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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           "Icame from an affluent family and getting pregnant at 16 was something you just didn't do."
--Apryl D. Roberts


Apryl Roberts was 16 and just experimenting with sex with her first boyfriend when she found out she was pregnant. Pregnancy wasn't in this honors student's plans, yet suddenly she had to deal with it without losing sight of her own goals for the future.

MY LIFE BEFORE PREGNANCY When I got pregnant at 16, I was a junior in high school and enrolled in all honors classes. I took piano lessons; I was involved in the pageant circuit, and I worked in the guidance office at my public high school. My mother was very protective, but I felt smothered. I wanted to experience things for myself.

By then, I had my first boyfriend, who was three years older than me. We were "in love." I had dreams of going to college and law school. But before I knew it, I ended up pregnant. He didn't pressure me at all. I was just wanted to know what sex was like. We were using the pull-out method, and, of course, that didn't work.

DURING PREGNANCY When I found out I was pregnant, I was scared to tell my mother, so I hid my pregnancy for six months. During that time, I looked into abortion, but my boyfriend and I were on the fence about it. One morning, my mother asked me if I was pregnant. I had been gaining weight, and my cousin had brought that to my mother's attention. When I confessed, it was such a relief.

My mother took me to an abortion clinic, but I was too far along to get an abortion in Virginia, where I live. It was still an option in Philadelphia or New York, but when they explained the procedure in the second trimester of pregnancy, I said, "No, I'm not going to do that." I knew I couldn't live with myself. My mother understood, but at the same time, she was upset. She didn't talk to me for two months. It was my step dad who drove me to my doctor's appointments. My boyfriend was supportive as well.

The toughest part was dealing with it at school. Administrators wanted me to go to an alternative school for pregnant girls. But the curriculum at that school was more focused on parenting classes rather than the accelerated classes I had been taking. So I stayed at the school I had been attending. There was one other student there who was pregnant, so I didn't feel alone. But at the same time, it was awkward. Some of the teachers and students came right out and asked me, "Why did you get pregnant? What were you thinking? Why weren't you thinking?" But I just kept doing what I had to do.

My pregnancy was smooth, so I didn't miss any school because of it, except for the last week of my junior year to give birth to my son, Avion. I had a natural childbirth because my mother wouldn't sign off on the epidural. I was a still a minor, so it was up to her. She wanted me to experience the pain of labor, which was bad. That experience definitely made me think, From now on, we're using birth control. I went to school a week later to take my final exams. Having the summer off was helpful because it gave me the chance to adjust to being a teen mom. Right after Avion was born, my boyfriend joined the army.

Next: Life After Pregnancy

 

AFTER PREGNANCY I was determined to finish high school, still go to college and take care of my baby, so I got a part-time job at a Dairy Queen and went back to school for my senior year. My mother wanted me to experience motherhood, so she made it clear that she wasn't going to get up in the middle of the night to take care of my baby. My aunt ran a daycare center out of her home, and she didn't live far from my school, so that's where Avion went during the day. My boyfriend sent money from his army paycheck to help pay for daycare.

At night, Avion would either be with my Mom or with my boyfriend's family. They pitched in with babysitting. It was hard, though. Avion was colicky and developed bronchitis, which meant lots of trips to the doctor. I was truly tired, but I only missed one or two days of school because Avion was sick.

I graduated on time with honors and started going to college locally, which was even harder because college is a lot more work. At one point, I had to cut back with college and go only part time while working full-time as an administrative assistant for my uncle, who was an attorney for a local record label. At this company, I started helping them put on their corporate events and entertain clients. I found I had a knack for this sort of thing.

I never resented the baby, but I did begin to second-guess myself and wonder if I was ever going to finish school and accomplish my goals. When Avion was 2, I broke up with his father, who had gotten kicked out of the army. I needed to be with someone who was ambitious because I had lots of things I wanted to do. I needed to be with someone more proactive.

After graduating from college with a degree in political science, I started working at an insurance company as a claims adjuster. Meanwhile, I tried to make Avion's life as normal as possible. He went to private school and was in all honors classes, just like I had been. On the weekends, I kept him busy with football and visits to the library. By the time he was 10, I got married to another man and had a baby girl.

Until then, the other parents at Avion's school thought I was his sister because I looked so young. I struggled a lot with whether to tell them that I had been a teen mom because I worried they'd assume I was promiscuous or that I came from a low-income area, both of which weren't true. But being a teen mom carries a stigma.

TODAY I am divorced and own my own event design and public relations company, Memorable Events by Apryl, which specializes in creative and memorable private and corporate affairs. Avion is 19 and going to college full-time, majoring in criminal justice. He plans to apply to the police academy in December. He also works full-time and has his own apartment. He still has contact with his father even though his father wasn't around much at all when he was growing up despite the fact that we've always lived in the same city.

LOOKING BACK Having a child so young forced me to grow up quickly. I wish I would have waited to be in a serious relationship and dated more, gone on trips and had the chance to go to movies, dances, and parties -- all those fun things you do when you're in high school and college.

At 36, I don't feel the urge to make up for lost time, but I know I missed out on a lot because I had to stay home and be a mother. With Avion, I've worked on having a more open relationship than I had with my own mother. I want him to feel like he can tell me anything about sex, peer pressure, and dating. I've never tried to hide my experiences. I tell him that I don't regret having him because I believe it brought me to where I am today. "But if you can wait to become a parent," I tell him, "please do."

 

 

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Comment by www.jaxsprats.com on March 27, 2011 at 7:18pm
Comment by Delores A. Ramkisson on March 21, 2011 at 8:21pm
This is a great life story for "Teenagers" all over the  world. Apryl's yours  was succcessful because you were ambitious and had your goals intact and you came from strong  family values. Most girl's do not listen to their mother's when they are a teenager, so sometimes life experiences is the best "Teacher." 
Comment by tomikasmith on March 21, 2011 at 3:19pm

GOD BLESS YOU I WAS ALSO AN TEEN MOM..... JUST LIKE YOU I TURNNED OUT GOOD MY DAUGHTER IS NOW 18..I UNDERSTOOD EVERYTHING U WAS TALKING ABOUT. YA MOTHER ON HOW SHE MADE YOU GO THREW BEING A MOM .MY MOTHER DID THE SAME TO ME.. JUST WANNA SAY GOD JOB. AND YES TEEN MOMS CAN MAKE IT.. ONE THING DIFF I WAS 14 WHEN I HAD MY DAUGHTER WOW RIGHT..I OWN MY OWN DAYCARE AND MY DAUGHTER IN SCHOOL TO BECOME A NURSE..

Comment by george on March 21, 2011 at 9:46am

too much to read, SOOOOO WHATTTT!   16 years old is old for p.r's, i would say dam to 13 or 14, well if you can make on your own at 16 with baby and no (low life}baby daddy present then you deserve a medal and a g.e.d.

i blame the school for teaching sex ed at an earlier year,of course we all are curious of all sexual activity with creative thought on what other ways to get off.

Comment by paula bowman on March 21, 2011 at 8:05am
Good for you, thanks for sharing.
Comment by steffie on March 20, 2011 at 8:30pm
WONDERFUL TEEN MOM HAD TO GROW UP REAL FAST. IT'S A LIFE LESSON FOR ALL THESES CHANGES OUT THERE THAT PURPOSELY TRYING TO GET PREGNANT, READ THIS STORY. FORTUNATELY FOR HER IT TURN OUT WELL, SHE HAD SOME SUPPORT BUT IT WAS STILL HAD FOR HER. ENJOY YOUR TEENAGE YEARS BECAUSE ONCE ITS GONE IT'S GONE. I'M GLAD IT WORKS OUT WELL FOR HER FAMILY.
Comment by Lemara Tone on March 20, 2011 at 6:34pm
well done girl u made it.  its not too late to go to movies, dances, and parties.  look bac and smile. excellent
Comment by Shannon Richards on March 20, 2011 at 5:38pm
I commend you on your hard work and determination
Comment by Neville Fraser on March 20, 2011 at 4:28pm

Apryl !Your mother tried, but most time girls think they know it all. You have to experience life challenges good and bad for yourself. I hope you are not angry with your mother for your mistake. As you said your mother was protective, meaning she is always concern about you. Trying to explain to you what you should or should not do.

Maybe you rebel and wonder why she is always on your case. You have a son all grown up now. I bet you understand what your moter was trying to impart to you.

In spite of all the challenges you take on your own you came out with your head held high, for that i am proud of you. I guess if you have the chance to do it over again. You would not compromise your  whole life for sex. Not going nowhere. Guys will always be there

Comment by Jennifer Ardis on March 20, 2011 at 3:57pm
That is deep Apryl , I know how u feel about having a no good mother  Cause I have one too ,  i'm now going on 28 and I have 5 children 4 boys an 1 girl . I was the same way with having sex @ an early age of 15 but got pregnant @ 18 due to being Date raped  that is how I got my 1st Son Kenneth ..  After having him I met this suppose to be nice guy who i was with For 8yrs but that relationship was on and off and he was violent towards me and 2 of my children our young son and my oldest son . My 3rd Dayquwan is not his but he raised  him . Now that We have a Daughter I have to be strong strict but ferm with her and protective but not so overboard  . See with my Sons I'm Hard but understanding and Like you said I talk to My oldest since he is 8 now ,Their Sister is still a baby so I got time But thank you for your Story I'ma Save it too so My Children can read & understand it too .

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