My Journey as a Teen Mom
There’s always going to be different ideas and mistaken beliefs about being a teen mom, but if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that it’s truly not an easy experience to go through.
Becoming a mother at the stage where you’re only beginning to figure out your own life is almost like doing double time because you realize that you now have to think and cater for not only yourself but also your child. However, with time, it slowly becomes easier.
Here’s how my journey as a teen mom has been and the experiences that have gone on to shape my early adulthood years.
Becoming a mother for the first time at 18.
I found out I was pregnant and expecting a baby girl in October 2009. At that time, I was still in high school, working as a dance teacher at a local dance studio and participating in beauty pageants too. In fact, I realized my due date was only two weeks after my High school graduation. Pregnancy isn’t the simplest piece of news to get as it is, especially if you were a teenager like I was.
I decided to keep the baby, and eventually, my daughter, Lilia, was born in June 2010. It was only a few months down the line that my then boyfriend, Gabe, and I decided to part ways. It was not only a confusing time of my life, but also a pretty lonely one. My body had undergone a lot of changes, I was a new college student, and I really was unsure where my life was heading. Top it all, I had to raise a kid while being just a kid myself!
Using my YouTube channel to tell my story.
I’d launched my YouTube channel, originally GabeandJesss - now JesssFam, after finding out I was pregnant. It was going to be my own way of telling my story the way I’d like it to be told, documenting memories, and helping out other teen moms like me. Little did I know at that point that I’d be running it for over 11 years, or that I’d document my family’s story on it, or even have six more kids. It’s been a gift getting to connect with other women with similar stories, and I’m more than glad that I started it when I did.
Getting pregnant again, still a teenager.
When my daughter was around 6 months old, I reconnected with a guy I knew from high school, whom I eventually married. Then at 19, I found out I was pregnant. Again. This time, I was having twin boys. However, about 5 months into the pregnancy, the marriage abruptly ended. He cheated on me. I saw it with my own eyes coming home early from a college class one night. I separated from my husband and gave birth to my twin boys in March of 2012. Again, I was left without a partner to help raise my kids. I had friends and my mom, who is my rock, help me here and there through the months, but raising 3 kids without the help of a significant other is more difficult than anyone could imagine, on so many levels. Keep in mind, I was still only 20 years old at this point and trying to figure out what my purpose in life truly was.
As my boys grew older, my husband came back. He wanted to make things work, and I decided to give him a second chance, even after he cheated the first time. We went to marriage counseling and really tried working on ourselves and our marriage. Things went well, and we carried on with our plans to complete our family. This time we had one more son together, Landen, who joined my family in March of 2014. However, one month before giving birth, on a beautiful Sunday in late January, my husband sent me a text while out with his friends. I was home setting up the crib for my son’s arrival. It said something I would never, ever expect to see, especially at 36 weeks pregnant. He was leaving me.
It was messy. I moved out of our home. And a few weeks later, I welcomed my youngest son, Landen, into my little fam, during my first homebirth. In less than four years, I’d become a mother to four kids, and I was barely 22 years old myself.
However, at this point, I already knew that I enjoyed being a mother. I had age mates who were in different spaces in the world, doing things totally different from raising four kids from different fathers... but this was my life, and I’m not ashamed of it. In fact, it felt like this was what I was created to do. Like it was my life's purpose to carry on and show others that life is not the absence of problems, but the ability to deal with them.
Finding love again, and one big family.
I didn’t want to remarry. I was content being a young mom with my army of children, and I even enjoyed raising them myself. But life had different plans for me. When I finally had my life moving in a direction I was comfortable with, I met a man named Chris Skube. He had 2 boys of his own, and not only was he an amazing father who was very active in his kids life, but his story was almost identical to mine. Kids, marriage, more kids, cheated on, divorce. We felt like we had known each other our entire life. Spoiler - we got married in August 2015. After we joined our families as one, we became a family of 8. And not long after eloping… a family of 9. Because in 2016, Chris and I had one of our own. Since we had 5 boys and only 1 girl between the 2 of us, we waited to find out the gender until birth. And in November of 2016, we welcomed our daughter, Addelyn, to our big, bold, blended family! With that, I am now a mother of 7 and enjoying life with our far-from-normal family of 9!
My family has grown as much as my YouTube channel has. My audience and community have seen my family go through every different motion of my life. My YouTube channel, which started out as a hobby, is now my full time job and a source of joy because I get to do what I love while being surrounded by the people I love!
It’s been a rollercoaster ride since I became pregnant for the first time at 17 years old. 12 years later, I’m still here, still sharing my story and showing young mothers out there that teen pregnancy doesn’t have to be made to look like a plague. I’ve raised all my kids in front of the world, showing that it’s possible to be a young mom and thrive at it. Yes, it takes a lot of hard work, resilience, sleepless nights, patience, and tears, but it isn’t impossible to outlive. You can create a life that revolves around you and your child (or children as the case may be) without letting one go for the other.