Ain't I A Mother?

[Cynthia, a current Mother Tongue English IV student at Capital High School, wrote the following for a persuasive-essay assignment modeled on Sojourner Truth’s 1851 “Ain’t I A Woman?” speech.]

Well, there are so many people staring and people talking about how young I am. The guys at school are talking about how dumb I was to get pregnant. But what is this they're talking about?

That girl over there says that I’m too young to be in high school with a three-year-old, and that if it wasn't for my boyfriend I'd be hopeless. And ain't I a mother? Look at me! All these sleepless nights are giving me eye bags. My back is killing me from carrying my child to bed when he falls asleep in my arms. And ain't I a mother? I have to cook, clean, go to school, and work everyday. And ain't I a mother? I had my child at 15, and I saw him hurting that day he burned his feet, crying of worry and anger and not being able to do anything but wait. Ain't I a mother?

Then they talk about how I am never with my child, how I am always working and going to school but don't have enough time for him. What's that they call it? Irresponsibility, that's it, honey. But if I don't work, who will feed my child? If I don't go to school, who will be there to support him through his life and give him a bright future? Wouldn't you be mean not to let me have credit for being such a hard working mother?

Then that teacher over there is saying we take advantage of being mothers in school by getting here late or by using our phones in class because other people do it. Well, we are all teen mothers, but we are not the same. If all these teenage moms wouldn't go out and party or leave their babies at the daycare to go ditching, then people would have different thoughts about teenage mothers and what we can do.