The struggles of being a young single mom are apparent. You know to expect difficulty when you go into it, and from the outside it looks horrid. When I was pregnant I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. But I always thought to myself, “At least I’m not younger”, “At least I’m not 16 or something”. But it didn’t matter. Although I was legally an adult when I got pregnant and had just turned 20 years old when I had my daughter, people still judged me quite harshly.
I remember being very pregnant, and seeing people stare at me. Once, while walking through the Oregon Zoo with my family, I walked past a bench that seated 3 young women. Probably in their teens. As I walked past, I heard one whisper, “Oh my God, she’s pregnant”. I didn’t understand why it would come as such a shock. Yeah, I’m young. But it’s not like I was scary young. I wasn’t going to be on ‘Teen Mom’ or anything. It hurt me that people would judge me with just a look. Because I’m not that kind of person. I wouldn’t do that to anyone else.
After Rayne was born, whenever I would take her out, people would stop to look. Every person would make some sort of comment about my age. First they would think she belonged to my mother. Then when they found out she was mine, they had a look of shock and disappointment. These people didn’t know me. But they acted like they had, and that I had just flushed my life down the toilet. One woman said “Oh, she’s yours? She came from you? How old are you???” I told her I was 20. She replied with, “Oh, that’s not too bad”. I’m sorry, but when did it become anyone’s business but my own what my age is? You do not know me. You don’t know what kind of person I am, how responsible I am, my life, my experience, my maturity level, how capable I am to be a mother.
One of the most memorable moments was while we were leaving the grocery store, an older woman walked by, stopped and looked into Rayne’s car seat, then casually walks off while saying, “Those things must be contagious”. At first I didn’t know what she said, so I didn’t say anything back. Once she got to the door and out, I understood. It was a stab and me being a young mom.
The audacity someone must have, to say something so rude, cruel and unfair, to a young mother, who is already struggling, is just disgusting to me. No one has any right to judge anyone at all. Whether you know them or not. But having said that, your actions speak volumes about the kind of person you are, and that will be judged. You cannot expect to be respected, have friends, be loved or cared for, be enjoyed, etc., if you’re going to be such a nasty person. I don’t care how you perceive me, how young you think I am, or how awful you see it that someone so retched as I am is allowed to be a mother. It isn’t your place to say so. In fact, it isn’t your place to say anything about my life, my decisions or my child. If it was so against nature that I have a child and if I couldn’t handle it, God wouldn’t have blessed me with her.
I am a good mother. That is the truth. It’s what matters. And it’s no one’s business but my own, my daughter’s and God’s. And if I am to be judged it will be by Him only.
But I would like to actually thank everyone who took the time to make me feel terrible about myself. Everyone who made me feel like a worthless piece of garbage that has no chance at life and has already failed so miserably. Because you’re the ones who instill my determination to prove you all wrong. Which I will. I will be the best mother I can be and have a life that I consider successful. I’ve never been the type of person to care what people think of me. And I’ve never been one to follow along with everyone else, I’ve always done things my way. That’s how I will continue to live. But just because I don’t care what people think of me, doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt to have people judge my mothering abilities right out of the gate.
So, if you are or were ever that person, the one who can look at a young mother and think of a thousand things to say to tear her down to show your disapproval, I hope you read this and understand how destructive it really is to be that person. Even if it is something you don’t like, do you really think making her feel unwanted and unsupported is going to help her or the child? No, it’s will only make things worse. Young moms need guidance and support so they can grow and still have a bright future for herself and her child. You might say, “wouldn’t that be telling other teens it’s okay to get pregnant?”. Do you know how ignorant that sounds? Even a successful teen mom will tell you how hard it is to be young and have a child. It’s not like having people help and support her will take that struggle away. We can all still teach on preventing pregnancy, but don’t you dare think it is okay to shun a young woman who has fallen into it. It doesn’t mean she’s a slut. It doesn’t mean she’s stupid. It just means accidents happen. Yeah, sometimes they are because they were being stupid. But a lot of the time, it just happens. I was on birth control when I got pregnant. My mother was on different types of birth control with all 5 of us girls. See, you can’t assume anything.
We need to show each other more love and support as human beings, and especially mom to mom. This isn’t a peace talk, it’s the truth. How far has hate and judgement gotten us? Oh, it’s gotten us plenty far, in the wrong direction. I’m so sick and so tired of hateful, mean spirited people. No matter what the topic is on.
No one has any right to judge anyone else. “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” -Matthew 7:1-5
This goes for everyone, in every situation. Why doesn’t anyone get this?