Being a teen mom is a challenge, especially if a teen is a single mother raising her child. According to the CDC, the rates of teen pregnancy have been steadily declining since 1991, but it still does happen often that a teenager falls pregnant and decides to have the child. The rates of teen pregnancy in the US are higher than in other Western countries, and the experiences of teens as they navigate this difficult period in their lives have been explored through TV shows and social media.
While in the past, only television shows such as “16 And Pregnant” used to show a single side to teen pregnancy, today, social media has played a huge role in shedding light on how young people deal with the circumstances they are put in. Unfortunately, a stigma still surrounds anyone who becomes a teen parent, so many people are using their platform to show that they are more than just their identity as a teenager who had a child.
One such person is Ava King, a 16-year-old who is already a mother of two. King is from Marion, Indiana, and she first became pregnant when she was only 13 years old. She is currently a single mom to her children, and she shared her story on the Youtube channel “Truly.” Even for an adult who is fully employed, juggling two children can be a huge undertaking, so for King to take care of her kids as a teen is certainly commendable.
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According to the description of the Youtube video, King first become pregnant when she was just 13 and gave birth to her son Jordan in February 2020. She first came to know about the signs of her pregnancy after her period stopped coming, and initially, she tried to hide it from her parents. However, her mother noticed that something was not right when King no longer asked for sanitary products. King’s mother asked her to take a pregnancy test, and both of them waited nervously for the results. When it came out to be positive, King’s family all came together to support her through her challenges.
However, by August 2020, she found out that she was pregnant once more, and this caused her a lot of trauma. “The second pregnancy was the most traumatic experience of my life. I just sat and cried, I could cope with one child, but the thought of having another one was devastating,” she said in her interview with Truly. She was 15 years old when she gave birth to her daughter Avaya in May 2021. Through both of her pregnancies, her family stuck by her and has continued to help raise her children as well.
King uses her Youtube account and Instagram page to share her journey as a teen mom with others. Despite all her hard work in raising her kids and trying to be the best mother she can be, King still faces a lot of criticism. The reality of her situation also makes it difficult for her sometimes. “Regular girls my age, they’ll babysit and they can give the kids back to their moms at the end of the day,” King said, “Well I can’t do that, I have these kids 24/7, and it’s really hard to adapt to that.”
As for King’s parents, her mother Tiffany expressed in the video below that she had genuine concern and worry for her daughter when she found out about her pregnancies and even questioned her own competence as a parent. She also added that people judged her for being a bad mother and “allowing” her daughter’s teen pregnancy to happen — and she strongly disagrees with all of their judgments.
King has a good support system, however, as her mother and step-father Marqees, as well as her siblings, have all pitched in to take care of her children. While this one story shows the power of familial solidarity after a young teen faces incredible challenges, comments under the video were quick to chime in saying that teen pregnancy should not be glamorized.
User Klara Hopkins wrote, “Let’s not glamorize child pregnancy. Embracing motherhood & being at presumed peace with a life-altering decision is one thing. But after the first time, you’d think this mother or family would further educate their daughter on contraceptives & seek outside help if faced with resistance?. It just isn’t reasonable in my eyes – to have a child, as a child.”
Another user had much harsher words, however, “Her mom dresses like a teenager. Her stepdad looks young enough to be her mom’s son. I’m not surprised this happened. And they clearly have money. This is the exception to teen pregnancy. Most teen parents do not have the support and money from their families. This is not normal. She needs to stop trying to normalize teen pregnancy and use her YouTube platform to educate young teenagers on safe sex and the challenges and sacrifices of teen pregnancy.”