During her episode of 16 & Pregnant, Izabella Tovar resisted telling friends she was pregnant until the very end. Now, the 18-year-old mother is much more willing to share what’s going on in her life — at least when it relates to educating young women about the consequences of unprotected sex and teenage pregnancy.
“I think a lot of girls think that it will be no big deal,” Izabella told us. “They have a belly for nine months, pop out a baby, and their lives and bodies go back to normal. Maybe they think they can play house for a while and it will be fun. Well, it’s not.”
To prove her point about the lasting effects of pregnancy, Izabella shared a picture of her stomach. Unlike glamorous images we see of Farrah frolicking on the beach or Jenelle showing off her new boobs, Izabella’s stomach bears the stretch marks from her pregnancy three years ago.
Izabella captioned the picture with a message specifically directed to teenagers on ask.fm who talk about wanting to get pregnant:
If you think you are ready to have sex, ask yourself if you are ready to risk your body looking like this? EVERY time you have sex you are risking getting pregnant, no matter the precautions you are taking. No birth control is ever 100%. I used to love my body, then I got pregnant. This is a current picture of me. It has taken me three years to get used to the fact that this is my body now, my stretch marks will NEVER fully go away. I was not ready for my body to look like this by the time I was 18. I don’t have an 18 year old’s body. I was not ready to have sex. I should not have had sex. Please be careful. Think before you act.
Besides the stretch marks and the adorable three-year-old who calls her “Mom,” Izabella doesn’t bear many signs of teenage pregnancy: She is preparing to attend college with a full-ride scholarship and is still in a relationship with her child’s father, Jairo. However, she said none of that would have been possible without guidance from others.
“My parents have definitely been the main reason that Jairo and I both have managed to stay on track with our goals. They support us and they push us to be the best we can be,” Izabella said, adding she has also received invaluable advice from older women who experienced teenage pregnancy.
Although that advice has served her so well, Izabella explained it was difficult to find good role models when she was dealing with a teenage pregnancy.
“I searched and searched through Utah to find some sort of support group I could reach out to that would help me understand what my body was going through during pregnancy, and would understand the way I was feeling,” Izabella said. “Well, Utah doesn’t have anything like that for teenagers. So, I want to create one.”
For her teenage pregnancy support group, Izabella hopes to unite young moms who would otherwise feel alone. Although the group is specifically for young women in Utah, Izabella is also working to connect teen moms around the world on her blog, Everyone Deserves to be Heard.
“I felt like people could learn from their stories just as much as they could from mine,” Izabella said of the women who share on the blog. “Sometimes knowing that someone is listening can help us heal… When girls share their stories with me, some of them have never written it out before and they tell me that just writing that email really helped them release emotions they were holding on to from that time in their lives.”
We wish Izabella the best of luck with her goals — and encourage you to share the word of her support group and blog!