Thursday, June 27, 2013

5 Ways To Support #NOTEENSHAME

5 Ways To Support #NOTEENSHAME

While the #noteenshame team is discussing our next steps of action there are several ways you can help! Please note #noteenshame is NOT calling on The Candie Foundation to close we are simply asking for a meeting.

At this point it has been OVER MONTH and still all of our calls, tweets, emails, voicemails, EVERYTHING have received NO response Candies CEO, Neil Cole. As a brand Candies is making it clear that they do NOT feel teenage parents are an audience he needs to respond to although he is using our lives as a way to make money off of ads.

1. Photo Campaign. Join our virtual rally today! Download and print the #NoTeenShame PDF and write in your reasons for supporting. If you feel comfortable, please tweet @CandiesOrg a photo holding the sign and use the hashtag for increased visibility. 

2. Tweet. Share your stories on twitter all week using the #NoTeenShame hashtag. Only you know your story and only you have the power to tell if effectively. Show @CandiesOrg that young parents deserve respect, not shame. 

3. Blog. If you are a blogger, please write about the #NoTeenShame campaign and why it's important to you. Whether you are a young parent, a young parent's parent, the child of a young parent, or a supporter, your voice is an important part of our campaign. If you are interested in writing for as a guest blogger on any topic related to parenting young, please let me know. 

4. Recruit. Please share this info or forward this email to anyone you know who may want to support this campaign. If anyone has questions, feel free to pass along my email- and/or Natasha's

5. Call. You may call Neil Cole's office at Iconix at 212-730-0030 and ask to speak with Mr. Neil Cole. The receptionist will likely transfer you to his assistant's voicemail where you may read this script: 

Hi, my name is ___ and I am calling from (city, state). I wanted to let Mr. Neil Cole know that young parents have launched a campaign on asking him to meet with young parent activists and supporters to discuss the teen pregnancy prevention campaign conducted by the Candie's Foundation. Please call us back at your earliest convenience at 781.296.3550. Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

TMI Confession: Dating...?

Often people will ask me if I'm dating or seeing anyone. My answer is always no, no, not really interested in dating... until recently.

I find myself missing the feeling of having someone.
Someone to spend time with, hang out with, joke with, you know... all of the things that come along with a healthy adult relationship. I miss it but I'm not sure that I want to even entertain the idea of dating.

Truth is I don't really have free time and if I did I feel spending it on dating would be a waste of time, a distraction, and this whole idea is so strange to me! I don't know how to deal with the feelings that I'm trying to not feel. LOL.

People tell me it's okay to feel like this. It's been years since I officially left Leilani's father not including the months before separating that I found myself not liking/loving him.

But it all seems too complicated. The complicatedness (is that a word) of just thinking about it is enough to make me not want to entertain the idea. LOL.

I think for now I am going to keep trying to ignore the feelings.
That sounds like a better idea.

I'm a mess. 

What do you think? Is it time? 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

NO STIGMA NO SHAME: Empowering and Supporting Teenage Families Event information

Stigma and shame have unfortunately become synonymous with teenage parenthood.

In March 2012 the New York City Human Resources Administration's  launched a highly offensive anti-teenage pregnancy campaign: “Think Being a Teen Parent Won’t Cost You?” Although the ads have mostly disappeared the shame and stigma teenage families endure everyday has not.  

In response to the offensive ads several New York City based organizations and advocates launched a counter campaign, "No Stigma No Shame." During one of the meetings the idea of a day long conference for NYC teenage parents was born and planning soon ensued. 
We are happy to announce on Saturday July, 13 the No Stigma No Shame: Empowering and Supporting Teenage Families Conference will take place at Four Times Square from 11am-4pm. 

This conference will connect New York City teenage families with a judgement free, supportive, and empowering environment which consist of other teenage families, organizations and programs that are teenage families friendly, and public and private resources available to teenage families. The keynote address will be made by a former teen mom, the distinguished Council Woman Annabel Palma whom represents the 18th District in The Bronx. 

Information sessions focus on emotional wellness, sexual/reproductive health, education, and advocacy as well as free raffle prizes, child care, and food!

This event is free and open to all parenting and pregnant teens (male and female). RSVP is mandatory and can be done completed here.

This event is possible though the collaboration of:
Teen Mom NYC, Resilience Advocacy Project, New York City for Reproductive Justice, National Latinas Institute for Reproductive Health, and several grassroot advocates and organizers.
If you have any questions please Gloria Malone at

Monday, June 24, 2013

NO STIGMA NO SHAME: Empowering and Supporting Teenage Families

Council Woman Annabel Palma has graciously agreed to both attend the event and deliver the keynote address! Council Woman Palma is a former teenage mother and publicly denounced Mayor Bloomberg's and NYC HRA's controversial anti teenage pregnancy ad campaign.

The day's events include sessions on how to advocate for your family, mental health, sexual health, and FREE child care, food, and raffle prizes!

RSVP is mandatory! RSVP today here!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Are you your child's best coach?

On the last day of Leilani's swim lessons the parents were able to go inside and watch the children show us everything they learned during the season. 

Before entering the pool Leilani looked up to me and said "you're like my coach, whenever I do something wrong you tell and show me how to so it right so I can get it right. I love that." Then she gave me a kiss and a huge smile. 

Hearing this was unexpected and made me feel great! 

As parents we are constantly doing the best we can and hoping that what were doing is right and helpful to our children. To have her vocalize that she recognizes what I do and that she appreciates it put me over the moon. 

As I sat on the pool deck watching her swimming around with no fear and volunteering to go first over and over again I beamed with pride that she was my daughter. 

She would do something the instructor told her to do and after listening to the feedback of the instructor she'd remove her goggles and look in my direction for feedback. I'd either give her a big smile, thumbs up, and if needed sign language feedback to which she always 
received with a smile and a thank you nod. 

I have always thought of us like a team and I'm glad she sees us like that too.

When was the last time your child told you something that melted your heart?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

TMI Confession: I Love My Naked Body

Before becoming pregnant I had the cute 15 year old athletic body with a big Dominicana booty. I loved it!

However, going from 110 pounds to almost 200 while being pregnant, then having my weight fluctuate all over the place until I FINALLY did something about it, combined with never really having boobs, then slowly learning how to love my boobs for what they were, AND the fact that I have stretch marks-like a zebra- all over my body I didn't have a healthy relationship when it came to my body image.

While I started slowing falling in love with parts my body I still didn't love all of it for what it was/is. I remember my Virginia Beach trip and how much of a HUGE deal it was that I was going to wear a tiny bikini on a beach trip with my friends.

I was scared and filled with I don't care sentiment at the same time. In the end I wore my tiny bikini, had a blast, and didn't even THINK about my stretch marks or "tiny" boobs.

I have come to realize that I love my body. Yes it's been through more than a "normal" 23 year old woman but I don't care.

This is where you're going to think i'm nuts. 

Just about every time I get out of the shower I look at my fully naked body in the mirror and every time I love it! The other day I got undressed in front of the mirror, put my hands on my hips, looked at my naked body for a minute, and thought: damn you're hot.

My small boobs, my stretch marks, all of me is hot, awesome, and should be loved and celebrated.

Now when I look in the mirror this is how I feel:

 I challenge you to fall in love with EVERY part of you in the mirror

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

IUD Removal Symptoms

I finally got my IUD removed. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter then you most likely heard my saga. 

Long story REALLY short. After 7 years, misinformation, lack of information, and being told that my IUD was lost inside my body I finally got it removed. 

However, I had no idea there was a post IUD detox/withdrawal that a woman experiences after getting her IUD removed. A day after getting my IUD removed I felt bloated, super tired, flat with emotion, and having pretty bad headaches. 

Since I had just traveled back to back from Michigan to Holyoke and got my IUD removed right afterwards I wasn't sure what was going on but I did know that I never felt this way after any trip. 
I did what any person in 2013 does when they don't feel well... Google :)

IUD Removal Symptoms one can experience can include:

  • Passing large blood clots
  • Bleeding for a week or two
  • Headaches and or Migraines 
  • Fatigue
  • Flat mood emotions or extreme mood swings
  • Lack of appetite or over eating
  • Some people even reported suicidal thoughts 
In a nutshell PMS symptoms to a higher degree. I had no idea what I was going through and really wished that my doctor talked to me about the symptoms one can experience after the removal but more importantly I wish I did the work to find out. As humans and more specifically women we have to take charge when it comes to our reproductive health regardless of what choices you make. 

The good news is that about a little under a week I was back to my normal self! I am very thankful I did not experience half of the symptoms listed above and had similar experiences that other women had. 

Staying accurately medically informed is super important! Be sure to research all your medical concerns and questions as well as talk to your doctor openly and honestly. 

Please be advised I had the Mirena hormonal 5 year IUD. This is my personal experience and in NO WAY an account of all IUD experiences. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Centering Myself-Again

I had been feeling completely discombobulated lately.  

Maybe it was traveling back to back, lack of sleep, my post IUD symptoms, or a combination of all but I was feel down and out for what seemed no real reason. 

First I realized I wasn't remembering my dreams when I'd wake up. This is a big deal to me because I believe in the importance of dreams. Then I realized I was super bloated which I attributed to lack of consistent exercise, not eating enough, and my post IUD symptoms. As well as my mind was in a million places at once-more than usual-and I wasn't getting much done. 

More importantly I realized these things and made it a priority to do something about them. 

To fix some of my problems I made quieting my mind before bed a priority. A least a half an hour before bed I would disconnect from the electronics except for a guided meditation I would play. 

After meditating my mind was calmer, clear, and ready for a good nights sleep. What I didn't imagine was how rested I would wake up on the morning and that I would start remembering my dreams! And my mind was ready to tackle the days work. 

To fix the bloating and lack of energy I started moving! I would stretch or randomly do ten push-ups or ten squats and I started taking the stairs more. 
I also started taking my vitamins again and more importantly I started eating.  As crazy as it sounds I often forget to eat which is no good at all. 

I still have a long way to go to getting "back to normal." But I'm on my way and feeling good about it. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Teen Moms Letter to The Candie's Foundation #noteeshame

Dear Candies, 

I am a former teen mom who thinks the Candie's Foundation has done a great job at getting youth, adults, and celebrities a like to pay attention to your teenage pregnancy campaigns. 

The letters you have from teenage parents on your blog are powerful and show that as an organization you realize that having a teenage parent's voice is important and needed when discussing teenage pregnancy and teenage pregnancy pervention. However, it seems these well written and powerful letters have not found a way to your public ad campaigns. 

As a foundation you have the amazing and unique advantage to become a true leader in teenage pregnancy pervention messaging, if you listen to what the organizers and supporters of #noteenshame have to say.

We are not calling on you to stop producing ads. We are calling on you meet with us so we can discuss the differences and similarities we have.

I am confident that your ads are not intentionally offensive however, it is important to realize that one can be offensive without intending to be. 

The response one takes after they have been told they have offended others is what is most important and speaks louder to audiences. 

Please consider meeting with the #noteenshame team so we can all discuss how The Candie's Foundation can become a more well rounded, innovative, informative, and educative tool to help teens make healthier decisions when it comes to their health by listening to constructive feedback. 

The #noteenshame team and supporters are eager to see what direction you take and hope that we will meet with you soon. 

Thank you, 

Teen Mom NYC 

Gloria Malone

Monday, June 10, 2013

I Can't Give Leilani The Families She Wants

I can't give Leilani the family she wants. I'm okay with that, and beyond happy that I have realized this.

When Leilani and I were in Michigan it was one of the rare times that 'whole' family was all together (which I admit is great and can be very emotional). Leilani's four tias-aunts-, one of her grandma's, two of her grandpas, some friends from Michigan, and her cousin- who is more like her brother and best friend all wrapped into one- were there.

We were the first people to leave the familie's get together which made Leilani break down in tears.  "I... I... don't want to leave my cousiiiiinnnnn!!!" Leilani gasped between tears. Without really thinking and not intending to be mean I turned to her and said "Everywhere we go we will always leave family behind."

I had an 'Aha' moment! It was true!

When I was younger I moved around a lot. I attended about 8 elementary schools and always left behind friends, family, and "the new life." It was tough and I told myself that I would NEVER put my child through that because I knew how much it sucked. I felt bad, I felt like a liar, a bad mom, and a failure for not "keeping my promise" but in reality I didn't make a promise that was realistic.

My promise was unrealistic because I do not and can not change my family or the way the family is structured. I can't raise Leilani in a city where ALL her family lives in because that's not my extended families reality and now that I realize these things I have come to terms with the fact that it's okay, it's not my fault, and it's just the way my family is.

I am part of a family of nomads, we travel, we squat, we are all over the place, it's great, and it's our family. There will always be a tearful see you later, a period of time were we wont see each other, a Christmas where we all wont be together, and it's tough but it's our family, our reality. All we can do is appreciate the perks this comes with having a nomad family.

Perks like:
  • Not having to always pay for hotels
  • Not getting 'tired' of one another so quickly 
  • Really enjoying and cherishing the time we have together
  • Being able to see different parts of the world
  • Being able to realize early on that life is full of good-byes, see you laters, and feelings of not having enough time. 
I love my family, I love the nomadic-ness, I love the fact that we are always going to have an adventure. This wasn't always the case but I guess I'm growing up. 

What is your family like? Are you all geographically far or close to one another? 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Check Out Your Local Library Today

"Mommy I want to go to the library today, not the park." Leilani said to me a few months back after picking her up from school. "Huh? You sure?" Yes mommy lets go she said as she dragged me towards the library.

Leilani and I read books together often, in fact they are part of my early bedtime bribing routine, but up until that point I hadn't realized that we didn't frequent the library.

In fact, we would go to the book stores, hang out in there looking through books, and eventually negotiating the stack of books down to one book so I could purchase her a book with whatever change I had left from the week, usually $4.

We loved it and it was a great thing to do during the nasty weather New York City can have. However, I did feel a bit bad for not being able to purchase all the books she wanted but the library aliveates this problem completely!

The public library has events they do everyday of the week like board game day-which I go to to teach Leilani how to play chess, performances from local educational entertainment groups, Wii on Monday, and even a 3D printer the kids could create things on.

Public libraries are great but often forgotten like in my case.

The library has also helped me connect with like minded parents in the area and get to know some of Leilani's school friends closer.

Check out your local library today and find out everything they have to offer! I promise you won't be sorry you did!

You can find your closest library here.