to head over to The Push Back to read the rest and more amazing articles from other teenage parents.
----
While society and even many pregnant and parenting teen allis continue to ponder why, how, where, and when teenagers become pregnant they often times over look the mental health and well being of the pregnant and or parenting teen.

Teenage parents and our families have been reduced to controversial public campaign ads, cautionary tales, and political scapegoats all the while suffering from very normal and serious mental health concerns that are not spoken about anywhere.

Sexually based abuses, domestic violence, and depression are all on the rise in American youth. Yet the discussion about how teenage parents face all of these mental health woes and abuses on top of societies continuous and brutal attacks on us and our families goes unspoken about.

Pregnant and parenting teens are under an insurmountable amount of stress and struggling alone and in silence. In fact, postpartum depression effects teenage mothers more than any other age group of mothers.

We are told that our entire life, existence, and that of our children is doomed, we are kicked out of school, bullied by peers, adults, and random strangers on a regular basis. While out and about in our neighborhoods whether we are going to a WIC appointment, class, work or taking our children to the bookstore (yes we do all of these things and more) we have to face disrespectful and demoralizing campaign ads everyday.

Read the rest of the post on The Push Back.

Do you think the mental health and wellness of pregnant and parenting teens is often overlooked? Let me know what you think in the comments below. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Postpartum Depression in Pregnant Teens

While writing a piece for Mommy Noire about Miriam Carey, the woman who crashed her car into the White House lawn and Capitol building before being shot and killed, I came across some very sobering findings about postpartum depression.

 Teenage mothers have the highest rates of postpartum depression. 

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Some of the other causes of postpartum depression include but are not limited to:
  • being a single mother
  • lack of help and support from family, friends, and your significant other
  • financial problems such as not earning enough, getting fired, and or being unemployed 
  • overload of stress
  • lack of sleep and more
Most if not all of the above can and do happen to pregnant teens ALL THE TIME. 
Many pregnant teens get kicked out of their homes, school, and even extra curricular activities. The stress society places on us and the amount of stress that we place on yourselves is crippling. 

The fact that we can't make enough money no matter how hard we work for your families is extremely stressful. Not to mention the terrible and disrespectful public shaming campaigns about ourselves and our innocent children.

It's no wonder teenage parents are at a higher risk for postpartum depression.  

When I had just given birth to Leilani I remember being in an in between space. I was happy but I was tired, overwhelmed, and felt like I had no one to talk to because everyone seemed too busy putting me down. I remember holding her one day and looking in the mirror. I don't know what it was but looking at myself caused me to begin crying so hard that I had to put her down in her crib because I couldn't hold her. Not too long after that happened my immediate family staged a horrible intervention (which didn't end well) because they were worried about me.

I honestly do not think I had postpartum depression but I am confident that I needed someone to talk to and the extreme isolation I felt do to society and people pushing me away and down kept me from finding someone to speak to. 

Postpartum depression is REAL and WE are at higher risk than anyone else to experience it. If you feel like you are experiencing postpartum depression speak to your doctor, midwife, doula, anyone right away. Postpartum depression doesn't make you a bad or unfit mother-it makes you human. Please do not suffer in silence or think "I'll get over it." 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Free Clothing For Teen Mom in NYC

I after going through and cleaning out much of Leilani's clothing I have a lot of size 4-5 clothing for girls. I also have two winter jackets, shoes, and more that I would like to giveaway. 

If you are or know a teen mom or youngmom in nyc in need if the items please contact me. 

Thank you. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Being Still is Just as Important as Being Active.

I woke up on Monday feeling like just about everyone does on Monday, bleh.

After repeating to myself over and over again that everything is alright and there is no reason to start the week off on the wrong foot I drank some positive mood tea and headed out to school.

In the middle of the day one of my friends text me to read the thing she tagged me on on Facebook. As I was waiting in the never ending line at Chipotle for my over stuffed burrito I read what she tagged me in and felt so much more at ease.

Later on in statistics-where I was actively pretending to understand what was going on- I felt a rush thoughts come into my head and soon my hand started writing them out quicker than I could process the thoughts.

I looked down and read what I had just written.

"When I stopped trying to find what to 'do', 'achieve', and or 'collaborate' next I started to feel a lot better. I began to learn more, listen more, observe more. In essence I began to live. 
I began to live. 
Life is what happens while you're busy doing other stuff*. I don't want to be doing 'other stuff,' I want to live." 

*poorly quoted from John Lennon

People tend to say that I'm always doing something and my sisters all say that I'm too hard on myself. Both are true, I am. I also don't know how to not be hard on myself and be still full time. The answer is I don't have to be.
I don't ALWAYS have to be doing something. I don't always have to be something to feel like I'm someone.

The part of the passage that hit home the most was:

Activity is not the opposite of inactivity. Yes, linguistically they’re opposites, but in terms of our path of growth, they’re actually one and the same. Activity on an inner level often necessitates inactivity on the outer (hence we go on retreat to turn within, or merely sleep and dream our way through a dilemma), and vice versa (‘I don’t have time to meditate!! I’m way too busy!!’). And no matter what the world tells us, one form of activity is not better, or worse, than the other.

If you feel like a hamster on a wheel STOP. Stop thinking that being busy automatically equals success or productivity, I doesn't. Being still is just as important. 

You can read the entire passage below or here

30th September 2013: New Moon on the Horizon…
Activity Within & Without

We may find ourselves ending the month in a state of restlessness, approaching a New Moon (4th/5th October) which requires introspection and quietude, whilst being painfully aware of all manner of things demanding our attention. These can feel like conflicting energies and we could find ourselves running from pillar to post impatiently trying to get everything to a state of completion without realising that the time for completion is not yet here and the unfinished nature of life, tasks, problems and projects is exactly right for this time.

Part of our impatience may arise from feeling, albeit subconsciously, that if we stop ‘doing’ we may end up wandering aimlessly, unable to chart any kind of meaningful course through life. Far better that we engage with things and work for signs of progress than float off downstream never to be seen again! In fact, this is a false choice. It isn’t an either or: stay engaged or lose our way. It’s far more subtle than that, and it’s the subtleties of the situation that we’d do well to consider today.

Activity is not the opposite of inactivity. Yes, linguistically they’re opposites, but in terms of our path of growth, they’re actually one and the same. Activity on an inner level often necessitates inactivity on the outer (hence we go on retreat to turn within, or merely sleep and dream our way through a dilemma), and vice versa (‘I don’t have time to meditate!! I’m way too busy!!’). And no matter what the world tells us, one form of activity is not better, or worse, than the other. We live in a world that judges us according to what we produce, the concrete results of our labours, not the quality of our heart or the depth of our wisdom. But the activity necessary for developing the latter is vital to the fulfilment of our potential. Not potential in material terms but potential in terms of playing the most powerful and positive part we can in the transformation of the human race and the planet on which we live.

Today is a day to resist the dictates of a world which equates power with material wealth and value with what we can produce. To let go the restlessness that says we must be doing at all times, getting stuff completed and under our belts, ticked off the ‘to do’ list of life, and to embrace the production of inner wealth in terms of an open heart, an insightful mind and an awakening spirit. It may not be the most convenient time for this, it being Monday and all, but the cosmos doesn’t really do working weeks. So no matter how busy and stressed we may find ourselves today, juggling the demands of the outside world to be productive and of use, we would be wise to take at least a bit of time to be externally inactive and turn within, connecting with our heart, with our spirit, to see what they have to share. Who knows, they may actually have some good advice about how to get that huge to-do list done, but it’ll be in their way, not the way of the world. And in following their guidance we will be balancing internal and external activity in a productive and healing way.

Have a good week everyone.
~ Sarah Varcas
www.astro-awakenings.co.uk

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Teen Mom and Son Graduate with PhD's TOGETHER

Education and support is KEY when talking about helping teenage parents thrive in life.

That is exactly what Vickie McBride's mother provided her with when she gave birth to her first child, Maurice, at 13 years old.

source
Vickie McBride gave birth to her son, Maurice, at the age of 13. Even though whispers spread throughout her town of Waynesboro, Ga, with the help of her mother, Vicki continued her education.  She made it to college and graduate school all while raising Maurice and eventually 3 other children.  


“As a teenager I continued my education. That was never an option,” explained Vickie.She made it to college and graduate school all while raising Maurice and eventually 3 other children.


“I had to figure out how to work and how to parent and how to manage school all at the same time.” she said.Maurice had his own struggles growing up as well. Read the rest of the amazing story on Clucth Magazine 


Despite the overwhelming amount of pressure from everyone and everywhere that teenage parents are subjected to, BOTH McBrides have graduated with the PhD's TOGETHER!

Talk about an amazing story of support, education, dedication, and ambition.
Don't stop because society or someone tells you "you can't" after becoming a pregnant teen or parenting teen. They're WRONG!


Read the rest of the amazing story on Clucth Magazine 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Advocacy Training for Teen Moms From National Latina's Institute for Reproductive Health and E-LOLA

About a year ago I was approached by The National Latinas about their new young mothers advocacy program. I can honestly say that NLIRH is one of the biggest reasons I am the advocate I am today! Don't miss this chance to learn, network, and meet some amazing people! Sign up today! 

This opportunity to for ALL. Hispanics/Latina and Non-Hispanic/Latina


The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health believes in the importance of supporting young women's decisions over their bodies, which is why we've created this webinar training. 

This Electronic - Latinas Organizing for Leadership and Advocacy (E-Lola) Training is designed for young mothers (under 25) who wish to make a difference in their community or become more aware.


Register here: tinyurl.com/MomELola

The E-Lola is made up of 3 sessions each is an hour long. To attend an E-Lola, one must have access to a telephone and computer with internet connection.
                Session 1: Latina Reproductive Rights, Health and Justice 10/11 at 7pm
                Session 2: Why Young Moms? Now What? 11/8 at 7pm
                Session 3: Young Moms Grassroots Advocacy 12/13 at 7pm

Register here: tinyurl.com/MomELola

Teen Mom Sofia Vergara Highest Paid TV Actress

For the second year in a row former teen mom Sofia Vergara has ranked as the highest paid television actress!

"...Vergara’s earnings over the past year reached $30 million—making her far and away the highest-paid actress on prime time." - Forbes


Sofia Vergara had her son Manolo at age 19 and in an interview with Redbook in 2011 she said "being a teen mom wasn't all that bad!"

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With society, friends, and sometimes even family telling you that your life is over because you are a teen parent it's hard to see a bright future for you and your child. Sofia did not let becoming pregnant, married, and a mother a 19 stop her one bit. 

Lets give a HUGE shout out and congrats to Sofia Vergara and ALL teenage parents succeeding despite what society says. 

Check out inspiring interviews with teenage mothers from NYC and around the country here. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fitness Classes for Pregnant Teens in NYC


Pregnant teens and teen moms in NYC be sure to check out these free, affordable, and exciting fitness classes you can take while pregnant. 

Being active and healthy before, during, and after pregnancy is extremely important however, often times fitness classes for pregnant woman are so expensive that many teen moms can not afford them but this is NO LONGER THE CASE! 

Click photo for better quality
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From the program information email I received: 
Prenatal classes return to the New Settlement Community Center in the Bronx this week!  We are continuing the very popular weekly FREE and BILINGUAL prenatal yoga class on Tuesdays at 10:30 AM and are also restarting the exciting prenatal water exercise class on Fridays at 7:15 PM - $25 for 6 weeks.
A second water exercise class starts October 7th at Riverbank State Park in Manhattan.  $58 for 8 weeks ($48 if women already have a Riverbank ID card).  Participants MUST REGISTER IN ADVANCE FOR THIS CLASS.
Finally, we continue the wonderful and affordable prenatal yoga (Friday mornings) and belly dance (Saturday afternoons) classes at Harlem Yoga Studio.  These classes are by donation for pregnant women. 
Bread and Yoga will be reopening in October at a new location in Inwood.  Stay tuned!  Have a great day,
Please help us raise the small amount of funds needed to continue the amazing Bronx class by encouraging someone you know to make a small tax-deductible donation here: https://ioby.org/project/prenatal-yoga-en-el-bronx.Thanks!

Did you take fitness classes while pregnant? Did you enjoy them?