A Mother’s Day wedding might be a little unusual for some but it is very fitting for Nicole Shields. At 22, after five years of being a single mom she married David Seamon, her son’s father, on Mother’s Day, May 13, 2012.
Her story is one that abolishes the myth that teen moms can’t do it all. A full-time critical care nurse at University Hospital, she has worked and gone to school since her son, Drevyn, was born.
However, she wasn’t always so driven. “As a teen I did whatever I wanted,” she admits. “I lived my life like a lot of teens do thinking nothing would ever happen to me. I partied a lot. I had a lot of time with friends that wasn’t supervised by adults.”
Nicole explained that she takes full responsibility for the choices she made as a teen. “My parents trusted me,” she said. “I have an older brother who always made right choices. They didn’t know a lot of things I was doing.”
Her idea that difficulties would never happen to her spilled over into school and spiritual matters, as well. “I did just enough to pass my courses,” she said. “I was not a nice person. I didn’t care about other people outside my group of friends.”
As far as spiritual matters, she saiid she attended church when she was younger but when she got to be a teen it became less important. “I was too busy with my friends,” she said. “I felt invincible like nothing bad would ever happen to me. I figured I’d worry about all that stuff when I got older.”
Taking the test
A lot of these things changed a few months before she turned 17. She suspected she was pregnant, took a test and confirmed her fears. “Just to be sure, I went back and purchased every single kind of test I could. Of course, they all gave me the same answer.”
Disappointed, nervous and unsure of what to do, she talked to her mother and then, her father. Although the two were divorced and she talked to them at different times, they both told her the same thing. “They said, ‘You have three choices. You can get an abortion, you can put the baby up for adoption or you can have the baby and keep it.’”
Weighing the options was difficult. “I never really considered adoption,” she said. “I knew when I saw my baby I would want to keep him. Something inside of me made me not want to have an abortion. But I knew it would immediately solve the problem. I definitely knew keeping the baby would be the hardest route.”
To get an ultrasound, Nicole went to My Life Clinic. “I had a friend who had gone there. Someone sat and talked with me about being pregnant, how I felt and stuff like that. I remember them being very nonjudgmental and not saying I had to do one or the other. It was too early for their ultrasound equipment to hear the heartbeat. But they referred me elsewhere and I was able to hear it.”
David also supported her. “We had been dating about six months,” she said. “He was my first serious relationship. He said he would be with me no matter what I decided to do. If I had consciously made a choice about someone to be the father of my baby, I couldn’t have made a better choice.”
Nicole says her choice to keep her baby was based on a lot of factors. “I had medical insurance through my mother’s employment. I was able to hear the heartbeat. I had the support of David and my parents.”
Nicole was a different student when she returned her junior year. “I had a transformation,” she said. “I was more considerate of other people and what was going on with them. I began to see that others might have some emotional baggage I couldn’t see on the outside. I stepped back and treated people differently. I began to really see them.”
She also began to take her classes more serious. “I didn’t take sick days. I was only gone for an hour or so for doctor’s appointments and then back. I was even in school the day I went into labor. After Drevyn was born on April 14, 2007, I went back for a science lab and then a teacher came to the house to catch me up on the rest of my class work.”
Nicole’s father, mother and brother all say when she got pregnant at 16 it seemed to turn her life around. “Pregnancy flipped a switch in her brain about what was important in her life,” Tyler Shields, her brother, says. “Partying went by the wayside. Her humility grew as she realized her life was not about her but about the child growing inside of her.”
Continuing her education
Although she could have taken online classes as a junior and probably skipped her senior year, Nicole says she wanted the experience of being a high school senior. She graduated in December but still went through her high school graduation in May and the senior prom. She was also working.
“I didn’t know much but I realized my parents had money because they had college degrees that got them jobs,” she said. “I’d always wanted to be a nurse because my mom was a nurse. Also, I was working at Missouri Cancer Associates and that embedded the desire even more. I loved taking care of people and wanted to do more for them.“
She had applied and received daycare assistance before her senior year. That made it possible, then, for her to start immediately taking classes at Moberly Area Community College during what would have been the spring semester of her senior year in high school.
Going to school year-round, she was able to graduate with associate’s degree in nursing in May 2010 enabling her to take her board examination to become a registered nurse that summer. She started working full-time weekend nights at University Hospital even before passing her board exam.
“I hear a lot of single moms and especially teen moms saying they can’t go to school, work full-time and take care of their baby,” she said. “I filed my own FAFSA to get grants to go to school. I applied for daycare assistance and WIC myself. I found a home daycare where I was comfortable leaving my son.”
She adds that the key for her, though, was the support she had from others. “I had a lot of support. I lived with my mom and my brother and they did a lot with Drevyn. My Dad and step-mom took care of Drevyn many times on the weekends. David and his mom helped out a lot during the week and some weekends. David came most every night to put Drevyn to bed.”
Tyler added that she was never ostracized for her pregnancy and all family members were immediately supportive. “I think this is the exception and not the rule of what most teen moms experience,” he added.
One thing that strikes Nicole’s mother, Lisa Logan, most about her daughter is her drive to keep going with her education from getting her associate’s degree in nursing to her bachelor of science in nursing degree. She also applied to the graduate program even before completing her BSN. “To me, her pursuing an advanced level degree without a break is one of Nicole’s biggest accomplishments in the last five years, besides raising one healthy, happy little man,” he said.
Nicole tries to share that enthusiasm with other single moms. Brittany Evans is a friend she met in high school when she was pregnant. When Brittany became a single mother her sophomore year of college, she says Nicole was a godsend.
“She encouraged me to stay in school and helped in any way she could with transportation, babysitting my daughter and most importantly reminding me that I could make it when I felt like everything in my life was working against me,” she said. “Now we are both graduating with our bachelor’s degrees from MU. I know I could not have done it without her love, support and encouragement.”
In addition to an education, Nicole had some spiritual revelations. “I had accepted Christ and been baptized as a kid,” she said. “But I don’t remember much about it. I just remembered thinking, as I became a teen and started making some bad choices that I wasn’t good enough or deserving enough for God. I stopped going to church because I didn’t want to be a hypocrite.”
When Tyler went to Honduras as a missionary for six months during the spring semester of 2009 through his church The Rock, he gave Nicole a ticket to join him there during Spring Break. “It was a chance to be away from all the craziness of school, work and being a single mom,” she said. “When I got there, I was listening to the missionaries practice sharing the gospel. They didn’t know they were sharing with me. They were just practicing and I was in their presence.”
What was said made an impression. “I’d never heard Christ’s love explained in a way that says it doesn’t matter what you have done,” she said. “I always thought I was undeserving. I didn’t realize God loved me just like I was.”
After hearing the practice session, Nicole had a conversation with her brother and told him she wanted what the missionaries were talking about. “He explained everything to me again and I prayed to receive Christ,” she said.
Nicole said the decision for Christ did many things for her. “It gave me more hope, motivation and self-confidence. I really began to believe in myself and my decision to become a nurse. I wanted more for myself. I wanted more out of my relationship with David.”
Nicole’s decision to accept Christ was one of the major reasons why she and David had some struggles in their relationship. She wanted to be sure David was the man God wanted her to marry.
Working on a relationship
David was also in college and working. Although he had been supportive of her and Drevyn, she felt they took each other for granted. “We were two high school kids who got pregnant,” she said. “After I became a Christian, I had different standards. We broke up for awhile.”
That allowed them time to think and pray about what they really wanted in their lives. When they got back together they began to talk about their future. Eventually, David made it official with a ring and a proposal. Nicole said yes.
Nicole’s family was thrilled and not surprised at the engagement. Tyler, though, is amazed at all that his sister has accomplished. “Nicole is more than just the exception to the rule, she is beyond that,” he said. “Not only has Nicole managed to survive after having a child, she has thrived.” He is impressed that she graduated early from high school, went directly to college, had a 4.0 GPA her first year, worked all the while being a single mom and dating David.
On May 13 at Second Baptist Church in Columbia, Nicole became Mrs. David Seamon. Two days before, she graduated with a bachelor of science in nursing degree. David graduated a few days before her with a bachelor’s degree in general studies with minors in history and political science.
Nicole says five years ago, she had no idea she, David and Drevyn would be at the place they are now. “I remember watching shows about high school graduation and I did not even believe I could do that,” she said.
Now, though, she has many hopes for their future. “I see us having a couple of more kids, moving several times since David will be in the Marines and being a part of a faith community wherever we are so we can strengthen our relationship with each other and God.”
One thing for sure, Nicole Seamon will never forget Mother’s Day 2012, the day she, her son and his father became a family.