Teen Moms Share Stories, Bust Myths in Outreach Program
by Samantha Wright
May 24, 2012 | 1453 views | 1 1 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<b>TEEN MOMS</b> – Hulita Delacruz, Ana Nieto, Asia Broughton and Maria Navarro from the Passages Charter School in Montrose shared their stories with Ouray Middle School students. (Photo by Samantha Wright)
TEEN MOMS – Hulita Delacruz, Ana Nieto, Asia Broughton and Maria Navarro from the Passages Charter School in Montrose shared their stories with Ouray Middle School students. (Photo by Samantha Wright)
OURAY – You could have heard a pin drop, as four teenage mothers from Montrose gathered to tell their stories to a room full of eighth graders at Ouray School earlier this month.

Their recurrent theme: “My parents never talked to me about sex or birth control.”

These girls were now on a mission to break that cycle, talking to the assembled students about sex, birth control, and the gritty details of birth, motherhood and anatomy in an open, frank way that would make your average teenager die of embarrassment.

Morning sickness. Episiotomies. Placentas. Ripped labia. Blood loss. Stretch marks. Scars. Baby blues. Nothing was taboo.

“I was so scared I kept squeezing my legs together until my mom told me to stop, that I could suffocate my baby,” teen mom Hulita Delacruz recalled of her birth experience. “It was so hard to do, I just wanted to quit.” After the birth, Delacruz went on, “I didn’t stop bleeding for about two months. My body sagged. I hated it. And my boobs leaked for ever.”

As for Ana Nieto, “The worst part was when I had to go to the restroom (after giving birth),” she said. “It stung so bad, like thousands of bees were stinging me. This was the worst experience I’ve been through.”

The young mothers, who attend the Passages Charter School in Montrose, do outreach to middle schools and high schools throughout the region to spread the message that parenthood is tough, and that it’s important for teens to use birth control, should they decide to become sexually active.

And, they all stressed, the most effective means of birth control is abstinence.

“If other people around you are having sex, you may feel pressure, because everyone else is doing it,” one of the girls said. “Having unprotected sex one or two times can change your life forever.”

Interestingly, none of the young mothers had considered adoption or abortion. And three of the four are still in relationships with the fathers of their babies.

“We’re loving and caring with each other and most important, we have patience with each other,” Nieto said. “He is a really good boyfriend and dad. But we aren’t the perfect couple; we have our ups and downs but we make it through. For example, he goes out and gets drunk and comes home really late. It gets me really mad and sad. We argue about this all the time; I know he’s really young and everything, but he has a family now, and he has to make better choices.”

The outreach program is an integral part of the Passages Charter School curriculum. The school provides onsite daycare so teen moms (and in a few cases, dads) can complete their education. There are 32 students currently enrolled. The primary goal of the school is “no second pregnancies,” said teacher Anna Adams.

Without Passages, the four girls said, they would have dropped out long ago. Now, they all have clear career paths in front of them. Three of the four who visited Ouray School are taking part in a concurrent enrollment program to become Certified Nursing Assistants by the time they graduate from high school.

Ultimately, their message was a positive one. Each girl had been on a self-destructive path prior to becoming pregnant. Now, they all say that in spite of the hardships, becoming a parent has given them a sense of purpose and importance.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m not the same person, but I’m changing for the better,” said Maria Navarro, who became pregnant when she was only 14 and is now planning to become a doctor. “I can’t tell you not to have sex, but if you’re gonna have sex, take precautions and think about your future and goals. Are you willing to give up part of your life, just to have unsafe sex?”
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June 01, 2012
Cudos to all these young women for sharing thier stories and for not glossing over the gritty details of becoming and being moms.

I am a labor and delivery RN at Montrose. We see so many very young moms who have no idea what is in store for them when they become mothers. They are woefully uninformed about labor and delivery as well as caring for thier infants. They have not recieved education about the labor process, pain managment or infant care and feeding. They often have not even thought about these things by the time labor begins and when we ask thier plans they look questioningly at thier mothers to answer for them. It was striking that these young ladies families never spoke to them about the facts of life nor did they learn them in school. I wonder what options were discussed after they became pregnant.

Abstinence is the only sure way of avoiding conception but it is unrealistic to believe that teens will give up sex. That is why sex education and access to birth control is crucial! Kids need to understand that it is never safe to have unprotected sex. Not even once. They deserve to know what all thier options are and how use whatever option they choose.

In the event that there is an unintended pregnancy, the values and beliefs of a womens family will have the greatest effect on her choices, especially once she is unable to keep the pregnancy secret by which time options become more limited.

Personally,I support full choice for women. Since for many people abortion is not an option, I wish that aboption was given greater honor as a brave and generous choice for those not ready to be parents. It is a most beautiful gift!

Passages, the charter school mentioned in the artical is a huge asset to teen moms and is one of several resources available for education and support in our area. Other helpful programs include The Nurse Family Partnership,WIC and The Follow up program and prenatal classes at MMH DCMH. Still,the women and thier families must put a value on being informed and put forth the effort to access support.

Thank you ladies for bringing this important and life changing subject to these young people! I hope it really opens eyes. Best to all of you.