Celebrating Graduation with Teen Mom, Natalie Hoy | Chandler Senior Portrait Photographer

Celebrating Graduation with Teen Mom, Natalie Hoy | Chandler Senior Portrait Photographer

Teen Style, Mom Strong: Meet Natalie

Clients and friends who know me already know my passion is working with teens and helping their confidence shine. I was on cloud nine when Natalie walked into my office, because it didn’t take long for me to figure out what an exceptional young lady she truly is.

High School Graduate from Mesa, Arizona, with Perfect Hair and Makeup2021 Graduate from Mesa, Arizona, with Perfect Hair and Makeup

Natalie and her mom, Lisa, visited for her first consultation—and they arrived ready to celebrate her accomplishment in a big way. One of the reasons I like to meet with clients before their photo session is so that I can get to know them a little bit and everyone can shake off some of the nerves. I never want a client to walk into a session apprehensive and wondering who I am, what will happen, or how we’ll even proceed. So, of course, I asked Natalie to tell me a little about herself…and that’s when she blew me away with her story of strength and perseverance.

A Graduate, a Daughter, a Mom

Natalie became a mom when she was 14 years old and, determined to get through school and succeed for herself AND her daughter, she worked hard to make it through school. It was finally time to celebrate all her hard work, and I was honored to be the one who got to help her!

I’ll be honest; I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. Working with a teen mom was a brand-new experience for me, and I had so many questions for Natalie! I was in awe of this young woman who had worked so hard to get through school and raise her little girl! I was 27 when I had my first baby, and I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like at 14.

I asked Natalie to share her story with me for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted to hear more about her indomitable spirit, but I also hoped that by sharing what she’d been through, she could offer hope and positivity to the next teen mom who came along. She and her mom were ready to celebrate a fantastic accomplishment, but they said it wasn’t always easy going. Natalie shared the good, the bad, the scary, and finally the BEST happy ending ever by telling me about her little girl and her plans for after graduation!

Senior Girl in Chandler, AZ, Poses by Graffiti Wall for Graduation Photos

I’m so excited to introduce you to Natalie as she tells her story below.

Guest Blogger: Natalie Hoy

I was going through some scary depressive episodes before I became pregnant, and and once I found out, I felt like I had a purpose in life, despite only being 14. Everyone doubted me and told me I was ruining my life and would never be able to follow my dreams. I went from getting Cs and Ds in school to being on the honor roll and getting student of the year after my daughter was born.

4 Things I Wish I Knew

I was a freshman in high school, feeding a baby while doing schoolwork, up till 3:00 a.m. some nights with her sick and throwing up, but still making sure I finished my work and turned it in on time. But there are a few things I wish I knew during that time:

  1. It will be hard, but you’ll be OK.
  2. You aren’t alone in this battle and other teens are going through the same thing.
  3. Don’t feel like you need to be a stereotype.
  4. You can do anything you are determined to do.

The Next Chapter

High school for me was nothing like the movies, but I loved every bit of it. The biggest blessing I received was little Rylah. High school taught me many things, but most importantly it taught me perseverance. Growing up, I hated school and would only work hard enough to barely pass my classes. I started hanging around a bad group of people and was getting into trouble with the law.

The second week of freshman year I found out I was pregnant. I was only 14 years old. At that moment I did not see any future for me. I didn’t know if I would finish school, I didn’t know if I could raise a baby, everything was so unknown to me. I went through a ton of ridicule and harassment while walking around school pregnant. Everyone doubted me. They told me if I didn’t abort my baby I would be a failure and never graduate. I even had a lovely group of girls teepee my house and write “slut” and “hoe” on my driveway!

Prove Them Wrong

Instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself, I took all these things as encouragement. I wanted to prove every single person who doubted me wrong. Anything they said I couldn’t do, I made sure I DID! I did the unthinkable. It came with many many sleepless nights, breastfeeding while doing school at 2:00 a.m., cleaning up puke while doing school, and working part-time to provide for my daughter. There’s absolutely no doubt that I wanted to give up and drop out many times. I stood my ground and did the damn thing so I could inspire other teen parents to believe in themselves too! You can do anything you put your mind to despite your circumstances.

Now I have graduated with a 3-year-old by my side, and I couldn’t be any more blessed! This little girl saved me from paths I don’t even want to think about. This little girl motivated me every day. This little girl gave me hope. All the sleepless nights, the tears, and the heartache I endured at such a young age got me right where I needed to be…here! I really did it! I overcame situations I never thought possible! At only 15 years old I had even saved up enough money to buy my first car on my own in cash! Cheers to the next chapter. I won’t miss you, high school!

An Update

Now I am 18 years old, and little Rylah is 3 1/2! I graduated from Hamilton High School in May of 2021 with a 3.3 GPA and made student of the year. I am working at Elements Massage and about to be moving into my first apartment! Rylah started preschool and is loving learning so many new things!

Words of Advice

Do not give up! You are not the first or last to be in this situation! Many teens get pregnant but choose the “easy way out.” Take any negativity and transform it into something positive. Prove people wrong.

Helpful Resources

Flashback: A Note From Michelle

Natalie, I want to thank you again for sharing your story with me. You already know how proud I am of you, as I’ve told you many times! I wanted to share just a few of my favorite pictures of Natalie in her cap & gown with Rylah.

Outdoor Graduation Photos Chandler Senior Photographer

Teen Mom Graduation Photos Chandler AZ