As soon as people hear that a teenager has gotten pregnant, they shake their heads. What a shame, they say. How is she going to provide a good home for her child? But there are plenty of women who have, and are, defying stereotypes, dedicating themselves to being good mothers. Gloria Malone, 23, is one of those women. The Florida native gave birth just days before her sixteenth birthday. A writer, advocate and student, she’s speaking out on behalf of teen mothers and young parents and offering them support with her blog Teen Mom NYC.

One important message the world should understand is that teen moms need your support.  They are not to be shamed.  These kids already have the challenge of a tough future ahead for them.  They have to face the challenges in health.  They might not have more time to spend on education.  As a result, they may take up careers with low income.  The stigma will worsen their future.

As part of society, we can provide them support in the following manner:

  1. By providing them with more flexible work opportunities so that they can manage to earn and look after their kids as well.
  2. By increasing the financial support for their higher educations. Most Teen moms give up higher education as they are unable to manage the financial burden in addition to supporting their kid.
  3. Most of them are forced to move out of their family. They face stigma in their schools.  Social welfare organizations can provide free mentoring and moral support.  They need more counseling to come out of their fears- fears related to pregnancy health issues fears related to bringing up the child and financial worries of the future.

Good news is that many of the teen moms are boldly opening up.  They run a web site and provide awareness and support for similar people.  Many of us behave indifferently towards them out of our ignorance.  But when we read their blogs, we can understand their sufferings.  We have to join hands to appreciate their courage.  They have achieved so many things in spite of their difficulties.  Back to the story of one such courageous woman!

She’s taken her message of empowerment and support to Fox News, NPR, Huffington Post Live and more. We got the advocate and mom to 7-year-old Leilani to take a break from changing the world to talk about how she did it and what’s next.