Mothering Lessons, Learned the Hard Way
For quite awhile I've wanted to write about this. About how different it is being an older mom vs. a teen mom. I have a somewhat unique perspective on this subject since I WAS a teen mother, and now have become a mom for the 3rd time much later in my life. I was just 17 years old when I became pregnant with Colin, 18 when I gave birth to him. Sam came a couple of years later, when I was a little more prepared. Let me tell you what it felt like to be a teen mother:
Embarassing, shameful, awkward, undeserving, unprepared, judged, scary, mournful (lost future), self-concious, impatient, trapped.....did I mention JUDGED!!?
I didn't fit in anywhere. How could I hang with my friends when they were busy being TEENAGERS and how could I hang with older, more mature mothers when I felt they didn't want me in their circle (and truth be told, I'm sure they didn't)?
Now I did feel all of those things strongly. But I also felt deep maternal love for my son, just as an older mother would. I wanted the best for him, though I didn't always carry that through in real life. I still wanted to party and have fun. I was immature. I didn't know who in the hell I was! I felt like I was spinning in a circle and couldn't stop.
How in the world was I to shape my life so his would be the best it could be? I didn't have a pot to piss in. I didn't have a clue. I did do my very best at the time, but the best just wasn't good enough for any baby. Because for me it was impossible to know what is the best until I grew in my years and learned what only experience and time can teach you.
I watch Teen Mom on MTV and wonder how many teen girls are also watching and seeing the fame these girls are achieving by having a baby. Cover shots on magazines, their own show on MTV and a salary that makes mine look like squat, and attention from the entire world. I hate to see teen pregnancy glamorized in that way, even though I know the show tries to show how terribly hard it is for these girls. In the end, though, they are still getting rich and famous!
I still feel guilt that Colin didn't get me as his mother when I was ready for it. I hope I made up for it in his later years when that maternal instinct finally kicked in and I stopped thinking about myself all the time.
Let me tell you how I feel about being a mother (to a teenager and a toddler) at this point in my life, at age 34:
Patient, amazed, blessed, like a puzzle piece that fits, focused, selfless, prepared, unbelievably happy, WORTHY
My boys make me feel complete every day.
These days, when I see a very young, tired mother walking through the store with her baby, I try to make sure she sees me smile at her. She is me, years ago, scared and unsure and looking to see who judges her. I'm trying to not be that person. I know that she has a hell of a long road ahead of her. I know how fast teen pregnancy can happen when you are uneducated about it. She's learning, she's just learning the hard way.
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