Sarah Pool, 17, cries after watching the nurses give her son, Bentley Israel, his immunization shots during his two month check up at the University of Michigan office in Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
Hurley Israel, 19, right, looks at baby photos of himself to show his girlfriend, Sarah Pool, 17, to compare it to their baby, Bentley Israel, 3 months old, to see if he looks like his mom or dad in Hurley’s mother’s home in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., on Oct. 15, 2014.
Sarah Pool, 17, gives her son, Bentley Israel, Tylenol after his immunization shots during his two month check up at University of Michigan office in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., as he cries hysterically on his Grandmother’s lap.
Sarah Pool, argues with her boyfriend, Hurley Israel, as they move their son Bentley Israel’s stuff out of her mother’s home. “My mom is trying to raise my baby. She is telling me what I can and can’t do with him,” said Sarah. She is moving to Midland to live with her father.
Hurley Israel, 19, hesitates before changing his son Bentley’s diaper in his mother’s home in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., “The woman that adopted me […] seeing her and my dad split kind of tore me, so I kind of don’t want that for my son cause I know what it’s like,” said Hurley.
Sarah Pool’s boyfriend, Hurley Israel, lifts their son Bentley in his car seat over car mirrors after a Women, Infants and Children (WIC) appointment in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. “If it wasn’t for WIC I wouldn’t be able to afford formula for Bentley because one can is like $17, and it lasts for not even a week” said Sarah.
Doctor Hem Raj Regmi, of the Pediatric Specialty Center, at the University of Michigan office in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. looks at Bentley Israel during his 2-month-check up. Sarah’s son weighed 16.8 pounds and is the 99% percentile for height.
Hurley Israel, 19, stands and watches his girlfriend, Sarah Pool, 17, shoot the bow he gave her for the first time as their son, Bentley, sleeps inside at her Father’s home in Midland, Mich. on Wednesday, Oct. 29.
Hurley Israel, 19, carries his 3 month old son’s toys, clothing, and gear to the truck from his girlfriend, Sarah Pool, 17, mother’s house. Hurley is not allowed in the house so they moved things when Sarah’s mother was in Mt. Pleasant shopping. Sarah is moving in with her father in Midland, Mich. where Hurley will move in to as well.
EightCAP Incorporated worker, Lisa, meets with Sarah Pool, 17 at home for their first Early Head Start meeting for Sarah’s 3-month old son. Early Head Start is a child development program that is offered to pregnant women, infants, and toddlers under 3. There are two program options available for families, Center-Based or Home Based.
Before going to Dow High School Sarah holds her son Bentley as her boyfriend, Hurley watches television in her fathers home in Midland, Mich. ÒItÕs hard going to school, cause I really don’t want to wake up in the morning cause I don’t sleep at night, and then I feel like people are talking about me and stuff at school; I don’t like it,” said Sarah.
Hurley Israel, 19, of Mt. Pleasant, Mich. holds his son Bentley Israel in the waiting room at the doctors office as his girlfriend Sarah Pool, 17, checks them in. “Being a dad changed me, cause I now have to put other people first, before it was just me,” said Hurley.
Even after seeing two blue plus signs on the pee-riddled sticks in the bathroom at Mt. Pleasant High School it was still hard for Sarah Pool to accept that she was carrying her first child at age sixteen.
After dating Hurley Israel, Jr., 19 for three months and having unprotected sex, Sarah was faced with society’s pressure on what to do now that she was pregnant.
“My mom, at first was like, ‘well what about abortion’ and I said no, I could never do that. Then she was talking about adoption and I told her I could never do that either, I was just going to keep him,” said Sarah, 17.
The road has not been easy for teen parents Sarah and Hurley, before welcoming their healthy baby boy into the world they were faced with the difficulties of keeping a relationship together.
“We had our rough spots, because of me, mainly because of me, but we worked through them and we are here today,” said Hurley.
Sarah and Hurley are both currently not attending school, or going to friend’s houses or going to parties like they did before they were parents.
So I moved to midland, well not just because of that, that’s part of the reason. I think it will be easier to do classes online so then I can just stay at home and watch him [Bentley] and don’t have to get talked about at school,” said Sarah.
Aside from the having difficulties at school Sarah chose to move out of her mothers house and into her fathers, in Midland, because her mother, Bentley’s Grandma, was trying to raise him.
The choices Sarah and Hurley have made as a couple and the struggles of raising their son Bentley, 3-months-old, as teenagers are common in young parents.
The pressure society puts on young women once they become pregnant are troubling. The pressure to keep the child then the shunning that happens when you have a baby in high school. To terminating a pregnancy then to get backlash that she is being selfish. To the idea that you, the mother, are letting someone else raise your child without any input in adoption is careless. There are many assumptions and misconceptions that are talked about within our society that are not fair to the mothers and fathers. All decisions that come up once the plus sign emerges from the pregnancy test are ones that should be openly talked about in a non-judgmental manor with ones they choose to talk about it with. Young women rarely make this decision lightly and it is one that will be part of their life forever.