Just a few months ago I published ‘I didn’t know I was pregnant’.
It was a hugely popular but very controversial post. I received both good and bad responses in the form of comments, emails and Facebook messages.
Many were kind, some had questions, others were cruel. It didn’t upset me, as I had expected some backlash, but I did wonder how those making such comments would feel if they had gone through what I did.
So today I thought I’d talk about how it felt to become a mother at 18. Not because I feel I need to defend myself, but because I feel its important to talk about taboo’s like teen pregnancy.
I hope that by reading about my experience and feelings, you’ll think twice about making assumptions.
Becoming a mother at 18 was terrifying.
If you’ve read Mia’s birth story you’ll know exactly how daunting her entry into the world was. Little did I knew, giving birth to her would be the easy part…
Mia’s first few weeks were the hardest of my life, I didn’t want to leave the house for fear of being judged. I loved my little girl with every ounce of my being, but I mourned the loss of my carefree lifestyle as a college student with no real responsibility.
She had grown inside of me for 9 months, but I had no idea. Those 9 months should have been spent preparing and adjusting, not just practically, but mentally too. Instead they were spent unaware.
I didn’t feel ‘adult’ enough to have my own child. I constantly questioned myself. Every time she screamed I felt I had failed, that it was my fault for being so young.
She was crying because she had colic, not because of me.
If she so much as stirred in public I’d hear mutters from the older generation. Despite being 18, without my make up and hair done I looked far younger. Many presumed she was my little sister.
Browsing Facebook I’d see my ‘friends’ out and about, off to festivals and enjoying their time off before uni began. I don’t think I ever felt jealous, because I had what money couldn’t buy. I did however wonder, why me?
Why do I get the judgement and the stares? Why didn’t I show?
I had so many questions, and I’ll never get the answers.
All I know is, despite the crushing pressure from the rest of the world, becoming a mother at 18 was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Because of our struggles, because of my plight, me and my Mia are best friends.
I went on to have Theo at 20 and on reflection I’m glad I had them both so young. Yes I’ve been judged, yes I struggled, but becoming a mother at 18 has made me who I am today.
I’ve been chatting to a few bloggers about their experiences as young mothers…
Zoe Molesworth (Mummy And Liss Blog) told me – ‘I was 16 when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I had just left school and was living with my MIL (not ideal). She kicked us out and we had to find our own place. At 16 this was quite hard and I had to get myself a guarantor. I gave birth at 17 to my little girl Alyssia and my whole life changed. Shes now nearly 2 years old. Having a baby young was the best thing I ever did, she changed my world for the better and it turns out life knew what I needed before I did’.
Life has a funny way of knowing doesn’t it?
Emma Chaplin (Our Fairytale Adventure) encountered similar judgement to me, she told me – ‘I needed a dentist appointment and due to the ridiculous wait for the NHS dentist, I went private. It was during the day and my partner was at work, so I took Bear with me. In the waiting room a man looked me up and down and tutted. Actually tutted at me for being a mother to a contented, happy, beautiful baby.’
And Nicole Walters (The Littlest Darlings) became a mother at 21. She said – ‘There are so many positives. I have 2 young children that I adore, I hope to have one more in the future. Brad and I are now married. We did everything backwards but that’s okay. I love them a lot and being a young Mum hasn’t meant to world is over and my life just started again with a different path to other 21 year old’s.’
Next time you see a young mum struggling with a tiny baby, don’t judge. Just smile.
Take it from us, you’ll make their day.