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Young Mothers

I remember the summers of early childhood with my mother. The sounds of the Cure and Prince still bring back memories of seeing her get ready for an evening out. I watched her put on makeup, color her hair, and paint her nails with the eyes of a loving and curious daughter who came too soon. As weeks together passed, I feared the season’s end, knowing that once again I’d be left watching from the living room window as she drove back to a life that I wasn’t a part of. 

 

 

I remember the summers of early childhood with my mother. The sounds of the Cure and Prince still bring back memories of seeing her get ready for an evening out. I watched her put on makeup, color her hair, and paint her nails with the eyes of a loving and curious daughter who came too soon. As weeks together passed, I feared the season’s end, knowing that once again I’d be left watching from the living room window as she drove back to a life that I wasn’t a part of. 

I was raised by my grandparents but born the daughter of a woman only sixteen years my elder. Two years later, she moved to the city to continue her education and explore found adulthood while I spent my childhood trying to understand myself in relation to a family that did not look like the ones I saw in books and movies. 

Now, I seek to learn about families similar to my own and create the representation of young motherhood that I searched for growing up. 

The following photographs, interviews, and collected snapshots are from the families of women who had children before reaching adulthood. Though united by this single, defining event, each family has faced situations unique to their own history. For some, teen pregnancy was confusing and alienating; for others, it was an opportunity for new beginnings. 

Whether married or single, holding a GED or a Masters degree, working as a business owner or homemaker, each mother has found different ways to create a life for herself and her family despite the difficulties brought to them by their initial circumstances. 

Through conversation and photography, they have given me a glimpse of their lives, sharing with me the joys and struggles that followed a decision made early on in the mother’s life.