In their own words: the teen moms of Castro Valley

The television show 16 and Pregnant may show Macy’s and Farrah’s experiences as pregnant teens, but CVHS students Vanessa Arteaga, Emilie Sorensen, and Giana Bargas have their own stories to tell about pregnancy. These girls will soon have a lot on their plates as students and moms, but they take these challenges with optimism and help from friends and family.

What was your first reaction when you found out?

Arteaga: When I found out I got scared. I didn’t know what I was going do, how I was going tell my parents, how my boyfriend and his parents were going to react and how I would finish school. My heart was beating very fast and a lot of stuff was going through my head.

Sorensen: I was scared, but I tried to keep a positive mindset.

Bargas: I was shocked.  I didn’t think I was pregnant at all. So I did three pregnancy tests and I went to the doctor’s office and then they told me.

When is your due date?

Arteaga: My due date is March 12 but I think I’m going have her before because I’ve already started feeling some contractions.

Sorensen: I’m due March 8.

Bargas: May 22.

What made you want to keep your baby and was it a hard choice to make?

Arteaga: I’ve never liked abortion or adoption so for sure I wasn’t going to do that. My boyfriend had asked his aunt what we should do and she said I should abort it before it’s too late. I don’t get how people could just give up their baby though. I would never give up my baby for anything. It just makes me sad thinking about that.

Sorensen: Well, abortion was never a choice for me, just cause I have always been pro-life. Adoption wasn’t so easy to say no to, and it took me a while.

Bargas: Mostly because I’m anti-abortion, so that’s the main reason. Plus, I know people who went through it and they’ve actually made something out of themselves.

What made you decide to stay in school and did you ever have the thought of an alternative like homeschool?

Arteaga: I don’t want to be like other teen moms and not finish school; I want to prove everyone wrong who says I can’t do it. I also want to be a good example for my baby. Both of my older sisters got pregnant at a young age too and they both graduated at Redwood. I don’t want that; I’d rather graduate at a regular high school. Once I told my mom, she told me that I’m going to go to school no matter what and that she doesn’t care if I’m throwing up, I still have to go, so she kept me in school. In September or October I had transferred to Burke Academy in Hayward. It’s for teen moms. It helps you graduate faster and provides child care, but I didn’t like it because I wasn’t really getting the help that I needed in my classes. They put me in lower classes so I transferred back. I never really thought about homeschool.

Sorensen: I wanted to stay in school as long as possible, since things are going to be hard enough as it is. I was originally planning on doing independent study, but things changed, so I’m going to transfer over to a school for teen parents in Pleasanton.

Bargas: When I first found out, I went to my counselor and we arranged it so that I can stay in school and I can come back right after I have the baby too.

How did your parents feel and what kind of support do you have?

Arteaga: Both of my parents cried. They would always tell me I better not get pregnant and I would always tell them that I wouldn’t. My mom and I are close so when I told her it hurt me the most. I have a lot of support. My parents, boyfriend, his parents and my friends support me a lot. My counselor and teachers also support me. I’m grateful for that because I know most people don’t get the support that I’m getting.

Sorensen: My parents were disappointed, but they are very supportive. I have support from a lot of teachers and my counselor too, which really helps. My boyfriend is very supportive too.

Bargas: At first they were disappointed, but you know, everybody make mistakes and they’re being supportive now.

Was it hard to tell your parents and how did you tell them?

Arteaga: Yeah, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. My mom owns a beauty salon and I was cutting my aunt’s hair and out of nowhere I started getting dizzy so I had to stop and my aunt asked why I felt dizzy, but I just ignored her. I was just sitting in the back of the salon and crying because I knew I had to tell her then. I had kind of stopped crying when my mom came by and I told her I’m pregnant and I just busted out crying again. My dad found out two days after that. My dad, little sister and I were in my living room and my mom was in her room and I texted her asking if she could tell my dad because I couldn’t. She texted my dad and told him to tell my little sister to go to her room because I needed to tell him something. My little sister left and my heart was beating very fast. I was watching TV and I could feel my dad just watching me. Then he asked me what I need to tell him. And I just started crying and I couldn’t talk at all. After a few minutes he asked me if I was pregnant and I just nodded my head and he just covered his face. And then my little sister came back and he said that we’ll talk later and I just left to my room. We never talked about it after.

Sorensen: My stepmom was with me when I found out, but it was hard for me to tell my dad. I asked her to do it for me. They were really disappointed.

Bargas: I didn’t tell my dad; my mom told my dad. I told my mom I had to tell her something and she guessed and that’s how they found out.

Do you have any words of wisdom for other teen girls?

Arteaga: Always think before you act because you never know what could happen. Don’t have sex without a condom or without being on any type of birth control. You don’t want to be in my situation. Babies are cute and everything but it’s harder when you’re young and especially if you know you won’t have any support. If you ever do want to get pregnant at least make sure you’re with the right person and they’re going be there and support you.

Sorensen: Be careful because you may think you’re safe just using one form of protection but you can never be too careful. Adults aren’t just being dumb when they tell you to use two [types of contraceptives].

Bargas: Be more aware.

So what’s the weirdest thing you have craved?

Arteaga: I don’t really have any cravings.

Sorensen: I’ve craved sour candy the whole time.

Bargas: I really haven’t craved anything. I only crave something if I’m driving and I see it, that’s when I crave it.

How did you choose your baby’s name?

Arteaga: My boyfriend and I couldn’t come up with a name that we both liked. He would come up with one and I wouldn’t like it and I would come up with one and he wouldn’t like it. So that was frustrating. One day we were at his house watching a movie and one of the ladies’ names was Linda and I’ve always liked that but had forgotten about it. So I asked him if he liked it and he finally said yes so we just stuck to that one. I asked my ASL teacher what she thought would go with Linda. She said it should be Linda Alejandra Olivares. So that’s what we’re going name her.

Sorensen: That was difficult actually. We kind of just thought of names we like and switched them around in different combinations until we found the one we liked the best. We’re 90 percent sure on his name and it’s Lucas Bradley Hunter.

Bargas: I haven’t chosen a name yet.

Have your career and future plans changed?

Arteaga: I never really thought of what I wanted to do. All I knew was that I was going finish high school and go to college.

Bargas: No, I’m still going to go to college and my boyfriend is still supportive so he’ll have a big part in taking care of the baby so I’ll still be set for college. I want to be an X-ray tech.

Sorensen:I feel disappointed, just because I know that it will take me a lot longer to do the things that I want to do while taking care of a baby.

Has being a teen mom changed you? How?

Arteaga: Being a teen mom has changed me in a positive way. I’m not the same person anymore; I have a bigger responsibility now. I don’t have time to just screw around like other people. I think it’s made me a better person

Sorensen: Yes, I’ve had to mature a lot faster than my friends. It makes things a little more difficult, but I don’t think it has changed me in a negative way.

Bargas: Not really, I still feel the same.

What kind of a reaction did you get from students at school?

Arteaga: All my friends support me and are cool about it. All the people that don’t like me just started talking about me but it didn’t affect me at all. A lot of people were surprised.

Sorensen:The students at school never really said anything to my face. I got a lot of stares, but after awhile I just got used to it

Bargas: Well I know that everyone already knows and no one’s really negative.

How is your boyfriend doing with you being pregnant and does he help you with anything?

Arteaga:  He’s doing well. He supports me a lot and helps me whenever I need help with anything. I’m happy I got stuck with him. He’s a good person and is going be a good dad.

Bargas: Yeah, he comes to all my appointments and he’s there. He’s excited.

Sorensen:My boyfriend is doing pretty well with it. He helps me with what he can, but I don’t think it’s really hit him yet since he’s not the one carrying the baby around.

How do you plan on taking care of your baby?

Arteaga: I’m planning on getting a job and my boyfriend is too. I’m not trying to rely on my parents a lot. They’ve already helped me a lot and I don’t want to keep relying on them for a long time.

Sorensen: Well, my boyfriend has two jobs, but we’ll ask for help when we need it. Right now, I’m just focusing on school and taking care of the baby.

Bargas: I know I’m only planning on going to college two days a week and the other days [my boyfriend] will stay home from school for a couple months. And then he’s going to help me while I go to school.

How do you feel about being a pregnant teen?

Arteaga: I wish I would’ve waited. I never imagined that I would get pregnant at this age. Things happen for a reason and I can’t change it. But I’m happy now; I just know it’s going be really hard.

Sorensen: I wish it could’ve happened later, but I’m still excited and don’t love the baby any less.

Bargas: I never thought I would be pregnant this young but I’m okay with it.

How is having your baby going to change your life?

Arteaga: It’s going change my life because I’m not going to have time to do homework and I’m going to be very tired and stressed. I’m not going to be able to do what I want anymore. I have to think about my baby before everything else.

Sorensen: My baby is going to impact me both negatively and positively. Positively because he is my son, and I am going to learn and mature so much from this, but negatively because I won’t be able to do the things I wanted to do with my life.

Bargas: I probably will have to work harder than I would have imagined, but I’m going to try and do it.

What have you learned from this experience?

Arteaga: There’s a time for everything.

Sorensen: To use protection and you really have to be careful. You can never be too safe.

Bargas: Taking responsibility for your actions.

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