By: Ava Gerami

At seventeen years old, most teenage girls are preoccupied with college applications, time spent out with friends, and becoming more comfortable in their own skin. For Shaylyn, it also included morning sickness, lower back pain, ultrasounds, and enduring her second trimester of being pregnant with her first child. Teenage parents are victims of countless stereotypes projected not only by society, but friends and family too, and Shaylyn is amongst the many Gen Z teenagers that are breaking the social norms associated with teen pregnancy. 

Shaylyn discovered her pregnancy when she was at the hospital for a regular check up with her boyfriend, and to their surprise the baby was already seven weeks along. Although initially it was a bit of a shock, both Shaylyn and her boyfriend were delighted by this, and were excited to start a family. Shaylyn immediately called her mom, aunt, and grandma to reveal the news, and both her and her boyfriend’s families were supportive and happy for the couple. 

Another surprise was in store for Shaylyn, as shortly after she found out her cousin was also in her first trimester. This made the pair – who are of similar ages – even closer than they previously were, as they both went through these life-altering months with each other to lean on. Having one another for the ups and downs of pregnancy meant that they both had someone to understand not only the morning sickness and kicking, but also the stares and comments young moms unfortunately are prone to receiving. 

Attending a highschool which offered a nursing program, Shaylyn grew up with a fascination for the medical field, but unfortunately was always held back by her fear of blood. However when she went in to her first ultrasound appointment, it not only gave Shaylyn the reassurance that her baby was healthy, but also opened her eyes to the larger medical field and the medical opportunities that didn’t involve blood. After researching more into this part of the medical field, she gained a deeper interest in radiology.

As well as her passion for medicine, Shaylyn has always been extremely interested in expressing herself through bold makeup looks, various hairstyles, and of course, countless outfits and accessories. Throughout high school she changed her hairstyles constantly – varying from braids, to synthetic wigs, to just all natural. She wore bold, daring makeup like blue lipstick and she thoughtfully picked out her outfits with accessories and shoes to match, Jordan 1’s being her favorite. She wasn’t afraid to show exactly who she was, and her baby was no exception. 

Students at Shaylyn’s school began to notice her baby bump and some asked questions, however on the most part everyone was respectful. Although out-of-school comments made by people were invasive and disrespectful, Shaylyn only needed her family’s – more specifically her mom’s – approval and reassurance, and so she had the strength to disregard any comments made. Although it wasn’t always easy to ignore, spending time worrying about other people’s judgements wasn’t something Shaylyn was interested in. 

Shaylyn’s water broke in the middle of class about a week before her due date. With initial confusion and shock, she instantly told a teacher she was comfortable with, however didn’t end up going into labor that day. Shaylyn’s baby girl, Chi’lyn, was born a week later, happy and healthy. Chi’lyn constantly motivates Shaylyn to do her best in order to be able to provide for her baby, pushed to carry out her passions for medicine and fashion and begin a career. Although initially wanting to move away from Chicago to get a different experience for her baby, in the end Shaylyn chose not to leave her supportive family and hometown, as well as the opportunities that come with the big city.

Baby Chi’lyn is now three months old, and as well as caring for her daughter, Shaylyn has resumed her own education and is finding great opportunities to excel further in her future. Currently, Shaylyn is interning at the women’s clinic at Rush University’s Medical Center, learning even more about the details of her pregnancy. Fulfilling her fashion dreams, Shaylyn creates lookbooks and has even worked as part of Untold Magazine’s team as our stylist! Shaylyn is learning, growing, raising Chi’lyn, and on top of all of that, proving her doubters wrong.