PHOTOS by Richard Kern
STYLING by Annette Ramos
All clothes models’ own
Ayanna, 15, and Aniyah, 3 months
Vice: Was being pregnant hard for you?
All my family was fine with it, except for my older brother. He’s mad at the guy and mad at me too.
How tough was it giving birth? You’re tiny.
It wasn’t bad. I did the childbirth naturally and I was only in labor for five hours. I just enjoy being a parent. I like spending time and having her next to me. It’s a new opportunity, getting to learn how babies develop. They grow right in front of your eyes.
Don’t you worry that you’re missing out on all the fun years of your youth?
No. Whenever I want to go out, I go out. I don’t think I’m missing out on anything, because all I used to do is sometimes hang out, chill with my friends, that sort of thing. But I can still do that, you know. It’s not like I’m missing out on anything that’s important.
(l-r): All clothes model’s own; Samantha Pleet dress, House of Waris necklace
Laporsh’e, 16, and Tamia, 5 months
Vice: Are you still in school?
I’m going into the 11th grade. My goal right now is to finish high school so I can go to college. I want to be like a social worker or a child psychologist.
How much does your schoolwork eat into the amount of time you get to hang out with Tamia?
At my school they don’t really give us homework, so it makes it easier to spend a lot of time with my daughter. I mostly take her outside for walks and read her books in English and Spanish. We like the Cat in the Hat books.
Do you still have time to hang out with your old friends?
I didn’t really have friends. I’m the type of person that likes to stay by myself. In my spare time I mostly read, and I write poems. I’ve always wanted to write my own book of poetry.
(t-b): All clothes model’s own; Paul Frank shirt
Shamecca, 17 and Xavier, 10 months
Vice: How do you feel about having had Xavier when you were still a kid?
I don’t regret having him. I could have waited, but it happened and now I’m learning how to raise him and what’s best for me.
Did your folks give you a lot of grief when they found out you had a bun in the oven?
They were really supportive. In the beginning they told me, “If you want a baby, you can have a baby. Right now is not the time, but whatever your decision is we’re still going to be behind you.” When she had me, my mother was the same age as I was when I had Xavier. Same hospital too.
How hard was it adjusting to being a mom?
I’m young, but I haven’t got to enjoy my childhood. I can’t go a lot of places. But usually I’ll just get over it. I’ll take my son with me, or I’ll figure out something else to do. There are a lot of times you feel you really need your own space, but that’s your child forever. It’s like you’re married.
(l-r): Harajuku Lovers shirt, Hooch skirt; all clothes model’s own
Leslie, 18, and Demein, 2
Vice: What are you up to right now?
Finishing up school. I’ve got two semesters left. My ultimate goal is to become a midwife. For me to be self-sufficient doing that, I have to get a bachelor’s degree, which will take another four years.
I didn’t realize there were midwives anymore.
Sure. I work with a group called the Community Birthing Project doing counseling for women to help them through the labor process and have natural childbirth.
What’s so great about natural childbirth?
Women’s bodies are built to give birth. It was happening for thousands of years before medical intervention came along. Doctors think the painkillers put the woman out of her misery, but ultimately that’s what her body was made for.
How did your pregnancy go?
Considering the fact that I was 16, it was pretty good.
(l-r): Paul Frank dress; WeSC shirt and pants, House of Waris necklace and earrings