I met the author of Glori: A Different Story(Nicole Lynn Hannans) here at Revolution Health a couple of months ago. She is a vibrant, beautiful young woman who had a child in her late teens. Nicole explained to me that the vast majority of America’s teen pregnancy resources are dedicated to prevention. Once a teen becomes pregnant, there is very little support for next steps. For this reason, young mothers have difficulty completing a college education and are often trapped in a lifelong cycle of poverty.
As a young African American woman, Nicole was determined not to become a statistic. Despite all the odds, being homeless and surrounded by her boyfriend’s drug dealing business, she managed to escape that life and attended The College of William and Mary as a single mom. She wrote Glori: A Different Story, to inspire other pregnant teens to go and do likewise – knowing that no matter what the odds, an unexpected pregnancy does not prevent women from achieving their potential in life.
The story begins with Nicole as a carefree teen, enjoying outings with friends and flirtations with guys. In preparation for her prom, she ponders her date options. She decides, against her better judgment, to go with a charismatic “bad boy” football player whom she suspects may be dealing drugs. But she finds his charm irresistible and he persuades her that her fears are unfounded.
Soon Nicole is dating this young man (RaKeim) and is deeply attached to him. Sadly, her life begins to spiral out of control as she realizes that all of her suspicions were correct – he is a crack dealer trying to live the life of a big time “gangster.” RaKeim is narcissistic, unfaithful, abusive, and obsessed with money. Nicole gets pregnant, moves out of her home to be with RaKeim and cannot seem to come to grips with who he is rather than whom she hopes he will be.
While reading the book, every fiber in your being wants to scream, “Get out, Nicole, he’s no good for you! Run!” But RaKeim knows just how to play with her emotions, and she is reeled back in time and again. A prophetic statement from a doting aunt punctuates the madness of homelessness and crack fiends: “It takes time to get a relationship out of your system.”
And it did take several years for the RaKeim poison to work its way out of Nicole’s life. The turning point came one night when he tried to steal their baby, and then broke down the apartment door and beat Nicole. After menacing calls, being threatened with a gun, and in-person harassment, Nicole came to realize that she would never be safe. The police were unwilling to issue her a restraining order without further proof of RaKeim’s potential for violence. She had to handle this one alone.
As luck would have it, RaKeim was in and out of jail, which gave Nicole some relief from his behavior. During that time she graduated with high honors from the College of William and Mary, enrolled in a Master’s Program, got a job working with sick children at NIH, and found love again.
Nicole’s straight forward account of her struggles makes a few things quite clear: 1) women are not adequately protected by current domestic violence protocols 2) psychopathic men have an uncanny ability to manipulate their victims 3) overcoming the odds is a matter of will, determination, and very hard work and 4) a mother’s love for her child can inspire her to achieve greatness.
If you’re interested in learning more about Nicole’s life, please check out her website at www.nicoleink.com Her book is aptly named: Glori: A Different Story, and I hope that it inspires many other young moms to reach for glory – and to triumph over adversity.
Further resources for teenage moms:
National Family Planning & Reproductive Health AssociationThis post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at RevolutionHealth.com.