I was scrolling through my Instagram the other day and reminiscing while looking at all of my old pictures. I came across this one and it hit me right in my throat. I was at a family reunion, and in my family I was the only one to be pregnant at such a young age out of wedlock. Even though nobody was making a big deal out of it or judging me, in my head I was always self conscious of being such a young mom in such unfortunate circumstances.
At the time of this photo, I had just left quite possibly the most unhealthy relationship I had ever been in. I had been betrayed, cheated on, and treated horribly. We were both so young, we didn’t know any better as 19 year old brand new parents. I was a wreck here, but being held together at the seams by my 3 close friends, and family alone. Well, and by this sweet baby who relied solely on me for survival.
I’ve blocked out most of this time of my life because it was so traumatic that I like to forget that it even happened in the first place, but pictures like this jog my memory and send me back there like it was yesterday. Today I thought, I really wish I could go back in time and tell her it was going to be okay. I was extremely empathetic for myself during this time period.
I would tell her that even though your goals and dreams have been put on hold, you will reach them with hard work and determination. I would tell her that the road ahead is going to be ROUGH, and that NOTHING is going to go as planned, but that GOD has a better plan in mind.
I would have told her that even though I wanted to keep things together for the sake of this little boy, that I would find someone else who would love him even more than I could have ever imagined and that he would thrive in a split household.
I would tell her to trust her gut, and to persevere, persevere, persevere– because that’s the only way she’s going to get it all done.
But most of all, I would hug her. Because nobody really knows how hard it is to be a teen mom unless they’ve been there. Nobody knows the judgment, the drama, the difficulties that they face. Family is everything, because without them I was nothing. Without them I wouldn’t have made it. And a few great friends, because without the truest of those there is no chance.
Also- before everyone starts in on their “it was a decision they made to be a teen mom, blah blah blah” you’re right… It was a choice that was made. And yes, at 18 when I got pregnant I was fully aware of how children are created, but sometimes things happen unexpectedly. Everyone makes their own decisions. Some people choose abortion, some people choose adoption, and some people choose to raise the children they’ve created. I’ve never once regretted my decision to become a mom, because these kids give me reason and a purpose. They add so much sunshine (and yes, stress) to my life, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything on this planet.
To all of you young mamas out there, please be patient with yourself, and remember my favorite French proverb- “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Remember to enjoy the here and now, and to love that child as much as you possibly can. Remember to be gentle on yourself, and to lean on your family and friends when you need to.
And remember, it’s going to be okay.
Until next time,