For many women, when we are taught the birds and the bees, there is one message that is emphasized over and over again. The only acceptable way of being a parent is when your married. Having a child outside of wedlock is unacceptable and scandalous. It is even worse when your still a child yourself.
According to reporting from the CDC, approximately 195,000 babies were born to teenage mothers in 2017. Many of these girls are black and brown, and come from families and neighborhoods that are already underserved. Back in the late 90’s, activist and writer Nicole Lynn Lewis was a young lady with a bright future ahead of her. Then she got pregnant and her plans as she knew them to be forever changed. Determined to attend college in spite of the challenges of poverty, homelessness, and the responsibility of being a parent, she had a goal of earning her degree. Her newly published memoir, Pregnant Girl: A Story of Teen Motherhood, College, and Creating a Better Future for Young Families is not just her story. It is the story of many girls whose experiences are similar to that of the author’s.
I loved this book. What is different about this memoir is that Ms. Lewis is also teaching her readers about the stigmas and added levels of anxiety that come with parenthood before the age of twenty. She is throwing down the gauntlet, asking on both a person and societal level to question if this treatment of young parents is fair. What I find inspiring is that instead of throwing herself a pity party, the author did everything she could to not just help herself, but help others in the same situation.
Do I recommend it? Yes.