These days most couples wait until they have kids. They wait until their careers are established and their homes are owned. They wait until they can afford a safe, comfortable car and around here (Los Angeles) a few hundred thou in the bank. They wait until they're successful, emotionally mature: ready.
And it makes sense. To wait. But some of us didn't. Some of us don't. Some of us got pregnant unexpectedtly and were like "fuck! I'm fucked! What the fuck?" And then were like "fuck it! I'm going to DO this. I'm going to have this baby in a one bedroom apartment with a dude I just met and make it WORK Goddamnit!"
Or... "fuck it! I'm just going to DO this on my own! Without the dude because I CAN ROCK this motherhood thing alone."
And they did. They rocked it. Are rocking it. Will continue to rock it. Young moms raising amazing kids on their own. Young moms raising kids with a mate... And yet? The age thing? The fact that homes aren't owned and cars aren't luxury and careers aren't secure is confusing to some. For those who waited. Because when I was your age, I was in no place to have a child. No way.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard that? I'd be parking my luxury SUV in the driveway of my fancy estate. No joke.
The isolation that comes with new Motherhood is standard. It doesn't matter who you are or what you own or whether you're raising a child as a single mom in her teens or a happily married mother in her forties. And yet, we purposefully block one another and push each other away, condescend upon and judge. Patronizing young moms, labeling them "incapable" and "irresponsible"... Disrespecting teen mothers sometimes to their faces, calling them "bad influences" ... isolating them even more than they are, as new, young mothers is uncool and uncalled for.
Last year I wrote this post, inspired by Jamie Lynn Spears, a girl I felt compelled to defend. Because she was one of us. Regardless of her age, family, celebrity, she was going to be a new mom. A new mom who was being attacked by the media and blogosphere for her choice to become a mother.
No, I wasn't sixteen when I chose to be a mother but what if I was? Let us not forget that "a woman's right to choose" also means a woman's right to choose to be a mother.
It is of utmost importance for us as a society to hold up our fellow women and girls as they deal with such difficult choices. We have great potential as women to offer support, to tell our stories, to relate. To hold each other's hands across the armrest of the concert hall and not let go.
I dealt with the same condescending "when I was your age I NEVER..." shit at twenty-three so I cannot even imagine what teen moms deal with.
Some of the greatest people I know were born and raised by young mothers, myself included. A mere generation ago, it was standard fare for women in their late teens and early-twenties to have kids.
Today? The stigma surrounding young mothers is inescapable. Especially in urban areas where we are told we must find success in our careers before we dare think of becoming pregnant.
Just because some women wouldn't have a child at sixteen or twenty-one or twenty-three doesn't mean I/we/you shouldn't. It certainly doesn't mean anyone is a better mother and yet, some seem to think its okay to insinuate otherwise.
Motherhood is an all ages show. Drinking bracelets be damned, we're all in the same concert hall, trying to see the stage.
I have two copies of the lovely and amazing Christine Coppa's new book, Rattled! to give away. Chrissi's story is kind of like a NYC version of mine except way more impressive because she? Is doing it all on her own. As always, two lucky winners picked at random c/o random.org.