What a conversation! Tricia was once a teen mom, and now supports teen moms through Teen MOPS. Tricia understands what it’s like to walk through the teenage years while also trying to care for a new little one. Guilt and shame can feel like an everyday companion. For many youth aging out of foster care, pregnancy as a teen is a reality. In our conversation, Tricia offers compassionate wisdom to help us support both teen moms and teens in foster care. Whether you are a teen mom, walking alongside a teen mom, or raising teens, this episode will leave you encouraged to press on. Tricia has been where you are.
HERE ARE MY 3 TAKEAWAYS FROM OUR CONVERSATION:
1. Extensions of grace and compassion can make all the difference.
Tricia remembers the guilt and shame she felt in finding out she was pregnant while in high school. She chose to have an abortion in her first pregnancy, seeking self-protection, but it left her feeling numb. When she found herself pregnant a second time, she knew she had to choose life. Her mom and grandma, along with their bible study group, reached out to care for her. It made her think—if they love me, then maybe God does too. The trauma of the abortion didn’t go away, but having someone to walk through life with a baby opened her heart to a relationship with the Lord, ultimately changing her life.
“It was seeing their love poured out to me that I ended up opening up my heart to Him.”
2. Teen moms need more support from us, not less.
Not only are teen moms navigating normal pregnancy changes, but also all of their relationships are changing—relationships with everyone from friends to teachers to strangers at the grocery store. I can’t imagine how lonely many of these young mothers feel. Often teen moms receive little empathy for morning sickness, lack of accommodations for a growing belly, and unkind advice, leaving teen moms feeling like they can do little right.
“You want to do your best, and you feel like every chance you get, you’re failing at it.”
3. You might have to try new parenting techniques if you’re raising kids with trauma histories.
After working with so many teen moms who had aged-out of foster care, Tricia wanted to do more to help stop the cycle. She knew teens needed connection before they aged-out, so their family started fostering and adopted a sibling set of 4 teenage girls. It was unlike parenting their other children; they had little understanding or knowledge of triggers and the big emotions that would follow. Knowing how to help without an established bond yet was hard to say the least, but through therapists, other moms, and God’s Word, they are stepping into a new normal where calm is more common. Two suggestions that have been game changers:
- Spend 10-20 intentional minutes a day drawing near to that difficult child.
- Give your child time to process what you’ve just asked of them by counting to six in your head after making a request or giving directions.
“The things we did before just didn’t work. It was a new stage of parenting. It was like starting all over. Plus, you don’t have the bond with them; you don’t have the relationship with them.”
MORE RESOURCES FOR YOU
Did today’s episode spark your interest in wanting to foster a teen mom?
Check out our episode with Jason Johnson where he talks about just that!
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