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"Don't be "that" mom..."

 Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Teenage pregnancy. 
This is going to be a touchy subject. But I wanted to do a post about all the things I went through when my son was born and all the things I hated about how people treated me. But that would be impossible because there was just so much that, quite honestly, ticked me off. I have forgotten most by now. But a few weeks ago, I saw a teenager with her baby at the doctors office. And it took me back to a very lonely and sad time in my life, a time I didn’t think would ever pass. But eventually it did, and here I am, alive and well on the other end, and dare I even say quite happy too. So here’s to all the teen moms out there bravely battling on each day despite all the dirty looks in public, the criticism and uglyness that our messed up society so cheaply offers. Here’s my take on teen pregnancy and why people should get off their high horses about it.
Oddly, this girl keeps looking at me, do I have something on my shirt or a piece of food in my teeth? Or a booger hanging out my nose? I look up but what I see is myself a quite a years ago, and I instantly know why she looks at me like that.

I am what she hoped to be, instead of herself.

I know, because I was once her. You see, today I am the 33 year old  mom, with the wedding ring on my finger, my beautiful baby girl sitting quietly on my lap.....with my nice put together outfit......while I chat to the other moms about pre-school and cute monogrammed clothing and the price of a good family vacation. She, on the other hand, does not get spoken to, instead, people give her a look of sympathy mixed with a little “you should’ve known better”. She doesn’t get asked about her opinion on teething or diapers or anything, because she doesn’t know anything right? I mean she’s what? 17 or 18 maybe? She’s just a child herself right? And she shouldn’t even have a baby yet right? “We shouldn’t feel sorry for her, but for that baby” someone whispers. And suddenly all the rage I used to feel towards these judgy moms comes rushing back.
About this teenager. There are a few facts we should get straight. She is as much motheras me, or you, or any other twenty or thirty-something mom. Because she, long before having given birth, made one of the most difficult decisions that a young girl can ever have to make, she chose to deal with the consequences of her actions despite all the difficulties it brings. She’s not dirty, or wrong or slutty for getting pregnant. She is one of the unlucky few to have gotten pregnant, but she is not the only one who was at risk of getting pregnant. Fact is, if you all are completely all were doing exactly what we were as a teenager....we are just the ones who got caught. But our double standard society makes us believe that only the pregnant teens are those who were sinful enough to have sex. All the thousands of others who didn’t get pregnant, or those who rather opted for abortions, we don’t think or speak of them. We channel our disapproval only toward the pregnant teens. They take the heat for the whole world’s sexually active teens. They get all the judgement on behalf of all the others who, yet not visibly wearing their sins, did exactly the same thing. Girls who opt for abortions do not have to wear a t-shirt reading “I had my child aborted” they get to carry on with their lives and their ended pregnancy is something the can either choose to hide or to share. Likewise all the other sexually active teenagers do not have to wear a t-shirt stating their exact number of sexual partners or how old they were when they started having sex. They too get privacy and dignity when it comes to their sexual activities and habits. But pregnant teens, oh no, they can’t hide it for very long can they? So what happens is, they get all the judgement. All the dirty looks. All the “you should’ve known better” looks. Not fair is it? Well I don’t think so anyway. So let me rant about how unfair this is for just a bit. And let me point a few things out. 
As a mom now in my thirties,  having had a baby as a teenager, and  having had one as a married twenty something year old, I have had both experiences. Now I want to ask a favour from all the other moms. You already know how challenging motherhood can be. You know what it’s like to multitask getting dressed and packing a diaper bag and feeding a little human his breakfast while you go hungry and have your coffee cold an hour later. You know going to the bathroom can be a rare luxury and even a shower is somehow something you ask permission for as your husband has to watch the baby while you do it. You know what it’s like to be so tired you cannot think straight. You know that serving froot loops for dinner is sometimes the best you could do. And let's not forget the M&Ms youbletthem have for breakfast. Now imagine doing all of that (and everything not even mentioned above) as a teenager. Imagine it without the help and support of a husband. Imagine all of it, while constantly being judged. Imagine your opinion and instinct over your child constantly being undermined by everyone simply because you’re young. Imagine people taking pity on your baby as if you were a meth-addict living on the streets simply because you’re a teenager. Not a fun thought huh? So my request to all the non teen moms reading this is simple : Don’t be that mom. Dont judge these girls. These girls are also just moms. Moms who have it so much harder than you do.
They may be young, but age has never been a measure of how good of a mom you can be. They are in the same boat of minority as the forty something year old moms who, for whatever reason, only had kids many years after all their peers. Let’s have compassion for these ladies, whatever their ages. Motherhood is so difficult, and one of the best feelings is having a friend who understands what you are dealing with. Having a baby in my twenties made me realize this, because this time I’m not alone. I was also very fortunate to have a amazing support system behind me. My family stepped in and the saying "It takes a village" is so true. And still true to this day. Some days, even as a 33 year old mom, I don't know how I would survive without the help of my parents and in laws. 
I guess all I’m saying is that it’s not fair to judge a teen mom unless you are going to judge premarital sex altogether. And it is not fair to judge a young mom, if you are not going to judge older moms as well, for both have their fair share of pros and cons for the child. Unless you are willing to take on a huge debate on all the sides to this very complicated topic, just let everyone be and try not to be "that" mom. 
Perhaps we feel there should be some sort of winning recipe to raise a good child, and it’s frightening to consider that maybe our kids will be whatever they’ll be regardless of us and how old or rich or whatever we were when we had them. Maybe thats why we judge so easily. Maybe not. But let us just try and support one another. Parenthood is not easy and everyone brave enough to face it head on everyday deserves whatever support they can get. Aaaaaand that is all. End rant.

Life is hard,  y'all. Let's be a shining light to someone today. 


Dawn Broderway,  January 2, 2017 at 9:10 PM  

This is great! I too was a teenage mama and it's hard! I truly enjoy your blogs! U are an inspiration to ua all!!

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