I can't call it a surprise. I mean, I knew what I was doing and the potential consequences. By consequences, I mean pregnancy. Never did I think I’d be a teen mom. Ask anyone who knew me: I was good, educated and innocent. But sooner than anyone thought, I was no longer innocent.

I was hooked when I saw his sparkling eyes. Our relationship wasn't welcomed: He washed dishes at my mom's restaurant and was four years older than me. I didn't care: Four years wasn’t going to keep me away from him. He made me feel like I was on fire. I’d gone through a long depression, and I thought of the world as a cruel, dark place. My dad was an alcoholic and my mom was a workaholic. I felt alone and unwanted. Then, when my boyfriend and I first kissed, I felt this sensation that made me rethink life. I thought maybe I could find love and a purpose besides just school and work. Our love affair seemed wrong to others, and it even seemed wrong to me sometimes, because, well, he wasn't the most monogamous guy. When we were together, though, I couldn't be mad at him.

At first, we kept our relationship over the phone, and I didn't think it would get serious. We'd see each other for here and there, and I'd sneak out to see him maybe once a week. He would say, "You're only my friend"; but then, later, "I love you. You're mine." I didn't want to admit that it was a game for him. I wanted to believe I was something special.

Eventually, we spent more time together and I started trusting him. Just as I thought we were getting serious, though, he moved to Denver. He wouldn't visit or answer my calls. Once, I got a text from his "girlfriend" in Denver. We'd stopped talking, but the memories stayed. So when he asked for my phone number again, we continued our relationship. It was long-distance and hard, but he would come to see me every month. My mom found out and threatened to call the police, but that didn't stop us.

One year after we met, I took the biggest test of my life, only it wasn't a paper-and-pencil test, it was a pregnancy test. I stared at the two pink lines that confirmed I was expecting, and I didn't know how to react. I wasn't sure if I should cry, be happy or just run. I felt so confused and scared: I wasn't ready to be a mom. My boyfriend calmed me down, assuring me everything would be okay, but I knew my life would never be the same.

I only told my best friend at first, and she was actually excited and made me feel better. One by one, I told all my friends, and they were shocked but accepting. A month into school I started my journey as a pregnant, studying teen at Santa Fe High's Teen Parent Center. My mom still didn't know, and I was terrified about her finding out. With my luck, though, the news made its way to my sister, and she came to school to ask if it was true. I slowly nodded my head. "I'm going to tell Mom," she said.

That afternoon when my mom came home, my heart sank. She didn't really know what to say, which I guess was good because I didn't know how I'd answer. She finally asked me what my plan was and said she wanted to talk to my boyfriend. When he came to talk to her, a weight lifted: I realized we no longer had to sneak around. We could go watch a movie, eat ice cream and do couple things. My dad took the news better than anyone else. He basically said I had to stay and continue school.

Soon, things I thought would stay the same started to change. I lost friends, and my best friend began hanging out with other people. She would ask for a ride sometimes, but our conversations got shorter and then stopped. Even my cousin stopped talking to me. She didn't visit as often, and, when she did come over, she wouldn't acknowledge me. A family member ignoring me was too much!

Meanwhile, my belly grew and my feet swelled. I heard my baby's heartbeat for the first time, and it was like hearing an angel: It was the moment I really realized I had a life inside me. Two months later, when I saw my daughter by ultrasound, I fell in love. Every kick I felt after that reminded me that my baby girl was okay and things were fine. Her kicks got stronger and stronger, and I got tired and really sore—although when I asked for a massage, my boyfriend never complied. All I wanted was to have my daughter, Mia, in my arms.

Finally, my due date came, but no Mia! My doctor scheduled an induction on April 2. I checked in at 7 am and the doctor put half a small pill inside me to help start contractions. A few hours later all hell broke lose. The contractions were so strong and wouldn't stop; the nurses gave me medication to slow them down. When I was 6-7 centimeters dilated and had tried everything, I decided to get an epidural. After 10 hours of labor and 40 minutes of pushing, I finally met my baby girl.

From the moment she was born I was crazy about her. She changed me in the best way possible: I am now a mother. I'm not just a teen who can go off and do everything she wants; I have a little human being to look after, and I don't mind. Getting pregnant, no matter what everyone thinks, isn't the worst thing that can happen to a teen. It has been one of my most rewarding experiences: I love the smiles Mia gives me for funny faces I make and the milestones we'll look forward to.

I am proud to say I'm a teen mom because I think I am more responsible than most teens out there. I am capable of caring for another person. I have created the miracle of life. I am not a stereotypical drop-out teen mom: I am finishing high school, I am with my daughter's father, I will go to college and I will have a career. I have my own family just like anyone else.

People only see the bad side to teen pregnancy; they don't know there are many good teen moms. I spent last school year with moms who want to raise their kids right, get an education and improve their lives. I love my life as a teen mom; I have my own little best friend. I will teach her and support her however I can. It won't be easy, but I'm ready for the bumps I'll face. I will bring my family forward. Now is just the time to share my story with other girls in my situation so they can move ahead in their lives, too.