Taylore Daniel never expected pregnancy to be easy. She knew about the added pressure and responsibility that it would take to raise a baby. Yet she never imagined how difficult her own personal journey would become.
At 19, Daniel found out she was pregnant. She had plans to relocate to a different state when her baby’s biological father asked her to stay in Las Vegas so they could raise their son together. Daniel discovered the father was in a long-term relationship with another woman. It was then she realized that she had nowhere to go.
“He told my family that I could come live with him and that he would take care of me,” Daniel said. “But instead he moved his new girlfriend into his apartment and left me to deal with my pregnancy alone.”
Without a place to live, Daniel connected with Southern Nevada Children First, a nonprofit organization in Las Vegas that focuses on teenage girls who have been homeless or come from unstable backgrounds and are pregnant or raising children.
With the help of the organization, Daniel was provided with an apartment.
“When Taylore was pregnant, she could barely eat,” said Sabrina Ray, case manager at Southern Nevada Children First. “She was in a really bad situation, and you couldn’t even tell she was pregnant. She was stressed, depressed, sad and hurt.”
At seven months pregnant, Daniel said she worked at a retail store to prepare financially for her son.
Despite being left to deal with most of her pregnancy alone, Daniel said she invited her baby’s father to the hospital when she went into labor.
Without her knowledge, the father’s girlfriend also showed up to witness the birth.
After Daniel delivered her son on Jan. 8, she claims the father’s family and friends started bombarding her with questions about a paternity test. Then, two weeks later, the father filed for full custody and child support.
Through the help of the organization, Daniel was referred to Mary Perry, a Las Vegas attorney, and has been able to fight to keep custody of her son.
“I wanted to help her because I was so irritated that the father had the audacity to bring his girlfriend into her labor room without Daniel wanting her there,” Perry said. “They weren’t even looking at the baby; they were looking for a DNA test. She’s so young and inexperienced in life, and all of these people came in and took advantage of her.”
Although the case has yet to be resolved, Daniel said she feels confident she will be able to keep her son in her life and give him a good future.
Perry added she is determined for Daniel to be treated fairly, be respected and recognized as a mother.
“I very seldom meet a young lady who just wants her baby to have the father in her baby’s life. By this point, most young women would be out for blood, and she just wants to give this man a chance to be a good father to her child,” Perry said. “I find this refreshing. She is approaching this with a lot more maturity than most mothers do.”
Monique Harris, founder and executive director of Southern Nevada Children First, said the organization was created to support young women and help them become productive citizens.
“We want to create generational change,” Harris said. “We are determined to help young women not become victims of circumstance but to excel above them.”
Daniel, now 20, said she plans to attend the College of Southern Nevada in the summer, transfer to a university and finish her degree to work and support her son.
“Every woman wants to be with their child’s father so that they could be a little family,” Daniel said. “I never had my mother or my father in my life. I did want a little family, but I wish I had waited. Now I just want a good future for my son. I want to be a strong mother and teach him to be a man, not a little boy.”
Contact North View reporter Sandy Lopez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4686.