Few things alter your life in the way entering motherhood does. Okay, there’s probably nothing that shakes your very being to its core quite like literally growing an entire life inside of your body. Except maybe doing it before you’ve even grown into yourself. A lot has changed in regards to the teen mom stigma (thanks MTV) but it’s still an experience in and of itself.
Now, arguably I am not technically a teen mom. I became pregnant at 19, but I didn’t have Jace until I was 20. As a 20 year old I didn’t feel like a teenager. As a 27 year old… I look back and realize that I was a freaking baby. But hindsight is always 20/20.
This not to say that I was ever a bad mom. Nor was I ever even that ill-equipped to take on the single biggest task I’d ever face. And that my friends, is the whole point of this post. Because you see, I am both a teen mom myself and the child of a teen mom. And I think this allows me a unique perspective on the matter.
Parenthood does not mean that “your life is over.”
I say all the time that I don’t know where this nonsense narrative comes from. Having children is not the same as drawing the “Go Directly to Jail” card in Monopoly. “Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.” Your responsibilities, priorities, and timeline will all change; your opportunities will not.
Let me say it again for the people in the back; YOUR OPPORTUNITIES WILL NOT CHANGE.
You can still achieve everything you set your mind to; your timeline will change. Some things will require more perseverance. The hardships may be aplenty… but motherhood doesn’t close windows, it opens doors.
Also, you’re not doomed to failure.
Some of the best moms I know had their babies very young. I like to think that I’m not too shabby myself. I’ve still managed to achieve most of the goals I set for myself pre-motherhood. It took a little longer, yes. But I still did them.
Dads are important too.
So many young mothers… are single mothers. This is not the case for me. But it was the case for MY mother (at least while I was very young.) I do feel that this trend (for serious lack of a better word) is changing a little. More young fathers are stepping up, but it’s important for women to realize that fathers are not secondary caregivers. They too, play a primary role in children’s lives.
Shout out to my hubs for being the hottest #TeenDad that I know. 😉
I would imagine coparenting to be one of the hardest undertakings that exists. Growing up as a member of a blended family has confirmed this for me on a personal level. I deeply admire my friends that have made coparenting a priority. It shows an unparalleled level of devotion to their children.
You Can Still be Yourself
This is of course, the most challenging aspect of all. I find this to require the most effort, as it would be easy to just succumb to the yoga pants, mom buns, and Disney Junior marathons.But I make it a point to watch things that I actually like (although I am routinely an entire season behind on Grey’s Anatomy.) I make sure to get dressed, at least some days. And I still pursue all of my own interests; be them personal or career related.
Motherhood can be all consuming, don’t get lost in the fire.
Motherhood Will Not Define You.
The good, the bad, the ugly. It doesn’t matter. There is more to you than your ability to bear and rear children. Even if you relish every single damn day of raising your children (you probably will,) there is more to your life than motherhood. Some women think it is the single best thing they will ever do, and maybe they’re not wrong.
But the simple fact is that life is fleeting. The trenches of motherhood are deep, but you won’t be in them forever. Remember that you are still a person too.
Pregnancy is survivable. Teen pregnancy is survivable. Motherhood is radically life changing. But believe it or not… you’re in really good company. Being a young mom can be tough. And you’ll miss out on some stuff, I won’t lie to you. But you don’t have to miss out on any of the important stuff… if you decide that you don’t want to.