Karla Martinez/COACHELLA UNINCORPORATED
While there are many family traditions I hope to pass down to my children one day, there is one tradition I hope ends with me.
My great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother were all teen moms.
I was born when my parents were only 15, which is just a year older than I am now. I can’t imagine the responsibility of becoming a parent at such a young age.
The reality is that my parents were kids themselves when they had me, and as a result I was forced to grow up fast.
My childhood was very unstable. My parents ended up getting divorced after my brother and sister were born. When I was nine, my mother and stepfather took my siblings and me to live in Las Vegas, the beginning of a rough period. By that time I’d already attended many schools as a child, and it was always difficult switching environments. This time, though, was even harder because Las Vegas was so far away from everyone and everything familiar to me.
I felt as if a hole had been punched through my stomach. It was a feeling of emptiness — the fear of being alone. Living with strangers, as we often did, kept me up at night and often drove me to tears.
My mother lost her childhood when I was born. She didn’t know what it was like to go out with friends and have fun. Instead, she was at home changing diapers, making bottles and wondering how her life would be if I hadn’t been born.
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