story and photos by Mariah Boardman
“You’ll never amount to anything.” “You’ll live off of welfare your whole life.” “You ruined your life.” “You’ll never graduate high school now.”
My name is Mariah Boardman, and I am living proof that these statements aren’t always true about a teenage mother. I’m 18 years old and the mother of one-year-old fraternal twin boys Jayden and Jordan. I found out I was pregnant at the age of 16 when I was attending U-32. Because I was afraid of what people would think of me, I transferred and started attending Central Vermont Adult Basic Education in Montpelier. As soon as everyone found out I was pregnant, I received Facebook messages from people judging me and making fun of me. This continued throughout my pregnancy. I was embarrassed to even walk out in public, fearing what people might say.
I attended school at Central Vermont Adult Basic Education from September 2014 through February 2015, up until I was six months pregnant. As I got further into my pregnancy, things started to get complicated. I went into preterm labor three different times. Then around 4 a.m. on April 21, 2015, my water broke at only 36 weeks. I was rushed to the hospital by ambulance, excited that I would be meeting my babies soon. At 4:16 p.m., via cesarean section, I gave birth and held my boys for the first time.
The next day I got horrible news, baby A, Jayden, was unable to hold his temperature and couldn’t eat on his own. He needed a feeding tube. I gave birth to the boys at Central Vermont Medical Center, but they were unable to help Jayden, so they transferred him to Fletcher Allen in Burlington. I was unable to go with him, and that broke my heart. I stayed in Berlin with my other son, Jordan. I was only able to see Jayden through pictures sent to me by his father, and that was very hard.
Jordan and I were released from the hospital four days later. As soon as we were released, I made my way to Fletcher Allen to see Jayden. The pain and heartache I felt when I saw my son hooked up to the machines nearly killed me! I cried the whole time I visited him. Even though I wanted to stay there with him, I couldn’t. I had to go back home to take care of Jordan. On May 4, 15 days after Jayden was transferred to Burlington, he was released and finally came home!
It was pretty rough, at first, taking care of newborn twins. I would only get two or three hours of sleep a night, and both boys constantly wanted to be held. That was a struggle in itself. It got easier though. The boys started to crawl around nine months of age, and that’s all they wanted to do.
At that point, I decided that I needed to go back to school and graduate with my class of 2016 so that I could prove to others that I’m not the stereotypical teenaged mother. I currently attend Central Vermont Adult Basic Education three days a week, and I will be graduating with my class at U-32 in June, thanks to all the wonderful teachers at Central Vermont Adult Basic Ed. I’m very grateful, because without them I could not have ever imagined graduating. Although I struggle every day being a mom of twins, I wouldn’t ever change it for the world.