Every day is Mama’s Day, in a world where children are identifying with a woman showing her love, undying commitment, whose selfless love unconditionally cures the aches and pains associated with a world often hard to understand. This woman is Mama. What is it that makes a Mama so incredible? It’s not her age, her socioeconomic status, her marital status or where she lives. What makes a Mama so incredible is that she sees the soul of this amazing human being that has graced her life, knowing that one day her showering of everything short of the moon for her child will yield the most incredible gift of all, one that cannot be written in a card or bought in the form of a bouquet of flowers. This gift is the child who enters our world innocently, and grows with such power and grace to represent their Mama’s legacy long after she is gone, bringing their own uniqueness mixed with the grace and timeless character of their Mama.
Young mothers are supremely capable of great love! Their soft malleable hearts, being molded to give so much to that beautiful soul at a young age, setting aside her own innate needs, to provide the nourishment and care this beautiful baby needs. Many times alone, in a world whose common greeting comes with the disappointed shake of a head, a shielded stance to avoid that ‘contagion’ of teen pregnancy or sometimes the judgmental comment that often times attacks this beautiful Mama’s core.
May is recognized nationally as Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, a message that may come with hurtful, shaming, stigmatizing and desensitizing messaging and imaging using young mamas as a negative example. #NoTeenShame is a movement of 7 mamas across the nation whose journey into Mamahood began young and was accompanied with the harsh anti-teen pregnancy campaigns. 7 mamas who were sometimes alone, shamed by society and filled with disappointment and guilt from the hurtful judgments caste by family, friends, educators, and healthcare professionals. 7 mamas who believe that young families are sacred, deserve respect and should be honored. Mamas who share the belief that young families are working so hard to grow as individuals while completing their education, working to feed and clothe their babies, all while fighting a daily battle of prejudice, shame and painful judgment. Mamas who believe that young families should be treated with dignity when taking their child to the doctor, when bringing their child to daycare, when asking for help from a world who makes it sometimes impossible to parent without support, however continues to humiliate and dehumanize this Mama when she accepts that help.
Mamas representing #NoTeenShame whole heartedly believe that teen pregnancy prevention is possible without the blame, hurt and shame; that teen pregnancy prevention can be accomplished through the sharing of true experiences of teens parents with non-parenting teens in a safe, homogenous environment where their experiences will be respected and valued, and they will be recognized as educators and influential stakeholders in the future of our nation’s youth.
#NoTeenShame is a movement led by 7 young mothers, Natasha Vianna, Gloria Malone, Lisette Orellana, Marylouise Kuti-Schubert, Jasmin Colon, Christina Martinez, and Consuela Greene, to improve strategic messaging campaigns and conversation around young parenting to a non-stigmatizing and non-shaming approach, while highlighting the importance of comprehensive sex ed.