Working for two
Single mom balances school, work
At the age of sixteen, most girls are looking forward to getting their drivers licenses and feeling more independent.
However, for NIACC freshman Mikkiah Henriksen feeling more independent had a completely different meaning.
Henriksen, now 18, found out she was going to be expecting a baby shortly after her sixteenth birthday.
Henriksen said a lot of different options ran through her mind when she first found out she was pregnant.
“At first, I really didn’t know what to think,” she said. “Of course you think about abortion, maybe adoption or just having the baby.”
Henriksen said she decided against the first two options based on her own emotions.
She said she decided that if she was grown up enough to get pregnant, she had to take responsibility for that decision.
She also didn’t want to go through adoption because of the emotional attachment she knew she would have with her baby.
Her junior year of high school’s homecoming came around, and instead of sitting in the stands cheering on the football team Henriksen was at Mercy Hospital in Mason City giving birth to her baby girl Trinity.
“(Being a mom) is hard work,” Henriksen said. “You will get stressed. You will be tired...Take it day by day.”
Henriksen said being a mother while her friends were out wasn’t too difficult.
After the birth of Trinity, Henriksen said she wanted to spend time at home, so her friends came to visit her.
She said both her family and friends were great means of support.
“College was always on the agenda,” Henriksen said. She said she knew it was something that she needed to do. Not just for herself, but because she wanted to give Trinity a good life.
She said she wanted to prove that she could do this no matter what her circumstances were.
“I always knew (I was going to go to college),” Henriksen said. “And if anything, getting pregnant made me more motivated to do so.”
Like many mothers of newborns, Henriksen had to adjust to different sleeping habits and feeling tired a lot.
“You learn to nap when your kids nap,” she said. “By the time I went back to school, (Trinity) was on a very good schedule.”
Henriksen said she juggles school, work and taking care of her daughter, who is almost two.
She is enrolled in two classes at NIACC four times a week and goes to work three to five days a week for six hours a night.
Henriksen said that this situation has made her a better person, and she would not go back and change it for the world if given the chance.
For other young women and teens going through this situation, Henriksen said she believes that it is important that they don’t sell themselves short and believe that they can get through anything if they put their minds to it.
“You can do it with or without someone else,” she said. “No one knows what you are capable of - only you know.”
While she acknowledged the situation hasn’t been all smooth sailing, she said that it is one of the greatest rewards to wake up to her daughter and know that she loves her unconditionally.
She said being a mommy has turned her into a stronger person, and that she has come out of this situation even more ambitious to reach her goals.