We asked readers to share stories of how teen pregnancy has affected their lives. Angela Hart, 47, is a senior paralegal in Carmel, Ind. She gave birth to her daughter Kathleen at age 19. She shared her thoughts on teen pregnancy and how it changed her family — both then and now. Share your own story via our form below.

My daughter is my greatest accomplishment. She is an intelligent, huge-hearted, beautiful woman now. I wouldn’t give her up for the world. However, I was too young to be a parent, and wish that I had waited to have her. Having a child while I was so young created unnecessary difficulties and challenges for me. The dichotomy in these points of view seems almost universal among my close friends in the same position.

I was one of the lucky ones. I turned my life into something positive. I went to college and have had a career in law for 27 years. Doing so with young children was a real challenge, but persistence and perseverance seem to be ingrained in me. I think it is almost an internal response to make sure I did better than my parents did.

My marriage failed within 10 years — we were just too young to marry and have kids. I remarried and have had a long, healthy relationship.

My/our children are now raised. They are all (four of them) happy, healthy and well-adjusted adults. I am very proud of that. None of them had a teen pregnancy. We preached protection to them — and it worked.

I think people commonly assume that if you are a teen parent you are irresponsible. Generally, this is probably true. However, it is not a final indicator of life-long irresponsibility. I believe it really depends on the individual, their support system and their tenacity.

I do think times are changing for young people, and the story you wrote about Colorado is really great news.

I was actually happy to be pregnant. I don’t think I fully realized the impact it has on your life in terms of pursuing education, enjoying some of your youth, etc. I know [my parents] thought I was too young and probably worried a lot about that. However, [my mother] was really supportive, as was my stepdad. They were wonderful grandparents from day one and were the first people in the room after [Kathleen] was born.

I really feel like I am an example of how you can turn an unplanned pregnancy into a wonderful part of your life.

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