brittanyMy name is Brittnay and I am the mother of a 4 ½ year old daughter named Kamariah. For the past five years of my life I have gone through a lot. At the age of 13 I met the guy of my dreams, or so I thought.

When I met the father of my daughter I was head over heels for him. We were in true love and we did everything together. We hung out at the park, went to the movies, out to dinner, etc. Although we were young we still had a good, fun relationship.

After three months of dating I found I was pregnant. I was scared. I had no idea what to do and neither did my boyfriend. He and I decided not to tell anyone until the time was right. We both agreed to keep silent until we felt more comfortable about the shocking news.

When I was three months pregnant my boyfriend changed and he started to hit me and yell at me. I knew at just 13 that what he was doing wasn’t right, but I loved him so much that I thought he would sooner or later change because we were going to become parents. However, the physical violence became more severe. As I turned 14 I thought I was obligated to stay with him. At 6 months pregnant our families found out about the pregnancy and they were hurt and disappointed. Our families had no idea we were having sex. Through the rest of my pregnancy my boyfriend continues to be physically, emotionally and verbally abusive. I was in denial as I just didn’t believe that he would want to harm me or his baby. To our families the beatings were another secret. No one knew about it and I was ashamed that I allowed it to happen.

On April 23, 2009 I gave birth to my beautiful, healthy daughter Kamariah Renae’. It was the happiest day of my young life. After the birth of our daughter, when the abuse continued, I finally had the strength to say “enough is enough” and we broke up.

As of today, I’m a 19 year old single mom. I am not working yet, but I attend school at Roosevelt High School and am going to graduate in the fall! Life sometimes is rough but I have 100% support from my family, friends, teachers, my caseworker from Easter Seals and from my MELD group leader…Terry Lynch. I have been attending the MELD high school group since I was a freshman at Auburn High School. I went from being young and naïve, to one of the informal leaders in group. Over the past five year I have learned to really focus on the needs of my child. I know that it’s good that I ask lots of questions. And I have lots of ideas on how I am going to help Kamariah as she enters kindergarten next year. I also am learning that in order to be a good mom, I have to take care of my own needs too. The MELD program has helped me and taught me how to be the best young mother I can be. Terry has always believed in and encouraged me. I know that Kamariah and I have great things ahead of us!

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