I want to write about something that has been on my mind lately and that is being a “young” parent. I put it in quotation marks to show how I am labelled, which I personally don’t believe in. I am a parent, just the same as my mom or sisters, aunts and cousins, and so on. But due to society’s terms, I am a “young” parent. I am 22 and the mother of two, not one, but two children.
For starters let me say this is not what I had planned for myself at 22. My original thought was that at 22, I would have done graduated college, to be an RN, have a job, all the while trying to establish myself. That was not in my deck of cards. For starters I changed my mind on the whole RN thing and for the second, I got pregnant. Telling my parents and family that at 19 years old I was going to have a baby was probably the hardest thing I have ever done, the look on my mom’s face and my dad’s reaction will always be seared into the back of my skull.
Now I am no dummy, no matter how air-headed or oblivious I may act. I heard the whispers and knew what everyone was saying about me. And let me just tell you that it sucks and it hurts, very bad. You hear a lot of “How irresponsible can you be?” “She did it just so they will have to accept her boyfriend.” “I thought she was better than that.” “She has ruined her life.” “Well now she’s gonna drop out and do nothing with her life.” “Suppose she is going to get married now” and much more.
Now my pregnancy wasn’t planned but there are some people who do plan them and they get the same treatment. I mean how fair is that? Yes life isn’t fair but why is it that the first thing people do is jump on the negative train and ride it through town? I don’t mean everybody but there are quite a few people that do, especially towards people who are unmarried like I was.
But my life was not over or ruined, or anything else that was said about me. Just because I got pregnant didn’t mean I was irresponsible, in fact I wasn’t. We had taken precautionary methods. My life wasn’t ruined. Jump-started, a little complicated and enriched, yeah. Being pregnant didn’t change the kind of person I was either, I was still a good person and I didn’t/haven’t given up. I still pursue my career and education goals just like before. And no, I repeat no, I did not get married to my husband just because we were expecting a baby. Matter-of-fact I threatened his life if he were to ask me, lol.
Yes, you read that right I told my then boyfriend that he was to not ask me to marry him. My exact reason was, that I was not getting married just because I was pregnant, period. Even if he was going to ask before that happened it was going to have to wait because right then I wasn’t agreeing to anything. The whole experience was conflicting and difficult at first but one of the best things that had ever happened to me.
Benjamin is my son’s name, and he is the sweetest, smartest little boy ever. Yes, I am biased. He changed my life in so many different ways and the experiences we have all gone through together have made me a better person. Before him, I was spotty on what I wanted to do with my life, worked all the time and just generally wasn’t very motivated to do anything. But once he came into my life, I wanted to do better and I wanted to be better. Because of having him, I am closer with my family than I have ever been, more motivated and head strong about college and completing my career goals, more driven to be healthier and just generally pushing to be the best that I can be, so that I can give him and his sister the best. Since his birth, I have gotten married, had his sister Elizabeth, bought a new truck, my husband and I are buying our house, I have gotten a much better job, continued with college, even graduated with an associates degree and still going, gotten them into one of the best daycares in the area and continued to do things, learn things and love things. My kids, early in life as they came, have showed me what love truly is, how it feels to love something so completely that it changes who you are.
In the end, I am still just a parent. One who loves her children with all that she is. And I am not the only one who has faced these kinds of things. There are single mothers/fathers, mothers who have children late in life and so many more. We are all just parents; and pregnancy, birth and children are all beautiful things. We all face the same issues: toilet training, wanting a vacation away from the kids, homework, hormones, sleep deprivation and much more. So let’s just celebrate motherhood/ parenthood and forget about the labels.