Meet Gia, Cancer Survivor and Teen-Mom
We had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with Gia and chatting through her unique journey to motherhood. After some pleasantries we jumped right in!
Let’s start with an introduction of yourself...
Hi, I’m Gia! I’m 23 and I have a five-year-old daughter who is the light of my life! I work in bridal sales and absolutely love it.
Okay, so if I’m doing the math correctly, you had your daughter when you were 18? Take us back to before you had your daughter and walk us through your journey to get to where you are today...
I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 13 which set the tone for the next several years of my life. Going through a cancer diagnosis forced me to grow up quick because it was such a life changing experience. My treatment continued right up until my senior year of high school... which is when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, cementing the tone of growing up quick!
First of all, congrats on being cancer-free. That's wonderful news! I can’t imagine the wide range of emotions you were experiencing during that time. Can you walk us through your senior year and what happened next?
Yes, so many emotions! I met my daughter’s dad right before my cancer diagnosis and he supported me the entire way through my treatment. We continued dating and when we found out we were pregnant, we didn’t even debate whether or not we were going to have the baby. We, along with both of our families, were totally on board.
About 4 months into my pregnancy, I was so sick. They thought it was just morning sickness but after I ended up being hospitalized for 5 days, we found out that I had a necrotic cyst that had to be removed.
I most likely had the cyst before I got pregnant, and it was the baby pushing on it that brought it to light. It was wrapped around a fallopian tube, so I had to have emergency surgery to remove one of my fallopian tubes along with the cyst that was wrapped around it.
That was pretty crazy!
Wow! Undergoing surgery mid-pregnancy and all during your senior year of high school must have been a lot to handle at such a young age. How was your support system through all of this?
Well, I went to school, pregnant, with belly and all. At first, I was nervous and thought people would talk about me, but everyone was so excited! I had wonderful relationships with my teachers and friends, and everyone was so supportive.
Instead of a graduation party, I had a baby shower.
Sounds like an incredible support system! So Audrey is born, then what?
It was a lot like what you see on TV. You’re still your parents’ child, living at home with them AND a baby.
My mom was the biggest help during this time. I couldn't have done it without her. She probably took care of Audrey the most and helped out around the clock, basically filling the role of another parent since I didn't live with Audrey's dad. I had no idea what I was doing. Audrey’s dad would come over a lot when she was first born, and his mom would come help during the days.
It was all hands on deck navigating a newborn together. It was the first baby in the family in a LONG time (since my younger brother, who was a teenager)
The nursing staff at the hospital was also an incredible part of my journey. Not only during health scares, but also with postpartum. They were always so patient, hands-on, and gentle with how they explained things. They helped with breast feeding support (even though it didn’t work). It’s not something that young people feel comfortable talking about. I almost felt like I had a leg up because of the adult experiences I had leading up to this point in my life.
Let's fast forward to today, Audrey is now five years old. How have things changed? How are you doing?
Audrey’s dad and I are still involved in each other’s lives but are separated and “doing the journey on our own.”
I'm so lucky to have such a supportive family who continues to help me as a single mom.
I see people on social media with perfect homes, and seemingly perfect lives but that’s just not it. You have to let go of what you “think” motherhood will be like and understand that’s not how it is.
What is your favorite thing about motherhood?
My favorite thing about motherhood is seeing my daughter go through each new phase as she gets older. Right now, she’s getting ready for kindergarten and I’m signing up for PTO and it’s all moving so fast! I'm just so grateful to be here and healthy and to experience it all.