Most people already know, but if you’re new here, I was a teen mom. I got pregnant at 15 and had my son at 16. The situation wasn’t ideal, but I did the best I could and I regret nothing. I am who I am because of what I lived through. I remember all the things said to and about me, all the staring people did, all the judgment of myself and my mom as a parent, everything. Now I watch people doing the same to other teen moms and young parents. As a former teen parent, here’s what I want you to know and understand.
The situation isn’t ideal. We know the situation isn’t ideal. Do you think we wanted this for ourselves? Do you think we wanted to put ourselves and our family through this? We didn’t. We didn’t want any of this for ourselves, but here we are. We bad bad choices or a bad choice and now we’re dealing with it. Our life is happening fast and we’re scared. We didn’t imagine our lives like this, but our actions led us here and we’re doing the best can with the cards we’ve been dealt.
We know what you think. We have heard all the things you’ve said about us. We have listened to all the things you’ve said to us. You think we are whores. Our lives are ruined. We won’t be anything or go anywhere in life. We are incapable of ever being good parents. We are too young. We won’t graduate. Everything is going to be so much harder. WE KNOW. We know all these things already, but we are not ready to give up. We are determined to graduate, be good parents, and do the best we can. Our lives aren’t ruined. We have hope. Hope that things will be okay and we need people closest to us to have hope too.
The staring. The staring is probably the worst. We see you staring. Looking us up and down. Judging us without knowing anything. Making us feel like some kind of exhibit at the zoo or museum. Making us feel like an outsider. Like we can’t be accepted by society. We get to a point where we don’t even have to look up. We know you are staring. We can feel it to our core. We are human. We made a mistake, a bad choice and we’re dealing with it. Stop staring at us and making us feel worse about our situation. We know we messed up, but we are doing the best we can.
Our parents aren’t to blame. Our parents weren’t bad parents. They aren’t to blame for our situation. We did this to ourselves. We hate ourselves for even putting this on our parents. It is solely our fault and our boyfriend/girlfriend. Nothing our parents did or could have dane would have changed anything. We made a bad choice or choices and ended up here. Our parents shouldn’t have to carry the burden of our mistakes.
Our baby is not a mistake. This was a hauge one for me. People love to tell us what a mistake our baby is. Our baby is not a mistake. We were given this baby for a reason. Yes through our own choices, but the universe works in mysterious ways. If it wasn’t for our age, people would not be saying that. Our baby is not a mistake. Our baby is a chance to do better and be better. To be the best parent we can be. To change our lives for the better. To have something to motivate us to try harder and push ourselves further than we ever thought possible. Our baby is anything but a mistake.
We lose a lot. Yes we lose a lot. We lose our childhood to care for our baby. We lose our free time caring for our baby. We lose sleep taking care of our baby. Our lives drastically change and despite our preparation, we are never fully prepared. Among the usual things we lose – sleep, free time, our childhood, we also lose so much more. We lose friends because once the baby comes your life changes. Or because their parents think you’re a bad influence. We lose family that can’t support us or think us having a baby is a mistake. We lose out on dances, sports, and other school events. Our lives change in an instant and we don’t recognize it anymore.
It’s not easy making that transition from a teenager enjoying school, dances, friends, life into being a parent changing diapers, long nights with multiple feedings, and losing everything in an instant. People shouldn’t be making that harder. We should be showing support however we can and make things easier. We should let them know finishing school is still possible. Going to college is still possible. Letting them know their life is not over, but that a new chapter is just beginning. Letting them know that everything will be harder, but that all their dreams and aspirations are still possible. Letting them know that you still love them and are here for them. Having a baby isn’t easy at any age let alone as a teenage. Show compassion and stome being so judgmental.
I know that seems counterintuitive, but I promise it will make all the difference. No one wants a teen pregnancy for themselves or their kids. Sometimes things just happen and choices aren’t the greatest. Teenagers are going to have sex. As much as we hope they don’t or don’t want them to, they will. Knowing all the ways to protect themselves and all the risks instead of don’t have sex is so important. Teenagers do stupid stuff all the time. They need to know their actions have consequences and all the ways they can prevent those consequences. But they also need support when dealing with the consequences. We want to see teen pregnancy numbers decline, then we need to make changes. Whatever we are doing now isn’t working.
I was very lucky. I was judged, told I’d never amount to anything, I wouldn’t graduate, stared at, called all kinds of names, I lost almost all my friends but I was loved. My family never turned their back on me or walked away. They stayed by my side and supported me. I was lucky. Not everyone else in the same situation gets that lucky. We need more support and compassion and less judging.