People Born To Teen Mothers Describe How Their Lives Are Different Than Other Folks
Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash
To those who grew up with a teen mother, the following exchange may sound familiar:

Person A: "Is that your sister?"

Person B: "Nope. That's my mom."

The dialogue above can be humorous to kids who have great relationships with their teen moms, while others may scoff at the very suggestion that their mothers are close enough in age to be siblings.

While this scenario seems atypical, kids with teen moms are not all that uncommon.

According to the CDC, "a total of 194,377 babies were born to women aged 15–19 years, for a birth rate of 18.8 per 1,000 women in this age group" in 2017.

With the rate of U.S. teen pregnancies dropping 7% in 2017 from the previous year, it is still considered higher than in other "western industrialized nations."

Curious to hear from the child's perspective about growing up with a teen mother, Redditor eggyboi422 asked:

"Kids born to teen mom's, how different is your life compared to other kids?"

Wouldn't Change It For The World

"I was born to a teen mom, and a single one at that. I definitely had a lot more freedom and less supervision as a child since both of her parents (my grandparents obviously) passed away soon after I was born, so there weren't many options for babysitters. Since she worked two jobs I would often be on my own after school until about 8 or 9 at night, sometimes later."

"She definitely struggled to hold down jobs due to not having an education and the overall grind would eventually get to her. At one point she was walking 11 miles a day to and from work because we didn't have a vehicle. Eventually, we lost our home and we remained in and out of shelters until I was about 12."

"I learned ALOT about the world in those days. At the time I hated it and was jealous of other kids having normal lives. Now that I'm older, I wouldn't trade it for the world. It gave me every bit of motivation I have, it gave me better social skills (gotta learn to make friends quick when you move frequently), and most importantly it taught me to be humble and never view less fortunate people as beneath me.

"She was diagnosed with cancer when I was 13 and died when I was 15 which sucks, cuz IMO I grew up to be a good person and good father. Would love to have her around to see it."


Growing Up Fast

"I've noticed that I didn't have the same opportunities as other kids because being a teen mom can lead you down a road of struggle and poverty if you don't have help from family."

"I've always wanted to play sports, but she could never afford the equipment needed at school to be apart of it. Mentally, I've had to mature faster at a young age because she was still a kid herself. It's unnerving to think teachers would tell me I seemed older than my age at 10 years old."


Couldn't Afford To Play Soccer

"My mom was 19 when she had me (she was from a third world country on top of it). There was a year i stopped playing soccer because there wasnt enough money. There was also the year i asked for a sega genesis from santa (a couple of years earlier) and didn't get it and my mom made up some excuse about how it came but it was missing a part. That was the year i realized a) santa wasn't real and b) anything i asked for from santa was coming out of her pocket."

"I was six that year, i tried to pretend i believed her but i think she knew i knew she was lying you know, me being six and all and not all that great at acting. I never really asked anything expensive of santa again and only got chocolate from Santa in the following years a tradition that continues whenever I'm home for christmas even now when I'm in my late 30s i still get a stocking full of chocolate from 'Santa.' It's a beautiful little silent tradition we don't talk about that's like a reminder for when times were tough."

"But i know my mom carries a lot of guilt about the things she couldn't give me as a kid that she was able to give my younger brother and sister because their financial situation got much better right around the time my younger sister was born."

"I try to tell her that she shouldn't, and highlight all the things i loved about my childhood, and the intangible things i was given because i was able to see how she was struggling and how hard she was trying, and then got to see how her trying paid off at a young age. Those were gifts my brother and sister didn't get to have, and they're much more valuable than a season of soccer, a sega genesis, or whatever else i could have asked for. I hope your daughter can see it that way too."


Treated Like A Sister

"I was born in 1964 when my mother was 16. Grandparents adopted me so I'd have a 'name.' Father's family paid for the hospital bills and that was it because they didn't want to ruin his chances to go to VMI. Mother had three other kids from at least two other men and tried to treat me like a little sister although a girl in 3rd grade decided it was her duty to tell me I didn't really have a daddy."

"Three bedroom country farm with four kids, grandparents and mother was a constant fight complete with fists and screaming almost daily. At least we could go outside....Lost a brother to a gunshot when stepfather cheated on mother and left gun down while he was leaving, other brother accidentally shot him."

"Mother continued to treat me like a sister until she decided she wanted to be a mother. My grandmother was the one who raised me and the one I consider my true mother. When she died, she left me the land with her house on it and my mother tricked me into signing it over to her (I was very naive). She accused my straight-edge goth-y kids (in their 30s now) of being on drugs because they wore black and has held a remark I made about moving away when I was 16 against me to this day."

"My father sent me $50 when I graduated and $100 when I got married the first time. And I had no idea he was even my father until I was 23."

"I would have liked to have had a different childhood."

"Edit: Y'all are some wonderful people. Thank you to those who had kind and healing words, hugs to those in need of a little extra."


Growing Up With Live And Well Great Grandparents

"One of my friends has a teen mom, she doesnt talk about it too much but she says that its nice how all family members (great grandparents) are still alive."


"That threw me off so much. My parents had me at 40 and their parents had them around 30 so by the time I was born I already was one grandparent down and it only took a few years for the next to go. Now at the age of 22 I have none. Meanwhile my bf whose family all have had children around 18 and his great great grandparents are still alive and he goes on trips with his grandparents."


Not My Sister

"When friends would come over for the first time growing up, I'd get a lot of, 'I didn't know you had an older sister!'

"I don't. That's my mother."

"Also: since my Mom and I are only 16 years apart, we ended up liking a lot of the same music. Which made going to concerts a lot easier, because we'd often wanna go to the same shows. So, I've definitely seen a lot more bands than friends."


Growing Up With Music Festivals

"My mom was 16 and my dad 19 when they had me. They took me to a lot of concerts music festivals growing up. Starting around age 9, their go-to birthday present for me was concerts. The first couple years it was stuff they liked. After I started developing my own tween/teen tastes, they'd give me 3 tickets so I could take a friend and my uncle as chaperone."

"Edit to address something that has come up multiple times in the responses below."


Cool Aunt And Uncle

"My mom was 18. So my aunt and uncle are only 10 years older than me (my uncle is 6 years) so I got to do all kinda of rad stuff with my aunt and uncle like skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding."

"They were and are more like a brother and sister."

"Real dad is a pos. My mom fell in love at 20 with a 40 year old. They are still together 38 years later. Raised me like his own.

"He had 5 other kids. So I had all kinds of brothers and sisters and tbh a better life than if my real dad stuck around."


Emo Mamma

"I'm an early 2000s baby, my mom really liked emo music when I was little, so I considered myself 'emo' at 6. I remember sitting in the backseat of my mom's 4Runner and listening to Mindless Self Indulgence, MCR, Blink-182, American Football, Fall Out Boy, Taking Back Sunday, and all the late 90s-early 2000s emo music. I got to watch a lot of 90s cartoons along with 2000s stuff because it was what my mom watched, and we always had fun sitting on the couch watching TV. I had a really good childhood, me and my mom were always friends, she is great mom, and I always look up to her for being a bada** young single mom who raised me alone."


She Was A Pregnant Pre-Teen

"my mom wasn't a teen when she had me but she started having children when she was 14 and was basically pregnant every other year... I was her 6th child at 25 and she had 11 children in total. She doesn't remember or know exactly who my biological father is lol so yeah..."


"It Is The Person That Makes A Difference"

"My teen mom - less money, less patience, dated more men, has been divorced several times."

"My SOs teen mom: lots of money, lots of patience, dated two men, only divorced once."

"I think it is more the person than the age that makes a difference."

"Edit: the reason my MIL had more money is because: she had a good personality and was able to get good jobs, she was able to advance her career, was financial responsible with spending, worked very hard to get her college degree, and this was 40+ years ago so the cost of living and wage were more comparable."

"The reason my mother didn't have more money: she is hard to get along with and struggled to get a good job, when she did get a good job she was not financial responsible, the divorces caused her to lose most/all of her gained sums because she choose to walk away rather than split assets. My mother also got a college degree and STILL struggles with jobs because she argues so much."

"Lastly, none of the were strippers/escorts. They are very close in age. Both had little/no parental support (my MIL having moved to the US away from the Philippines and my mother was kicked out). Thank you and good night!"


The 5-Year-Old Chef

"I was growing up at the same time my mom and all of my aunts and uncles were."

"On a more obvious day-to-day note, I was at home on my own making stove top spaghettios at 5 years old... So I would probably say I have needed to be more mature, independent, and more okay with a majority of things not going my way than a lot of the people I know. I don't really get along with people my age because of that."


"My Childhood SUCKED"

"My mom is 15 years older than me and has banged 7 of my friends throughout my life... 4 when I was still in high-school...."

"Other than that i think I was became mature than her when I was 12..."

"I took care of my 3 siblings, did the cooking, cleaning... got them to school... hell I started working 40 hours/week at 14 so my siblings could have some sort of a normal childhood (get clothes, school supplies, i even took them go-karting on each of their birthdays... those are some of my favorite memories)"

"Over all I think that my childhood SUCKED, I never got to be a kid... I don't think ANYONE should have kids before they are mature enough to handle one... and teen mom's should have a lot if over-sight by cps."

"Edit: giving more context... this was in a small town in the 80's... my siblings and I are doing pretty well nowadays."


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