I am Brittany, a YOUNG MOM, and this is my story.
Brittany, 26, lives in Wayne County, NC with her two children.
As told to Jasmine Getrouw-Moore, Young Families Connect Media Outreach Coordinator (June 2017).
*Name Changed for confidentiality
Meet Brittany, a young mom from Wayne County, NC. Brittany shares her journey as a preacher’s kid, deciding to get distance herself from unhealthy relationships, and Young Families Connect.
I am a preacher’s kid. I grew up participating in church activities, and serving as a leader at my church. My community was church. I wasn’t quite exposed to what was going on outside of my church. My father wanted to make sure that I was sheltered from bad influences. I was so shielded that by the time I turned eighteen years old, I started to explore my independence and truly started to rebel from my parents. This was period in my life that lasted a few years. During this time where I first started to rebel, I stopped going to school regularly during my senior year of high school. I got some tattoos, started to hang out and party with other people so much that by the time the second quarter of my senior year was coming to an end, I realized that I was in danger of not graduating. I was scared! This was a wake-up call that I had to get myself together, and I did! Instead of finishing school in Wayne County, where I would have had to make up classes, pretty much stay back, and repeat the 12th grade, I called my aunt in Washington, D.C. where I finished the 12th grade (during the same school year) with honors.
Discovering Myself, New Relationships
I returned to North Carolina before moving to Georgia for college. I was unhappy there and decided to return back to North Carolina. During this time, I continued to hang out with my friends, party and have fun. I wasn’t living with my parents at this time because they wouldn’t have allowed me to live my life the way I wanted to live- hanging out with friends, partying and having a fun. I lived with my friend. I was trying to move on from one roller coaster ride of an unhealthy relationship, and I reconnected with someone I knew, Tim*. Tim and I started to seriously date in summer 2011. And I would soon find out that this relationship was yet another roller coaster ride. This was an unhealthy, toxic relationship.
When I look back, I realize that Tim gave me some comfort during a time when I was getting over another relationship. At that time, I was still participating on the party scene, not taking care of my body by consuming alcohol and prescription medicine which made my birth control ineffective. As a result, I became pregnant with our first child, my daughter, in November 2011. When I found out I was pregnant, I was scared. I was unmarried and concerned about what my family would think. I was concerned about how the church community would respond and how my friends would respond. I was also afraid to talk to my dad about things that were going with me like my feelings about being a single mother and the current state of my relationship. I moved in with Tim at his mother’s house. When I moved in, he moved out. We had a toxic relationship: he cheated, even had another child with another person. We argued and even fought but I didn’t want to break up the family structure.
Moving On and Ahead
I became pregnant again with my second child which is when I discovered Young Families Connect, after meeting Mrs. Donna. After I had my second child, I realized that my relationship with Tim wasn’t healthy. I was holding on to Tim out of fear of losing my family structure but not realizing that the family structure wasn’t solid if it was toxic. Through the support and guidance of the Young Families Connect team in Wayne County, I have been able to leave Tim and focus on my needs. Mrs. Donna helped me to focus on a career path. With the support of the Young Families Connect community and especially Mrs. Donna, I have been able to live a healthier happier life. I have focused on my goals, became a Certified Nurse Assistant and used the skills from this program to co-parent my children with Tim. I know I do not have to be in a relationship with him to be give my children the support they need. Moving on and ahead, I am focused on having a healthy, happy family starting with a healthy me.