Archive for Sunday, February 28, 2010

From teenager to mother

18 and pregnant, Katie Schimmel prepares to be parent

Eighteen-year-old Katie Schimmel turns to her boyfriend Mike Glynos, who sits quietly during her sonogram appointment at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Five months went by before Katie knew she was pregnant. On short notice, both are trying to come to terms with life as young parents as the baby's arrival looms five weeks away. Registered diagnostic medical sonographer Julie Morris makes sure the baby is healthy.

Eighteen-year-old Katie Schimmel turns to her boyfriend Mike Glynos, who sits quietly during her sonogram appointment at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Five months went by before Katie knew she was pregnant. On short notice, both are trying to come to terms with life as young parents as the baby's arrival looms five weeks away. Registered diagnostic medical sonographer Julie Morris makes sure the baby is healthy.

February 28, 2010


This is the first story in a series that follows 18-year-old Katie Schimmel's journey into motherhood. Read the second story.

On a bitterly cold December morning, 18-year-old Katie Schimmel and her boyfriend Mike Glynos are dropped off at Lawrence Memorial Hospital by Mike’s mom, Monique Glynos.

Still recovering from a drama-filled night, the couple walks to the hospital’s Family Birthing Center, where Katie is scheduled to be induced into labor.

By midmorning, Mike’s dad, Brent Stephens, has arrived from Kansas City. So has Aubrey McClelland, Katie’s 15-year-old friend who has skipped a day at Central Junior High School to attend the birth.

Between a series of contractions, Katie talks about what happened the night before.

Her dad was mad that she planned to give the baby Mike’s last name. It was a fight that ended with Katie moving everything but her clothes out of her dad’s mobile home.

“I’m not on talking terms with my dad,” she says just before stronger labor pains take over.

In a few hours, Katie becomes a mother.

Born into a life of flux

Growing up together

Eighteen years old and pregnant, Katie Schimmel's life was about to change forever. For four months, we followed Katie's journey to motherhood.

For four months, the Journal-World and 6News followed Katie as she prepared for and took on the responsibility of teenage motherhood. During that time, her life was roiling with change — from her on-again, off-again relationship with Mike to her health. She had five trips to the emergency room for false labor pains.

Katie received assistance from several social service agencies, accepted frequent advice from her best friend and fellow teenage mom, Marissa Carley, and bounced between living in her father’s mobile home and Monique Glynos’ duplex.

For much of the experience, Katie described herself as a single mom who was on her own.

After years of steadily dropping, the number of teens having babies is rising in Kansas. Out of 1,000 girls ages 15 to 19 in Kansas, 45.6 had a baby in 2008. The birth rate has gone up by 12 percent since 2004.

Life circumstances place teen moms on the lowest rung of the social ladder.

Children born to mothers like Katie — an unmarried teenager who dropped out of high school — are nine times more likely to grow up in poverty.

The grim statistics continue.

The children of teen parents are twice as likely to suffer from abuse and neglect, are 50 percent more likely to repeat a grade and are less likely to finish high school. Sons of teen mothers are twice as likely to end up in prison, and daughters are three times more likely to become teen mothers themselves.

“Teen mothers are working heroically to try to do well by their kids, and many are succeeding,” said Bill Albert, a spokesman for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. “But overall the majority, unfortunately, don’t fare well. And some of the worst consequences tend to attach themselves to their children.”

‘As best as I can’

Four and a half months before the baby is born, in early fall, Katie has a routine physical as part of her job as an assembly line worker at Packerware. The doctor feels her stomach and says she needs to take a test.

Marissa, Katie’s best friend who had a baby boy in June, knows exactly what kind of test it would be.

“I know that face — you are pregnant,” Marissa tells her friend when she sees the doctor’s reaction.

“And (the doctor) comes back and he is like, yeah, you’re pregnant,” Katie says. She’s already halfway through the pregnancy.

Lawrence teen embarks on journey of motherhood

For four months, the Journal-World and 6News followed Katie Schimmel as she prepared for and took on the responsibility of teenage motherhood. During that time, her life was roiling with change — from her on-again, off-again relationship with Mike to her health. Enlarge video

Katie had dropped out of high school last spring and was living with her dad in a mobile home park off Michigan Street. At this time, she isn’t talking to the baby’s father.

“I was sitting there in shock. I am speechless and (Marissa) is telling everyone. And I am like, please don’t tell anyone because I don’t want to tell my parents,” she says.

Katie doesn’t break the news to her parents, but they find out. One day, her dad comes home from work and asks her if she is pregnant.

“And I’m like, yeah. And then he never really asked me anything else,” she says. “My mom, she is not too happy about it. But she lives in Florida and I really don’t talk to her much. So it doesn’t really bug me.”

Katie makes this remark in late November, three weeks before the baby is due. In a T-shirt and gray sweat pants, she is curled up in the living room chair and holding a brown and black kitten named Dr. Pepper that she has recently taken in.

She lists off all the baby supplies she still must purchase — bottles, blankets, more baby clothes. So far, she has tallied up $2,500 in unpaid medical bills for prenatal care and is applying for coverage under the state’s HealthWave program.

She plans on moving out of her dad’s mobile home and into an apartment with her boyfriend when the baby comes. After two months of not wanting anything to do with the baby, Katie says Mike is beginning to show interest. He has just applied for a job at McDonald’s.

Her greatest worry lies firmly on the baby’s health — and the birth.

“If something ends up happening and then I get blamed for it, people are going to be like, you should have taken care of his health better,” Katie says. “I take care of it as best as I can.”

While she was pregnant and didn’t know it, Katie says she rode roller coasters, was around cigarette smoke and did a little bit of smoking herself. She wonders how she hasn’t miscarried.

“And they are telling me the baby is in perfect health, and I’m like, how is that possible?” she says.

What to expect

Most women know they are pregnant in the first six to eight weeks. At that point, they are conscious of what they are eating and taking prenatal vitamins, said Kathy Gaumer, an obstetrics-gynecology specialist at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, 325 Maine.

Life as a teenage mother: Learning every day

For teenage mother Katie Schimmel, every day provides learning experiences and challenges. Enlarge video

On the other hand, many of the teen moms she sees don’t find out they are pregnant until 16 to 20 weeks.

That puts teen moms at a disadvantage for providing proper nutrition to their babies. Compounding the problem, teenagers are still developing themselves, are prone to sporadic and unhealthy eating habits and tend to be concerned about gaining weight.

“They just aren’t used to taking care of themselves,” Gaumer said.

Teen moms have a higher risk of delivering babies prematurely and at lower birth rates. They also have more of a likelihood of developing preeclampsia, which is pregnancy-induced hypertension that can only be cured through delivery.

High-risk pregnancy

Katie’s pregnancy is high-risk, partially because she didn’t discover she was pregnant until the 20-week mark. She also has epilepsy and suffers from seizures.

Her worry over the baby’s health is somewhat eased during a doctor’s visit in early November when she learns the baby weighs 4 pounds, 7 ounces. During the previous check-up, the baby’s weight was estimated at under 2 pounds.

As Julie Morris, the hospital’s registered diagnostic sonographer, runs a transducer over Katie’s stomach, Katie looks up at the screen and reaches for Mike’s hand.

While the baby’s weight is below average, Morris assures the parents that “everything is where it is supposed to be” and the baby is breathing.

Katie chatters on about a pending visit to Minnesota’s Mall of America, a trip she wants to squeeze in before the baby comes.

She is trying to get a job at Walmart and still needs to figure out how to put the crib together. She says she’s ready for the baby to come so she can “go back to being skinny.”

She has experience working with children in her mother’s day care business and has helped her friends who have babies.

“I pretty much know what to do,” she says. “It is not really going to bug me.”

Mike, who remains silent for most of the doctor’s visit, admits he’s nervous about the baby’s arrival.

“It’s just something most people don’t plan on doing when they are 18,” he says.

Preparing for the baby

In a thick white binder, Katie keeps track of her pregnancy. It holds sonogram pictures, a list of what to bring to the hospital and health insurance forms.

Five days before Katie is scheduled to be induced, she is visited by Jenni Stark, a family support worker for the Healthy Families program with the Kansas Children’s Service League.

She arrives with a video about childbirth narrated with a soothing female voice backed by soft instrumental music. Katie barely blinks as mothers describe the stages of labor.

When it’s over, the two talk about who is going to be in the hospital room for delivery, what to bring and the positions Katie could try to be more comfortable during labor.

“Do you have everything all in one place, so that you can just grab and go?” Jenni asks.

The suitcase is already packed with diapers, a Winnie the Pooh snow suit for the baby and a camera.

“Well, it sounds like you got it figured out,” Jenni says. “You might need some socks.”

But Katie is still working out major details. Katie’s dad doesn’t approve of Mike, so he isn’t allowed in her trailer. It’s a rule she hopes will ease when the baby comes. And Katie’s modes of communications have practically shut down. Mike’s cell phone fell in the toilet, and her Internet connection broke. The two haven’t talked for several days.

A baby is born

In the early evening of Dec. 14, Nicolas Cobain Glynos — a 6-pound, 12-ounce baby boy with a tuft of blond hair — enters the world.

Katie’s eight hours of labor are relatively uneventful.

Nicolas is cleaned off, weighed and measured. After an attempt at feeding him, Katie holds him in her arms, rubbing his back and patting his head.

“You came today just like I wanted you to,” she coos. “I didn’t want to have to deal with that all night. You did good.”

Sitting in a chair in the corner of the hospital room, Mike looks scared and exhausted. At times he nods off to sleep.

Amid the chaos of the hospital room, Mike’s dad pulls him into the hallway.

Don’t sign the birth certificate, Brent Stephens tells his son.

It is advice the 18-year-old takes.

Coming Monday: Katie takes her baby home.


KansasPerson 8 years, 3 months ago

Dear Katie, before the morning is over, there will probably be some high-and-mighty people posting on here, saying judgmental and unsupportive things. The discussion might even veer off into socio-political wrangling. Take my advice and ignore all of it, even this comment of mine if you wish, and get what rest you can and take care of yourself and the little fellow. Hang in there!

Brent Garner 8 years, 3 months ago

"Children born to mothers like Katie — an unmarried teenager who dropped out of high school — are nine times more likely to grow up in poverty.

The grim statistics continue.

The children of teen parents are twice as likely to suffer from abuse and neglect, are 50 percent more likely to repeat a grade and are less likely to finish high school. Sons of teen mothers are twice as likely to end up in prison, and daughters are three times more likely to become teen mothers themselves.

“Teen mothers are working heroically to try to do well by their kids, and many are succeeding,” said Bill Albert, a spokesman for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. “But overall the majority, unfortunately, don’t fare well. And some of the worst consequences tend to attach themselves to their children.” "

The above is for Kim Murphree who so loudly and vociferously denounced me for making a similar statement about out of wedlock births being a major contributor to poverty among women and children. So, Kim, are you still standing by your claim that greed is the sole cause of this problem?

ursulabirtha 8 years, 3 months ago

Wow!!! You mean they are not illegals that are draining our system.

angel4dennis 8 years, 3 months ago

It is a shame he didn't sign the birth certificate. That makes things harder on Katie and more expensive as to get proof of parenthood. You know it is your baby, why not man up and say it proudly? Shame on his dad for being a jerk. Katie, good luck to you and your little one!

amariedhaene 6 years, 9 months ago

Okay so you obviously read the part where it was his DAD who told him not to. I am a very close friend of Mike and Katie, Mike signed the birth certificate. and no one knows both sides of the story. so unless you know them who allows you to play god? and I know this is late but I did not know this exsisted.

Maddy Griffin 8 years, 3 months ago

Don't worry about his signature on the birth certificate. Since he didn't want to "man-up" there, maybe he can enjoy paying fr the DNA paternity tests himself. What a jerk.

mom_of_three 8 years, 3 months ago

Teen mothers are a reality in this country and I am looking forward to the next piece. But I do have a question about the statistics at the top. It says teen mothers who drop out of high school are likely to raise their kids in poverty, and then following are more statistics about what the children turn out. Are those statistics for babies of all teen moms or just those who grow up in poverty? I also wonder if those statistics are nationwide or just for Kansas?
Good luck to Katie and her baby.

Nathan Anderson 8 years, 3 months ago

I'm not defending the guy as an outstanding young man, but why the nastiness about signing the birth certificate? By signing, doesn't he wave the right to establish fatherhood through genetic testing and take on the responsibilities of legal fatherhood (child support)? I think these forms stress that one shouldn't sign unless absolutely sure of paternity. If he isn't sure, he shouldn't sign, yes?

amesn 8 years, 3 months ago

Although I know the stats don't lie i'm proud to say I beat the odds so to speak after having my first child at 18. I continued on with my education, now have a bachelor's of science in nursing and are making arrangements to work on my master's. Although I had better family support than this young woman, I did resort to public assistance while I attended nursing school and don't feel ashamed at all to say I did so..AND I worked part time as a CNA while in school. Maybe the best thing for her would be to move on without the support of the sperm donor in this situation! At 23 I met a wonderful man, married him, and have 2 young children with him in addition to my now 9 year old...I thank God I didn't waste my time pining away for the support and love of my daughter's father! I think him turning his back on us made me more determined to not allow myself or my child become a 'statistic'! I hope the best for this young lady and that she too can find the strength and courage to overcome adversity as I did 10 years ago!

Shane Rogers 8 years, 3 months ago

Well, in my experience as a step-father it seems to me that by not signing that BC he has probably made it a lot harder on himself. Not only will he have to pay for the testing, but when it is shown that he's the father he'll have to pay more for child they'll be after him for a lot more in child support. Way to go dad! ...both of ya!

To the mom, I wish you and your child the best of luck.....although how one could have missed the fact that they were 5 months pregnant I have absolutely no idea. I hope that you weren't in denial.

Nathan Anderson 8 years, 3 months ago

Interesting knytphal. I wonder why not signing equals more child support. However, I suppose all of that pails in comparison to supporting a child for 18 years that isn't yours. In any case, I wish the kid all the best.

infidel 8 years, 3 months ago

Seems to be a lot of hash comments about the guy for not signing the BC. All of them centered around the fact that he is the father. I doubt I would have signed unless I was 100% sure. If I recall my high school years correctly I would rather take a chance on the DNA test. If your sure why not sign it, however knowing most of the girls I was in high school with I would rather have a baby daddy lotto.

Brent Garner 8 years, 3 months ago


I congratulate you and celebrate your success! Sadly, you are the exception to the rule. Within the last week an article was posted on on this same topic. Their statistics matched those in this article and they arrived at the same conclusions. Teen age pregnancy is a major factor in causing the mother and child to live in poverty! Few manage to escape it also! So, again I congratualte you and celebrate your success! Bravo for you!

Liberty275 8 years, 3 months ago

In other news, there is no up in space.

workinghard 8 years, 3 months ago

At first I agreed about the birth certificate until the point about paternity came up. I actually know someone that did sign the birth certicate and found out four years later the child was not his. The child not only had his last name, as the father of record, his name was in school and medical records as the child grew up. It made him look like a dead beat dad when he was not involved in issues pertaining to the child life, such as school and medical issues. His parents even got comments from people about what terrible grandpartents they were for not being in the child's life. Now if after parternity tests, he does not step forward and legally claim the child as his, yes, dad is scum.

kugrad 8 years, 3 months ago

Congratulations on your son! What a wonderful thing. Parenting does not suck, it is fantastic. You know, when I was a child, and in my parents' day, it was more the norm for 18 year olds to have children. Many people finished high school and started their family. No one had a negative thought about it; it was the way things happened. Now people wait longer, but it is a trade-off. The benefits for you will be many. Yes, you may wish you had some of your twenties back, but you will have the immense pleasure of knowing your children well once they reach adulthood, of knowing your grandchildren well, - something that you will cherish more than you can ever know now. It is what it is, so be happy, love that child, and remember, you can't hold a baby too much! Best wishes for you and yours.

katie_bear 8 years, 3 months ago

to kansasperson-- thanks. i know people will say what they want to say and i don't let it bug me. so what im a teen mom. i am not poor. i can support my son and maybe me and his dad fight a lot. we still get along. so people say what you wish cause it wont bug me a single bit


katie_bear 8 years, 3 months ago

knytphal -- i dont know how i went five months. i wasnt getting big. i had no morning sickness throu the whole thing. i had no feeling of being pregnant.

ssakcaj 8 years, 3 months ago

Him not signing the birth certificate is the smart thing to do. Yeah, I hope that both of them get a paternity test and deternine that he is or is not the father.

I still remember reading an article about a man who had to continue to pay child support after finding out the kid wasn't even his. If it turns out that the child is his, then I hope he does take responsibility and support him.

rebeccafrazier 8 years, 3 months ago

I just happen to know Mikey. And he does except this beautiful baby boy as his own. As for not sighing the bc , well sometimes parents of the teenage new parent can be harsh. I unfortunetly went through the same at his age with my childs dads family. Mikey and Katie congrats on the baby and remember you are the parents of this baby, and no matter what you can make it! You dont have to be one of the statistics. Its hard work yes but you can do it!

Amy Heeter 8 years, 3 months ago

Good luck to you Katie. If I were you I would not expect the father to change on this. He has already shown himself by not taking responsiblity . It is possible to raise your child as a single parent. I suggest you get your education. Get a GED or dipolma completion and enroll in college.

devobrun 8 years, 3 months ago

Wasn't this sort of story considered embarrassing at one time? Weren't mistakes considered bad?

Yes, I know that sweeping things under the rug that happened 50 years ago created a lot of problems. But by being more accepting as a society have we not also enabled stupid behavior?

The behavior of these two can't be from ignorance. Help and education is everywhere.

"Life circumstances place teen moms on the lowest rung of the social ladder."

Economic ladder, life fulfillment ladder, job ladder, educational ladder, emotional contentment ladder. All ladders.

How do you help people without encouraging or enabling others? How do you provide for the needs of people who make bad decisions without showing others that bad decisions actually turn out well?

The school of social welfare struggles with these questions and does a bad job of answering them.

I have a friend who is 21. She works hard and saves money and now wants to go to KU. She can't get financial help because she is not destitute. If she were a single mom, she could get the money.

We reward the wrong people.

person184 8 years, 3 months ago

Shocking...I totally agree with Brent Garner today. Teen mothers have a long hard road and most times, the children suffer right along with them.

workinghard 8 years, 3 months ago

devobrun--has she tried JCCC, their prices are great and they have a lot of online classes. I believe in the case kids of divorced parents, the non-custodial parent can be forced by the courts to help pay for college education. I don't know if it is true for kids of parents that never married.

Christine Anderson 8 years, 3 months ago

Oh honey. A long road ahead. I'm going to concentrate on what we've seen you do right in the videos. Katie, you made a good decision by connecting with Healthy Families. You were responsible by getting prenatal care once you did learn you were pregnant. If I say anything about the baby's father not signing the birth certificate, it will be deleted. Multi says it well. The best to you and Nicholas.

amesn 8 years, 3 months ago

While I can see your point devo I don't feel because of lack of judgment I used as merely a child still should have hindered me from advancing other words...I feel I had just as much right to go to college as did anybody despite my situation. These circumstances will not go away..ever..yes with education and parental guidance maybe the stats can read a different picture. Not all of the accomplishments I have made came easily..I had to work very very hard and sometimes still found myself only putting in $2.00 worth of gas at the pump somedays! I hope your friend can go to KU as she wishes although a nice 'cheap' community college is where I received my first degree and a four year institution came later. I don't feel like the education I received was lacking but rather more personal!

workinghard 8 years, 3 months ago

Most 21yr olds have parents that are more than willing to help pay for college, so devo's friend's parents must have a valid reason for not helping. If they are unable for financial reasons, she qualifies for FASFA and financial aid unless she has used them in the past and did something to disqualify herself. I think there is a little more to the story. I know single mothers who used financial aid to go to college or trade schools and then got off of government assistance. I think this is better than supporting them and their kids for the next 18+years (if the keep having kids). Katie, please take advantage of the opportunities and programs out there so you can support yourself without the help of the father or any guy for that matter. If it works out you find that guy to help you, great, but make sure you can take care of yourself if the need arises.

kappyblu 8 years, 3 months ago

It is absolutely possible to not know you are pregnant until you are well into your pregnancy. I didn't know I was pregnant until 25 weeks with my second son. Ten years of trying to conceive and failing left me unwilling to believe I would ever have another child. It happens to a lot of women.

Katie, Your baby boy is beautiful. I'm sure this is not what you had planned at such a young age, but I am also sure that you love your little one with all your heart. As for the father, I hope you and he can work together to be the best parents you can be to your son. Nicolas needs you both.
You have a rough road ahead of you, but it will also have many wonderful turns. Being a parent is the toughest thing a person can ever do, in my opinion. But it is also the most rewarding. Seek out support groups and stay positive. Above all, cherish each moments as your baby grows. Yes, even the messes! Kids grow up so fast. I'm a mother of four myself and it seems like yesterday they were newborns.
I was afraid there would be some negative comments on your story from the judgmental people on these message boards, please ignore them. Keep your chin up and stay strong, sweetie. I wish you all the best of luck and much happiness. Take care.

Shane Rogers 8 years, 3 months ago

katie_bear (anonymous) says... knytphal -- i dont know how i went five months. i wasnt getting big. i had no morning sickness throu the whole thing. i had no feeling of being pregnant.

That does happen....I even know women that still had their periods during pregnancy so it's not unheard of to not know I suppose. It does sound like you were fortunate to have a healthy child so that's an excellent start to a new life.

Again, I wish the best of luck to you and your family - and if the guy referenced in the above story is the father I hope that you are able to share in the life that has been brought into this world.

Carol Braden 8 years, 3 months ago

I'm so glad to see that Katie has accessed support services through Healthy Families. From the video, it is clear how Healthy Families has made a valuable difference to Katie and her baby.

There are a variety of home visiting programs in the state of Kansas that support families with young children. They include: Parents as Teachers, Early Head Start and Head Start, Healthy Families, Infant Toddler Special Services, and Healthy Start. These programs are evidence-based and free to families. Parents as Teachers and Healthy Start are universal programs, available to any families prenatal through age 3. The others serve families based on need, income, or risk factors.

All of these programs have shown to impact child outcomes in school readiness and academic assessments. They also prevent child abuse & neglect, increase parent participation in their child's education, and save school districts & communities many dollars that would have been spent on more intensive services later in life.

Funding for these programs are currently in jeopardy. Please contact your legislators and let them know how these programs have impacted Kansas families.

Katie, you are doing a great job! Remember, you are your child's 1st best teacher. Parenting is hard at any age. You have made a great choice to be a good mother by seeking support.

mae 8 years, 3 months ago

Katie I fully support you and know you will have a very bright future. I am glad to give my tax dollars to help strong mothers like yourself.

Kudos on a beautiful babe!

devobrun 8 years, 3 months ago

workinghard: That's where she's been for the past 2 years, JCCC. She wants to step it up a notch.

Now that she has shown the ability to work, go to school, and generally manage herself as an adult, KU isn't interested financially. Again, if she was destitute, a single mother, and otherwise indigent she would have more opportunity.

amesn: "While I can see your point devo I don't feel because of lack of judgment I used as merely a child still should have hindered me from advancing other words...I feel I had just as much right to go to college as did anybody despite my situation."

Well, this is just the perception that I was talking about. Your lack of judgment should have hindered you from advancing yourself. If not, what are the incentives to not engage in irresponsible behavior? I see college attendance as a privilege, not a right.

If you are doing your job as a parent then you work hard and the reward is a fine kid. This is no different from anybody else. However, since you had that kid when you were so young perhaps you should somehow pay a consequence that would be a shining deterrent for others.

I dunno. On one hand, amesn, you should pay for mistakes. On the other hand, you should be given a second chance. However, when that second chance impacts the opportunity of someone who doesn't need a second chance, but needs a first chance, then I squawk.

People who have a job, no kids, no boyfriend in jail, etc. and who have demonstrated an ability to manage herself at work, school, and life in general should be given first consideration. But the social services, loan guarantees, and other government programs are designed for those who make mistakes. Seems bassakwards to me.

sherlock 8 years, 3 months ago

yes and the mindset of some young teen age girls, that have the mistaken idea that getting pregnant would be so wonderful! They havent grown up enough to think beyond the end of their nose, that care of a child is for at least 20 years +/ They have no clue what all it entails, its just a lark. Yes adults know these girls are probably lacking in parental love and care and they just "want something of their own"-----too bad they dont just get a doll!

beatrice 8 years, 3 months ago

We need sex ed in schools and condoms and birth control made available to teens, now more than ever. There is so much "stuff" out there giving incomplete information about sex -- television, music, movies, and of course, the internet, with everything from porn sites that give boys the wrong ideas of what healthy sexual relations are all about, to blogs written by strippers who tell young women about how great it is to use your body to make a buck and get what you want. For immature young people, it can all be too much, especially if they don't have the greatest support system around them to begin with. Add to this the politicians who strip schools of sexual education to teach abstinence only, then Bristol Palin is shown on the cover of People Magazine like she is some kind of role model. It is all just sad because the odds are so stacked against that baby.

devobrun 8 years, 3 months ago

Beatrice, you started out saying that we need sex education. We have it.

Then you decried the mixed messages that young people get from society at large. We have that too.

But if you shelter young folks from "it can all be too much", then your are a prude.

The answer is, of course, education and moral values. It is an old concept, morality. Lost in the relativism and non-judgmental world that we live in.

We are free to be jerked around by electronics all day long, but don't you dare judge the results.

Indeed, judging results are not in the lexicon of modernity. The above couple made a decision, that's all. They will struggle as a result of their decision. It is as much society's fault as theirs.

So long as we let collective thinking dominate our lives, we will all be prodded like cattle into thinking that we share in everybody's "unfortunate" lives. They didn't win life's lottery. They weren't as fortunate as you and I. Mea culpa.

Freedom without responsibility is wrong. There's my judgment. Call me old fashioned.
I fail to see the complexity of it all. Don't get pregnant. Don't get anyone else pregnant. If you do, you both must now be grown-ups.

denak 8 years, 3 months ago


First, congratulations on your baby.

Second, if you are not already on it, get WIC. It is a great resource. Also, Parents as Teachers and The Population Resource Center - Teen Pregnancy ... Florence Crittenton Services - Teen Pregnancy & Parenting Education and assistance. ..... 2216 Alabama, Lawrence, KS 66046 House: ( 785) 841-4675 Office: ( 785) 841-8313

Also, if you go to: There is a list of places where you can get counseling and support. Some of them only deal with certain issues ie pregnancy support, homeless mothers, or services and clothes for the child but a lot of them deal with a wide range of issues you might need.

So, look them up when you have time. No one can do it all, and being young and a new mom, you are going to need help. There is no shame in asking for help, so if you need it, ask, no one will judge you.


devobrun 8 years, 3 months ago

Dena is right. There are many places to get help when you make decisions that force you into needing help. There is no shame in needing help.

And the cycle continues.

And we feel validated when we help.

And we feel loved when we help.

And the new mothers keep coming in.

And the government pays.

And we go further in debt, with no better results forthcoming.

It might not be too long before the bubble bursts and the agencies fold because our national debt is unsustainable. China stops buying paper. Government can't borrow money, defaults. Stops paying WIC.
A world of hurt.

As Leonard Cohen says: "I have seen the future baby, and it is murder".

yankeevet 8 years, 3 months ago

Oh yes; me too; i am excited about giving my tax dollars too all of these helpless single moms...............

Menazort 8 years, 3 months ago

Every new human birth brings us that much closer to Malthusian catastrophe. Oh, and the rapid economic development in China and India only hastens the pace toward world socio-economic disaster.

Cammie Braden 8 years, 3 months ago

My oh my oh my! You negative LJWorld Bloggers live a sheltered life!

Do you not know that there are millions of young single mothers out there in the world who: never get prenatal care; smoke, drink, and take illegal drugs while pregnant; eat unhealthy; live in severe poverty; live in severely unhealthy and unclean housing; are transient or homeless; have no contact with the father of the child; drop out of school and never pursue a GED; and much worse.

You all are so negative that you forget to look at the positives. From the article, it appeares that this mother received prenatal care, is not a drug user or alcoholic, lives in standard housing (although not a $300,000 home on the west-side of town), communicates with the child's father; seeks WIC and other aid to provide for a healthy diet; is pursuing a GED to enable her to get a decent job; seeks support from a home visiting program that helps with parenting skills, and more.

In many places in this country, the mother in this article would be considered functional and very much working to provide the best environment she can for her child. Good job with the "tummy time"!

On the other hand, I'm not sure why this article was written. There are many teen parents who struggle. There are many teen parents who are wonderful parents. There are many 20+ year old parents who struggle. And there are many 20+ year old parents who are wonderful parents. There are many single parents who struggle and many who are wonderful parents. No matter what age, marital status, or income level: parenting is hard!

Let's not be so quick to judge.

deec 8 years, 3 months ago

I wonder how many of the negative nellies berating this new mom are also pro-lifers?

devobrun 8 years, 3 months ago

Schadenfreude is one way of looking at it BobandAlice. She's doing great relative to Jews and Russians in Bergen-Belsen, too.

I think you have made my point. There are parts of modern liberalism that have become grotesque kabuki. Endless repetition of stylized impregnation followed by visits to government offices. All accompanied by politicians, shogun, university professors and other wise people guiding the young people.

As an engineer I look at the problems that are uniquely human, like affairs of the heart, and wonder if the principals really want a solution. I mean, if young people really learned to keep their pants zippered, or used contraceptives correctly, it would leave a lot of fawning people out of a job. And I'm not talking about a money job. No no, I mean it would render useless people who define themselves in terms of how others are helped. If others don't need yer help, then you are now disenfranchised.

First law of social work: Never expect anything to ever by fixed. As young social workers you must learn that there are no solutions. Pretty tough gig. Not for me. Good luck to all of you who are so in love with humanity that you are willing to put up with constant failure.

honey597 8 years, 3 months ago

Katie.... I am proud of you even though I was upset in the beginning when I found out you were pregnant. I know that you love your son & my grandson. You deserve all the happiness he brings in your life. I hope that it all works out for you & you get your life together. Good luck.

LadyJ 8 years, 3 months ago

So is honey597 the baby's grandmother or great grandmother? Either way all that is offered is " I hope that it all works out for you & you get your life together. Good luck."

Christine Anderson 8 years, 3 months ago

Mr. J.K.: Please, if you end up deleting my 10:44 comment, also delete beobachter's comment where he referred to Katie as a third-generation loser.

aletheia 8 years, 3 months ago

I wish I had more time to rebut many of the negative, judgmental comments being made toward this young mother. However, I do have time for one ...

It seems that most of the posts have overlooked the most innocent victim in this discourse. A beautiful, baby boy who is full of innocence and wonder at this stage of his life. Even though the statistics are grim, all any child truly needs are the basic necessities of life (food, shelter, medical care), unconditional love, and a supportive, nurturing environment. Thankfully, the mother has already proven that these things are important to her and thank goodness there are agencies out there willing to assist in any way they can.

No matter what opinion you may have about the mother, it is important not to miss the point. There is a child at stake. One who does not have a voice and who needs all the support he can get. Arguing about what should've been done is a moot point. It's more constructive to offer support, training, and yes, if necessary, whatever government resources are available to assist in providing this child an opportunity to succeed. He deserves it.

ChristineMetz 8 years, 3 months ago

Hi, As the reporter who spent four months following Katie, I just wanted to comment on several of the questions that have been raised on the news worthiness of this story.

Our newspaper and many others write quite a bit about teen pregnancy - whether it be ways to prevent it, the programs teen moms use or just simply how the teen birth rate is going up. But rarely do we write about what it is like to be a single mom at the age of 18. Because Katie so graciously opened her home to us for four months, we had a chance to print a very real story on the circumstances that surround teen pregnancy. And, in a world of Juno, Bristol Palin and Jamie Lynn Spears, I think the cold hard reality of teen motherhood has been somewhat lost to teenagers and the general public.

My only hope for this story is to provide our readers with a deeper understanding on what it means to be a teenage mom. And, while there are many Katies out there, a great majority of us never get to know them or their story.

If you want to hear more about why photographer Nick Krug and I decided to do the story and how we reported it, check out our interview with Online editor Jonathan Kealing -

Thank you all for your interest. And keep the discussion going.

Christine Metz Special Projects Reporter Lawrence Journal-World

Melina Glynos-Margaritopolous 8 years, 3 months ago

I am Michael's mother, Monique. I don't like the article and was only recently told that the reporters have been following Katie throughout her pregnancy (at Nicolas' birth to be exact). I also don't believe it belonged on the front page of the Sunday paper either. The CHILDREN are both far too immature for parenthood and I warned them of this for the past 2 years. However, a baby did come into our lives and he is very loved! Katie and Nicolas are ALWAYS welcome at my home! They lived here for 3 weeks after Nicolas was born. Yes, it was hectic, but worth it. As far as Michael not living up to his end of the bargain about child visitation is a joke! It was my idea to set up the every other weekend and Wednesday nights. As the first weekend approached, we were told by Katie that Nicolas would not be visiting. This was frustrating but nothing I could do about it at the time. We have decided to let the courts decide all those details. I have also offered Katie and Nicolas my home permanently but again the offer is never taken. So for now we will see him when we can. Also, I will provide diapers, wipes, formula, transportation etc. when I'm able to do it (until Michael can find employment) and Katie knows this. I always offer to provide transportation but it is never asked for! So, if she is tracking through snow and below freezing temps, that is her decision! I often ask her "Why didn't you call me?" As far as my son having health issues, that is true, so what. Michael is actively looking for employment. He understands that child support is something he will have to pay for the next 18-19 years. His own father still owes me over $50K in arrears. He is very aware of how much child support helps the family financially and has never disputed helping. As I was in the hospital room when the BC issue came up, I encouraged Michael to sign it. It was his deadbeat father (the one who still owes $50K in arrears), who told him not to. This man was never really in Michael's life growing up and it shows! In Michael's defense, he has a good heart and is trying to figure this whole thing out. I think that in time they will both mature and make better decisions. In closing I will say that Katie is an impressive young mother with what she does have to offer my grandson, Nicolas. However, I wish she would depend on us more and the system less. We are here for her, always have been and she is aware of this! I love you Michael, Katie and Nicolas. But for the future, let's keep our private lives just that, PRIVATE, not on the front page of the newspaper!

jbiegs 8 years, 3 months ago

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kansasjayhawks3559 8 years, 3 months ago

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KansasPerson 8 years, 3 months ago

angpryncss2 (Monique) -- first of all, congratulations on your grandson!

You open your comment by saying that you didn't know until recently that reporters had been "following Katie around" during her pregnancy. I would like some clarification here. Did they approach Katie for this story, or did she approach them? Did Katie (who I assume is legally an adult) consent to have them do this story?

No offense intended, but you are kinda making it sound like the J-W was stalking her like paparazzi, when I suspect it was with Katie's full knowledge, consent, and cooperation.

Lastly, if you want private family things kept within the family, maybe a public website is not the place to tell them that..... kinda ironic.

ferrislives 8 years, 3 months ago

angpryncss2, if your son truly had a good heart, he would have acknowledged his son by signing the birth certificate. How is he any different than his father was at that point?

amourmollete 8 years, 3 months ago

KansasPerson and ferrislives, thank you very much for your comments :]

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