”Hey moms, my name is Krista! I am a 26 year old mother of 3, born and raised in Louisville, Ky. My children's age and names are Journey (9), Kyree (4) and Nazir (under 1). I recently quit a well paying job to pursue my dream career of being coming a nurse. I have a very loving fiancé, we don't currently have a wedding date set because we are focused on chasing our goals first so our family is set.”
RAVEN: When did you become a mom?
KRISTA: Well..... I became a mom at 16 years old and I wouldn't trade the timing for nothing in this world.
RAVEN: What was your first reaction?
KRISTA: My reaction was ohhh sh*t, I have to call Hondie. (Hondie is a big sister to me and is actually Journey's god mommy). My mom said she knew I was pregnant before I told her. I remember her kept asking if my "friend" came in town yet lol because we always would have our monthly visit around the same time.
RAVEN: I myself was a teenage mom and I truly didn’t enjoy my pregnancy due to being young and embarrassed.. What was pregnant like for you?
KRISTA: Being only 16 years old I really didn't pay attention to the way my body was changing during pregnancy. I mean I had the normal morning sickness my first trimester and my boobs actually looked like I had some. *laughs out loud* Pregnancy wasn't so bad. I did hate when older women would stare at me or say "little girl you're a baby having a baby.” Ugh that grind my gears, but I would just smile and say "I know, I know" when in all reality I wanted to tell them "mind they business". There was another time when I was out of town and I got in a jacuzzi (not realizing I was boiling the baby). I didn't feel her move the remainder of the trip, she finally start moving on our way back home.
RAVEN: Were you a single mom? If so what was it like for you being young?
RAVEN: Was I a single mother.... *laughs out loud* there was definitely no ring on my finger, but I guess her father and I were off and on like any normal 16 &18 year old couples. I did have our daughter majority of the time because we did not live together of course and because I'm mama and we always make sacrifices. Being a mom so young would probably discourage a lot of people and I tell you people definitely lose faith in you. My dad cut me off, I had so many people telling me that my mom was going to have my child more than me, or I wasn't going to graduate and I just made my life so much more harder. The naysayers were definitely wrong. I went to TAPP (teenage parenting program) School, graduated with 3.9 GPA. I rarely asked people to watch my daughter, when my daughter was gone, it was because people wanted her. She only went with a small group of people that I trusted.
RAVEN: What was the biggest challenge for you being a teen mom?
KRISTA: The biggest challenge of being a teen mom was watching my friends enjoy their teenage years. I didn't get to hang out after prom, it was go to prom then go home to baby. I didn't get to go to Florida for spring break, it was go to work so I could provide for my child. While it was a challenge to have to watch and hear about all the fun that I was missing, I quickly snapped back into reality because my whole life I really never had a childhood. Before I even became a "real" mom, I did most of the motherly duties with my little sister, that is why I was so prepared to make the bed I decided to lay in!
RAVEN: I’m a big advocate for teen parents.. Do you ever think about giving back to the teen parent
KRISTA: I constantly think about giving back to the teenage mom community. I honestly just don't know where to begin! I can say that after being on the MTV documentary back in 2010 about being a teen mom and going to T.A.P.P I received hundreds of friend request and inbox messages that I actually responded to one at a time. I gave real and raw advise and still to this day I will freely and openly talk to any young teenager who is a mom. Being in that documentary presented many opportunities and one was going to speak to a social work class every year at U of L. I told my story for the last 5 years over and over to a group of students pursuing a career in social work. If you know any teen mom who needs a positive spirit in their life I am totally available and honored to that!
RAVEN: How did becoming a mom at a young age change you?
KRISTA: Becoming a teen mom not only changed me positively but it also saved me. My daughter Journey saved me. I was so lost, had low self esteem and was suicidal like crazy. I didn't feel loved, my biological father wasn't in my life (he decided to come when I was 18), I had daddy issues, I've experienced everything a young child/girl shouldn't have had to experience and I wanted to give up. I didn't want to live and yes I did try to end all of my pain and depression. When I found out I was pregnant it enlightened me, it gave me a reason. I knew I could give this little human-being love and a life I never had but always wanted. Being a teen mom made me push harder, beat every odd stacked against me and experience a love that I knew existed.
RAVEN: Do you feel it prepared you for your other children?
KRISTA: Being a teen mom did not prepare me for my other children, as I mentioned earlier my little sister prepared me. I was eight when she was born and I was doing her hair, helping her with home work, baby sitting her and to top it off most of the times when I went to spend the night with my friends she was coming with me. Being a teen mom did allow me to pay attention to all my other pregnancies. Each time I noticed something different about the pregnancy and I learned how my patience and maturity level increased from 16 to 22 to 26.
RAVEN: What’s one thing you’ve overcome being a mom?
KRISTA: Being a mom I have overcame many obstacles but the greatest was the lack of self love I had. Being a mom allows me to love myself and take care of myself so much harder now because a mother figure to me told me a long time ago "I can possibly take care of anyone else, if I can't take care of myself" and that was in all aspects. I have learned what not to do with my children based on how my upbringing was and I don't fully blame my mother because she had a rough childhood herself. I decided to break the cycle instead of repeat it.
RAVEN: If you could encourage one teen mom.. What would you say to her?
KRISTA: If I could encourage one teen mom I would tell her not to give up. It's not going to be easy but keep striving. Love herself and know that her child(ren) are looking up to her. Don't be apart of the statistic status-quo, prove to them that you are capable and that being a mom so young did not happen by accident.