I was so ashamed.
I had my son Cory when I was 17-years-old. One day I was an honor roll student and cheerleader. The next day I found out I was going to be a teen mom.
I was so ashamed. Everyone knew and teen pregnancy isn't something you can hide. Yet finding out I was pregnant also made me grow up. It made me think about life and what I was going to do with my future.
Before I found out I was pregnant I had no plan. I dated different guys and I drank on weekends with my friends. After I knew I was going to be a mom I knew I had a child to care for.
I broke up with my boyfriend. He decided he didn't want to be a dad. My parents helped me as much as they could. I lived at home and I took classes from a "community school" to get my high school diploma.
I graduated with my class, and I registered for college. It was also during this time I met someone new.
John Goyer was the son of a pastor. He was kind and caring. He loved me and my son. We started dating when Cory was two weeks old and we were married when Cory was 9-months old. We are still married today, and we have two more children. In fact, I had three children by the time I was 22-years-old.
Marriage is not easy for anyone, but John and I made a commitment for life. We've struggled at times (like when an old boyfriend emailed me and messed with my emotions!), but overcoming our struggles have brought us closer. I'm 37-years-old and I've been married 18 years! A success if I say so myself.
More than that, John believed in my dreams. I wanted to be a writer, and he encouraged me. I attended writer's conferences and I wrote while my kids napped. We were dirt poor, but John made my dreams a priority.
I still don't have a college education, but I trained myself to be a writer at home. I read books on writing and sent out queries and proposals. I received many rejections at first, but I didn't give up.
In 1997 a literary agent noticed my talent. I was still unpublished, but Janet Grant took interest in me. Today I'm the author of 300 articles for national publication. I'm also the author of 15 books for publishers like Random House, Harper Collins, and Focus on the Family.
We should do all we can to prevent teen pregnancy ... BUT we should also offer hope to teen moms. Teen pregnancy is not the end. In fact, it could be a key moment when a young woman makes positive decisions to live a better life for herself and her baby.