I don’t even have words to describe this next mama’s journey. She is not only brave, but a fighter, to say the least. Her journey of motherhood started at the young age of 17 years old. Believe it or not, I was friends with her brother back at this time. I was in my 20’s and thoughts of being a mom were far away, and I was having the time of my life. Ashley like so many young moms that are teens had a different path; one where she had to grow up fast. Ashley met her now husband Joe, back in 2003 on a lake trip with her girlfriends. She described their weekend was filled with flirting and eyeing each other. That weekend ended with them connecting, and they have been together ever since.
Ashley being only 17 years old, and Joe 19 years old got a big scare after only seven months of dating, Ashley was PREGNANT! According to Ashley, here’s how she felt “I was scared, to say the least! I grew up in a strict Mormon household so I couldn’t imagine having to tell my mom. I had never even changed a diaper before, how could I be a mom? I was pushed in a lot of different directions (abortion, adoption,keeping the baby and raising him myself) I never knew what it would take to take care of another human being, but I knew I didn’t want anyone else to do it. Deep down, I knew I could push through and make it happen. I was judged of course by my peers and other adults; it was hurtful a lot of the times. I had no idea what I was getting myself into! The first few months were all fear; I couldn’t even tell my mom until I had known for about a month. It’s funny being a teenager, you think you are unstoppable and then something like this happens and you realize how you could’ve made better choices for yourself.”
Joel was born November 6, 2004, 2 weeks after her 18th birthday! She graduated high school and spent the summer working and saving money so she and Joe could get their own place. They worked and raised Joel for two years, living in a tiny apartment, and Ashley had to learn how to be the women of the house. She soon realized she felt alone and was holding down the fort by herself. Joe had a drug problem, and it was taking over his life. He soon realized family meant more and became sober in 2005.
They got married September 15, 2006! They had many struggles in those nine years. Ashley describes those years “Lived apart for six months so we could both work on ourselves. Had to move back in with family because we couldn’t afford anything else. It all was a very humbling struggle. We had always talked about having another child, but it always seemed like it was so far away. Once we got back up on our feet, it became a reality. We were ready! Joel was 9 and such an amazing boy that we were so excited to add to our family. So I went off the pill and boom we were pregnant! Tegan was born April 20,2014! Our Easter baby!
Wow, what a story and the struggles she has overcome. So many young girls would have lost their way, or even given up. She held it together and fought till the end! Her bond with her husband is what got them through and the partnership they have developed. I look up to moms at this age that have to give up their childhood, while raising a child of their own. I hope Ashley can look back at her experience and realize she is who she is because of her choices. Check out her interview below!
1.When looking back at your story, when was the darkest time for you? And how did you get through it?
The darkest time for me was when I had to move out and away from my husband for a while. Things had gotten so bad that I felt like there was no other option than to pick up and leave. Hoping that would snap him back to reality. Thank God it did, and we fought harder than ever to make our marriage work. I got through it by the help and support of family and close friends. Every time I thought I wasn’t strong enough they reminded me I was. They gave me a backbone when I didn’t have one. I will never forget that time in my life.
2. Being a mom is not something we have been taught, who do you look up to as a mother and why?
I look up to my mother so much. She has never had it easy and always worked so hard to provide for her family. She supported four children on her own while going to law school. She amazes me every day in her strength. If I can be half the mom she has been, I will feel like I have succeeded in life. She is my rock, and I don’t know where I would be without her.
I was really scared that we waited as long as we did in between children. I thought there was no way they would have a relationship at all. Boy was I wrong! I feel so blessed to have had the ten years I did spoiling Joel with all the attention. I feel like I’m blessed to do that again with Tegan. I love the age gap between them..I get to enjoy two very different types of children and get to soak in the moments.
4. If you could meet one celebrity mom who would it be, and why?
I think I would want to meet Drew Barrymore. She seems like such a real mom! When she talks about her kids, you can tell how much she loves them. She doesn’t look perfect all the time, doesn’t have the tiny body..she is who she is, and she loves it! I want to be that comfortable in my own skin! She is real when she says her kids drive her crazy;she doesn’t cook all the time..just a mom in all ways. That’s something to admire in a world where she could just hire a nanny and have no worries at all! There is something to be said about a movie star really raising their children!
We were worried that Joel would have a hard time adjusting to not being the only child anymore. Like I said before, he had ten years of him being the center of our world! He had begged us forever for a sibling. Once we told him, he was going to be a brother he burst into tears he was so excited! He has loved his sister since day one. He adjusted wonderfully! Their bond as brother and sister is so sweet. They are both obsessed with each other. I’ve seen another side to Joel that I had never seen before, a nurturing side, a true big brother. Tegan lights up as soon as he walks into the room. I hope they will forever share the bond that they do now! I’m truly blessed!
Now that you have told the Mother Effin Truth, who do you want to nominate to tell their story as a mother? And why?
The mother I’m nominating is Linsey Williams. She amazes me! Mother to 3 wild and crazy boys and she doesn’t miss a beat! She seems like she’s got it all together and gives all she has to her family. She is loving and patient, and I wish to be that way. I admire her on so many levels! Can’t wait to read her story!