Small Things With Great Love

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 24 2013

My 15-Year-Old Baby

In my class, I have 2 pregnant girls. One recently gave birth and the other is due in May. I’ve never thought much of it, teenage pregnancy. I guess I just didn’t know how to react. I mean I let them go pee the 10 times they need, I ask how they’re feeling, and I treat them as fragile(y?) as I can. A few weeks ago, one of the girls brought her baby to school. I’m not sure how I looked on the outside, but on the inside I was freaked out. Babies freak me out. Something about their small and delicate their fingers and their squishiness just gives me the heebie jeebies. I’m pretty sure I said this verbatim, “wow, he, um, it’s a boy right? He’s so beautiful.(awkward pause) Ok, bye baby”. Awkward

But today, I thought about it some more. How would I feel if those girls were my daughters? So I wrote a poem (I’ve been really inspired by my poetry club students). Please know that this does not come from a place of judgement. I’m just putting myself in a place of a mother (which I feel like I am to many of my students)

you’re 15 years old

and you want to prove that you’re grown

so you go and have a baby

but darling maybe, just maybe

the definition of being a lady,

is showing class

not your —

It’s working hard in school

rather than letting boys work you as tools

It’s being on top rather than having someone on top of you

It is speaking your mind

rather than have it muffled under the pillow

silent screaming fading as the wind blows

I know that at this age your heart is fragile

you feel like a prisoner in your own glass castle

shackled with heavy chains

you try to make your steps light

try to break free

but the suffocation is so tight

and if your transparent heart falls

you might shatter it all

into a million broken pieces

that leave you restless and peaceless

so you try to piece them back neatly

but shards cut you more deeply

your desperation, bleeding,

for peace you are pleading

you are 15 years old

beautiful, full of potential

and you’ve sacrificed your life

for the one that’s growing inside

If I had a daughter and she were 15 years old

I’d say to her, go out and play

run across fields on a hot summer day

drinking in the sun-kissed lemonade

and yes, yes.

boys? they can wait

you’re a child, so go have childhood

still too young, unprepared for motherhood

i’m sure there are kids who will play with you in our neighborhood

i know you’re timid, but don’t be afraid

you may not feel it, but know that you’re so brave

do not let anyone put you down

or make you feel unworthy

you’ve got to stand your ground

My 15 yr old baby

please stop your hurry

allow yourself this freedom from worry

My 15 yr old baby

please stop your hurry

soon you will grow into a beautiful young lady

My 15 yr old baby

please stop your hurry

remember you’re still only my baby


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first thoughts from a first year

High School

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