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Nova Scotia Teachers Strike: My Take as a Teen Parent

Let me tell you a little story about 6 years ago.
Picture young Amanda, sitting on the floor of her bathroom, with the water pounding on the running shower in the background. Tears were falling down my face, I was panicking.

My life was over.

I was riddled with anxieties of graduating, of having an education. Would I get there?

I was 17 years old. I was pregnant. I was due to give birth on March 2nd, long before the school year was set to end.

I can’t begin to even describe the terror I felt as everyone around me described where (they thought) my life was going. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. I got good grades, was in extracurriculars, had a good family. This wasn’t supposed to be me.
But it was.

I, Amanda Flynn was a pregnant, scared little girl and I had decisions to make.

Would I drop out with the intention to go back? Would I go back?

Would I try it? Would I be able to afford Daycare and the time off it was going to take to recover from birth? What if I had a cesarean and needed 6 weeks?
I ran to the guidance counsellor, crying. Basically begging for a suggestion on how to do this. I couldn’t stop. I needed to do this for this child. I needed my education. Only for her to light up, to tell me that with the grades I had and the courses I had taken I was eligible to graduate in February. One month before I was due to give birth.
I breathed the most incredible sigh of relief as I sobbed into my hands. I could do this.
And I did.

From September to February I battled my morning sickness, my preeclampsia, sheer exhaustion from being pregnant and I got myself to school. I managed to be in a musical, direct the glee club and tutor. I wrote exams 9 months pregnant. It was the hardest 6 months of my 17 year old life, but I pulled through with a great grade point average (and a pretty big number of absences🤷🏻‍♀️).
I was incredibly blessed, I have a lot of teachers and support staff to thank for being there for me while I was struggling. For being my backbone and some of my best supporters. They were kind, they went out of their way, they gave up the time to give me the extra attention I needed, to send me homework, to not make my grades reflect my absences, to accommodate any special needs I had. They were there. Sir John A MacDonald High School was just an integral and incredible part of my life.

Without you, I would not be in university. Had you not believed in me, I may have not believed in myself. I needed you.

Now, I say this not because it’s a sad story and (although I hope it does inspire someone going through something similar to reach out) not because it’s about overcoming obstacles.
But because we have lost an incredible amount of respect when it comes to our teachers and their support staff.
We have NO idea what they go through on a day to day basis. You have NO idea how often they go above and beyond the call of duty. How many LIVES they SAVE. How many children COULD slip through the cracks, but don’t because of these people. These people who have given their LIVES to educate the future, to give them the knowledge that they will use for the rest of their lives.
Educators saved my life. Educators save lives EVERYDAY.
And I hope, when my (now) three children need support, need help with anything, that their teachers will have all of the resources possible at their disposal to help them.

Thank you, NS Teachers.
The Flynn Family Supports you wholly.

Being Mom

I think it would be an appropriate theme for my first post if we talk about the thing that this blog is about first and foremost, being a mom.

I became a parent at the ripe young age of 17, so I didn’t quite get the typical introduction to parenting. Don’t get me wrong, I attended prenatal classes, did the hospital tour and read as many parenting books as I could cram into the spaces between extra curriculars and classes; but I faced a lot of adversity that I have had the pleasure of skipping in my old age with my next two (but that’s a post for another day!).

I often get teased “When is the next one coming?!” “Are you trying again yet?!” “Oh it must be a breeze for you now that you’re so used to it!” (can I get a collective giggle from all my other “experienced” moms?) but there are so many things about becoming a new mom that don’t get old. So many moments that you wish you could live in forever because soon enough they’ll be coming home from school telling YOU all about the world you thought you knew. So regardless of age or amount of kids, these are my personal top five best moments of becoming a new mom:


  1. Labour Pains

This is a funny one because anyone who’s ever seen anyone in labour can vouch for the fact that contractions SUCK. Losing your mucus plug SUCKS. Having your water break SUCKS. Overall the whole experience is pretty gross by normal standards. Now that I’ve got you all remembering/imagining the joys of child birth (sorry about that), any of you who have had a child will also be able to remember that crazy feeling of anxious excitement. My children were with me when my labour started and my oldest kept saying “Mom! I’m scared for you! You’re hurting so bad, I don’t want you to hurt like that!” and somehow in between my contractions I had to explain to her that it was the best kind of pain because I had been waiting 9 months for this! I was so ready to meet my new little man that the pain was exciting. It was a means to an end and boy oh boy after 9 months of pregnancy you are ready for that end.

Plus, you really do forget how much it sucks (almost).

2. That Gross Slimy Little Creature

Picture it, you’ve just been through pain you’ve never thought imaginable and are experiencing relief (For most of us, that’s the part after the shoulders get out) for the first time in hours/days/9 fricking months you take a deep breath of relief and all of a sudden, there they are. Covered in white goo, blood and placed right there on your chest. You look at that gross, slimy little creature and you’ve never seen anything like it in your entire life. It is beautiful, warm, safe and all it needs and loves in the world is you. You’ve put in 9 months of work and now you’ve created this perfect little human under all that mess and you basically have to peel your eyes away.

You’ll probably even kiss baby before they wipe off all that yuck!

3. The Opening

One of my favourite moments ever is the first time you get to see your little humans eyes. Regardless of whether they’re blue, brown or that strange ambiguous colour (that could really be either or neither), its amazing to know that your baby sees you. You’ve spent months sneaking peeks of baby’s private little home through ultrasounds and now its their turn to really get a good look at the voice that’s been haunting them since they first started hearing (and will be for at LEAST  the next 18 years).

4. The Name Game

After months of deliberation (and probably more than a few “changes of mind”) you’ve picked it. You’ve practised saying it, yelling it, conversing with it, used the websites that put the name into a sentence and finally you’ve come up with the name that your child is going to have for the rest of its life (no pressure). For the first few months of life, you’re constantly repeating their name to them hoping they will turn their head or light up (really any indication at all that they don’t think you’re insane) making that first turn or coo of recognition just that much more special.

5. A Happy Baby

Although there are so many incredible parts about having a new baby join your family, my absolutely favourite moment each and every time is when baby has their first real “happy” (you know, not gas) smile.

Its no mystery, being a parent is hard. Its sleepless, sometimes thankless and straight up difficult. So much time and energy is spent on making baby happy, changing diapers, staying on schedule, feeding, buying little toys they’ll never use, snuggling…You’re so busy driving yourself crazy with the “am I doing this right?” “is this good enough?”‘s that sometimes you forget what a great parent you are. After all of those moments of doubt and exhaustion, it is just so satisfying to see their little faces light up to let you know that they are happy and to tell you “It’s okay mom, you’re doing great”.