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. 

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

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.

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:

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:

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!"


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.