When a girl reaches her teenage years, there are many things that she has to look forward to; High school, dating, dances, movies, parties, dirty diapers, late night feedings…INSERT DISTURBING RECORD SCREECHING NOISE HERE. Wait, WHAAT?? A baby?? That was most certainly not in the plan for most typical American girls, or their families, but it is something that has come up for many blossoming young ladies over the last century or so.
For most of these young girls, the decisions that are required in regard to baby are not easy. Will they tell the father? Will they tell their parents? Will they have an abortion? Will they place the baby with an adoptive family? Will they raise the baby on their own? What about finishing school and getting a job?
All of these decisions are suddenly thrust upon a girl whose most important decision to date may have been where to go with her girlfriends on a Saturday night, or what she might wear to school the next week. Certainly not an easy path that she has found herself on. Definitely an event that puts everything else in perspective.
The stories of teenage pregnancy are as varied as the girls themselves, but as we will see in the following pages, some have a better outcome than others. There are many variables in the lives of a teenage mom, but drive, persistence, and confidence seem to be the best predictors of success.
12 Anna Nicole Smith
Anna Nicole Smith, who at 17 years old was still known as Vicki Lynn Hogan, gave birth to her son Daniel as a high school dropout. Anna quit school in her senior year, met boyfriend Billy Wayne Smith, and married him in 1985. Billy and Anna welcomed their baby boy in 1986. By 1987, the couple had split up, and Anna and baby Daniel were on their own.
As a stripper to make financial ends meet, Anna did her best to support herself and her young son. In 1992, Anna was chosen as the March cover of Playboy Magazine, and her career took off from there. The model went on to become the face of Guess Jeans, a reality show super star, and the face of several other commercial products.
Sadly, in 2006, at the age of twenty, Anna’s son Daniel passed away from “unknown causes”. His death occurred just 3 days after Anna had given birth to her second child. Less than one year later, Anna herself passed away from an “accidental overdose” of prescribed medications. Not a happy ending to this teen mom’s story.
11 Naomi Judd
Wynonna Judd (AKA Christina Ciminella) was born to Country singer Naomi Judd in 1974. Naomi was only 18 years old when she became a mom for the first time, and by no accounts did she feel prepared.
After giving birth and being abandoned by her teenage boyfriend, (Wynonna’s biological father), Judd soon married a man named Michael Ciminella. Their daughter, Ashley Judd, was born 4 years later, and the married couple divorced a few years after that. Naomi ended up raising both girls as a single mother.
Obviously from this inspiring story, sometimes hard times lead to an amazing sense of inspiration and success. This famous family has shown time and time again that they could beat the odds. With a little strength, love, and faith, the sky is truly the limit.
10 Jamie Lynn Spears
Jamie Lynn Spears is best known for being pop star Britney Spears little sister, but she also received quite a bit of attention after announcing her pregnancy in 2007. Being in the public eye was not as difficult for the younger Spears sister as coming to terms with the fact that she was going to have to grow faster than she thought.
In a recent interview, Jamie Lynn was proud to discuss how much progress she and daughter Maddie have made over the years.
"I remember being a little girl and all those emotions come back. Not just being pregnant, but telling your loved ones and going through all that, it's a lot of emotions involved," she explained. "You're just an innocent little girl, and then you look back on how far you came...it's bittersweet."
A recent near tragedy with her beautiful daughter has reinforced Jamie Lynn’s faith, courage, and strength as a mother. She has really grown into her role quite well.
9 Fantasia Barrino
As a contestant on American Idol, Fantasia Barrino was thrust into the limelight for her strong and powerful voice, but it wasn’t long before America saw that this teen mom had a personality to match! As one of the most memorable to ever grace the hit TV show’s stage, Fantasia was a mother before she was a household name.
Growing up in an extremely rough area of High Point, N.C., Fantasia dropped out of high school after being sexually assaulted by a classmate. She was only 16 years old. This horrific event did however; result in what turned out to be her biggest blessing. Zion Quarri Barrino was born to Fantasia as a result of that sexual attack, and Fantasia is one proud mama.
The baby was only 3 years old when Barrino won the third season of American Idol, and she has had a wonderfully successful and lucrative singing career since.
8 Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin is the mother of four boys. Two of her sons were born before she was even 16. Aretha’s first son, Clarence, was born two months before her 13th birthday. Oh my goodness, she was TWELVE!! Her second son Edward was born right before her 15th birthday. During her teen years, Aretha had her heart set on a career in the music industry. Franklin’s grandmother, sister, and cousin raised Aretha’s boys while she pursued her goals.
Teenage pregnancy and motherhood is as varied as the teenage girls themselves. Each situation is dependent on the maturity of the mother, and the involvement of her family. Aretha was quite fortunate to have a dependable support system in place to help raise her boys.
Fate is a strange thing. If she had not had her babies so young, she probably never would have had them at all. Or perhaps she never would have become the queen of soul. For purely selfish reasons, I am glad that her career took the path that it did. What a gift she is to the world.
7 Niki Taylor
Supermodel Niki Taylor had always wanted to be a young mom. She had dreamed of motherhood since she was a young child. When Niki was married at the age of 18, she was ready to make that dream come true.
However, when she was ready to deliver her twin boys at age 19, she found her life quickly heading in a direction she didn’t like. “It was like, ‘Who is this guy I married?’ It was super hard because I did rush into it,” Taylor, now 35, says. “I was young, and I thought I was in love. So when the babies came, it was not something I signed up for.”
“We were just two totally different people and after two totally different things. I was pregnant at 18, had Jake and Hunter at 19 and divorced by 21 … it was a lot on my plate for my young 20s!”
Now happily married with a toddler and two teenagers, Niki Taylor says that her life has finally come full circle.
6 Sofia Vergara
Modern Family star, Sofia Vergara, was only 19 years old when she had her son, Manolo. The young man, who is now over the age of 19 himself, turned out “just fine” says the actress. In fact, Ms. Vergara has been quoted as saying that she believes that there were actually many benefits to becoming a mom at a young age.
One of the reasons she says, is that she had the energy to do everything that a mom should be able to do. She was ok staying up all night with feedings, she could easily run after a toddler, and was up for just about anything that her little guy threw her way.
She does not, however, believe that everyone is ready at a young age, and goes on to say that each young girl is ready for motherhood at a different time in their lives. She is grateful that she was lucky enough to be ready when the stork decided to fly her way.
5 Solange Knowles
Beyonce’s little sister Solange, a musician in her own right, had son Daniel Julez with her then husband Smith Daniel, when she was only seventeen years old. She began raising him while trying to start her own career, in the shadow of her very famous big sister. She has been quoted as saying that her teen life as a mother was challenging, to say the least.
“It was one of the most bittersweet moments of my life because I was so in love with Julez, and having spent a lot of time on the road, I yearned to be in one place, to have the opportunity to really ground myself with him,” Solange said. “But it was isolating and lonely, and so cold and dark. And it was just Julez and me most of the time. It was hard to imagine being able to progress in my career in any way.”
Now all grown up and successful on her own, Solange credits her harder times with giving her the strength to persevere.
4 Maya Angelou
At the tender age of 16, Maya Angelou became pregnant with her son, Guy Johnson. Back in that era, teens that became pregnant were often forced into marrying their baby’s father. Angelou’s mother, however, did not see things that way. Her mother was ready to be her support system no matter which path she chose.
Maya’s mother was there for her whenever she needed. She was supportive, non-judgmental, and always willing to lend a hand. The proud grandmother was thrilled to have that baby in her life, and was more than willing to help her daughter on her new adventure as a single teenage mother.
The late Maya Angelou grew up to be a literary icon and world famous poet. Had she not had the support system that many other teen moms lacked, she wondered what would have become of her and her son.
3 Shirley Temple
Child star Shirley Temple had a baby at the young age of 19. Not exactly a “teen mom” situation for her though. Ms. Temple had her first baby after falling in love with Army Air Corps Sgt. John Agar at 15 and marrying him two years later. The married couple still waited two years before starting their family.
The actress gave birth to daughter Linda Susan, and began her career as a mommy. The marriage, however, did not end up a match made in heaven, and the couple divorced after just two years. This all occurred in 1949, which was a time when divorce and single motherhood was quite uncommon.
Temple later met Charles Alden Black, and had a son with him in 1952, and a second daughter in 1954. Getting married and starting a family at a young age was far more common back in those days.
2 Roseanne Barr
At the age of 17, the very talented and amazing writer/comedian Roseanne Barr made the selfless and difficult decision to place her baby daughter with an adoptive family. This was not was not something that was taken lightly by the teenage girl. Roseanne had wanted to keep the baby, but while pregnant, the reality of being an unwed mother with no support from her family set in. She knew what she had to do.
Happily, just about 18 years later, Roseanne was able to make contact with that sweet baby girl, and the two have been part of each other’s lives since. Open adoptions were not commonplace in the era when her daughter Brandi was placed, so Roseanne didn’t have the resources that some teens in this situation may find themselves with today. When she grew up, she had other children, who also welcomed Brandi with open arms. What a beautiful ending (beginning) to this story.
1 Keshia Castle-Hughes
Actress Keisha Castle-Hughes has no regrets about becoming a mom for the first time when she was just 17 years old. Some people are just born knowing they want to have babies at a young age.
The Whale Rider star, whose daughter Felicity is now 10, stated in a 2007 interview in People magazine, “I absolutely love being a mother. It’s been a blessing. It’s fun and it’s hard, but it’s absolutely amazing…. I didn’t miss out on anything by having my daughter at a young age … If I would go back and change things, I would not. I can’t imagine living my life without her.”
This is most certainly a lovely sentiment on teen motherhood and the lack of regret. Keshia stepped up to the plate and is doing her best to hit a home run. Motherhood fits her well.