Teen moms at UH overcome stereotypes, stigma
Shows like “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” can lead many to believe that all teenage girls who give birth at a young age live a life full of turmoil. Contrary to popular belief, many of these teenagers go on to lead successful lives — even if MTV likes to show otherwise.
“People should realize that every situation is different,” said health junior Jessy Mai. “Not every person is the same, and painting with such a broad brush is sometimes not the best way to go through life.”
For example, biology freshman Ferdonna Crossgrove became pregnant at 14 and gave birth to her son at 15. While some may look down upon her and her past, she overcame her struggle and the obstacles that were put in her way. She graduated in the top 10 percent of her high school class and is now a student at UH.
Young women might find themselves in similar shoes as Crossgrove. When asked to give advice to someone who finds themselves in her position, Crossgrove said, “Do not use your baby as an excuse. Use it as motivation.” Crossgrove is one to take her own advice. Although some would beg for sympathy, she does not. Every day, she is motivated to succeed to make a better life for her and her child.
It is truly inspirational; and Crossgrove is a great role model for us to look up to because she is defying stereotypes every day as a hard-working 18-year-old with a 4-year-old son.
“In general, I don’t like to make assumptions on stereotypes,” said chemical engineering freshman Sydnee Landry. “I’ve never understood why there is an assumption that the only teen moms are girls that had a ton of sex with a bunch of different guys.”
Landry brings up a valid point. Those who do have multiple sex partners at a young age are not always viewed negatively. However, if a young, unknowing and sometimes unwilling girl gets pregnant, she is a menace to society and has no morals.
There is something disturbing about our society in that we are so quick to judge, yet so slow to think.
On the show “Teen Mom,” the majority of young mothers’ issues are magnified and sometimes embellished to make for good television. What is not shown is the amount of success and triumph these mothers accomplish. As a whole, most of the cast members of “Teen Mom” are actually good mothers and are providing for their children in an appropriate manner. Although growing up in a mansion in Beverly Hills to two successful entrepreneurs may be the most desirable situation – overall, the only main requirement of a parent should be to love their child. There is no doubt that all the cast members of “Teen Mom” love their children and will do anything to make them happy.
Although parenting a child at such a young age is not the easiest thing in the world, Crossgrove lives by the motto “where there is a will, there is a way.” She encourages others to find support from their family or friends. Support can go a long way in a teen mother’s life.
Pre-pharmacy freshman Shay Zakaria attended high school with a close friend who became pregnant at the age of 17.
“One thing she said to me was that even though it is a lot of work, it can be very rewarding and a lot of fun.”
The majority of young mothers actually have their lives together by the time their child is born, when the responsibility of parenthood hits and their maternal instincts kick in. Young mothers are just like any other mothers — they provide for their child in every way they can and ensure their security.
Judging others by their past will not help their situation — once a child is born, nothing can change. That young girl will always be a mother, no matter what is said, and she will try her best to take care of the child. Teen moms can become great inspirations; they show that no matter what comes their way, they will fight stereotypes, pull through and fight to succeed.
Opinion columnist Blake Mudd is a journalism freshman and may be reached at [email protected]