Teen Mom Diary

Guadalupe Dill was just 16 when she became pregnant with her first child, Ashley. Guadalupe’s parents divorced when she was just four-years-old. In a family of seven living brothers and four sisters, she was the second youngest of the twelve. Soon after Guadalupe’s father left the house, her Mother’s partner moved in and tried to assume a fatherly role for the children left at home, Guadalupe and her little sister. “She tried to make us good kids, but she was just insanely strict,” says Guadalupe. When things turned very ugly Guadalupe no longer wanted to be at home. “I knew if I got pregnant, I would be kicked out, my mom’s partner had made that clear,” says Guadalupe.

Though somewhat unintentionally, Guadalupe got pregnant, but didn’t tell her mom until she was six months along. At eight months, she was kicked out. She moved in with the baby’s grandmother and one day right after summer school she went to the hospital and delivered Ashley. Guadalupe felt it was important to finish school and got a job at the sports bar, Hiney’s, moved into a $350 a month, 1 bedroom apartment, and finished her senior year. “The hardest part of having Ashley, was I had to learn how to be a mom, how to change diapers, what to do when she was crying, managing work and school, and still having time to spend with my daughter,” says Guadalupe.

Guadalupe is really looking forward to her future, though when she looks back, it pains her to remember her struggles. “I think the hardest times were when I had no electricity, no gas,. I remember having to warm up water to bath my kids. I would be without light for weeks sometimes and nobody would know. I couldn’t run to people for help. They have their own problems; nobody was going to solve mine. I had to be tough. You know, it’s hard to open up to people. When my car was repossessed, I told people it was stolen. It’s embarrassing sometimes, especially when I am not able to provide for my kids, when I have to explain to them why we can’t do or have something,” says Guadalupe. A couple years after her first daughter was born, Guadalupe delivered her second child Kimberly (Kimmy.) “Well, I already had one and knew I wanted Ashley to have a sibling, so Kimberly has actually planned,” says Guadalupe. Guadalupe worked various jobs and lived in different places after the birth of her first child but eventually, she felt she had to improve her life. “I didn’t ever think I would go to college, it never crossed my mind, but I got tired of being labeled, you know, typical Mexican, single mother, on welfare. I wanted to be one of those few successful, those in hard situations like mine, but who still make it,” says Guadalupe.

Early in life, Guadalupe had seen how education could make a difference in someone’s life. Guadalupe respects her hard-working mother, and feels she inherited this trait from her. She also has looked up to her best friend’s mother, Janet. “I have always admired her, she has an education, nice cars, a beautiful house on the West side, you know even the smallest things like shopping at a nicer grocery store; I wanted that,” says Guadalupe.

So, she began at her area community college, but then dropped out after a year, because of her job at the time. “I was a paralegal for an attorney, and at 23, I was making good money that I needed, but would miss a lot of class,” says Guadalupe. Although, as a paralegal she realized what education buys you. I saw the lawyers and really understood that the more education you have the better your life is,” says Guadalupe. She continued with school in the fall of 2004. At the age of 28, she is now one semester away from gradating.

Even though Guadalupe has now moved into a house and has a good job as a corrections officer at the juvenile probation department , she struggles. “Sometimes I feel I am stuck, it is hard to support a family, and it’s frustrating to not being able to live well, because I haven’t accomplished what I want,” says Guadalupe.

Her goal is to pursue a PhD in Clinical/Experimental Criminal Justice combined with Psychology, and continue to work with troubled youth, perhaps eventually teaching at a university. Of course right now Guadalupe’s life is still hectic, and she just takes one day at a time. Currently, she goes to school Monday through Friday and works a graveyard shift Wednesday through Saturday. Her first class is at 9:20a.m. and the last one ends at 4:20p.m., then she spends time with her daughters until about 8:30p.m. If their father’s takes them, then she sleeps. Sometimes she sleeps in her car after getting off work and before school, to make sure she goes to class.

It has been very difficult for Guadalupe. “I never regretted it, because having children is a beautiful thing. I just wish I could go and do things differently, properly,” says Guadalupe. Her advice to teen girls out there is the same she gives to the youth she works with as well as her own daughters. “Do things the right way, make sure you are responsible and can provide before you bring out a child. Just be prepared for some hard stuff as a teen parent. I think most importantly, everyone needs an education, and just wait to have kids, don’t do it when you are so young, get your education first,” says Guadalupe.

By Zoleil Escarciga

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