Oliva Harringer’s “Legaci”

Teenage pregnancy changes lives forever.


Elena Krueper, Staff Writer

Being a parent can be tough, but being both a teenager and a parent is just about as hard as it gets.

Some teens handle their unexpected pregnancies in a poor way: They continue to make bad decisions and ignore the newfound responsibilities that come with having a child. This ultimately impacts both of their lives in a negative way, which is something that they don’t seem to comprehend. Not all teen parents are like that, however. Some handle their pregnancies in a more meaningful way and learn how to adapt to meet the everyday challenges that come with it–without negatively affecting themselves or their child’s life. 

Olivia Harringer, a sixteen-year-old Elkhart local, is an excellent example of a teen mom who is overcoming all obstacles. She had her daughter, Legaci, last year in the winter.  “When I was pregnant,” Harringer begins, “I was excited to bring this little baby into the world, but I was also very nervous, scared, and worried. I still have mixed emotions about my situation,” she admits, “but I couldn’t be more happy and grateful to have been pregnant with my baby, and I would never take back my decision to have given birth to her.” 

Harringer, much like other teen parents, faces many day-to-day challenges. Being a teenager is already super stressful. Teens have to worry about school, getting their driver’s licence, college (if they plan on going), and so much more. Not to mention, teenagers are also still learning about themselves, their values, and what they want to do with their lives. So, it’s not very surprising that balancing both her life as a high school student, and a parent is difficult. “I think the three hardest things about being a teen parent,” Harringer states, “would be having to depend on other people for things like rides to doctor’s appointments–since I don’t have my license yet–not being fully financially stable enough to get our own house quite yet, and lastly training myself to be mentally stronger and more mature than other people my age.” She never lets those challenges get to her, though. “We always find a way around the problem, whether it’s finding a ride or not being able to leave the house to get baby food.”

Harringer has also had to make some changes to her life in order to take care of her daughter. “I do school online now, so that makes it easier for me to stay home with my baby. I do go to the Career Center for cosmetology from 6:45am- 11:15am, however, and within that time, my family usually watches her,” she explains. “I try to do as much of my school work as possible while Legaci is napping, and I don’t really find it too difficult to balance everything. Every once in a while there are times when it is a little challenging,” Harringer confesses, “but we figure it out eventually.”

Due to her determination, and the “amazing” people in her life, Harringer has been able to look after Legaci and give her a good home. “My family, my baby’s father, and his family have helped me the most with learning how to be a good parent,” she acknowledges. “They all try to help in as many ways as possible with my daughter by watching her, helping with clothes, diapers, wipes, feeding her, playing with her, etc.” Having a good support system is extremely important for teen parents. It enables them to create a good environment for their children in their developmental years and helps them tackle all of the struggles that they may face. “Everybody helps and supports us in any way they possibly can,” Harringer stresses. “My baby’s father has been a huge help towards me and my mental health, as well. He’s helped me grow and mature in many different ways!”

Even though her pregnancy was unexpected and abrupt, Harringer still cherishes her child above all else. “Some of the best things about being a mom is knowing you have a little one counting on you 24/7, being able to wake up or come home from school and just see my baby’s cute little smile, the feeling when you just know your baby is comfortable in your presence, watching your baby reach milestones such as crawling, sitting up by themselves, rolling over, etc.–I could go on and on about my favorite things about being a mom!”

Being a mother is one of life’s greatest gifts, but for some, it doesn’t always come at the best time. Being a teenage parent can be absolutely terrifying, and the majority of all teens aren’t fully ready for that responsibility. It is admirable when people in this age group can learn how to adapt and learn from their mistakes. Seeing these people adapt to their newfound lifestyles as parents and being able to make such a beautiful thing come out of it is astonishing.

Olivia Harringer is determined to be such a parent. She has uprooted and adjusted her entire future just for her daughter. Some juniors don’t even know how to do their own laundry, but she’s already responsible for a child. Although her daughter was unplanned, she’s done an astounding job of making ends meet. While it may not always be rainbows and butterflies, she’s constantly finding new solutions to her problems and learning how to become a better parent–and person–for her and her daughter.