The sophomore class at Fort Dodge Senior High learned the realities of teen pregnancy Wednesday from three of its peers, all of whom have become mothers within the past three months.
The 16 year olds told their classmates what it's like being a teen mother - and how they juggle parenting with school work.
Salena Hiracheta said she discovered she was pregnant with her daughter, Isabelle Brown, when she was 15.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Car seat and stroller parked nearby, Araya Freeman, left, Salena Hiracheta and Kiley Walker share their experiences as teen parents Wednesday morning during a Healthy Choices assembly at Fort Dodge Senior High.
"I was very scared," Hiracheta said. "I thought I had just gotten pregnant, but it turned out I was already five months along, and they asked me if I wanted to know the sex of my baby."
Kiley Walker said she was so nervous she ended up telling her mother via a text message that she was pregnant with her son, Kyler Larson.
"I was too scared to tell it to her face," Walker said.
She added that her friends didn't provide much support for her.
"A lot of people said they'd be there for me," Walker said, "but then a lot of them showed their true colors."
Araya Freeman experienced the same reaction from her friends when she told them she was pregnant with her son, Dezmond.
"They were all excited at first," Freeman said. "But late in the year they all stopped talking to me."
Now that they are mothers, the girls said their schedules have changed drastically.
Hiracheta said parenthood can interfere with her school work.
"You have to plan ahead and try to find a babysitter," she said. "If you can't find one, it gets very hard."
Freeman said her life now revolves around her daughter.
"I get up at seven, feed and change her, and then I get ready myself," she said.
Walker said taking care of her child is very expensive.
"Formula is $20, diapers are $25 and wipes are $15 a box," she said. "Clothes are also very expensive, and you replace them so quickly. I pay all that money for something he'll grow out of in a month."
They get support from their families and from the fathers of their children, they said
When asked by an audience member if they regretted anything, all three said their only regret was not waiting until they were older.
"I'm so young and wish I would have waited until I was 20," Hiracheta said. "But I still love her."
She said teens need to be careful so they don't end up becoming parents at such a young age like her.
"I went from being a teen having fun to a teen changing diapers," she said.
"It could happen to anybody," she said. "Be as safe as you can and focus on high school for now."