I found out I was pregnant when I was 18 years old. When I was 19 I gave birth to a handsome and very yummy gummy bear, Nico Isaac Alemán. There is no end to my love for him or my husband; I could not imagine my life without them. That being said...
There is nothing glamorous about being a teenage mother. There is nothing cool about the ominous uncertainty we face. In fact, the only thing we can be certain of, is that we have absolutely NO IDEA what we are doing. No amount of articles can prepare a person for being pooped on in their favorite shirt, or tell you what to do when your 2 year old is screaming as you walk through isle after endless isle at the grocery store, cheerio necklace polished off long ago, or how to scoop something out of his mouth without having your finger ripped off. When you have a child between the ages of 15 and 19, you find yourself in an awkward position between two contrasting worlds.
We want the same things any young woman wants. To find love, to make life long friendships, to have fun, to discover who we're meant to be. We want the freedom to be able to make mistakes without being judged and scrutinized by the gaggle of people watching our every move from the moment we announce we're pregnant, or by those who think they are better than us because they didn't make the monumental "mistake" we did.
At the same time, we also want everything a mother wants. We want our kids to be happy, healthy, and well rounded, with strong values and good behavior. Like older moms, we want to be able to give our little ones everything they deserve in life and more! We try to be the perfect mommy, and we get discouraged because the other moms seem to have it all figured out.
In the place of perfection, we often find frustration. It is incredibly difficult to do something you don't know how to do. I some times find myself losing my patience with Nico, yelling at him when I don't mean to, longing for time to myself, or for something fun to do with my old friends. Instead, I struggle through the 5th tantrum of the day and think about how miraculous it is that I'm not bald from having my hair ripped out by his tiny hands.
There is an intense desire to be understood.
Being a teen mom can be lonely.
The other moms in our lives are older, many of them are married and planned for each one of their children. We don't have much in common with them besides the age of our kids. Sometimes, they are polite, nice even. They make small talk and give you good advice, but they don't try to schedule play date and they talk about real life amongst themselves because they assume we won't "get it." Sometimes, they look down on us for being younger, as if our circumstances somehow make us less of mother.
Most of the girls our age are on a different page all together. They're also nice, and they think ours babies are super cute, but they don't invite us to hang out. They might assume we will eventually ask them to babysit, or that we're too busy for trips to the mall. Evidently, it's impossible to enjoy themselves at all around a baby that is not theirs.
Dating is a forgotten pastime. It's weird to bring someone in to your baby's life who you aren't sure about, but that's not really a problem because there aren't many guys who are willing to date a girl with baby baggage. And even if you are married to/still with the father of your child, your relationship has changed in ways that no one really knows how to describe. The challenges of a serious monogamous relationship are many, and neither of you honestly realized how much work and time it needs to be nurtured and maintained.
Nope. Nothing could have possibly prepared us for the reality of motherhood.
Not even "Teen Mom".
However, through all of that, the one thing that makes everything worth while is the little life that is forever intertwined with yours. That adorable little face that smiles at you every morning. That complicated mini person that is impossible to completely figure out. The giggles and tickles and "I love you's", make up for all the judgmental glances, rude remarks, and never-ending Saturday night Netflix marathons. For me there is nothing better than when Nico learns something knew or gives me a kiss; I just melt in to a goopey puddle of love every time!
As a teen mom, my greatest accomplishment will always be my son.
My reward is watching him transform and evolve right before my eyes, from baby to man.
My advantage is being able to grow with him and having my whole life ahead of me to work towards my dreams, to show Nico that anything is possible as long as he decides it is.
It's okay if I am the only person who takes me seriously.
It's okay if the other girls don't want to be friends.
And the other moms can think whatever they want.
I am proud to be a teenage mom because it means that I was mature enough to make a difficult decision at a young age. I accepted the responsibility of my actions and I was wise enough to do the right thing.
To the other teen moms reading this today:
Don't be too hard on yourself, you're doing the best you can.