maria-with-santaHi, my name is Maria and I am twenty years old and I have a four year old daughter named Maria Isabel. Being a teen mom was scary and hard. I was only fifteen when I got pregnant and I was afraid to tell my mother because I felt like I had failed her.

My daughter’s father was older than me, and initially he took care of me when I found I was pregnant. He was present at the birth of Little Maria and we lived with him. I was sixteen when she was born, and after her birth I did not return to high school as the baby’s dad wanted me to stay home and take care of her.   I became isolated from my family and friends. One day when my daughter was 5 months old her dad went to work…and never came home. He left me and our baby in our apartment with no food, water, electricity, heat. After a few days my mom came to check on me, saw what had happened and had me move back in with her. At first I was so upset that I didn’t want to eat or hold my daughter. With time I began to focus on what my daughter and I needed.

After a year I resumed school at Roosevelt Alternative High School and my daughter attended the day care there. I started attending the weekly Parenting Group which MELD has at Roosevelt as well as the school sponsored early childhood program. Now I am trying very hard to earn the credits I need to graduate and I am hoping to eventually be able to have a good job, a car and live in my own home…me and my precious daughter.

Being a teen mom was so hard…but my daughter has made me the person I am today. I thank God for giving me the strength to keep going and not give up, and for sending me my beautiful little girl who I love with all my heart. I also thank Terry from MELD (who leads the Roosevelt Parenting Group) for helping me set goals and for encouraging me to keep going, for listening to me, for being there for me when I needed her. What I love about the MELD group is that we can trust one another and we can talk about what it is really like as a teen mom. I can give younger moms ideas about raising babies, as I learn how to handle a preschooler. I would love to see my Little Maria complete college and become a successful woman.

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