07/26/2013 01:38 pm ET Updated Jul 29, 2013

Divorced Mom Split At Age 21, Says It Was A Tough 'Reality Check' (VIDEO)

Marriage, pregnancy, then divorce -- it's a cycle many women know well. But usually those women are in their 30s, 40s or 50s by the time they've experienced it all. Hitting all those milestones in your early 20s is a completely different challenge.

To get a better understanding of that plight, HuffPost Live's Nancy Redd spoke with Kimberly Archie, who was married at 18. By 21, she was the divorced mother of a 2-year-old and a 6-month-old.

"It's definitely a reality check to be 21 years old and have a high school diploma and have two kids, and daycare is $800 a month for you to be able to work full time," Archie said. "There's definitely multiple things that are thrown at you, and I wouldn't recommend it for anyone."

Things were hard enough before Archie's daughter, who is now 19, was diagnosed with stage IV cancer when she was 5. Archie said that experience "ultimately made me the mom I am now and really made me grow up."

The key to pulling herself and her family out of their hardships was returning to school for a college education, which empowered Archie and allowed her to provide a better life.

"That's the first thing I would tell any young woman who has children and is struggling to care for her kids is to get educated," she said. "Not only can you earn more income, but it also gives you more tools to be a better parent because you're more educated and it helps you be a better example for your kids."

Watch the clip above to hear more about Archie's experience (and check out the full clip here), then click through the slideshow below for celebrity single moms we love.

Our Favorite Celebrity Single Moms

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