At 16, highschool socializing became a thing of the past for me. I could no longer do the things my friends were doing so I had to find new people to hang out with; actually they found me.

Since the county had implemented a new teen-parent education program, they contacted me to see if I was interested. Having nothing to lose (and being desperately lonely) I decided to give it a try. A tall, friendly, blonde woman would come pick me up in her minivan every Wednesday. We would make the rounds to four other girls’ houses and then make our way to the continuation school on the other side of town.

The first meeting was pretty awkward. I walked into a room full of other teenage girls I had never seen before. As I walked through the room I could almost feel the girls’ shame and embarrassment. But as I left the classroom that first day, those bad feelings left as well. When I came back the next week the classroom felt completely different; A strong feeling of relief seemed to fill the room. I think it was because each of us felt that we were no longer alone.

I looked forward to these meetings every week and quickly became friends with the other girls. There is great comfort in having other people to gripe with.

We all took a vow to keep our conversations within the walls of that room so we felt comfortable opening up to one another. We would often vent about back aches, sore feet, boyfriend troubles, our strong desire to wear normal “teenage” clothes again, and our fears about labor.

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