Wednesday, August 24, 2016
An open letter to the woman who judged me as a mother because of my age
This isn't the first time a complete stranger has done this, but for some reason, this time really stuck with me:
I made small talk with you and your teenage daughter while we awkwardly waited in line for the pharmacy. Your daughter mentioned how she just had some fillings done, and I mentioned how terrified I am of needles. Your daughter agreed and said, "I don't know how I'll ever give birth one day" I giggled while I responded, "believe me, it's not easy. I don't even know how I gave birth!!" She and I both laughed as You snapped your head around so quickly, glaring at me.
"You are a mom? How old are you?!" You said with the most disgusted look on your face.
I responded, "Yes I am, I am 23 and my daughter is 4," feeling embarrassed and suddenly wishing I was anywhere but here. "Oh no, that means you were 19 when you had her. That is NOT okay. I would kill my daughter, I'm sorry but no. Are you married?".
Feeling really uncomfortable, I immediately felt like I had to justify who I was as a mother to you, a complete stranger. I felt like I was less of a mother because, No, I'm not married and yes, I gave birth when I was 19.. The words you said really hurt me. I'm really sorry for sharing my personal life with you, but I am not sorry that you are uncomfortable with the fact that I chose life for my child.
Please, let me please explain something to you about motherhood:
1. My age has nothing to do with the quality of mother that I am.
I've said it before and I'll say it a million times again.. There is NO magical maturity switch that flips when you turn a certain age. you have to make the choice to be a good mother, no matter what age you are. That's a personal choice that age has no affect on what-so-ever. I've seen plenty of teen moms Who worked just as hard if not even harder than many women who are in their 30s. Of course there are exceptions to that, not everyone chooses to grow up, but please do not limit to me and my capability to be a good mother based on a stereotype.
2. Marriages do not make good children. Good people make good children.
Believe me, the last thing I wanted to do was raise a baby alone, but I'm not going to let that hold me back from being the best mother I can be. The harsh reality is that things don't always work out, this world is not perfect and neither am I. I choose not to pass the burden of a broken relationship onto my daughter. We chose to love her separately to give her what we believe is a better quality of life. Sure, I wish things were different.. But I'm not less of a mother because of it. My daughter is not destined for failure because her father and I chose to go our separate ways.
3. A mother, no matter her age, deserves support.
Better moms create a better world. Moms who are constantly put down due to their age, race, religion, sexual preference, marital status, etc. are constantly being set up for failure because of the negative messages that they replay in their head. Those messages come from comments like "oh how old are you? Are you married? Who do you live with? Who supports your baby? "
Being judge mental towards me speaks more about your character than it does of mine. Saying, " I would kill my daughter if she told me she was pregnant as a teen" is really extreme. Is being a young mother really the worst thing in the world? Is it worse than having an abortion? Is it worse than being a nasty, judgmental, hurtful person? Is me being a happy, loving, hard-working mother really a bad thing?
I'm sure that you meant no harm by what you said but your facial expression and body language told a completely different story. I just wanted you to know that it completely broke my heart when you automatically assumed that I was scum of the earth because I had a child young. Thank you, for reminding me that my situation is not perfect. It really made me proud of how far I've come since those little pink lines revealed my fate as a teen mother.
I guess the point I'm trying to get at here is that I have given my daughter everything that I could. I think that is what should matter most, not my age. The love and the life I've given her are far more important...
A proud young mother