I am 24 now, mom of a five-year-old and a two-year-old and I couldn’t be happier. When I look back at the time when I got pregnant at the age of eighteen, it’s hard to believe how reluctant a teen mom I was. When I first discovered I was pregnant, I wasn’t happy at all. I blamed myself for having been careless and kept telling myself that my life was over.
My dreams seemed entirely shattered, I wasn’t going to be able to travel the world after college as planned, my nights out were ruined and I felt completely trapped. Carlos, who is now my husband, was considerably calmer. Somehow, he had the foresight to see that it could all work out in the end. In contrast, I was a mess and wanted to run away. During the first few months, I didn’t even want to acknowledge my pregnancy. I’ll be honest, I did get a few suggestions from some people to visit an abortion clinic in Jackson MS or elsewhere so that I could somehow undo the pregnancy. And maybe somewhere in my mind I thought about it too. But, while I do not object to other people doing what they need to do (no shame!), I don’t think I could have taken that step, ever. And looking back, I’m glad I did not. Thankfully everyone around me just let me be, loved me even more and allowed me to gradually get used to the idea.
Eventually, my clothes didn’t fit me any longer, my pregnant belly started bulging out and I couldn’t ignore my own pregnancy any longer. I still stopped myself from thinking about it. To say I was overwhelmed would be the ultimate understatement. The turning point was but a mere moment. I was sitting at home on the sofa and there it was, the first kick, strong, unmistakable and full of determination. Immediately and automatically, I pictured a tiny little leg kicking against the top of my tummy and thus connected with the little baby growing inside me.
After that, I longed for each kick, started reading pregnancy books, checked and rechecked my dates and hung the scan picture on the wall.
From being unwilling to even mention my pregnancy, I went into overdrive, did lots of baby shopping and discussed everything with just about everybody. My mom was so very brilliant that time. She supported me, reassured me and most importantly, she made me believe I could be a good mom.
The Birth and Beyond
Childbirth does indeed hurt like hell, but when you finally snuggle your little bundle of joy, all the pain does indeed dissipate at once. When you get home, you realize how unprepared you are, but you do learn quickly, driven by a strong desire to look after your little baby. I got lots of support from Carlos, who was now a very proud young dad, as well as from both sets of parents. Thanks to their support, we were able to manage despite our youth.
Undoubtedly, having a baby forces you to grow up a lot faster. Your teenage whims and dreams take second place and your baby rules your world. Nonetheless, both, Carlos and I, were encouraged by our parents to continue doing some teenage stuff in an effort to provide us some extra time and space to grow up. They made us go out on a regular basis, minded Felix when we were at college and allowed us to take breaks from parenthood.
My Advice to All Teen Moms
My advice to teenage moms is simple. Enjoy the time you have with your baby, avail of all the help on offer and believe in your parenting abilities.
Despite all the fear and dread that cast a shadow over most of my pregnancy, I now know that I am a capable parent. Being a teenager does not make you a poor parent, in fact, in some ways your baby and child will benefit. You’ll have more energy, more in common and in all likelihood a stronger desire to be the best parent you can possibly be.