16 million babies each year are engineered by teen mothers
But lets look a little smaller
Girls who annually contrive babies to life in the United States
But lets divide that number down further
Adolescent girls whose lives become defined by a child in the state of California alone
But once more lets focus in even smaller
One Athena Young.
Standing slightly over 5 feet tall, with chocolate kissed skin shelling her strong build and a wide white smile full of joyous laughter that covers convincingly that which you would only know if you asked her: that she is a teen mother whose heart and soul has sufficiently suffered.
Perhaps from birth she didn’t stand a chance
Pushed out of the womb to a path of dissonance between success and endurance
A low class family whose glance rests not on her best advance but on their personal pleasure
So on they prance leaving her alone at night to fend for her own life.
And as she navigates this path she is stopped in a trance of seemingly endless romance
That swept her up into a dance that waltzed whimsically one night to her bedroom where she let this boy advance into her pants.
And that once seemingly endless romance crash lands as he implants into her the blow that log jams her path of success and sling shots her to side of endurance.
Fraught and distraught because she was never taught how to not by the people who brought her into the world
Or maybe to spite the strife they have placed in her life because as words from her sorrowed soul said “its when you don’t care about disappointing someone that bad things happen”…
And happen they did as we bid goodbye to the boy who didn’t try to be a father to his joy and pride or a husband to a bride
But instead strode out of sight with a gun at his side to a land that didn’t care whether he lived or he died because he refused to stay true to the girl tangled in his tango.
Left her glued to a growing womb
A single struggling parent, seclusion and confusion in raising a brilliant baby girl in this wicked world she had not yet navigated herself.
And grades started to drop as her life was dragged and dropped to 4 different spots within 3 sun cycle slots.
She said if only they had known that chaos that was going on at home
And the baby that was growing then they could have shown her grace and love…
But they would soon know and throw her out with doubt that she could complete courses while her veins coursed with blood to flood nutrients to nourish her new fetus.
No comfortable home.
A lack of understanding left her with no friends to call her own.
No potential for preferential favor on this jagged darkening path too well known.
When suddenly a light landed and handed her a second chance to better advance
To move past her heart-break romance
Her families abstinence,
Her friends distance,
Her schools disinterest.
What was this glorious light?
The alternative high school Mark Twain,
Provided shelter in the acid rain of isolation and pain,
Tamed the sinister storm that reigned and splayed her life into disarray.
For Shanti, a beautifully big-eyed bubbly baby,
Twain gave certain shelter and care from an elder so health could bury deep and fester while her mother, her positive protector, could center on gaining a degree that in theory will better their cumulative future.
But perhaps the hill to highlight is the hunk of hamlet handed to her.
A gallant group of life-giving girls, warrior women who baked and bore and breathed life into children.
Allowing her alienating anomie to be history by fulfilling her need for meaningful community. People who can share relating stories of baby daddy drama, family problems, baby progress. They understood and gave value to a valiant victor whose violent world had previously brought her bitter.
There was room to be a mother,
And room to be just another teenager
A people that taught her to lead her daughter to grow up with honor of her soul’s armor so the similar story would not cycler any further.
And her giving advice to her fellow friends raising soon to be men to avoid the vice she strides against, to teach their boys “to not leave the girl”, striving and fighting to brighten the bleak world that they are no longer merely surviving but thriving in with the aid of the high school who looks past the “normal” and “socially acceptable” and to the broken and vulnerable.
Now she sits.
The degree her hands will soon hold.
The college campus her calloused feet will soon conquer.
Seeing her dreams of being a military general driving down the street towards reality
Thanks to the inspiring community.
One Athena Young.
One out of 16 million moms
Whose once overcast life has forever been spun to the ever-brightening sun
By a school that showed her love and
By friendships that fought to rise above.