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This Week: Renne on Being a Young Mother

‘Pictured are Renne’s children Nevia, left, and Cortia.’

“My Mom was 15 when she had me. I was 15 when I had my first child, Cortia. She is ten now. My Mom was concerned when I told her that I was pregnant. She wanted me to finish school and get married because she never had that. The thing is that I planned to get pregnant. I grew up in the projects and met a guy from Capitol Hill. He was half-white and half-black and we planned to start our family together and get married. He grew up in a house with morals and goals, which is something that I didn’t really have growing up. I wanted better for my kids. He was involved in raising my child and we are still in each other’s life, but things didn’t work out between us. We were so young. Years later, I met another man and had a second daughter, Neviah. She is three and a half. Her father is a friend of mine and still involved in my daughter’s life.

“People always come over to me and ask if my daughters are my sisters. Sometimes that makes me feel bad, but then I just think that there is something wrong with this society where people are having kids so late in life. Yes, I was young when I had my daughters, but we are put on this earth to have kids. You look around now and see these old people walking around with kids. First of all, who wants to have a baby at 30? You will be 60 when you kids are 30. That’s halfway to dead. Who wants parents that can’t chase you up and down the street?

“I guess that people now have the wrong way of thinking about children and family. See, I may have had difficulties with relationships, but I love my daughters and, God willing, will meet my great-great-grandchildren. When you are young, your body is ready for children. People here think it is miracle when a 40 year old has a baby. To me, that’s no miracle, but a shame for the children.

“If you feel ready, make your baby at 17 when you finish school, that’s what I tell my daughters. My only request to them is to let me meet the man first and talk to them both about what it means to have a child. Having a baby should not be a mistake. It should be a wonderful part of life.
“Some people want to stop people like me from having kids so young. They think that something is wrong with me and I do it because I am irresponsible, but I love my kids and want to be an active part in their life while I am still young and healthy. Maybe someone needs to be concerned about women who put their lives and their kids lives at risk by going into labor in their mid-40’s.”

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“Danny Harris is a DC-based photographer and collector of stories. In September, he launched People’s District, a blog that tells a people’s history of DC by sharing the stories and images of its residents. Every day, People’s District presents a different Washingtonian sharing his or her insights on everything from Go Go music to homelessness to fashion to politics. Every Thursday he’ll share a favorite story with us”

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