This isn’t one of those generic posts about how much better it is being a young mum because you have more energy, and throwing shade at older mums. I am not in to that nonsense. Who are they kidding, I never have energy. I also almost titled this post ‘Being A Teenage Mum’, but that would have been a bit of a curve from the truth. I fell pregnant when I was 19, so was half a teenage mum, half not. O was born when I was 20.
I get asked all of the time what it is like being a young mum. I get questions like ‘is it hard?’, ‘Are you coping?’ And then of course things from family like ‘I was telling ___ how good of a job you are doing, none of us expected you to take it on so well, but you’ve been great’. Bit of a back handed compliment, really.
Of course it is hard. It is SO unbelievably hard. Sometimes I don’t want to get out of bed when he has kept me awake all night. Sometimes I pray he will go back to sleep for an extra hour. Sometimes I get up on a morning when I can tell he is in a foul mood and I will just want to run out of the house and scream knowing where the day will go and sometimes I count down the time for Anthony to get home after work so I can run laughing hysterically into the kitchen to pour myself a glass of wine and put my feet up knowing I have no more baby duties for the night. Regardless of my age I have a human that I voluntarily made and I have to look after it.
It is HARD. I will tell you that when I am thirty, forty and even seventy two.
The thing with teen/young mums is that there is such an unnecessary stigma.
A lot of people think you must have fell pregnant by accident, you probably won’t work, you go out drinking more times than you’re in (I am IN drinking regularly but that doesn’t count), you have no goals in life and you probably aren’t in a stable relationship. I know many people my age with babies, and it just isn’t true.
We tried for O after miscarrying our first baby a year before. We both worked full time. I had just finished college collecting 3 really good A levels and I got accepted into the university I desperately wanted to go to. We had lived together for two years after already being together a while before that, we never wasted our money going out drinking, or anything for that matter, because we were always working, and we loved each other unconditionally.
What used to really bother me was the judgement we would get because of our ages and the horror of trying for a baby at the age of 19. I hate that. I hate the ignorant and totally stupid people who say “Oh what a shame. You have thrown your life away”.
Most of the time I sit questioning why nights out are so important when you’re young anyway. The nights out I went on (about 7 in total) ended in complete disaster. I was either too drunk and had embarrassed myself hugely, put myself in immense danger by walking home on my own at 4am, projectile vomited at some point, or best of all, left four hours earlier than everybody else because I just wasn’t enjoying myself and instead spent my money on a taxi and pizza. But no – don’t create a life that you will cherish forever, instead waste everything you earn doing shots and vomiting all over yourself.
I wanted my son. I cried with happiness when the line came up on the test. I breast fed him for 8 weeks on almost no energy, no food and no willpower after the most horrendous labour. I was not willing to throw the breast feeding towel in without a fight even though it was the biggest mistake I made. I wouldn’t sleep for weeks when he was born because I couldn’t stop staring at him. I worry when he’s awake, I worry when he’s asleep, I worry when I wake up before him and he’s not crying, and run into his room to see a horrified half-awake look on his face, when there is only a look of relief on mine.
I spend all of my spare money buying clothes he does not need (he has more clothes than most shopping centres) because I know he will be warm, and food that I want him to try, and things that I know will make him happy. I live every second wondering if he loves me, and if he knows who I am and if he thinks about me and misses me when I am not there
And you know what? I bet every single one of you can relate because we are all mothers, regardless of how long we have been on this earth.
I might be 21 but I am doing a bloody good job, even if I do say so myself.