Seventeen year old Jenna Mortensen went 4 months without knowing she was pregnant with her son, Declan.
“My whole mindset changed the day I officially found out,” Jenna said.
She had taken multiple tests in the first 4 months of her pregnancy but they always came back negative. These tests didn’t convince her so she decided to set up an appointment with her doctor.
“I took a test at a doctors office for a checkup and that one came back positive, so we scheduled a blood test for the next day to make sure it was 100% accurate and that came back positive as well.”
For Jenna, the public finding out was one of her biggest fears. Rumors started to spread like wildfire especially in a tight knit community like Buffalo, MN.
“The rumor of me being pregnant didn’t start until about a month after he was born,” Jenna said.
According to her, she walked around town far along in her pregnancy and nobody seemed to notice.
When asked why she kept her pregnancy a secret she said, “Hunter [her boyfriend] leaving for the military. We weren’t sure if our son would be born before he left, so we wanted Hunter to at least meet him before everyone else could have an opinion on the situation.”
For most people having a child is a big milestone in their life and is extremely difficult for most women to keep to themselves and their family.
Handling the rumors was difficult for her. Stress impacted even how she was able to feed her son.
“It was tough at first because people were bringing their hatred for me and putting it on my son,” she said. “Eventually I began not to care.”
After her son was born people started driving by her home, taking pictures of her and her family doing everyday activities. Something that a family shouldn’t have to think about.
“I also found out that someone got a picture of my son and I in the hospital and it was being spread around without my permission,” Jenna said.
The teen birth rate in the US has been on the decline since 1991. The rate is 16.7 pregnancies per 1,000 females in 2019. This is a record low, down 4% from 2018.
“As a girl, our body’s are made to carry a baby. What I think people don’t understand is as a teen you have so many emotions going on at once that it can be very stressful. I think people are so quick to judge and don’t understand that a lot of teens beat themselves up mentally on their own and question their own abilities. The judgements and comments others make in it aren’t necessary. Personally being a teen mom has made me grow up faster than others and I wouldn’t change it for the world, I needed the maturing I think,” Jenna said.
Nearly 750,000 teenage girls in the US find out they’re pregnant every year, so Jenna definitely is not alone. With 59.3k followers on her TikTok account @feelinglikejen she’s not alone in that way either. Her TikTok consists of her being a new mom and showing off her new family. Social media itself played a big role in Jenna’s pregnancy.
On October 6, 2021, Jenna posted on Instagram a picture of her, Hunter, and her son Declan. On the surface the comments seemed so positive. Plenty of congratulations to be thrown around but there was so much more than that.
“I had a feeling a lot of people who were saying the worst things would try to be our friends so they could see Declan, which did happen, but I was also expecting the fake accounts to be made so they could say horrible things, which also did happen,” Jenna said.
Motherhood isn’t something you can just pick up, it’s something that is thrown at you and you learn on the spot. According to Jenna it teaches you plenty of things.
“[I] personally think I’ve become a better person because my son has changed my life in the best way possible.”
Jenna has been through more than we can really understand. Being seventeen with people harassing her family and having to learn how to be a mom is anything but easy. Teen pregnancy is hard in itself, don’t make it harder than it needs to be.