Double-Lined Lives

Double-Lined Lives

For some it is Plan B and a forgotten thought. For others it is dropping out of school and never making it any further. But for a select few it is striving through the hard times and trying to make the best out of the situation they are in.

This is the story of double-lined lives.

Ashleigh Phillips, a former Cross Creek student who is now a school resource officer here, knows what it’s like to balance school work and a baby. She was in her senior year when she found out that she was pregnant.

“I was 17 years old and five months shy of graduating,” Phillips said. “I think the only thing I was worried about was how my dad would react. I remember he told me that I should just go live under a bridge and collect welfare. Now look at me. I make more money than him.”

Phillips said that it’s no different from now. People still talked about her behind her back, but she was determined to graduate which she did when she was five months pregnant. When asked if her boyfriend said anything when she told him, she said he replied, “We’ll take care of it tomorrow.”

She also said she was happy she had a good support system.

For others, going through high school with a child wasn’t so easy.

Senior, Stephanie Jefferson, said she was talked about a lot.

“People said they hoped my baby and I died,” Jefferson said.

Although for her group of friends it was a different story. Jefferson said her friends were shocked but happy because she decided to keep it and they supported her. Her mom also supported her, Jefferson said.

“My mom cried when I left for school the day I told her,” Jefferson said. “But she went from sad to supportive.”

When asked how she felt about having to juggle school and a child, Jefferson said, “It’s not difficult but you have to be patient.”

Jefferson said her baby’s father was scared and shocked.

“He was not ready to be a father,” Jefferson said.

While Jefferson could have easily dropped out of high school, she chose to go into the National Guard and is hoping to go to college at UGA.

While some people grow up and stop partying, some don’t.

“A child is an excellent thing to have when you’re older and stable” said Khadijah James, junior at Cross Creek High School. “You have to think about who is going to watch my child when I go to parties.”

James said she found out she was pregnant at seven months. She and the father are no longer together.

“I was really emotional throughout  my pregnancy,” James said.

James also said that she had to miss a lot of school for maternity leave or when the baby was sick.

Just about to finish your senior year and you find out you’re pregnant. That can be a scary thing.

For Toni Scott, senior at Cross Creek High School, it’s all about trying to live her senior year before she becomes a full time mom and student.

“When I found out I was scared, but I made up in my mind that I wasn’t going to hold back my dreams of going in the military,” said Scott. “I was so scared and my mom was upset, like a typical parent would react.”

“The worst thing about being pregnant at school,” said Scott, “is that you’re tired and hungry all the time and they don’t give you a lot of food at lunch at school either! Ha-ha!”

Scott said she would encourage all teenagers to use protection because you do not want to be a teen mom.

The Georgia pregnancy rate as of 2011 for females under the age of 20 showed that there were 179 births from females under the age of 15. For females aged 15-17 there were 3,839 births. For females 18-19 there were 9,152 births. And for females 15-19 there were a whopping 12,991 births overall. Non-Hispanic white had 4,678 overall. Non-Hispanic black had 6,041. American Indian or Alaska Native had 37. Asian or Pacific Islander had 138 and Hispanic had 1,966 overall for the state if Georgia as according to the Office of Adolescent Health.

While some teens think that having a baby young is a Big No No, some just feel like they need that person in their life. Nakesha Noble, a junior at Cross Creek, said that having her child this early was a planned thing between her and her boyfriend.

“I always felt lonely all the time and I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t care” stated Nakesha when asked why it was planned. She didn’t play any sports so it didn’t take away from anything. When asked if Cross Creek should have a day-care she responded with “No, that’s ghetto!”

Dominique Burnett, a former senior at Cross Creek, said having a child as a student can be stressful.

Stephanie Jefferson with her 2-year-old daughter, Kaden.
Stephanie Jefferson with her 2-year-old daughter, Kaden.

“It’s stressful because you have to walk in the crowded halls and worry about people elbowing you and trying to push past you,” she said.

Unlike the usual statistics, she is still with the father and he is working two jobs to help support them, Burnett said.

Burnett said she wishes schools would have a daycare, even though students did not think that would be a good idea.

“I think it would be easier if they got a day-care because half the diplomas aren’t up here because they had to drop out,” Burnett said. She still plans on graduating and hopes to marry her baby’s dad one day.