I was a young mum, fresh out of high school by a couple years. I was nineteen turning twenty that year, babies having babies as people liked to tell me and my partner. I was scared, terrified actually, scared of what people would think, scared of what people would say, scared of the financial cost (how would we afford a kid? We were both still completing our University degrees, I had only just begun mine). But mostly I was scared of becoming the primary life source to another living being. Wasn’t I only just a child myself? How could I parent a child when I didn’t even feel like an adult yet? I always used to joke about adulting like paying rent, feeding myself, and doing my own cleaning. But caring for a child, now that was the real deal.
Now I know people always say this, but if I could go back to that scared nineteen year old curled up in fetal position on her bed, I’d tell her that it would be okay, actually I’d tell her it would be a whole lot better than just okay. Here’s five myths about having a child young I would bust for her:
1. Having a child young ruins your life/your life will be over- I’d tell her her life was not over and would not be ruined by having a child young, as people liked to insinuate. In fact your life is about to get a whole lot more amazing, chaotic yes, but also amazing. It’s a different kind of life, and it’s one she wouldn’t change for the world.
2. It’s not the right time for a child- I’d tell her if you ask most people there is never a right time for a child. If you’re waiting for the right time you will always be waiting. Waiting for that perfect house, the perfect job, or the perfect income before welcoming a baby. If that were the case most people would never get around to having children.
3. Young parents equate bad parents- I’d tell her not to be ashamed of her bump. Yes her face still had a childish edge to it, but that did not mean she would be any less of a mother to her child. Age does not define parenting abilities only the parent does.
4. Young parents won’t be able to pursue their goals- I’d tell her that she would in fact be able to continue university, and still maintain an A average in her degree. I’d tell her the world is still hers for the taking and just as many, if not more, opportunities would arise for her in the future.
5. Young parents will lose all their friends/have no friends- I’d tell her if anything becoming a parent made her more friends. She would never be lonely. Parenthood opened the doors to make friends with people she would never normally think of hanging out with, and it was great! And she didn’t lose friends, yes some of these friendships changed or lessened but some also grew and blossomed. With the arrival of her child she learned the true definition of friendship from those friends who welcomed her child into their life like they had once welcomed her