I Am The Product Of A Teenage Mother
Not a muscle in my body moved while I’m stared at a little screen for over an hour.
Surprised and ‘in shock”about what was slowly becoming clear to me and my husband: a pink cross.
That cross is going to turn our lives upside down, forever change us.
“Are we ready for this? Aren’t we too immature, too irresponsible?”
I remember the questions. I remember how confused, afraid and insecure that pink cross made us feel on the day we found out I was pregnant. And I was 30 years old.
If we felt like this as adults (more or less), I can’t imagine what must have gone through my mom’s head when she found out she was pregnant at the freakishly young age of 17. She had just started nursing school. Her world existed of: sneaking out of the house at night, girlfriends, boys and music.
With the bat of an eyelash my moms life radically changed. She went from a careless young teenager to a married teenage mom and housewife. Even after the famous ‘flower power’ years, when you lived in a small town and got knocked up, a marriage soon had to follow. My mom didn’t mind it. She obviously wore a dark blue wedding dress instead of white, but if being married was necessary to live with her baby’s father, it was worth it to her.
She loved him. With all her heart and she continued to do so for the rest of his live (which wasn’t as long as they both had hoped).
Teenage Mom VS. The World
What did it feel like for her to be the only married one in the group? To be the “stay-at-home” mom instead of a “going-out-all-night” student?
Well, I’ve known my mom for over 40 years now and I can honestly say that she fell in love with that cute, ginger, baby girl; my sister.
She could stare at her sleeping baby for hours and always felt privileged about this unexpected turn in her life. She was lucky enough to have a great marriage with her high-school sweetheart and she had a lovely baby. And all the while she was happy. It was the rest of the world that gave her a hard time.
Why did she have to check in at the government Pediatrician’s office once a month instead of once every six months, like the older moms?
Why did she had to explain every single bruise on her toddler?
And why did she had to defend every decision she made as a mom?
In a time where bottle feeding was considered best for babies (more then 90% did it!), my mom had to fight for breastfeeding her girls. It’s hard to imagine now, but they treated her like a disobedient teenager. They didn’t see her for what she was; a mom who wanted what she believed was best for her kids but they could not look past her age.
It must have been so hard for her to follow her own maternal instincts. She had to constantly explain that she and my dad got married because they loved each other, not because they were forced into it.
She had to defend that being a full-time mom made her happy, even though she had to give up nursing school.
Sadly, her biggest challenge of all was having to keep to herself: “How I want to raise my kids, is none of your business!!” at every turn. It’s difficult to feel blessed when everyone treats you like you’re doomed.
Her parental instincts have always been on point. As young and inexperienced as she was,
she knew just what her kids needed, even as we grew older. She always, yes always, put her kids before herself. In all honesty, she could have taught the ‘older’ moms a lot about self-sacrifice, even back then.
That’s why I have so much admiration for her, my teenage mom.
For her strength and perseverance. Ten years later, she managed to pass all of her nursing exams and now she’s a wonderful, helpful and young grandmother of five. She’s also my role model, my confidant, my advisor and my friend. I’m so lucky to be the child of two teenage parents, who where crazy about each other and showed me what a loving, healthy relationship looks like.
And although my father passed away 14 years after they got “knocked up”, she still calls him “The love of my life”. She’s never wanted or started a new relationship in the 30 years after his death.
He was her one true love.