Lauren Finds Community at Florence Crittenton Services
When Lauren found out she was four months pregnant at 16 years old, she was scared and anxious. Lauren knows the challenges of having a kid at a young age after seeing her sister go through teen motherhood. She worried…
When Lauren found out she was four months pregnant at 16 years old, she was scared and anxious. Lauren knows the challenges of having a kid at a young age after seeing her sister go through teen motherhood. She worried that she wasn’t going to be able to support her baby. Lauren began attending Florence Crittenton Services at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, and will give birth to her son at the end of this year. The support and community Lauren has found here have helped her to refocus on her education and make plans to support herself and her child in the future.
Coming to Florence Crittenton Services was an easy decision for Lauren. She remembers how caring the teachers were and how much they supported her sister, and how nice everyone was. “I knew that I was going to need as much support as I could get, because I was going to be trying to get my diploma and take care of my baby, too,” says Lauren. FloCrit has helped Lauren prepare for the baby with clothes, diapers, and wipes. In the parenting class, she has learned what giving birth will be like and what happens to her body during the different stages of pregnancy and post-partum. She has found a lot of support in the community of teen moms at FloCrit, too. “A lot of the girls who go here are really understanding because they were pregnant before or they are pregnant now,” Lauren says. “They know a lot about what you’re going through.” Lauren has attended other all-girls schools, and says this one is different. There’s not a lot of drama or fighting. The girls support each other and are understanding and helpful. At home, Lauren finds support from her mother who helps her with her doctor’s appointments, and helped her register for school. Her boyfriend is always there with a comforting word when Lauren has mood swings, and shares in her stress and excitement of having a baby at a young age.
Even in her first year at Florence Crittenton Services, Lauren has become involved in the community that has accepted her. Each year, teen moms submit designs based on a theme for the Miles for Moms 5K race t-shirt. This year’s theme was “Community,” and Lauren’s design was chosen by staff and fellow students. “I drew the holding hands because I know the girls here are really close, so I know that no matter the difference, everyone is there for each other,” Lauren says, describing her design. “Since we are mothers or about to be mothers, we all just want our babies to be surrounded by love, so that’s why I drew the heart. And the words—that’s how I feel motherhood is and how we are as a community.”
Becoming pregnant and coming to Florence Crittenton Services has set Lauren’s life on a new course. Last year, she was enrolled in school, but ditching a lot. She planned to drop out when she turned 17 and work at McDonald’s. But she knew that without a high school diploma, she wouldn’t be able to get a good, high-paying job, and that is important with a child on the way. Lauren now wants to graduate from high school and get a pharmaceutical degree. “I want to make sure that I raise my son right, that he doesn’t make the same mistakes I’ve made. I want to be a better role model for him,” she says. “I don’t want him to feel like he’s a mistake. I want him to feel like he’s a blessing. I want to be there for him to feel supported.”