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Your Rights

Your Rights

Sitting On Fence

Being a teen parent comes with a variety of legal questions. In this section, learn about child support, parenting plans, paternity, and the rights of parents and caregivers. We’ll get you started and show you were to learn more. Read this story first, then check out the sub-pages and resources on the right.

This is a story written by an 18-year-old mom from Whatcom County about how an unplanned pregnancy pushed her to grow up and turn her life around. 

Sandra's Story

When I had found out I was pregnant, my mind had been set in a totally different place. I made a dramatic change, not only for myself but more for my child.

Before I was pregnant, my boyfriend and I had a drug problem. I would always be in trouble and was in the system for my violent outlashes. But when I had found out I was pregnant, I stopped smoking, drinking, and going out. Instead I started eating healthy, and got an extra amount of exercise. I started going to my probation appointments, finished my drug classes, got back in school, and kept my grades up. I would never want to be selfish over something so innocent, something that I created, something I instantly loved.

My whole life turned around just because I was pregnant. I realized who my real friends were, and I grew up.

I knew some day I would be a mom, but I didn’t know it would be this soon. I had to learn my motherly instincts on my own. I had to make the right choice for everything. But you know what? I had no problem doing all this because that’s how much I cared for her.

I’m not saying go out and have a baby because it will make you a better person, because having a baby is harder then it seems. People only see stuff like baby pictures that are so cute, or moms saying how much they love their kid. So it makes you want to have a baby. People never mention the long nights that you just want to sleep but you can’t … they don’t mention the depression you get, they don’t mention how it changes your relationship with the baby’s father, they don’t mention the struggles you have with financial issues. What I’m trying to say is if you have a baby then you should know how this feels. It’s a struggle that you have no power over.

If you’re not pregnant, please don’t try to get pregnant, wait for the right time. Wait until you’ve lived your life. Wait until you have a steady job. Wait until you're married, and have everything ready.

If you're pregnant or already have a baby, don’t leave the responsibility for others to take care of your child, don’t put drugs and alcohol before your kid. Take care of him or her. Get everything together and don’t give up.