It’s always the same, whether it be an interview or meeting someone new. It starts out pleasant, they find out I am mother to two little girls and the response is normally along the lines of ‘oh goodness you have your hands full’. Laughs are exchanged and things seem to be going well. Then the elephant in the room is noticed: I’m only 19. Followed by this realization is the look: That tight lipped smile you give when you’re judging someone. I like to think of it as the deal – breaker look; we can’t be friends because I’m a teen mom.
The shame and stigma Teen parents face is saddening. Even without knowing that person or their personal story, they are considered a statistic, and told how they have ruined their life or that they will never be able to support their child. People Assume you will never make something of yourself, and that you won’t take care of your child & party all the time. Suddenly people think they know all about your character, that you have no morals. They think that who you are is what they perceive to be the typical teen mom: which most of the time that ‘typical teen mom’ they speak of are the ones on MTV making terrible decisions on national television that will follow their children through life.
I found out I was pregnant with my first daughter 5 months after my 17th birthday. I was in college majoring in Accounting, working a full time job, and in a fulfilling relationship with my now husband. My story doesn’t involve dropping out of high school (although I did drop out of college when I realized that I didn’t want to pursue a career as an accountant, best decision ever by the way) and spending weekends partying as soon as Sophia was born. My story is about a wife and mother of 2 who happens to be 19. I have a job, work hard, and am currently taking the classes to start a career in pharmacy. Is life easy for me? No of course not, but life isn’t easy, it takes hard work to get ahead in life regardless of what age you decided to have children. Do I regret being a teen mother? No way! I am blessed to have these two beautiful girls, and raising them with my husband is a beautiful learning experience every day. Sophia and Lydia have taught us what it means to be a family and to love someone unconditionally with our whole hearts, these two wonderful little people have strengthened my love in my husband and god.
Being a teen mother is no different than being a mother at the ‘ideal age’ (which, honestly there being an ideal age to bear children is a little bogus if you ask me). Being a mother has nothing to do with age, it’s about loving and caring for your child. It’s about time outs, bubble baths & story time. Being a mother (even a teen mother) is a beautiful blessing and there should be no shame.