Mum's Life

'Don't walk with shame': stranger's comments prompted teenage mum to go to college

When Alicia Collins fell pregnant at 15, it was a shock to the whole family. 

Luckily for Collins, and baby India, her whole family stuck by her and supported her.

This week, Collins reached a phenomenal milestone. She graduated from college, for a second time. 

Speaking to Love What Matters, she explained the exact instance where she decided to keep fighting for herself and her little girl. 

"I will never forget being 15 years old, pregnant with India (maybe 6/7 months); and shopping at T.J. Maxx with my Mum," she recalled. 

They heard laughter and gossiping behind them, and turned around to see the store employees looking right at them:

"When I turned around, the store cashier was literally pointing at me saying, 'OMG! How old are you?!' while laughing with his co-worker." 

Her mother jumped to her defence, but that's not what stuck with Collins the most:

"My mom snapped, of course; but what I remember most from that moment, was how ashamed and defeated I felt." 

But the words of advice her mother offered her, would change her life:

"When I got to the parking lot, my mama told me I better NOT walk around with shame… that people have no idea who I or India will become." 

In the USA, less than 2% of teenage parents earn a college degree before the age of thirty. And this is a fact that Collin is well aware of.

"While this isn’t my first degree, this one was the most important, because it was based off of a dream I've had for me—and that little baby I was carrying." 

And on the day where she becomes a nursing graduate, she wants to pass on that message to other teenage and single parents:

"To all of the teen parents, single parents, married parents that haven’t quite reached their goals; I AM ROOTING FOR YOU! You CAN! Just get out here and do it!" 

Collins' positivity and determination has struck a chord with other parents, who were quick to offer their own stories as well as support: 

Such a strong and inspiring mum, who deserves every second of success! 

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