“This cycle stops with me”

This cycle stops with me

Lali Loyola

My grandma found out she was pregnant at 17 and had her first child at 18.

   My mom found out she was pregnant at 20 and had her first child at 21.

   This cycle stops with me.

   When my grandma got pregnant and married at 18, it was no surprise to her family members. All her sisters had gotten pregnant and married young.

   “When I was young, I knew I would have kids at an early age. My mom had done it, my cousins, and all my friends were having families early.”

   My grandma remembers her friends going through the same experiences as her.

   “All the girls in my neighborhood were married young. My kids played with theirs.”

   My grandma had seven kids, and it was all seen as normal.

   However, my grandma said that even though it might not have been the best choice, she would not have made a different one.

   “I knew that was what my life would be. I knew I would get married and have kids young. I didn’t see it as I see it now. Being such a young mom was stressful. I didn’t finish school, so all my time went into them and into work. When I had my kids, it was hard, but I knew it was coming. ”

   By the early 2000s, teen pregnancy became taboo.

   Growing up, my mom said she didn’t see many teen girls pregnant.

   “Growing up as a teen, I heard about how bad it was to get pregnant as a teen, especially if you weren’t married when you had your first kid. I understand that it’s meant for some people, but for me it wasn’t something I wanted. My mom always advised me not to and even though I was an adult when I had my first kid, I was still very young.”

   My mom explained how she didn’t plan to get pregnant young; it was a surprise to her.

   “When the pregnancy test came back positive, it shocked me. I never thought it would happen. I was so scared to tell my mom because I knew that she didn’t want that for me. I knew my life would change.”

   And it did.

   My mom stopped going to parties and worked a lot more than she used to. She worked two jobs, and most of the money she made went to provide for me.

   My mom said, “I watched all my friends continue to go to parties while I stayed home. They continued to work part time and just have fun. I had to work full time and limit all those things. I don’t regret having my daughter, but I wish I had been older and a lot more prepared. I wish I had chosen a better person to have a child with. I wish I had time to save up money and be mentally ready for the exhaust that followed after having a child.”

   Growing up with a single young mom, I didn’t see her much. She was always working long hours to provide for my siblings and me. It was hard, but I knew it was necessary.

   “I didn’t get help from my baby’s father, so I worked very long hours every day. I came home every day extremely tired. I was lucky to have my mom and my siblings to help me with my kid. My family never hesitated to help take care of her and watch her whenever I worked or when they knew I had to rest.”  

   Since I was very young, I knew I didn’t want the same life as my mother and grandma. I didn’t want to work long hours and have regrets with how I lived my life. I want to go to college, get a degree, and be financially stable before the thought of children comes to my mind.

   I am going to break this cycle; not just for me, but also for them.