The latest Kids Count data show that roughly 11,000 teens gave birth in Michigan in 2010. Statistically speaking, teen parents are more likely to drop out of high school, and their children are more likely to wind up in prison. But it doesn’t have to be like that. For our State of Opportunity project, a former teen mom named Jacquise Purifoy tells us how she was able to defy expectations.
Here's her essay:
Do you remember your first time? I do. I was 13, and I got pregnant the first time I had sex. I was too afraid to tell my mother, four brothers, and even my daughter’s father out of fear of what would happen. That meant no prenatal medicine, no routine doctor’s visits. The night before I gave birth, I went to basketball practice.
On April 8, 1996, my daughter Jasmine was born while I was still in eighth grade at Joy Middle School in Detroit. In the hospital, my mother, who worked as a bus driver for 30 years, made me promise I would graduate from high school and then college. She told me people would expect me to fail, to keep popping out more babies. So I made up my mind then and there to be more than a statistic. My mother and I shook hands on it in the hospital room.