The Reality of Starting a Family in High School

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The Reality of Starting a Family in High School

Peyton Steele's daughter will be a year old on June 14.

Peyton Steele's daughter will be a year old on June 14.

Peyton Steele's daughter will be a year old on June 14.

Peyton Steele's daughter will be a year old on June 14.

Kelli Volonte, Business Manager

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“My boyfriend was the first to say not to get an abortion,” senior Peyton Steele said.

  Steele’s daughter, Mallory, is now almost a year old.

  “The day I had her was the best day of my life. I was in so much pain but it was perfect,” she said.

  After being nauseous for three days, Steele’s boyfriend, Grayson Hodges, suggested she take a pregnancy test.

  “We went to the Pregnancy Care Center because they give free pregnancy tests. After the result was positive, they gave us counseling and informed us of our options,” she said.

  They discussed their options and decided that keeping the baby was what was best for them.

  “It was a personal decision not to have an abortion. Also, I couldn’t carry my baby and then give her up. I already felt connected,” Steele explained.

  Steele and Hodges’ families were supportive when they told them about the pregnancy.

  “I came home literally right after the appointment and told my mom. We told Grayson’s parents a couple weeks after. Grayson took it well when I told him, but it wasn’t until we told his parents that he got emotional,” Steele said.

  Steele’s pregnancy was filled with emotions, sonograms, and ice cream.

“Sonograms were my favorite. It was so cool to see how she grew. One time she was jumping in my stomach. She was only 14 weeks, so I couldn’t feel it. We didn’t even know if she was a boy or girl. Grayson was like, ‘it’s hip hop dancing,’” Steele said.

  She also noted how her diet changed during her pregnancy.

“It’s crazy how cautious you have to be when you’re pregnant. You can’t have fish with high mercury like sushi or deli meats,” she explained. “I tried to eat really healthy. I ate a lot of fruits. I tried to eat vegetables, but I don’t like them. I did eat ice cream though – like every night. Our freezer was constantly stocked with Ben ‘n Jerry’s.”

  Steele changed in multiple ways throughout her pregnancy and after giving birth.

“It made me a lot more emotional. I would cry over the stupidest things. Even after having her I’m way more emotional,” she said.

  Being pregnant got harder after her bump had become noticeable though.

“I felt so self conscious. It was annoying because I could see people looking at my stomach. No one actually ever said anything though. I think it was more just me, like knowing that people are thinking things,” she said. “I honestly loved being pregnant besides the looks and being so young. I loved feeling her kick. Anytime she would kick I would take a video. She would get her little fists in my ribs.”

  Now, what other people think doesn’t bother Steele.

  “Sometimes I wish I would’ve told people that I was pregnant sooner, but I was scared that I might miscarry because I’m so young. I was also scared of what people would say. I don’t care now,” she said.

  The night before Steele went into labor, she and her boyfriend had gone out to eat with his family.

  “I was having contractions for two days before, like constantly. The rule for my doctors office was don’t come in unless your contractions are like five minutes apart and lasting a least a minute. They weren’t that bad but I could see my stomach hardening,” she recalled.

  Hodges had broken his phone during this time, so when Steele went into labor she had to text his dad early in the morning to tell Hodges.

  “I woke up at four in the morning, and I was really hurting so I called my mom. We ended up getting to the hospital around six am. I was texting Grayson’s dad’s phone telling them I’m going to the hospital,” Steele said.

  She had packed her bags for the hospital three weeks before to be prepared for that night.

  “They take you back to these triage rooms to make sure you’re in labor. They took forever to take me back to a room because they were super busy that night. By the time they got me back to the room I was throwing up from the pain,” she explained.

  When she was taken back to a the triage room Steele was only dilated to a three. The doctor checked an hour later and she was dilated enough to be taken back to a birthing room.

  “Grayson had gotten there when I got taken back to the triage room. By the time I got my epidural I was dilated to an eight. After I got the epidural I was good to go; I couldn’t feel anything,” Steele said.

  Mallory Ann Hodges was born at 2:35pm on June 14th.

  “I cried when I saw her for the first time. I was like how is this real. Grayson was like, ‘holy cow’ when she came out, and the doctor was like, ‘holy cow is right,’” she said.

  Grayson Hodges graduated from Kickapoo in 2017. He recalled feeling scared and excited when he found out that Steele was pregnant.

   “It was really cool to know that she was carrying our baby,” he said. “It was always really fun and interesting to see how Mallory was forming inside of Peyton and to see how much she had changed.”

  He wanted to wait as long as possible before telling his family about the pregnancy.

  “I waited as long as I could before I told my parents because I was honestly very scared, but they actually took it very well and were extremely supportive,” Hodges said.

  The night Steele went into labor he hurried to meet her at the hospital.

  “I remember waking up to the text at 6 am and rushing to the hospital. It was really cool to see how good Peyton was doing and how well she was taking it. She was so brave,” he explained.

   Steele was the first to hold Mallory, and Hodges saw a glimpse into life as a parent.

  “My first thought when Mallory was born was that she was beautiful. There was just an instant feeling that she was my child and that this was all so real, I really felt like a parent in that moment,” he said.

  Since Mallory was born, he and Steele have grown closer.

  “We actually do not struggle very much while parenting together. We are able to agree on most things,” Hodges said. “It’s so awesome to watch Mallory grow up and learn and do different things and to have somebody that looks up to you so much.”

  Now his days are filled with smiles and laughter from her.

  “My favorite thing is her smile. It can bring happiness to anybody, and her laugh is awesome. There is nothing to not like about her. My favorite memory would be her taking her first steps to me,” he said.

  Steele mentioned how it was difficult how Hodges didn’t understand throughout her pregnancy.

  “During my pregnancy it was really hard because he didn’t understand. It was hard for a while to watch him not understand. After I had Mallory, he’s done really well. He loves her so much,” she said.

  Both Hodges and Steele began school in the fall following Mallory’s birth. With help from their families, Hodges has been able to go to school and work full time, and Steele was able to graduate early.

  “I’m breastfeeding so that would get in the way during the school day. I’d have to leave class early to pump after first and second block,” she explained. “It’s hard because if I want to go out I have to pump and make sure there’s enough for Mallory. Before everything was on my time. I could go out when I wanted or watch Netflix whenever.”

  One of Steele’s favorite memories of Mallory was after she got home from the first week of tennis practice.

  “After I got home from tennis practice I was really upset. It was the fourth day and I was stressed because it was hard to be away from her. I was crying and telling her I loved her and she started laughing for the first time,” she said.

  There are many stigmas around having a baby in high school or being so young. This is one account of the reality of it: all the good and all the difficult.


Mallory Hodges was born at 2:35 pm and weighed seven pounds and one ounce.

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Kelli Volonte, Business Manager

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