Everything changes the day you discover you're going to be a mom. It's not just yourself that you think about—you have a child to care for, too. While you wouldn't trade your child for the world, some days are just hard. Baby-daddy drama, dealing with your parents, and worries about school, work, and your future slam you. Your friends can't relate to your little family, and you wonder if God has turned His back on you, too.
Tricia Goyer understands. A mom at age 17, Tricia remembers what it felt like to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. She's also been the coordinator of a teen mom support group for over twelve years, and she's cheered on many young moms—from all walks of life—through their journey.
In Teen Mom, Tricia pours out her heart and shares advice for the hard things you face. She also longs to provide encouragement, reminding you that you can be the mom your child deserves—not in your own strength, but in the strength God provides.
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About the Author
Tricia Goyeris a busy mom of ten, doting grandma, and wife to John. A USA Today bestselling author, Tricia has published seventy books and is a two-time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Finalist. She won the Retailer’' Best Award in 2015 and has received starred reviews from Romantic Times and Publishers Weekly. She is also on the blogging team at TheBetterMom.com and other homeschooling and Christian sites. Tricia is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries and currently leads a teen MOPS Group in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Read an Excerpt
By Tricia Goyer
ZONDERVANCopyright © 2015 Tricia Goyer
All rights reserved.
Do I Matter?
The deepest principle in the human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
—William James, author
I regretted attending the basketball game as soon as I got there. My classmates, teachers, and friends' parents cheered on our school's basketball team. I moved to the bleachers closest to the door and climbed to the top row, sitting next to some of my friends.
My jeans pinched my stomach as I sat. They were the biggest pair I had, and at five months pregnant, I'd barely been able to button them up. Now they cut into my gut, but I tried to ignore the pinching feeling. I tried to ignore how my body was changing and how I had no control of it. I also tried to ignore the glances as people eyed me. Could they see the baby bump that I was trying so hard to hide?
After finding out I was pregnant, everything changed. I felt so sick that even on days when I attended school, I usually went home early. Soon it was easier just to stay home altogether. I couldn't work either. Every whiff of fast-food smell made me nauseated.
And then there was the growing. My stomach, my chest, my ... everything. I had taken pride in being able to wear a tiny cheerleading skirt, but now my body no longer felt like it was mine.
Overnight, my lifestyle changed too. Intead of eating cheeseburgers and fries numerous times a week, I had to make sure I drank enough water, took my prenatal vitamins, and ate healthy foods. I tried to get enough sleep and not stress too much about my life. (Yeah, right.)
I had to go to the doctor and get weighed and measured every month, and I submitted to being "checked" in ways that creeped me out. And I didn't even want to think about labor. It was like knowing ahead of time that you were going to get in a car accident or break your arm, and counting down the days.
Of course, the physical discomfort and the numerous changes and fears were nothing compared with the ache in my soul. It felt like someone had stuck a knife in my heart as I watched my old cheerleading squad do the routines that I'd known so well. Another cheerleader had taken my spot once I'd left the squad, and it didn't feel good to be replaced.
Even worse was seeing my baby's daddy sitting a few rows down with his new girlfriend. I'd been replaced there too. He was going on with his life as if nothing had changed. He'd chosen to walk away from responsibility, and so for him nothing had changed. For me everything was different. We'd made a baby together, but I was the one paying the price.
I sat through part of the game, but I wasn't really watching it. More than anything, I wanted to hide, to run. I didn't feel as if I fit in here anymore. I'd gone to school with the same group of students since kindergarten, and I felt like an outsider among them. They didn't know what to say to me, and the things they seemed so obsessed about seemed silly to me now. I was going to be a mom. Talking about clothes and whose house the party was going to be at didn't matter to me anymore.
Of course, I didn't fit in at home either. My parents did their best to be supportive, but I discovered that I had to make so many decisions myself, like how to finish school and what I was going to do after my baby was born. I was still a kid in their house, and at times they liked to treat me as one, but I was also making so many big decisions. Was I just fooling myself thinking I could handle all of this?
It wasn't just me I had to think about. After my prenatal visit, the nurse had sent me home with brochures on things I should be eating. There were vitamins I was supposed to take, but they were hard to remember. Worries plagued me too. What if I did something and hurt the baby inside me? I'd never be able to forgive myself.
I left the basketball game early, during halftime, and the drive home seemed to take longer than normal. I knew that no one really cared that I'd left early. Maybe it was easier for them when I wasn't there—then they didn't have to worry about what to say or what to do.
The moon hung overhead as I drove, and I'd never felt so alone and so unimportant.
Could I do it? This mom thing? Or was I just a kid trying to act like an adult, fooling no one except myself?
Some people have given me dirty looks when they see me with my baby. Others look at me and sigh. But some people are very nice when they see what a good mom I am.
These were supposed to be years of parties, football games, and fun. Dances with handsome dates and sleepovers with friends. You've gone from chatting with friends in the hall to changing dirty diapers. Not long ago the only runny nose you wiped was your own. Colic wasn't an issue. Your clothes were spit-up free. Now you wonder where your importance is.
When your baby came into the picture, you not only lost your old life but gained a new one. Many of us know, without a doubt, that having our babies was the right choice. We want to be good moms. We want to give our babies the love that we, perhaps, never had. But if we're honest, we can't help but think how our lives have changed. Sometimes we wonder whether it's worth it.
When I found out I was pregnant, I was incredibly scared and didn't know how to tell my parents. They'd always said they'd kill me if I ever ended up pregnant.
Before my pregnancy, I was in four clubs and had a meeting almost every nigh t. Most of my friends have completely left the picture. I figured they would, but I feel very alone. Having a baby has really helped me to see who my real friends are.
—Amanda, Ontario, Canada
Tell Me I'm Important
Young moms want to be good moms. We try our best; we really do. Yet we can't seem to escape the negative reactions. We've decided to carry and keep our babies. (Not an easy decision!) But often the people we encounter make it clear, both in words and with body language, that they disapprove. Sometimes we feel we have no importance.
What you do is important. Can you think of anyone who loves your child more than you do? You're the exact person your child needs to love him, support him, and be his biggest fan.
For the rest of your life, when your child hears the word mother, he will think of you. You are the first one to tell him of his importance, to believe in his dreams, and to kiss his boo-boos, wishing his hurts away.
Your child doesn't realize that you're young. He has no idea. To him you are the most perfect mom in the world. Yes, you!
You Are Important
Importance means having meaning. There are many things that people feel are important for young people: school, good grades, sports, and accomplishments.
Ask yourself, What things were important to you one or two years ago? What things are important now?
Your child, no doubt, is most important. And your child thinks you are most important. Without your succeeding as a mom, his life is going to be hard.
The good news is that you're up to the task. This mothering role will teach you more about yourself than you ever expected. You'll work harder than you ever have. You'll prove you're strong and capable. Your care for your child will not only benefit him, but it'll also show you (and the world!) what you're made of.
Parenting comes with big obstacles at times. Yet as you'll see in the following often-told story, sometimes human beings can do the impossible when it comes to their children.
"There were two warring tribes in the Andes, one that lived in the lowlands and the other high in the mountains. The mountain people invaded the lowlanders one day, and as part of their plundering of the people, they kidnapped a baby from one of the lowlander families and took the infant back with them up into the mountains.
"The lowlanders didn't know how to climb a mountain. They didn't know any of the trails the mountain people used, and they didn't know where to find the mountain people or how to track them on the steep terrain.
"Even so, they sent out their best party of fighting men to climb the mountain and bring the baby home.
"The men tried first one method of climbing and then another. They tried one trail and then another. After several days of effort, however, they had climbed only a couple of hundred feet.
"Feeling hopeless and helpless, the lowlander men decided that the case was lost, and they prepared to return to their village below.
"As they were packing their gear for the descent, they saw the baby's mother walking toward them. They realized that she was coming down the mountain that they hadn't figured out how to climb.
"And then they saw that she had the baby strapped to her back. How could that be?
"One man greeted her and said, 'We couldn't climb this mountain. How did you do this when we, the strongest and most able men in the village, couldn't do it?'
"She shrugged her shoulders and said, 'It wasn't your baby.'"
You're a mom now, and the obstacles you face may seem as big and insurmountable as that mountain. But there's one thing that's even more powerful than your challenges. That's your love. Love is the most important ingredient when it comes to parenting. Love, as you will discover, can help you to achieve the impossible.
Before getting pregnant, I hadn't thought much about what I wanted to do with my life, except that I'd considered being a teacher and hoped to be married with three or four kids someday. After getting pregnant, I thought it really was no use to think about those things anymore because I had messed up. I was going to have a baby, and so I'd just have to take whatever the world offered me from there.
Do you feel that way? Do you think that because you're a mom at a young age that all the plans you once had aren't possible? Maybe you never really considered what your future looked like. Maybe you never allowed yourself to dream. I want to encourage you to get over the idea that because you're having a baby at a young age, you can't do much with your life. Instead, you now have an even better reason to dream and plan for a good future. After all, you have not only yourself to think about but also your child.
It would have been easy for me to just give up and not try. I'd seen that time and time again in the people around me. I have many family members who've worked minimum wage jobs their whole lives, who have never owned a home, and who never got their high school diploma. In fact, when I found out I was pregnant, I dropped out of high school too.
I'm thankful that I dared to work hard to achieve my goals. I finished my high school classes at home and got my diploma. Here are a few other things I've done:
I've attended college.
I've gotten married.
I've attended numerous writers' conferences.
I've written hundreds of articles for national magazines.
I've won awards for my writing.
I've written more than forty-five books.
I've homeschooled three children all the way from kindergarten through high school.
I've traveled to more than forty states.
I've traveled to twelve countries.
I've been interviewed on television.
I've hosted my own radio show.
I've been married for twenty-five years.
I've adopted three kids.
My husband and I have bought three houses. (One at a time!)
I've helped start a crisis pregnancy center.
I've led a teen moms' support group for twelve years.
I've shared my story of being a teenage mom on stage in front of five thousand women.
I've taken my kids to Disneyland and Disney World many times, and my whole family has gone on a cruise.
I'm forty-three years old, which may seem ancient to you, but I've had a good life. And I didn't do all those things right away, but as the years have gone by, I've been amazed to see how my life has turned out.
When I first had my son, I wondered whether my life would amount to anything, and then I decided it could if I put in some effort. My goals were small at first. I got my high school diploma, and then I signed up for college classes. I went on a date with a really good guy who treated me well, and we eventually got married. I dreamed of becoming a writer, and so I babysat for a year to save up enough money to attend my first writers' conference.
At that writers' conference, I met other women who encouraged me, and I kept in touch with them. I wrote little things while my kids napped. (I had three kids by this time.) And I sent things out to magazines. I got more than a hundred rejections, but I didn't give up. I saved up my money again and went back to the conference. Soon I started getting magazine articles published, and later, books.
Success has a way of building on itself. Hard work pays off eventually. If you could be successful at anything, what would it be? Consider one step that you could take toward that dream. Every success starts with a first step.
Think you can't do it? Think that you'll be stuck where you are forever? It's up to you. You get to decide!
The years are going to go by anyway, and you might as well spend them pursuing something great. You can either spend your teens and twenties working at McDonald's with no plan to change, or you can work hard at your McDonald's job, finish your GED, sign up for college, and get an internship at a job you really love.
No, there's nothing wrong with working at McDonald's, but is that how you want to spend your life? I thought about this when I returned to northern California for a high school reunion. I took my kids to McDonald's to show them where I once worked. Twenty years had passed and the building looked tired and old, but I was most surprised when I saw that some of the people I had worked with in high school were still there. They were still complaining about their jobs and about how they still weren't able to make ends meet, but they hadn't done anything about it.
It's wonderful to work wherever you can get a job, but don't limit yourself. I saw my McDonald's job as a stepping-stone to get the money I needed to do more. Who knows, maybe you'll even stay with McDonald's, work your way through management, and buy a franchise! Just remember that you're stronger than you think. Don't give up too easily. Don't settle when, deep down, you know you can do more, give more.
I get so tired of people asking, "How old are you?" We even had to change pediatricians once because the doctor wouldn't speak to m e as an adult. I wanted to yell, "He y, I am her mother. I'm responsible for her welfare!" I used to cry at nigh t, not because I didn't want this but because I had no idea how much my life would change.
When I went into the hospital for my non-stress test, the nurse told me that she wanted my baby and that she would prepare the adoption papers if it was a boy.
—Amanda, Ontario, Canada
Waking up to my son's smile and my daughter's snoring makes me realize that the little things these little people do will forever be engraved in my heart!
Mom, you're the one who will determine your future. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't amount to anything. That's not true. You can work hard to achieve anything you set your mind on.
Surround yourself with people who believe in you. Find other people who can support you, help you, and offer help in return.
Also, know that you were created for a reason. God made you, formed you. He made and formed your child. He has a good plan for your life. You are important to God, and that makes you important.
And even if you don't "accomplish" anything that makes the news, you are still important to God. You are also still important to your child.
But sometimes understanding that you are important helps you to go on to do great things. Think of it this way, if you tell your child day after day that he is going to do great things and help and influence people, he will most likely grow up to do great things and help and influence people. And if you say the same thing about yourself, well, that's exactly what you will do too.
The Balancing Act
Just because a mom is willing to do anything for her child doesn't mean it's easy. Motherhood can be illustrated by an image of a woman wearing a tower of hats. There is the nurse's hat, the teacher's hat, the maid's hat, the cook's hat, the playmate's hat—the list goes on. As a young mom, your problem may be the many hats you haven't discarded: the student's hat, the employee's hat, the girlfriend's hat, even the daughter-at-home's hat. How can you—one person—balance so much responsibility?
Your balancing act will change over time. The hat of high school student may change to that of college student. The play-ground-mom's hat may change to the soccer mom's. Still, the flow of your responsibilities will never end.
The reality of being a mom may not hit until you come home from the hospital. The feedings, the diapers, the schedule, the up-all-nights. Then, as one stage passes, there are more challenges: teething, climbing on everything, tantrums, and on and on.
Excerpted from Teen Mom by Tricia Goyer. Copyright © 2015 Tricia Goyer. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Me … a Mom? 11
1 Do I Matter? (Importance) 21
2 Who Am I? (Identity) 43
3 Where Am I Going? (Growth) 63
4 Do You Love Me? (Intimacy) 87
5 How Do I Do This Mom Thing? (Instruction) 113
6 Can You Help? (Help) 133
7 Can I Get a Break? (Recreation) 155
8 What's Most Important? (Perspective) 173
9 What Am I Here For? (Hope) 197
For Further Reading 224
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book has really shown me how not be a bad mom and how the author experiencrd being a mom at seventeen i cant imagine im only 20 and pregnany i read this book for my sisters sake because when i found out she was pregnant she was only sixteen and gave birth at seventeen it was a rough experience because when her baby daddy found out she was pregnant he walked out on her and and she only had me and my mom. So for all the teen moms out there rethink your life make sure you know where your life is going and dont screw yours and the babys life make good desicions and choices.Thank you Tricia!!!:*
I just ad sex about a month ago and now i just started agetting a baby bump and school is getting ready to start and i have a baby bump what do i do oh im 13 by the way and am just starting middle school and i dont want to be known as agirl with a baby bump in middle school what do i do hind this bump of weirness please help me!!!!!! Oh and im due by next may help!!!!
Do you know what it's like to be a teen mom? Are you struggling to get your life back together, and you long for some emotional and spiritual support? Or do you know a teen mom who needs encouragement? Tricia Goyer knows the struggles of teen moms. But she also knows it's possible to pull yourself up from a difficult situation that may seem hopeless. As a teen mom and a mentor to teen moms, Tricia Goyer continues to inspire us with her helpful insights and spiritual wisdom. If you are a teen mom or you know a teen mom who needs encouragement and some practical advice, I highly recommend this valuable resource! In fact, I wish I could have read this book a few years ago myself! Thanks, Tricia!
Tricia Goyer speaks to teen moms from her own experience. She became a teen mom at the age of seventeen, so she can identify with the unique struggles a teen mom faces. She tells her story throughout the book, describing how her life has turned out well, in spite of her teen pregnancy. She writes in a warm, friendly voice with lots of encouragement for teen moms. I love how she instructs, admonishes, and encourages girls to be the best person each can be, for their sake and for the sake of their babies. The book is structured around nine needs of teen moms, and explores the importance of each one. As girls read this book, they are encouraged to consider their circumstances, decide what their goals are, and take steps to make those goals a reality. She also discusses the need for God to be a part of the girls’ lives. She does that in a very conversational, non-threatening way throughout the book, after she has gained their trust and friendship. The layout of this book is appealing, also. Chapters are broken up into small sections, there are insets scattered throughout, to break up the text, and there are lots of quotes about the subject at hand from other teen mothers. And the font for subject breaks is fun! One thing teen moms do not need is more judgment, and this book delivers the opposite: Lots of encouragement to make good decisions from this point on. I would highly recommend this book to be given to any young girl who finds herself pregnant. I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.
Tricia Goyer has written a true gem to be treasured. I liked her down-to-earth, simple and straight forward approach to teen parenting. The book goes through different thoughts and emotions, as well as giving good sound advice. Her transparency about her own personal journey as a teen mom offers insight that has the ability to identify with those walking in shoes she has already walked in. The language is very modern and will appeal to today’s generation. I feel this book would be a great resource for anyone who is either pregnant or a mother of young children, whether she is a teen, single, young, or seasoned. Every mom has had a time of struggle with the exact situations and emotions this book is written around. It would also be a great resource for those who have a heart for teen ministry. You will find the last chapter to be a refreshing breath of fresh air. Tricia shares from her heart how she found hope in the midst of her struggling life. This chapter is written in plain and simple language about finding hope in Jesus Christ—amidst your emotional ups and downs, amidst your heartache, amidst your worries and concerns, and amidst your struggle to fit life’s pieces together. This is a book that you will want to share. Get a copy for you and pick up one or more copies and pray that God would lead you to someone who needs the message this book has to offer.