My name is Kesha. I am 18 years old and just started my second semester of college. I have a beautiful little girl named Anna. This is my story.

I was planning to go into the military after graduating from high school. I had excellent grades and had been in JROTC since middle school. I loved it and believed it would save me from the environment I have lived in all my life. My mom was single and told my sister and me that our fathers didn’t even know we existed. She had an endless parade of men in and out of the many houses, trailers and apartments we stayed in. My mother had to drive me to school because we lived out of district and there was no school bus service. Some days, I stayed home from school because my mother didn’t want to take me. Other days, she would forget to pick me up and I would sit in the parking lot waiting.

A very special teacher noticed me and befriended me. She would bring me food and stay with me until someone picked me up. On weekends, she packed my backpack with food.

In my junior year of high school, I met a guy who had a similar background as me, and he became my boyfriend. When he graduated from high school, he moved in with us and even worked with my mother at a fast food restaurant. The summer before my senior year, I became pregnant. My mother and boyfriend insisted that I have an abortion, but neither had the money for an abortion. Of course, they also couldn’t afford medical care so I didn’t see a doctor either.

About this time, I started staying with my teacher during the week and only going home on the weekend. When my teacher found out I had not seen a doctor, we talked to the school nurse and she referred us to the Pregnancy Resource Center. My counselor at the pregnancy center got me in to see a doctor and helped me get WIC and Medicaid, but I was still a little scared about having a baby and being able to take care of it. My counselor at the pregnancy center said that it is normal to be afraid of the unknown, but if you are educated about childbirth and caring for a baby it won’t be an unknown.

I started going to the pregnancy center once a week to take classes. I learned about pregnancy, childbirth and caring for a baby. I was able to earn many of the baby items I needed and that made a huge difference.

When I turned 18, my teacher and her husband let me move in with them. I am continuing to live with them as I raise my daughter and attend school. With so much help and support, I will get my nursing degree and pay back all this kindness by helping others.