Friday, October 2, 2015

I had a moment in Target today and it was great

When I was 16/17 years old I would go shopping for clothing for Leilani. At the time I was working at Taco Bell making $7.50 an hour. Gas was pretty much consistently $3 or more so my $7.50 after taxes and gas didn't go very far.

I remember going to Walmart to get her clothes but always preferring the options at Target because they were much cuter and didn't fall apart in the wash as quickly. The thing is I didn't have Target shopping money.
Hell, I barely had Walmart shopping money.

Around 17/18 I started working a sales job at a cellphone store and making more money (not that much more but more nonetheless) I was finally able to go to Target and shop their sales for kids clothes.

Being in the toddler section and seeing the "bigger girl" options (sizes Leilani would grow into) made me REALLY want to be able to get her the cute clothes from Target. I remember telling myself that I would one day be able to afford those clothes for her.

Today I went into Target for 2 things (and came out with like 1000 like everyone else).
Leilani is a Cat Lady through and through and when I was in the kid's section I saw they had a great assortment of Cat Lady merchandise. I walked around for a while looking at all the Cat Lady options and put a few in my cart without thinking too much of it.
Then I walked over to the shoes and saw the perfect black and leopard print booties that she would love. I instantly grabbed them. Unfortunately, the size was too small so I had to put them back.

As I put them back on the shelf I had a huge realization. I ACCOMPLISHED MY GOAL.

I was shopping in Target in the "bigger girls section" without having the think about it and counting every single penny with the same shame and anxiety I had when i was 15/16/17 years old.

Don't get me wrong. I still count pennies and I had to put back an an item I wanted to get her but DAMN I was doing it!

Being that I've been in a really bad, negative, and low confidence level place with all things in my life this moment came right when I didn't know I needed it.

It showed me that although I'm not "where I want to be" in life I'm living, I'm growing, and I am accomplishing goals I set out for myself.

My 15/16/17 year old self is proud of me.
My 25 year old self is proud of my 15/16/17 year old self.

Monday, August 31, 2015

I found a gym


I've been struggling for a while with my overall health. I love to be physically active and exercise often however, I haven't in a long long time and have just been really stuck in life.

Stuck in my writing.
Stuck in my search for full time work.
Stuck in developing this space to the next level.
Stuck in my professional stuff.
And stuck in my parenting a bit.
Just overall stuck.

Finding a gym right around the corner from my house comes as a bolt of positivity.
Not only is it right around my house but I can go to it while Leilani is in her enrichment classes.

I hope that going to the gym and becoming more active will help me feel less stuck.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The False Dichotomy Between Young Parenthood and Success by Natasha Vianna via Medium

Natasha is a teen mom, amazing person, and reproductive justice advocate. She recently wrote a piece titled "The False Dichotomy Between Young Parenthood and Success" below is one of my favorite parts. 

"When I became a teen mother, I decided to see my obstacles as temporary adversities rather than allowing it to define my future, my daughter’s future, and who I was. I began to look more critically and analytically at my surroundings, my history, and my family’s history only to realize that my life may have very well been the same today regardless of parenting status. Many adults blamed my new challenges and overwhelming stress on my growing belly; a common regurgitation of morals and values set forth by those leading privileged lives. Identifying the parts of my life I wanted to change gave me strength to continue and my first task was separating teen pregnancy prevention from unplanned pregnancy prevention.

The truth is: addressing teen pregnancy needs to be radically changed to focus on preventing unplanned pregnancies because not all young parents’ pregnancies are unplanned. Whether planned or unplanned, shaming teen moms, vilifying them and setting them on a path to failure does nothing to help, it simply makes their lives even harder than it already is – to their own detriment and that of their child. Society is shaming them for the socioeconomic issues many were born into and shaming them for their background, cultures, decisions, and everything that pushes them away from common approval. If this is not unfair, I don’t know what is. Instead of stigmatizing teen parents, we must recognize all young people are entitled to make decisions about their own reproductive health – whether we agree with their decisions or not." 

Please do yourself a favor and read the rest of the piece here. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Teen mom and serial entrepreneur

Tran Wills is a bad ass (former) teen mom. She has started several businesses all with her family by her side. Some have been financially successful and others have not. The one thing that has remained  constant is the unapologetic nature she came into after becoming in a teen mom.
"When you’re a young mom, people look at you like you have no worth. We wanted to prove to everyone we weren’t going to be like that. I’m doing this for my kids. If it weren’t for them, I’d probably be working a job that I hate." 

This carried over into the ways she showed up for business meetings with prospective clients, funders, and partners.
"A lot of people were awesome about it, and some were questioning—like, are you a professional or not? But I said, 'If you want to work with me, this is what it is.'" 

Being a mother, business owner, creative, wife, and individual is A LOT of work but she has found a way that makes it less stressful for her.
"When I live day by day, I can be better prepared for when shit hits the fan. A kid will be sick, and something will go wrong at the store."

How does she think her children feel about her?
"I think they are super proud and super inspired"

Read the complete interview here
You can check out Tran's website here
Follow Tran on Twitter here. 

Teen mom unlawfully deported

Fleeing an abusive husband, dealing with the stress of parenting in an abusive situation, and looking for a better and safer life for her and her son; thats where Lilian was when she came to United States seeking help and a safer place to raise her son.

Unfortunately, what she got was imprisoned with her son for months, chained, forced to strip, and had her child taken away from her after she tried taking her own life.

This is Lilian's story.
A story too many immigrant and teen mom face.

Monday, August 10, 2015

@NLIRH is looking to pay and train 2-3 young parents in NYC

The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is seeking 2-3 young parents under the age of 25 who live in New York City to meet with City Council staff and share their expertise during a briefing designed to learn about the issues impacting young families. NLIRH will provide food, child care, training and transportation at no cost to each participant. Each participant will receive a small honorarium (pay).

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is one of the many organizations I have worked for and I can honestly the media trainings, activist trainings, and over all family love and support I have gotten from them is amazing. 

I encourage you to sign up for this opportunity that offers a small paycheck. 

Application here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Tri State area Pregnant and Parenting Teen Family Portrait Shoot

I am very very excited for this project.
After reading my #NoTeenShame sister's post about how she realizes that there are very little to no photos of her as a pregnant and parenting teen I started thinking about how true that was for me too.

Consuela shares how photo albums are usually meant for happy and proud occasions,
"My family has photo album after photo album of memories that we wanted to remember, but there was so much shame and embarrassment about my pregnancy that we didn’t pull out the Polaroid to memorialize my journey." 

She goes on to expand and say,
"As I think back to that time in my life I am sad that I don’t have pictures to remember my first pregnancy. It wasn’t okay for me to say cheese for pictures and be happy about being pregnant. I was embarrassed when people would stare at me in public… a few times strangers would be so rude with their stares and comments that I would be pissed enough to say “fuck you”, but most of the time I was just ashamed."

I cried reading Consuela's words because they were my reality too. After I was done crying I deiced to do something to change this for other pregnant and parenting teens. So I organized this event for them to be happy and document in photos the beauty of their pregnancy and their early parenting journey.

If you are a pregnant and or parenting teen in the Tri-State area please fill out this interest form. If you know a pregnant and or parenting young person that you think would be interested in this event please forward the form to them.

Together we can give these teen families quality photos that they can be happy about and look back at years from now.

You can send the link too:

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Teen Mom Turned Designer Makes Bikinis To Hide Pregnancy Scars

At 16 years old I looked at my body in the mirror and saw it covered with stretch marks and a body I was not familiar with. I was about 110 pounds before becoming pregnant, about 200 pounds when I gave birth, and I have no idea how much I weighed after giving birth (mostly because I wasn't really worried about my weight but more so other things).

"I'm never wearing a bikini again" I told myself. But that was it. I didn't think about starting my own bathing suit line but another teen mom did.

Altrichia Cook, now 28, felt really discouraged when she was looking for a high waisted bathing suit that would cover up pregnancy related scarring so she started her own line of swimwear.

You can follow her on Instagram, check out her website,  and order a swimsuit via email.

One of the most notable people who have worn her designs is Nicki Minaj!

A photo posted by Cosmopolitan (@cosmopolitan) on

Do not give up on your dreams and aspirations! You could be making swimsuits for celebs one day :) 

Read more about her story via Buzzfeed 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Needing breaks and taking them

Last month was a BUSY month. I was posting the 30DaysOfPositivity here, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and Pinterest and it was A LOT of work so I gave myself a bit of a break.

Leilani and I were also in our last month of homeschooling and life just became a lot and I didn't really know what to say to you all, so I took a break.

I took a break from blogging (still kept writing) and also started to think very intentionally about what I want to do with the blog, how I want to change it, and how I want to upgrade it to be more of the space I want to see it become for all of us.
I'm still working on that part (business plans, calendars, partnerships, and all of that) but all in all I am excited to see how the space will expand, change, and grow for us all.

I took a break, but now I'm back.

Monday, June 1, 2015

#31DaysOfPositivity thoughts

The #31DaysOfPositivity for teen parents is "over". I say "over" because I will aways maintain this space as a positive space for teen parents as long as I can.

Now that the campaign is over I am very glad I did it.
I am glad that not only teen parents saw these messages but that everyone did.

I'm glad everyone saw these messages because they are true, necessary, and important. People reached out to me to tell me that the messages helped them in one way or another. When I was having a bad day (which happens more than people think it would) I would look at one of the images and read the message and think about the words for a while and they helped.

I wanted the messages of these images to reach you, help you, and encourage you in whichever way you needed. I also wanted to present alternative images for teen parents on the Internet since many of them can be very negative.

I hope these images helped.
I hope you share them if you feel the need to.
I hope these messages sink into your thoughts about teen and young families and you begin to change the negative aspects and thoughts you may hold about us.

I want you to ALWAYS remember:


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Friday, May 29, 2015

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Monday, May 25, 2015

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Friday, May 15, 2015

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015

#31DaysOfPositivity day 11

Feel free to share the images and other positive messages for teen parents using #31DaysOfPositivity

read about the month long campaign here.
See past images here.

Teen Moms Need Support, Not Shame via NY Mag

One of my fellow #NoTeenShame mamas, Natasha Vianna, and myself were interviewed for NY Mag| The Cut about teen moms needing support not shame. 

I think it might be one of my favorite interviews... 

When Gloria Malone and Natasha Vianna got pregnant as teens, they thought their lives were over. This is, after all, what many teen pregnancy campaigns suggest. “You think being in school sucks? You know what sucks a lot more? A baby — every 2 hours for feeding time,” reads one ad from the Candie’s Foundation. Another says, “You’re supposed to be changing the world, not changing diapers.”
Over the past 20 years, the teen birth rate has declined almost continuously, but the U.S. has the highest teen pregnancy rates in the developed world. Statistically, teen parents in the U.S. are less likely to finish high school, more likely to experience poverty as adults, and more likely to have kids with poorer behavioral, educational, and health outcomes.  But many teens that become pregnant were already disadvantaged, and the stigma only makes things worse.
Giving birth at 15 and 17 respectively inspired Malone and Vianna to improve the experiences of other teen moms. They founded #noteenshamewith five other teen moms from across the country; and what started as a hashtag has become a larger effort to support teen moms, call out campaigns that traffic in stigma, and provide basic information and support to young parents. In addition to challenging shaming teen-pregnancy-prevention campaigns, founding members also consult with politicians around the country on improving outcomes for teen moms and how to create comprehensive sex ed. Vianna, now 27, gave a TedTalk in 2013, worked with Boston politicians to revise and implement a new policy for parenting students, and is the Digital Communications Manager at the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy. Malone, now 23, has written for the New York Timestaken on Bill O’Reilly, and created a website for teen moms in New York.

Over a three-way call one evening — “one of the perks of interviewing young parents is they’re home on a Friday night,” Malone quipped — they shared their experiences as pregnant and parenting teens, talked about the shame and stigma they’ve worked to overcome, and articulated what needs to change when it comes to teen pregnancy prevention.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Saturday, May 9, 2015