By ANDRES GARCIA/South Kern Sol
LAMONT– Coming from a Hispanic family, Mercedes Garcia, 15, is under the impression that she will become pregnant by the age of 16.
Her family actually expects it to happen. For Garcia getting pregnant as a teenager is a custom that runs in the family.
“My mother had me when she was 16, my grandmother had her first child at 16, and her mother had her first child when she was 15 going on 16,” she said.
Being the oldest of seven children, she has had to grow up faster than some of her peers.
“I had to take on responsibilities at a very young age. I am not allowed to go out with my friends like other normal teenagers because I have to take care of my brothers and sisters,” said Garcia. “My mother is almost never here, so I have to help my grandmother take care of my brothers and sisters.”
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South Kern Sol is the youth-led publication of South Kern. South Kern Sol staff are youths between the ages of 14 to 24 from the areas of Greenfield, Arvin, Lamont and Weedpatch.