I became a mother before I could legally drink. During my sophomore year of college, my life took a turn as I attended one of the best design programs in the country and was making great strides on the sorority board. I ignored signs for months, but when I got home for spring break, I had to face reality.
Growing up, I was full of ambitions to move out of my hometown after high school. And I did. But then he a year and a half later I’m back in the same place I was before.
Now that I am pregnant, my parents were worried that I would be able to return to school four hours away. So, in tears, I reluctantly walked out of my newly constructed life. Cut out everyone except the boyfriend and his daughter’s father, who is with me today, And some close friends ended up not being friends at all.
I was never a baby Growing up, when my family had a child, I stopped and worshiped the baby from afar, but missed the opportunity to hold it. And while it’s true what they say, it’s different when it’s your child, when I was just starting to lay the groundwork for my own life, taking responsibility for another life was still overwhelming. was.
The first two years after giving birth were chaotic. I wanted my baby to sleep through the night while my peers hoped to pass their final exams. Luckily, I was able to complete my degree with a strong support system from my family, my boyfriend, and his family. However, apart from my boyfriend, I had no one to rely on other than my immediate family. I didn’t have time for a social life. Most of my peers were as sympathetic to motherhood as I was to life as a childless young adult.
In addition to this, I had to deal with public reactions when people realized the baby was mine. In the early days, wherever my daughter and I went with our father, they thought we were both our father’s daughters. When her daughter was a few months old, she took her alone to a library storytelling, and she went home in tears at how she entered and the way she looked at her. rice field.
When my daughter started kindergarten, I took the next step as a young mother. It was finding a job. Fresh off a bachelor’s degree and her high GPA, I was ready to jump out into society and show what I was capable of. But after letting it slip a few times in an interview, I quickly learned that I needed to keep quiet about having kids. So I kept quiet, and when I finally found out I had kids, I downplayed it by acting like balancing work and motherhood wasn’t a big deal. Unfortunately, this can involve mothers of all ages.
When my daughter started elementary school, I was excited to be part of the school as a room parent. But I quickly learned that many other parents weren’t too keen on having me on board.Making mom friends wasn’t easy. In fact, it was quite impossible. On average, most other parents were 10 years older than she was to 12 years older than she was, and some parents hated me on principle.
They wanted nothing to do with me – and this seemed to extend to my children as well. Playdates never seemed to be organized. When I reached out I was put off to a future time that never came. It became clear that no. they just become moms.
I gave birth to my daughter when she was very young and began to feel guilty about having treated her in a way that she did not deserve.
Unlike me, my daughter is a social butterfly and made other friends quickly. A few months later my daughter came home from a neighbor’s house and told me how her parents were (unknowingly) grilled while playing in the backyard…
But fellow parents weren’t the only ones asking intrusive questions. At least once a week, I get comments from her about how young I look when I go out with her daughter and from people asking me if I’m young. TRUE her mom. One time, her daughter and I were in a store browsing in the same section as another woman, and of course my daughter started chatting and telling the woman how old she was. looked at me and asked, I said to her.
“Hmm… In other words, you gave birth at the age of 20.”
We said ‘yes, have a nice day’ and walked away.
At the age of 27, I was lucky enough to go back to school and complete my master’s degree. During this time, I worked in a graduate office as an assistant to students of varying ages, from her 20s fresh off her bachelor’s degree to her 30s. It was great to be with people my age, and most importantly, to be back in the school environment that I loved so much, and to feel like I belonged.
One day, a group of employees were talking to a vice dean and a graduate student about the fact that they lacked time management skills. When I interjected a comment based on my own experience, the assistant dean turned to me and said, normal graduate student. ”
I was the only parent of all the graduate assistants who worked in the office, and the words struck me.
As my daughter got older and went to middle school, it became easier to adjust the extra noise. We changed schools for various reasons and the new community was a little more accommodating, but I had to deal with being asked if I was a sister or a nanny at almost every school event. .
Around this time, finally someone close to my age started having children. After years of feeling like a lone wolf, I wanted to connect with women my age and build a circle of friends. It became clear that I, too, was “not the right fit” for these new mothers. So I didn’t fit that criteria. I didn’t make friends with childless women anymore — they often seemed reluctant for their mothers to join the circle.
Around my 30th birthday, my daughter and I went to the DMV to renew our license. When we got to the front my daughter started talking to the lady behind the counter. Eventually my daughter told a lovely lady about my upcoming birthday. The woman smiled at me and said, all right. “It was a warmth that I had never felt before, and it was encouragement from those who understood me to continue.
I also realized that women are judged for the choices we make, especially if they deviate from a very narrow idea of what “normal” is. A good friend of mine spent over five years caring for her sick mother, and after her mother died, people commented that she was “finally able to live her own life.” But she has always lived her own life. Her time and experience were just as important, even if she didn’t follow her expected path.
After years of trying to find a mate and feeling lonely, I realized that my mates were all women who followed less traveled paths. It didn’t change my situation, but it did change my perception. Today, I feel much stronger and more confident than when I started my journey as a mother.
Given the chance, would I change anything? No, it’s not. Maybe I don’t really care what other people think of me. I like myself and more importantly I couldn’t imagine my life without her daughter.Being her young mother is what brought her to me and I always wish it luck I feel
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