Ashley’s life came to a halt when she learned she was pregnant at 18. She was at a medical appointment needed to enlist in the Navy, and her bloodwork indicated she was expecting a child. Ashley was stunned. She was raised in a family where the military was the only option after high school, and joining the Navy was all she had ever planned on.
When Ashley told the news to her family, there was little excitement or support. A pregnancy would mean she could no longer enlist in the Navy, and Ashley’s parents told her that a baby would “ruin her life.” Although Ashley needed her family more than ever, she knew she was on her own, and unfortunately, she was. Ashley had to navigate the challenges of being a young mom by herself.
Despite facing so much adversity in her young life, Ashley persevered. More than twenty years later, she is the proud mother of two ambitious young adults. She has two educational degrees—something she didn’t think was possible when she became a young mom. Her life came full circle, as she recently served as an Assistant Program Director in CEDARS Emergency Shelter, where she gave teens in challenging circumstances the guidance and encouragement that she didn’t have at their age.
When she first heard about the plans for a supportive program for pregnant and parenting teens in CEDARS Carriage House, Ashley immediately voiced her support for the project, saying that she could’ve greatly benefited from a service like it when she was a teen. Not only is she excited about pregnant and parenting teens having access to mental health services and proper prenatal care, but she also looks forward to the sense of community being established amongst Carriage House residents. Although she felt very alone and unsupported as a teen mom, Ashely firmly believes others in similar situations don’t have to face the same adversities she did.
“Looking back, I clearly needed help and was lucky to make it through without any interventions,” said Ashley. “CEDARS Carriage House will provide knowledge and access to safety, stability and community support to the kids who need it most.”