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Teen mom gets a new beginning at King

On May 27, 2021, freshman Vickayla Carter gave birth to her now 1-year-old son at Hutzel Women’s Hospital. Now she enters high school starting her ninth-grade year strong while working a job and being a parent. With the support of the baby’s father and her parents, she said she believes she can give her son the best life possible.

“I mean at first, I did feel like I got treated differently by everyone but then as I grew into it, it really made me a better person,” Carter said. “I think it made me a better person and it makes me want to go harder.”

Now that Carter is a part of the King family, she has the support from her ninth-grade counselor Anneatra Kaplan in which she believes that she will be there physically and mentally for not just Carter but any other teen parent.

“Mentally I would try to support them, give them as many resources, and reassure them that no matter how difficult it is they could still get through it,” Kaplan said. “To physically support them, the only thing that I can really do is to do my best with what I may have. So, if there is something they might need, and I have the money, I will help them.”

Carter comes to King every day knowing that she must do her absolute best academically so she can have the proper stability for her child especially since she believes that she made a mistake.

“It made me see clearly, like I knew that I had made a big mistake but then it made me want to do better cause I let my parents down,” Carter said. “So now it's like I got to show them that I can still do this while being a mom.”

Ascension School-Based Health Center’s nurse practitioner Benjamin Dempsey-Klott said he believes that some teens drive towards pregnancy because of problems at home.

“So I think sometimes teens feel like when they don’t have a very good relationship with their parents or whoever is raising them, they automatically think well if I was a parent, I would be better because I would do x, y, and z and they set out to prove a point that I'm going to be that better parent and give my child a better life but that’s not always the case,” Demsey-Klott said.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by the age of 22. That is not the image Carter has of herself. She intends to graduate on time.

“No matter what, I will walk across that stage on time knowing I did everything in my power to better me and my son’s life,” Carter said.


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