Young mother shares how teen pregnancy changed her life

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - Don't let the fact that she's only one fool you; Kiya Stewart is a teeny weeny wheeler dealer who is constantly on her mom's cell phone.

Raveen Cranford said, "she's a grown woman. She has an attitude from time to time," but has learned to love that attitude.

The first time mom said she can't explain the bond she has with her child. "It's indescribable, even when she's bad--when she's knocking stuff on the floors and everything else. It's nothing that can be described. I love my baby to death."

But make no mistake, Raveen says the life of a single mother is more dirty diapers and sleepless nights than rainbows and sunshine. She got pregnant when she was just 17, and her world has been pretty crazy ever since.

"It's hard. I don't have time for a career, cause I've got to go to school from 8:30 to 5 then come home to her."

"I was shocked; I was hurt; and I was disappointed, but then I had to turn around and be a parent--and help her through it and love her through it." Phyllis Perry is Raveen's mother, and she helps take care of Kiya while her daughter attends cosmetology school.

Phyllis was sad to learn that Arkansas leads the nation in teen pregnancy rate. "I just feel that we've become too lax in our standards when it comes to our children."

Phyllis makes no excuses but hopes one day there will be more outlets for teens. She is proud of Raveen who she calls a great parent.

The young mom wouldn't change a thing, but warns having a baby at a young age changes everything. "I don't have a social life. Everything I do is based on what she has going on We're inseparable. We're together all the time."

Arkansas is not the only state in our region with a high pregnancy rate. Texas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi were also among the national leaders.

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