University of Massachusetts Amherst

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When Jessica became pregnant at 15, she overheard two teachers criticizing her and her family. They said her mother didn’t raise her right. The judgment and comments at school continued to worsen throughout her pregnancy. After dropping out of school, she decided to get her GED. “It really hurt to be judged, but I don’t care anymore,” she says. “I know the things they said about my mom and me just aren’t true.

Video Transcript

“Her mom didn’t raise her right. She’s a bad influence, too young to be responsible.” I heard two teachers talking in the hall at school. They said my name before I turned the corner. They don’t even know me. I was in 10th grade, 15 and pregnant. I also heard them say that a lot of girls from my community get pregnant young. They were saying that my mom was not a good parent because of what I did, and I felt guilty. It wasn’t her fault. How could they blame her and talk bad about her because of my mistake? I was hurt. How could anyone talk about my mom like that, without even knowing her?

My mom is always there for me. She’s strict though. She cares about who I hang out with and what I do. She raised me to go to church. I was taught to be respectful and listen to my parents. But I didn’t listen. I wanted to be like my friends a do a lot of things my parents didn’t let me do. I started skipping school.

The day I found out I was pregnant, so did my mom. Our relationship changed. She didn’t trust me anymore. I felt different and stopped telling her everything. School even changed, and the comments and judging got worse. So I dropped out. A few months passed and my mom encouraged me to go back to school and get my GED. Feeling like I would get her trust back, I did. Actually, I’m almost done. A lot of things haven’t been easy though, and it really hurt to be judged. But I don’t care anymore. I know the things they said about my mom and me just aren’t true.