Alex, 19, & Alayna, 3.
Alex and her daughter Alayna live in the Residential Program at Hope House, where Alex is working hard toward self-sufficiency. At 38 weeks into the program, she is enjoying life as a teen mom in new, different and challenging ways.

How did you find Hope House?
My nurse told me about Hope House when I had my baby at Aurora Medical Center. I Googled it right away and applied but I didn’t think it was the right choice for me then.

Why did you eventually decide to apply to the Residential Program?
I needed help with housing. I was hopping back and forth, couch surfing. I felt bad for me and Alanya. Since she was born she was sleeping with me on couches. I would lay between her and the edge of the couch so she wouldn’t fall.

What are some of the best parts of being a mom?
I was 16 when Alayna was born, and I fell in love with her right away. It was love at first sight. I love watching her grow and become this little person. It’s amazing!

What is hard about being a teen mom?
It’s very different for a person my age to become a mom because there is so much more responsibility.

But what is hard is that I feel like people look at me differently, and it’s kind of hard because they won’t help you. This definitely happens at jobs I have applied for. A lot of the time bus drivers would make me pay the adult price because I had a baby, even though I was still in the student age range. I would have to pay about $3 instead of the $1.10 student rate. People in public also judge me and make comments like “So how many kids do you have?”

How is Hope House helping you?
The public judgments happen less now because I don’t have to use public transportation and I have safe housing. Hope House also helped me get my high school diploma, which is one big step in my future. They have also helped me learn how to drive and helped me get an internship with Jefferson County Human Services. Next they will help me find a job and then housing of my own.

What are your dreams?
To be able to raise Alayna and be stable and enjoy life with her.  I think about what it will look it like when I get older in my 40s and Alayna will be a young adult.  All the other 40-year-olds will still be raising kids and I will have more freedom. I will be able to enjoy life knowing she is all grown up and taken care of and off to college.

What do you want people to know about what it’s like to be a teen mom?
We are not different from older people who have kids.  We are just young moms. We are no different.  We all really just want the best life for our children.