Motherhood is an All Ages Show

*Updated*

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.

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.

Bullshit.

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.

GGC

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.

....


**Congratulations to Misty at The Doan Gang and Melinda at The Stacer Family! Email me so I can get you your copies of Rattled! Thanks to everyone for your empowered and empowering words. **

218 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   1 – 200 of 218   Newer›   Newest»
MamaNeena | 10:57 AM

I had my first child when I was 26, a total of three by the age of 29, and a hysterectomy a couple months before I hit 30. I'd like to request a front row seat to the show.

Misty | 11:01 AM

I'm 22 and I've got 2. AND I'm happy...I'm not even medicated :)

I also happened to really luck out when I decided to get married at 19.

sibley | 11:02 AM

Thank you so much for this! I had my first son when I was 21, and am currently pregnant (at 24). I never had any outright rudeness, but I felt SO ALIENATED by the fact that all these other moms were a full ten years older than me. I felt like I was treated like a child. I don't fit with my peers who are at clubs, and I don't fit with the mom groups- needless to say, it has taken a LONG time, but my husband and I have finally met a few treasured friends (most without kids) who love each member of our family for who they are and the choices they make.

Erin | 11:03 AM

I was 24 when I had my son last year, and my main worry was that people would think I was a teen mother and judge me, even though I'd been married since I was a junior in college. How ridiculous is that? I wish everyone would put away their judgment goggles and jump on the encouragement bandwagon instead.

Siobhan | 11:04 AM

I just turned 24 today, and my son is nearing 4 months. I don't totally feel like I belong with other mothers, and I have just been fortunate to have a few friends my age with children. It can be very isolating.

Case in point - we're simply having a quiet dinner at home for my birthday, no friends. Because likely, if we did anything less than a rowdy house party and bar crawl none of our friends would show. We're those boring parents now, I guess.

Marie-Ève | 11:06 AM

Just watched the episode. And of course I'm 100% with you because it must have not been easy and I know people will judge, no matter what, apparently.

But it's funny I also heard tons of negative comments because I chose to wait until my 30s. And I had my first child at 31, which is not that old! I don't actually think "most couples" wait until later, at least it certainly does not seem to be the case from my perspective. It must suck big time too for 42 year-old new moms who are always mistaken for the grand- mother.

My point is why do we need to have such a narrow idea of what people should do? So like 23 is too young to be mom, but 31 is too old? Is our window of opportunity for kids just a few months before our 28th birthday or what? I hate that, as much as I hate people who say you must have two kids, not more, not less, and preferably a boy first, etc.

crunchy | 11:11 AM

Geez we waited and we still don't have the luxury car or own our home!

What fuck ups we are as parents.

There is judgement everywhere.
An old lady at the lab told me I was VERY brave to have a child pushing 40...she didn't mean it as a compliment.

Anne | 11:11 AM

Well said! If we could channel the 'wisdom' in those judgmental remarks and turn it into (much-needed) support, we'd all be a lot better off! I'm 27 and pregnant with my first, but even I've gotten comments about how "quickly" this happened after our wedding (in, um, 2007). Advice I'm open to - judgment, not so much.

P.S. Can't wait to read Chrissi's book!

Chalsey | 11:13 AM

I am 23 with 2 under 2. I am the happiest I have ever been. I LOVE being a young mother. I will get to see and be active in so much more of my childrens lives than an old mother. And I am a GREAT mom.
I will be done having children by the time I am 30. I think thats pretty awesome.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

paperfairies | 11:13 AM

I had mine at 21 and oh the looks I used to get... people thought I was the babysitter. But you know what? I was an awesome mom. (like to think I still am) My son is so polite and cool and I'm pretty sure the way I'm raising him has everything to do with that fact. No need for a luxury minivan or a huge bank account.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 11:13 AM

Ugh. Seriously. Who SAYS these things? What the hell is with people's mouths?

learning | 11:13 AM

I went to a baby shower this weekend, and was asked by a few different women when I'd be having kids, if I thought about it for the near future, etc. I said it's on my mind, but no current plans. Then someone asked "you're married, right?" When I said no, I got apologies all around for having asked me about kids. I explained there was no need to apologize, as I'm open to single parenting. The responses... "uh..." "oh, yeah..." and "... (crickets)"

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 11:15 AM

(that was re: Crunchy Carpets, btw, which xoxoxo Crunchy Carpets!)

AnonMom | 11:18 AM

You know, I had my son at age 28, not the springiest chicken on the block, and yet I find myself one of the younger mothers at the playgrounds, and feel so out of place sometimes!

I don't have a home, don't have a settled career, but if not now, when?

LindseyA | 11:19 AM

Hmmm. I guess I didn't realize the judgment passed along to young mothers. I am 32 and am a first time mom. I did wait because I knew I needed to. I was terrified of motherhood, sometimes I still am. I guess I do look at young mothers a little differently because I am in awe of how they handle it. I hope it is never seen as being judgmental, I am more just trying to figure out their secrets. You are right, we are all in this together and we do need to support each other. I need support just like the 16 year old down the street needs support.

pamela | 11:21 AM

it's funny because i was 27 when i chose to have my first child. i had been pregnant before and chose not to have the baby. it was and remains to be one of the hardest decisions i ever made. but i made it with the thought that i was not ready. but this time i knew i was, regardless of what anyone said. i KNEW i could do it. and i've been doing a damn good job! i absolutely love being a mama and my little babe is thriving!
i'm 27 and haven't felt too much isolation from other moms, but my mother in law is another story, she really makes me feel like a charity case. like oh, they're so young and don't have any money... even though my partner is 30 and collectively we make over 90k.... um, that's not exactly poverty level lady!!
thanks again for articulating such a wonderful message. i heart you big time and would love a copy of the book!

mrs.notouching | 11:24 AM

I'm freaking 30 and just had my first and I am currently trying really hard to find new mom friends in our new neighborhood... and I am just beyond tired and lonely. You are right - it is difficult at any age but at least you guys will get to be bow-chicka-bow-wow mamas when your children are 16 ;-)

The Go To Girl | 11:24 AM

Isn't it true? My mom had me at 17, I wasn't even her first, and people always, always, ALWAYS would comment on how young she was.

I'm 26 and still the first woman out of my group of friends to have a child.

P.S. The last post? Fable is SMASHING!!! Love that little face!

Danielle | 11:26 AM

Rebecca: I'm really glad that you write about all this. I wish that more people (read: my family) would hear some of the things you have to say. I wish that people could just let go of that judge-y "we know what's better for you" crap when it comes to a parent's ability to know what's best for themselves or their kids.

I'm wasn't as young as you when I got pregnant (I was 29)but I look a lot younger and I got lots of the same comments (love the nanny thing). But mostly the judgments came from people who couldn't believe that I would take a year off from my PhD program in order to spend time with new baby. My father-in-law made me promise that I would finish my PhD, as though I would never find my way back (even when it's something I've worked really hard for over the last many, many years)or that I would somehow not be allowed to change my mind about careers. This drives me crazy!

Ok. Enough ranting. Love your blog.

Sara | 11:27 AM

As a new mom at 28, I totally agree. If you're committed to being a mom, a good one, it doesn't matter if you're 17 or 37.

That being said, it's definetly the hardest, most rewarding thing I've ever done in. my. life.

Carey | 11:28 AM

I LOVE being a young mom. I was married when I got pregnant, but I am now - and have mostly been - a single mom. When my daughter goes off to college, I'll only be 40. Plenty of time for all of the things that so many wait for.

Erin | 11:29 AM

Thank you for everything you said!! I had my first child when I was nineteen and my 2nd at almost 24. I couldn't be happier and operate a home daycare now taking care of other children who all have young mothers. We moms have to stick together and support each other because only we can fully understand what goes into this job!

Steph | 11:31 AM

Amen, sister. I was 8 months pregnant on my 19th birthday. I survived, but frankly I hope my daughter doesn't follow in my footsteps. It was fucking hard, man.

Amanda | 11:32 AM

Funny, at nearly 30 I feel behind because I am NOT married and do not have kids. I grew up in a small town in Northwest Iowa, went to college at a small college there, as well. It was and is incredibly common for young people to marry and have children soon after that in that neck of the woods. I had many friends who were married during their senior years in college (so, they were 21 or 22). I know a few people around my age with FOUR KIDS. Many have two. Many more have at least one. A lot of it has to do with the conservative/religious background of the area. Some of it has to do with it being the Midwest. Part of it has to do with there being nothing else to do there, perhaps, too!
When I was younger, I used to think I'd be married with kids by now, but that's not the direction my life has taken. I'm dating a wonderful man who I'd love to have children with someday; sometimes you actually don't get a choice when things happen for you. Whether you get knocked up earlier than you planned, or don't find the person you want to marry as early as you planned, marriage, parenthood and all that comes with them happens when it happens. I'll be an "older" mom, and I wouldn't have it any other way! Just as I'm sure young moms wouldn't either.

kelli(q) | 11:33 AM

I love the idea that by the time both of my kids are graduated from high school, I will still be awaiting my 40th birthday. I love being young enough to romp around the house with my toddler, to survive on two hours of sleep without needing coffee the next morning, to be able to relate on a real level when my kids are teenagers. I love experiencing the early-twenties-discovery with children in mind, because the thought of them nudges which way I choose to believe. I feel like they have helped define me, and given me a reason to live, and love, and be myself. They need a strong influence, young or not.

Mamacita | 11:34 AM

I got married last August after discovering I was pregnant at 21. I had my son on Thanksgiving, and I am graduating from college on time in three weeks. I live in an area where most parents are in their early forties, and I can tell many people here think I am "unqualified" to be a parent. But there are just as many benefits to having a child now as there are to waiting years and years. A child is a wonderful addition to any person's life if they are willing to accommodate the child and embrace their new life. (I have also gotten "I was in no place..." yeah honey, but you would've made it work, just like I am ::SMACK::) My husband and I are moving to Brooklyn in a few months, and I have a feeling nothing will change there..

I am so happy I found your blog, every day you have a new post that I seriously identify with. Love it!

KellyV | 11:35 AM

It seems no matter the age you get pregnant - a secret door opens that somehow allows the general public to comment on your choice with the most candid, offensive and thoughtless comments.
I waited until I was 27 to TRY and get pregnant and it took three long painful years. I feel like it happens when it is supposed to.
Life doesn't end when you have a baby. IT BEGINS. No matter how old you are.

Ashley | 11:35 AM

Three kiddos here. First when I was 20. Total surprise but a delightful one as it turns out.

Wouldn't change it for the world. I never liked working anyways.

Amy O. | 11:36 AM

I was 25, which I believe is the national average for having a first child. But - I was living in San Francisco at the time, which made me quite a bit younger than most first time parents. The hardest thing for me, honestly, is that none of my friends have kids yet or are even planning to have kids in the next couple years... even though now I'm 31! It would be so awesome to have barbecues with a bunch of kids running around, or to go on camping trips with other families... but apparently this is not to be. I love my childless group of friends and have not made any good 'mom' friends, so my kids are doomed to be the only kids at social events.

Jen | 11:38 AM

Let me just say, when I was your age, I was in no place to have a child. No way. (But if the dude and I had ended up pregnant, I would have figured it out I'm sure.)

I had my daughter at 35. Now 37 and starting to think about #2. I get the opposite. "Why did you wait so long?" "Won't you want to retire before she is done with college?" Thank God and my hairdresser nobody has asked me if I'm her grandmother.

Sometimes I wish I was 23 and had the energy and optomism I had back then. And I would never hear the words "advanced maternal age" ever again. Ever.

B's Mom | 11:44 AM

I really loved your comment about a woman's right to choose also includes the right to choose to be a mother. I am pro choice, and I respect all woman's choices, and that includes the choice to be a mom.
I was a first time mom at 32, after several year of fertility treatment, and if I had a dollar for every time I heard about waiting to have children after 30, my son would be set for life. We had savings, etc., but spent a lot of this money to have my son.
Woman are very judgemental about other woman, and their choices. We need to celebrate and support eahc other's choices, and be more understanding instead of tearing one another down

courtney | 11:49 AM

I'm 25 and have had 2 miscarriages this year. Of my friends they all either have small children or are pregnant (some both).

For me it's REALLY hard seeing teenagers everywhere who didn't plan this and get thrown a baby when I SO DESPERATLEY want one but keep getting it torn away. My husband and I have been married for 4 years. It's just such a slap in the face.

I know I have had a hard time NOT pushing away some of the women I know who I am not close enough with to tell these things and these feelings.

So I would say that some people probably pushed you away out of pain and jealousy. It's still not right, but maybe a little less mean?

Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com | 11:50 AM

Hear hear! Age has nothing to do with parenting well or responsibly.

Also, when I was 21 or 22 or something like that, I had this babysitting gig with three toddlers. One time I was walking them to a local park. We passed a retirement home and this old woman on the deck stood up and screamed that I was a whore.

Seriously.

I know she was probably out of her mind, but come on. Right then and there, I encountered a newfound respect for younger mothers and the crap they have to put up with.

Mandi | 11:50 AM

Can totally relate to this topic! I had my first baby when I was 20 and my second when I was 23 (she's two months old now, OMG!) And once at a restaurant an older gentlemen(?) actually told me that there's no way these babies could be mine, I was far too young... I love my kids and if I hadn't had them when I was so young, there's no way in hell that I could keep up with my son! Also, they better have babies when they're (kind of ) young because then I can be a young Granny and take my grandkids to do fun/cool things. But people will probably think they're my kids, no my grandkids! That actually happens to my mom and dad when they have my kids! All moms are rockstars, which makes granny's super rockstars!

Loukia | 11:52 AM

Great post and so very true. While many times I cringe at certain people who I think are clearly unfit to be mothers, it has nothing really to do with age. My mom was 19 when she had me. My grandmother was 17 when she had my mother. And we are all the very best of friends and I love the bond we all have. And I couldn't have asked for a better mom or grandmother. Age really doesn't have much to do with it; I'm 32, and a mom to a 3.5 year old and a 15 month old, and I know people younger then me are more responsible and can cook and blah blah blah. So, bottom line is, to be a mother is a wonderful thing, and being a good mom does not become automatic once you reach a certain age. There are bad moms at 30, and 40 and vice versa, and there are great moms at 16 and 19, etc.

bakersbakery | 11:53 AM

It seems like no matter when you choose to have a child someone somewhere has a snide comment or "advice" for you.
Our first baby is due in a couple of weeks. We don't have lotsa cash or own our home, but that doesn't mean we aren't any less ready or happy. :-)

Hilary | 12:04 PM

You fucking rock. That's all.

Cave Momma | 12:05 PM

I had my first child when I was 25. BEFORE I got married. We had already been together for 6 years and were planning the wedding but nobody cared about that. They all said we needed to be married before she was born.

4 months after our daughter was born we got married and everyone forgot about the "should have's".

But then we got pregnant again and everyone said we should have waited longer and blah blah blah. Less than 2 weeks after our daughter turned one, our son was born.

Now nobody says a thing to us about what we should have done and how. They only see us and our two beautiful children.

It's easy to judge even though we shouldn't.

Amy | 12:06 PM

I had my son at 19, getting married at 21. And honestly I am happier then anyone I know my age.

I love what kind of person being a mother has made me.

vintageglamurrr | 12:11 PM

I got pregnant at 18, 2months out of highschool. I had my daughter at 19, and she has changed my life for the better. I did a lot of the partying a freshly graduated teenager "should"(now that I am a mom, I could disagree) and if I hadn't gotten pregnant with her, I never would have bucked up, started college, and become who am I today, so for all the nay sayers, a child made me a more productive member of society, not someone who ruined a child by becoming a young mother.
Heather
Proud 21 year old mother!!

megan d | 12:16 PM

i got pregnant a month after my 21st birthday with a guy i had been dating for 5 weeks. he was on tour with his band in europe when i found out i was prego and i was still reeling from the summer where i lived off the money i had managed to save up. i was also living at my moms house and only half way done with school.

today, my daughter turns 3 on may 21. i turn 25 a few months after that. i am finished with school in the fall. and oh yeah, that guy in the band? he's a successful graphic designer and we just celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary and live in a very nice house.

people gave me a TON of shit when i got pregnant but we made it. we did it. and i am so happy and thankful for that.

Liz | 12:18 PM

Great Momversation, that hits home with me. At 25 I'm pregnant with my second, and my first at 22 was planned as well. It doesn't help that I STILL LOOK 17! I volunteer a few hours each week at a dance studio, and lets just say I scared a few mothers when I was preggo the first time... they never noticed that I wear a wedding ring and talk about my husband?

Compared to most young mothers I think I'm darn lucky... a great family and friends support system (lost a few friends but made new ones along the way). It also helps to live in the Midwest, I've never been asked if I "have hours"! And people here just give you "the look", they aren't rude enough to actually comment.

parkingathome | 12:21 PM

It's funny that because of the strong religious culture here in Utah, it's flipped. You're shunned if you wait til you're "old" to have a baby. If you're not married at 18 and a mother at 19, you're a heathen.

Kendra | 12:26 PM

I love the way your express your thoughts on this topic. It's amazing and we should be more supportive.

Crystal | 12:26 PM

Wonderfully put! I would love to be a mother right now - I'm 22. I have expressed this before and I have had so many people tell me - No you are too young - You have your whole life to be a mother just wait - What are you thinking?! You don't have any life experience yet! ....
Ugh I just wish they would all go away.

BTW - Fable is deliciously gorgeous.

Ameya | 12:30 PM

I feel very lucky that I haven't really run into any negativity (i'm 21 & pregnant and pre-engaged to the father) outside of my mom and grandma (and grandma only because we aren't married, so she'll hush after july).

I credit this to the fact i live in the suburban midwest where it's common, many many of my HS classmates already have kids. 4 of my friends are right now as well, all married or engaged too. But even friends from high school who have gone to a coast for college suddenly see us as bumpkins for having kids so early and not running out into the "real world" trying to amass all the success and fame possible.

Pfft. My mom had me at 32 and I'm in a better place now, in college than she was then. Age is so meaningless.

Krysta | 12:32 PM

We are young & choosing to adopt through foster care. We get many questions..."Don't you want 'your own'? Have you been trying & can't get pregnant?" Nope. We just want to adopt. I don't think people realize that when they ask these questions they are implying that the kids we are deeply long for are "second best."

Ray | 12:32 PM

"These days most couples wait until they have kids."

^^I'd have to disagree with that statement. At least where I'm from anyhow (or really everywhere) more and more younger girls/women are getting pregnant. To me I even consider it to be the, "BABY BOOM" of the 2000's. Nowadays everyone's getting hitched/or is in a relationship with children. And, it's regardless of owning a house, car and how much money they have in the bank.

I find it funny when people comment about how a woman in her twenties is too young to be a mother when; it's been said that after the age of 27 it'll be that much harder to conceive. So really your twenties ARE (in a sense because you can have kids after 27) your baby-making years.

My mom had me at 24 and she did a great job at raising me and my sister. She was very mature and did all she could for us (with the help of my father of course. And my parents are still married almost going on twenty-four years later). So all those people who have a problem with young mothers/or young mothers in their eyes (because I don’t see a problem with having a child in your twenties) can just, "SUCK IT!" =P LOL!

satakieli | 12:32 PM

I couldn't have said it better.

I'm 23. I was 21 when I was pregnant with my son. I remember specifically eating out in a college town with my husband while I was pregnant and having college girls and their parents outright stare at my pregnant belly in horror. It didn't help that I probably looked about 16 due to pregnancy induced acne.

Sure, he wasn't exactly planned, although I was already married. But I don't think I'm any less of a mother for not having a career (or even finishing college) before getting pregnant.

I was getting tattooed last week and I happened to mention my husband, the people in the shop looked at me in amazement - "What?! You're married? How old are you?" I then said that I have an almost 2 year old and their eyes just about fell from their faces.

It's scary enough being pregnant/a new mom without other people sticking their unwanted noses in.

Reggi | 12:37 PM

I am not 23 nor married nor do I have an SUV anywhere near my apartment complex. I am a 38 yr old mother of a 4 month old..single with no daddy in sight. I am rockin it with my other kids that I did have while I was a married woman. When I told people I was single while sporting my watermelon people looked at me as if I was about to mug them- how will you do it? Like I do everthing else. No matter what age..or choice..we must join hands as mothers and lift one another up. Whether you have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out or not (as my mother used to say) - we're all rockin mamas.

Mary@Holy Mackerel | 12:44 PM

You are absolutely right. We're all in this thing called motherhood together, so we might as well learn to get along, accept, and help, instead of hurt. Well put.

Jessi | 12:46 PM

I had (and lost) my first at 25. My second at 26 and my baby at 30. I can honestly say that I don't get that young mother stuff. I was only two years older than you, and I was pregnant on purpose. Maybe it's my small town, or the fact that I had been married long enough that people assumed I was 30. I don't know.

But I do believe that moms are too hard on other moms. Not just about the age thing, but also about the vaccinating thing, the prenatal vitamin thing, the circumcision thing, the breastfeeding thing, the cosleeping thing, the baby wearing thing. I could go on and on and on. It's like we have to put other moms down to feel like our own choices are valid. And that's ridiculous.

I am proud to be a young-ish, bottle-feeding, disposable diapering mom with a baby in a crib in the next room . I like my choices, they work for me. But I like your choices if they work for you, too. It's just life and we are different and our kids are going to be different. I don't want to be a cookie cutter mom with cookie cutter kids.

Tracie | 12:48 PM

I was 28 when I had my first and 30 with the second. I wish I had mine younger, like 24 or so. I adore the two I have and I'm so grateful for them, and I also like the fact that I was married 7 years before my first was born. But I think if I had started younger, I would have had more. It's interesting to read all of these comments!

EdenSky | 12:52 PM

I got pregnant at 17 and, while I may not be rocking the mom thing, I'm not doing too bad if I do say so myself.
Yesterday I took my (now 5 year old) daughter to a birthday party and one of the other mothers was my highschool french teacher. Akward.
-Well ya, turns out I was pregnant in your class, you never knew, huh?
-No, not done University yet. Working at a convenience store...
*insert akward silence*

I definetly feel judged all the time, but I'd like to thank you for this post and the "outside/inside" one. You've made me realize that maybe I'm the one being judgemental when I assume the older moms won't like me. It's nice to know we're all in this together.

Margarita | 12:52 PM

I just turned 22 when I had my baby girl, who is now 3, I am now 25... and I had a lot of "omg you're so young!" and this and that. All my friends wait to get married before even thinking of children - I live in a suburban city with lots of europeans who frown upon unmarried couples with children! But we make it through and I'm so glad I had my little girl when I did!

The choice to become a mother is the biggest one you can make.

http://fab.typepad.com

Dami | 12:54 PM

great post rebecca, i found myself unexpectedly pregnant a couple months after my 18th birthday. even though i had been married for 6 months i still got looked down upon for having a child so young. no i wasn't ready but i handled it and i now have an awesome 3 year old son. i'm expecting #2 this october and again, after 1 child and 4 years of marriage i still hear comments about being too young, and having my whole life ahead of me.

annoying but i have never been happier.

Amanda | 1:00 PM

Is there really a 'right' time for anyone to have kids? I don't think so. It doesn't matter if you are young or old. To all the young and older mom, rock on.

Cass | 1:03 PM

Thank you for saying this. I had my son when I was 18. And now he's 18. I did it on my own for a long time - but not without lots of judgement from others. I put myself through university and it sucked and it was hard. And I felt very alone. I didn't make many friends at university because I had to go home. To my baby! While others partied and were free. I had another child at 26 - and that relationship ended and I became a single mom again at 32. So I have always felt like I have been doing it on my own in one way or another. My 18 year old was awarded a scholarship to a top university because of his rocking grades and he is now getting an A+ average at uni. So screw the people who say teenage moms don't raise good kids. And my 11 year old - also straight A's. So the judgers can suck it. My boys didn't/don't have everything - but they had all my love and all my attention.

Anonymous | 1:05 PM

Your kids are beautiful and you and your hubby are super blessed! I have twin 3 year old's. Boy/girl and I am holding on with all my might, trying not to let anything go. I love the chubby fingers of my little boy and the fat cheeks (facial) of my little girl. Keep showing the pictures and talking about your kids. You do rock!

Regina

Capital Mom | 1:06 PM

I don't think anyone is every prepared to be a parent, no matter what the age. The shock hits all of us. The age thing is just another case of us looking for our differences instead of figuring out what we have in common.

I've been with my husband since I was 19 but we "waited" until I was 29 to have our first child. I like to think I was waiting for her.

MommyWannabe | 1:09 PM

I lov eyour blog. And your points. I am 22, and plan to start trying to get pregnant soon. I am married, and have a good job. People tell me I am too young, live my life. But I want my life to include a child. I plan to ignore people and do what feels right for my husband and I. I love reading stories about people who make it work, and even though I'm scared sometimes, I know that things always work the way they are supposed to.

Cloud | 1:10 PM

I have to add my voice to those saying you get the judgment if you wait "too long", too. I'm pregnant with my 2nd. I'll be 37 when I give birth. I've gotten a lot of judgmental comments about waiting so long. (My standard reply is that I had to wait until I found the right father for my kids.)

It does feel a bit like there is some magic age at which society is comfortable with us reproducing, and if you vary from that, you're fair game for judgment.

The biology definitely favors having your kids earlier (but not too early). However, from the standpoint of forcing my job to give me the accommodations I needed/wanted and being able to afford the maternity leave I want, waiting later has had its pluses.

I don't think you're ever truly ready for motherhood- I was almost 35 when my first one was born, had done a lot career-wise and just plain life-wise, and it still completely rocked my world and was the hardest thing I'd ever done.

I think a lot of the judgmental comments come from the fact that we can remember that early motherhood felt so damn hard in whatever circumstances we were in when we did it. It is hard to imagine going through it in different circumstances- be those younger and less well off or older and less energetic than the ones you lived through.

clueless but hopeful mama | 1:16 PM

Awesome post.

I'm an old mama (36) with baby #2 on the way. *I* may not have felt ready to be a mama at 23 but that's because of where life took me and where I chose to be then and where I chose to be now.

I often wish for more energy, more generosity, more spontaneity and I'm sure that I would have had more of those things at 23. AND I still don't have the 401k, nice new car or big house that I suppose I should for having waited this long.

M | 1:21 PM

My daughter got pregnant at 17 and had her son in May of her Senior year of HS. The dad drove here from another state and has been with her since. E is going to be 11, C is going to be 5 and l will be 2 this year. What seemed impossible then, is such a miracle now. I love her for all of her hard work!

elismsue

~Mama Skates~ | 1:25 PM

amen! i was almost 21 when i had my 1st (of 3) & i felt that condescending bull shit! & guess what? my kiddos turned out pretty damn great!!! ;0)

Marie M. | 1:33 PM

I waited until I was 30 to have children. I had my life planned - career, marriage, house, etc. But now I'm more lost than ever in my career so it just goes to show that even if you make plans, things don't always turn out how you hoped. No regrets with the babe though. I agree - we just need to support each other. We're all working hard to make the best life we can for our children.

NHmommy | 1:38 PM

i was 25 with my first and will be 27 this year and hopefully pregnant by then. personally..i don't want to be past 30 and have kids because i want my freedom later on.

Anonymous | 1:39 PM

I can relate as the child of a young mom. We are 17 years apart and I wouldn't have it any other way. My grandparents are closer in age to my in-laws! I think sometimes life is a surprise and the people that roll with the punches show their true character.

Elizabeth | 1:40 PM

I have a good friend that had a completely unexpected pregnancy with someone she was not with nor did she want to be with. She has happened to raise an amazing little girl and I believe she would be just as amazing whether her mom had a larger income or a husband etc etc etc. Her greatness as a mother is there regardless.

Amie | 1:46 PM

I often wish I hadn't waited to have my first. I am 35 with a 7 month old and though I wanted to have more than one I am not sure I will be ready any time soon for another. I feel bad about that because I don't really want my daughter to be an only child.

I just never felt ready to have kids. Then I turned 34 and realized it was now or never. I still don't have the fancy house, awesome career, or cool car. And I never really wanted those things. I've really always wanted to be a mom.

I can tell you that I feel really lonely at 35 as a new mom. And I can assure you that I feel judged all the time for the choices I have made since being a mother. I am supposed to want to leave my kid with a nanny and hurry back to work or else I won't be fulfilled as a human being. But this isn't how I feel. I left my job and now stay at home and everyone who knew me before thinks I've lost my mind. But the reality is, I hated my job and there is no way I am passing up on motherhood after waiting for so long. However, I've lost friends because of this decision and all the stay at home moms in my neighborhood are much younger and think of me as an old lady.

So, I think you are right that motherhood can be very lonely but I don't think it is only young mothers who are judged. I just wish we as women didn't do this to each other.

Cloud | 1:53 PM

@Amie- you still have time for more kids if you want them. I know it doesn't feel like you'll ever be ready for more right now- I remember that feeling, too. Intellectually, I wanted a second child. But I wasn't actually ready to have a second child until my first was almost 2. If you read my comment above you'll see that I was about your age when I had my first. I will be 37 when my second is born.

margaret | 2:00 PM

I was married at 23, and am pregnant with my first now at 25. I have a Bachelor's degree, I did the crappy NYC apartment thing for a year, I've traveled to every continent except Australia/Antarctica and STILL people make comments about how I'm so young, and "shouldn't you just have waited a few more years and dated more men?"

I'm convinced it's either jealousy that they are middle-aged and miserable in their own marriages, or embarrassment that their kids are my age and still have zero direction and are still borrowing money from them. Am I cynical? Heck yes! If you want to wait, wait. Feel free. This is America. But don't tell me that I have to wait for whatever reason you've made up for yourself.

Sarah Isabella | 2:01 PM

beautiful.
I admire you.

Allison the Meep | 2:08 PM

As a young mom (22 when I got pregnant) THANK YOU! I'm tired of being treated like someone who's less than by women with successful careers who go on to have children. Or that it's something I should be ashamed about, because my son wasn't planned.

Fuck that. I'm a good mom, I love my son, and being a young mom is not holding me back from rocking my life.

Anonymous | 2:12 PM

I am 23 and pregnant with my first. Age is not a factor... Plus living in the south, there are tons of young moms. Loved your post!

Misty

jjlibra | 2:19 PM

i had my first at 18 and i got stares because i looked 15. people can be so so mean. i am on my third now and am 33 so i am about the same age as all of the first time mothers around here but still, i don't fit in with them. because they waited until now they have the cars and houses and we just rent our house- don't actually own (gasp!)I just made friends with a mom and couldn't believe how well we got along until she told me that she was only 23. well that makes sense then. and she? so relieved and happy that she finally found someone that she can relate to also. and bow chica wowow is right- i AM the hottest mom dropping my kid off at high school ;)

Abbey | 2:21 PM

Thank you for the amazing words! I was a mother at 18. Everyone including my folk were mortified at my choice.It was even more so when my son started school, all the parent minus one treated me like I had the plague. While it was never easy, my son is the best thing that ever happened to me.We have a relationship that is unique and amazing which I believe is one of the benefits of being a young mom (a byproduct of just winging it and not getting caught up in what a "good" mom is suppose to do)- Thanks for always inspiring us with your posts.

Anonymous | 2:21 PM

Great post as always! Age is such an irrelevant part of being a Mum. I had my first (and currently only) baby when I 28. It was unplanned but we went ahead without financial security. Things so far have worked out a but every day I feel like I am a young mother learning something that is new and completely foreign. Although to oursiders I guess I am the average. Whether one is 16, 26 or 36 at the end of the day we are all in the same boat even if we don't feel like we are.

Myssie | 2:29 PM

I just read this article the other day...so very on point.

http://media.www.smithsophian.com/media/storage/paper587/news/2009/03/12/Features/Not-So.Cheap.Teen.Mom.Rejects.The.Stereotype-3670074.shtml
Thought of this article when I read your post.

Lane C | 2:37 PM

How do you write what i feel..agreeed on every pt!

Just a grail | 2:43 PM

I was 18 years old when I had my first child. I was a damn good mom then and I am a damn good mom now. He is 19 and he is amazing! The other 3 are pretty amazing too. Being a mom so young was really scary, but not doing it was not an option for me, I loved him from the second I learned of him.

NG | 2:44 PM

Wow - it's so interesting to hear you "young ones" all say this. I had my first child at 35 and am nearly two decades years older than many of the mothers of my daughters' peers, who all look at me like I should be a grandmother. On the flip side, women MY age have teenagers graduating from high school. I can't tell you some of the nonsense that has leaked out of people's mouths about this. I think people find a way to judge you no matter what your situation and the thing to do is to realize it's nonsense and try to accept each other for the choices we made. Gosh, this gig is hard enough, isn't it? Why do some people insist on making it harder on each other?

Gingerbread | 2:56 PM

I'm 24 and 15 weeks pregnant. My boyfriend and I are in a committed relationship but we hadn't even begun to think about marriage...then we saw that pink plus sign. Oh shit. But one thing I know is that I constantly hear about women having fertility problems. There is a billion dollar industry out there for women that can't have children. And here I am, minding my own business, suddenly knocked up. I suppose I feel lucky. I also know that it is much healthier for both the mother and child to conceive betweeen the ages of 21 and 28. After that, the risks jump up. So here I am...24, healthy, blessed and did I mention scared shitless?

Stacy | 2:58 PM

I got married in August 2006 at 20 years old. Had my first son in March 2007 at 21. Do the math.

The funny thing is, everyone assumes that's WHY we got married. We had been engaged and had the date set for a year before I ever peed on a stick...apparently I can see the future. No, I just took the impending wedding as an excuse to chuck the birth control pills out the window...I couldn't wait to be a mommy. And I love it. And I think I'm pretty damn good at it too. My son (2) and I (23) are a hell of a team...and he doesn't seem to care how old I am. :o)

LuLu | 3:16 PM

Wow!

Being a follower of your blog for some time, not being a mother myself, I have worshipped the ground you walk on for your courage and inspiration to mothers and women from all walks of life.

No matter what our choices, you seem to always support "choice" and it's a great thing to see and hear.

I'm 21, single, and I would never consider having children at my age. That's my personal opinion because I don't feel I'm ready.. but like you, I fully support mothers of all ages.

It's people like you out there, that create female empowerment. If we put ourselves down girls, it only makes it easier for others to do the same.

Once again, you have not failed in making me worship you haha.

And on another note.. Rebecca, do you have any idea if your book will be released in Australia? I haven't seen a copy around.. should I just order online? Amazon.com right now.. haha

LJ | 3:27 PM

Thanks for this post. It's good to have voices like yours in the midst of all the rambling that we should not have kids young. I'm 23, married, and want kids. It's really all I've wanted for a very long time. But the constant barrage of "wait, work, how are you fulfilled?" always happens. From in laws, parents, friends. And then you get the random older mom who says, "get started now. I wish I had." Conflicting messages much?

Anyways, thanks.

☆Susan☆ | 3:29 PM

This post is great. Here, in the South, I seem to have the opposite problem. Because I'm 28 and do not yet have children, and don't yet know if I want to have children, I'm treated as an outsider. My younger brother's girlfriend, who is pregnant at 16 is considered more of an adult than I am, just because she's experiencing pregnancy.

cocosmalls | 3:34 PM

i was a little older (29) when my first was born because i was a career girl and it def was the most alone i had ever felt. other moms were not down with me because i was too, not sure, tattooed-i do not know but most of my friends still do not have kids and i am 33.

still being a young mother and having people treat you like you do not know what you are doing or that you are less than is horrible. i cannot imagine that on top of the rest of the crap of a new baby.

wimbittworld | 3:45 PM

Oh Honey! Don't I know. I was 23 when my first baby was born. People acted like I was 14 or something. Like, at 23, I had to be too stupid to know what I was doing. Like having sex at 22 had been scandelous. Hello? Wasn't everyone having sex by 22? Choosing to birth the baby I found myself pregnant with was NOT an easy choice. The decision itself was easy, but living with the pregnancy and the discrimination and the snide comments was hard. Choosing to have a baby is a big thing. Choice is not just about abortion. I had a really hard time, for many years, finding somewhere to fit in as a younger mother. Not as a teen mother, but just younger than some. And don't even get me started on having chosen to have that baby before I had a college degree or a career! Those educated career women were the meanest ones!

lauren | 4:06 PM

i have so many thoughts on this one...i can't wait to be a mom. i just turned 26 (woah! writing that out shocks me a bit!!) and my bf of 5 years is 25. we're stalling on the whole engagement/marriage/kid-bit more so because of his thoughts at the moment and that's ok (for now!). he's laid-off and we're just enjoying things for us.
that said, whatever happens, happens.
i ALWAYS wanted to be a younger mother for a number of reasons. i worry about being able to become pregnant and want to keep all options open. on the other hand, i was raised in an environment where you went to school and got (at least) one degree before even considering having a child OR you were a failure. i work in academia now and that stigma is still in place today. it surrounds me. "when are you going back to school?" no one EVER asks when i'm going to start a family...
moms are moms - whether they are young or old and i hate the fact that we have to be so narrow-minded when it comes to the woman down the street or across the office. we're usually pretty lucky to have each other.
*

little sara | 4:06 PM

There are for sure some WAY amazing moms who range in all ages...age doesn't always matter, it's the person doing it! my sister became a mom a 21 and has 4 precious and amazing kids now at almost 32. She is a FANTASTIC mother and I hope I can have as much patience as her when my little one arrives.

Teens moms can be just as capable as mid-twenties moms or middle aged moms...just like the opposite can be true.

I'm sure i'm just repeating what everyone else has already said!

Lisa | 4:10 PM

I had my first four months ago at 22. But I live in Utah, so that's practically middle aged...

Tabs | 4:12 PM

My mother was 20 when I was born, and my father 21. They were in college, and he was the president of his fraternity that year. If ever you'd think an abortion would be the most appropriate solution, it would be this situation. Yet here I am.

And my mother is amazing, facing losing her mom at 23 and leaving my dad (deservedly so) after 17 rocky years.

Now I'm (newly) 25 and have a 6 and 1/2 week old son. My mom teases me she's too young to be a grandmother, but she's ready to admit it's of her own doing.

And because of her, I've always wanted to be a young mom -- and here I am, with a whole new deep appreciation for the choices she made a quarter of a century ago.

Francesca | 4:14 PM

I had my first when I was 28. Not young physiologically or psychologically. But, the average age of mothers in my mother's group was 36. The pseudo-friendship didn't last long because their preoccupations were very different to mine.

I was still worried about that career I wanted to forge. They were concerned with how they might extricate themselves from their careers they wanted to let go so that they might devote their whole time to their children.

They looked down on me and my need to look outside the domestic sphere for some inspiration and I looked down on them for shutting out the life they had worked so hard for.

We were both wrong. You're right. STOP THE JUDGEMENT MERRY-GO-ROUND LADIES. Jump off!

Twwly | 4:24 PM

I was 25 when I had my 1st and we had a shotgun wedding.

Trying on wedding dresses, heavily tattooed and heavily pregnant was one of the most emotionally draining mis-adventures of my life. Bitches were FIERCELY mean to me, trying their hardest to make me feel young, dumb and generally ill prepared.

And since my husband and I had not been dating for long (though we had known eachother more than 10 years) people were constantly congratulating us on our "little surprise". If anyone dared actually say "accident" I'd say "not exactly an accident when you're having unprotected sex ten times a day every day, is it?"

That'd shut them up at least for a bit. ;)

Liesal | 4:37 PM

Amen! It's so sad that people are still so judgmental in these modern times.

JachiCue | 4:38 PM

Oposite on my end. I'm 27, been married 6 years and I get these wonderful people asking me why I haven't popped 4 out by now. It's wonderful that people expect things of YOUR life.

Now I've just gotten into the habit of telling people that we're shopping around, and if they have any good leads on babies, just shoot me an email. The disturbed look on their faces is PRICELESS.

Tammy | 4:42 PM

I waited... ended an engagement young and did the school thing, the career thing, the mortgage thing. I look up and at 36 realize I should probably get MOVING. It never occoured to me that I wouldn't be a mother; it also never occoured to me that time would move so very fast.

Kira Leigh | 4:49 PM

I have yet to procreate, buy I love reading the blogs of women who have. I think this will give me insight and help me when I do have children.

Michelline | 4:56 PM

Hi Rebecca! Love love love your blog and book. First time commenter here. I've experienced opposite ends of the spectrum...I was pregnant at 17 (WTF!)a young wife and mom at 18, and here I am now at 42 having just had my 5th (last) child (with the same guy!). We'll be married 25 years next year and would be driving a FERRARI into my private island estate if I had taken bets my marriage would last this long from all the (clucking) guests who attended my wedding! I LOVED being a young mom and I also LOVE being an over-40 mom. I do know the discrimination you speak of as a younger mom as I have had my share of wagging tongues and shaking heads. As an older mom too, disbelief that I am "still at it". Point is, motherhood is an earth-shaking, life changing experience at ANY age and whether it's your 1st or your 5th, to be totally responsible for a whole new REAL PERSON is the thread that binds all of us moms.

chantalart | 5:17 PM

I had my daughter at 34. At 24 or twenty-whatever I was in no place to have a kid- in my head, emotionally. It was where I was, and that was just me. In fact, I didn't even think I wanted kids. No one has the same experience, just like no one has the same birth story or labor, or just like nobody has the same child twice! I take my hat off to women who have children younger, with less money, or on their own. What counts is that you love your children and do the best you can raising them.

Tasha | 5:33 PM

I had my daughter at 18. During my pregnancy and the time she turned 2, I was a single mom, graduated college, owned my own home and got a great job in my field. All on my own. I am still so proud of myself.

Tasha at cheekabeeka@gmail.com

I would love to read rattled. Please add my name to the list. Thanks.

KBYeager | 5:45 PM

Thank you so much for this! I found out 3 weeks ago I am pregnant, and while I am 28, I still don't feel "settled". I have never really cared about having much of a career and while this is something that I have always wanted, I still feel totally unprepared.

My boyfriend has been great and I know he will make a wonderful father. And while we have been together for over three years, to my southern baptist family I am still an unwed mother. While I know they still love me, it is difficult to speak to them regarding something I know they do not approve of.

It is so refreshing to know that I am not alone!

casadekaloi | 5:54 PM

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh. AMEN.

Sean and I are married, obviously, but that's just about the most stable part of our lives. It's super stable, but everything else is all over. We moved across the country without jobs, with me pregnant, and having just secured an apartment in a city we'd never visited. People kind of look at us like we're nuts, but we knew we wanted a baby, and we knew we have the love to provide for him. SO! Here we are, and that's what we're doing.

Tanyetta | 5:54 PM

This hits home for me!

We were only 17 when our daughter was born.

Thank GOD I told all those naysayers to bite me.

Our beautiful daughter turns 22 years old this year and she's perfect.

Thank you for speaking for all mothers in this post!

I think it's the pregnancy hormones but, this really touched me!

Jennifer A. | 6:17 PM

Well put.

I was 26 and 28 when I had mine and people thought I was too young. I had waited to get married, a job and a house and people still complained. Go figure.

Sara | 6:17 PM

I am one of those 28-year-old, took my time, loved, lost, moved, went to college when i knew what i wanted to do (teach), in a relationship of two years with no immediate plans for marriage and kids people. and i think i'm in the same boat as people who had kids young (many of whom are my friends): most days i like my life. some days i wish i were married already. some days i wish i had kids. all day i'm at peace with my choices. so, cheers, young mothers - sometimes i'm envious of YOU :) besides, i'm a great aunt & babysitter :)

Bad Mummy | 6:28 PM

I've checked the starts in Canada and 20% of 25 yr olds are parents.

tlr | 6:34 PM

You go, girl! (and the word "girl" is not used in a derogatory sense) ; )
I get hurtful comments on the other end - waiting until my thirties to have children after 10 years of marriage (just had my second at 39). I hated it when people constantly asked me when I'd have children. First, it's none of your business; second, would I tell you if we were trying; and third, what if I was infertile and didn't want to be reminded of it? Worry about yourself and your own issues! People are so judgmental!
It's especially hurtful when it comes from women - why do we shoot each other down when we should be building each other up?!
The same people who commented on my "late motherhood" also bugged my brother for having a child out of marriage at 25-"he's too young and they're not married-oh my god". People also discuss how young my mom is (married at 19, had me at 20) - it even happened today!
My brother and I both have amazing kids despite the different ages/marital status of their parents. I think age has nothing to do with it - once you look into your baby's eyes you decide that you are going to do the very best you can to raise them. Hopefully we raise the next generation to be non-judgmental, kind, open minded and loving towards everyone. This blog is the perfect stepping stone to start this.
Thank you, Rebecca, for opening up this topic!

alli magee | 6:56 PM

Rebecca, every time you say how new motherhood is lonely I breathe a sigh of relief. So it isn't just me that is unbelievably lonely!

Molly is four months now and I am very seriously considering reversing the long immigration process I have been going through her in Canada and fleeing right back to my family in Ireland. I can't take the isolation anymore.

cheers to being a 20 something mum!

Irishgal | 7:04 PM

You are absolutely right. This post is a perfect example of why I love reading your blog. You are real and share your real experiences, but you are also incredibly non-judgmental and I love that!

I feel lonely too, but I always feel better after visiting your blog.

Little Read Hen | 7:04 PM

I think this is still one of the hardest things for me. Maybe not quite so much anymore. I was married when I got pregnant at 23. I had been married, and working, and owning a home for a couple of years. Six months after my daughter was born I was working and getting divorced and it didn't occur to me until that moment that I was the YOUNG MOM. The 'whoops' mom, the 'you weren't ready' mom. The hiding on the sidelines at the park mom. The having to live with her parents for extended periods of time and jugle joint custody and make enormous sacrifices that the formerly married version of my very own self would never have EVER considered. And now it is three years later and I am twenty seven and so. very. tired. I love my daughter. I would not trade her or our life together for anything...not even for all the sorrow, but it is so much more difficult than I ever could have imagined and I just barely made it this far.

Jackie | 7:06 PM

I'm a 25 yr old Mom of 2, and have dealt with the condescending attitudes since being preggers with #1 when I was 23. At the time, I was working in retail and met WAY too many opinionated people. Many looked down their noses at me; one lady asked why I wasn't in school, and when told that I was 23 and married she said she felt silly because she thought I was sixteen. I thought that comment was even more rude - even if I were a teenager, who was she to say that I wouldn't be a good mother? Another customer approached me and offered to have me "saved" at his Church...apparently in his eyes, being a young (presumably unwed) mother was a sin.

I have so much more I could say, but have a crying babe to tend to...Basically, age should NOT be a consideration when deciding whether or not someone is a good mother; age is not a sign on maturity! And just as someone else mentioned - just because you wait, doesn't mean you will be any more prepared.

Heather | 7:13 PM

One of my very best friends got pregnant accidentally at 23 while on study abroad in Paris (wouldn't you love to have been conceived in Paris?). She had the baby, and a couple of years later married the baby's father.

She was young when she had her daughter, but she has always been my model of parenting. She is so effing good at it. But she always tells me it is weird to be at birthday parties and feel so noticeably younger than all the other parents.

Look at me. It's like when people say "I'm not prejudiced. Some of my best friends are [insert minority here]." But truly, I think you just need to know one young mother to blow any stereotypes apart.

The best thing you said - that the first few months of motherhood are the loneliest time. So true for everyone...

Jaime Lynne | 7:27 PM

I have 2 beautiful baby boys.. the 1st I had 3 months before i turned 21 and my second 2 months before i turned 23 and i wouldn't have had it any other way.

screw all that " you're so young, you should wait " crap, it's your life you live it how you want to.

Catherine | 7:30 PM

Thakn you for always challenging moms (and people generally) to not judge others. It's so easy to do otherwise.

duck | 7:59 PM

THANK YOU for posting about this! I am 27 and my little one is a year. I have been feeling like I am way too young to have a kid. I know its ridiculous but its the way I feel. The thing is lots of young moms I work with are totally together. They are the perfect age for them to be moms. But the point is, its the perfect age for them. So other people need to back the hell off. For me I think my ideal would have been 32. As this motherhood story is unfolding I am beginning to realize you make it your perfect time.

nitsirklea | 8:16 PM

Thank you for this post! I'm 20, pregnant with my first, and it's nice to see some people aren't so judgmental about being a young mom. In my town there are a lot of young mothers (my high school's mascot was the panther, and we were called the "pregnant panthers" by other schools in the area...), but we all still get looked down on by older women and it's hard to deal with sometimes.

mommymae | 8:28 PM

i was married at 23, had 2 babies at 25, and just had my 4th at 31. granted, 31 isn't young, but tons of my friends are having their first or haven't had any yet.

it all comes back to building each other up & supporting all mothers and not tearing each other down.

Nakia | 8:41 PM

I'm 25 with a 4 year old and single. I like to think I'm definite rocking it. I totally agree, motherhood IS an all ages show. Sticking together, standing up for one another and supporting each other is what we should be doing instead of sitting back and judging.

SBrin | 9:02 PM

Until a few months ago I thought that teens should never be mothers, that getting pregnant young and continuing was irresponsible. Then I started working at Planned Parenthood and had my world turned upside down. Through my job I have met some young mothers and fathers who have blown me away with their together-ness. I have worked with patients far younger than myself and thought, wow, she's a great parent.

Mena | 10:05 PM

I had my darling daughter at the "tender" age of 21. I spent the first year in mourning of my lost friend group... not. They didn't want to stick around to witness my daughter, the living miracle wonder baby, so screw 'em. They're missing out. So yes, two tickets to the motherhood concert hall, one for me, and one for she who is the reason I'm attending.

Mena | 10:11 PM

Oh, p.s., now we live in Utah, and we young mothers are the norm, but still... Today, my daughter Sophia (14 months) and I were hanging out on the quad here at the college, and we were on the receiving end of some slanted looks. Oh well, excuse me if we interrupted your day by existing!

lovingdanger | 10:37 PM

Not only was I 23 when I had Danger but I happen to look like I'm pushing 17 most of the time. I couldn't be happier about the age I was when I had my little girl but Oh Dear God the looks! Not to mention the lady at the drug store who keeps offering me coupons and insisting I collect points because "It must be so difficult having a baby at such a young age?" Now I'm 24 and expecting baby number two, once again a planned pregnancy and I continue to get dirty looks from the other moms at the park

Pam | 10:40 PM

I'm 42 with an 8 month old and a 3 year old. Hell, I wish I was younger but it didn't work out that way for me. 40 is the new 30, right............

Who Loves The Son | 11:55 PM

Every time I read your blog I want to write THIS is why i read your blog.
I'm 23 I have a 6 month old I was 22 when he was born and when I found out I was pregnant. Most everyone I knew told me I should get an abortion. My horrible obgyn even had the nerve to ask me at my 10 week appointment "so are you going to keep it" AH I could kill her. My manger at work told me to think about adoption? I felt like juno at 23. Luckily and as always I didn't listen to what anybody said and I have my beautiful baby boy I love being a young mom it's stressful but worth it. I also feel that women who decide to have a baby at 38 and up are frowned upon by our society too and I don't think that's right either. it's like if you don;t have a baby when your married and have you ish together and are 27-35 you are looked at as a crazy person. Easy with the mom criteria people!

This Must be the Place . . . | 12:41 AM

I chose NOT to have my first child, at age 19, because all the naysaying and frowning and upon and bullshit made me crumble. With an entirely unsupportive would-be father and nothing but fear, I ended a pregnancy I didn't want to end and regret the decision, 13 years later,just as much as I did then. So yeah. I could have used the support, someone who was, I don't know, remotely encouraging. I want to BE that kind of support now. I've got 19 and 20 year-olds in my writing classes all the time, pregnant, pregnant with other children already, and they're doing it. Going to school, hitting up life, making it work. They rock. They're my idols.

I have an 18-month-old now, whom I love to pieces, and I'll be 33 in a few months. Nearly all my friends had their kids young, and it is awfully lonely sometimes. I often wonder what it would be like to have experienced "young" motherhood as well as "old" motherhood (since, at 31, I was an "older" mother according to the various morons, err, physicians, I saw while pregged out).

Single Mom Seeking | 12:55 AM

Got pregnant on my 27th birthday.... and that's how I have the energy to be leaving a comment at 1 a.m.

Kat | 1:08 AM

I am currently 26, and had been trying for a baby...until I recently lost my job. If it were up to me, I'd still be all about trying, as I want to have kids before I turn 30(don't ask me why, cuz I really don't have a good reason...it just seemed like a good age..)...but my husband wants to be financially stable...yea, he's one of those...so until I find a job w/ health insurance...no babies for me.. :(

CraezieLady | 2:45 AM

What I find most interesting about all this is that are always a loud sample of each population of mothers (sorry, taking statistics right now, it's stuck in my brain) that's got something negative to say about other groups - the young'uns squawkin' about the old mums being judgmental and ridiculously overprotective and overly spoiling their single offspring; the older ladies pshawing over the young'uns irresponsibility and incapability of raising a happy, healthy child (that baby doesn't even have a hat on! what do you expect when babies start having babies?).
Just stop it, already! Have a sense of humor, will ya? Ya think unruly kids are exclusive to young moms? I worked in childcare for years - lemme tell ya, toddler-ness is non-descriminatory! Think 40's too old to have a kid? Well, guess what? There IS an age too old to have kids - menopause!
Quit harping on each other - and for all of you out there who take pleasure in harping on me; Stuff it! I know that the only reason you need to criticize me is because you're scared poopless that you're not a good mom! Let me help you out here - YOU ARE A GOOD MOM, and your kids are perfectly FINE!!

Keri | 3:26 AM

No matter what decisions we make, society judges.

'Teen mom?' Tsk, tsk.
'Had an abortion?' Tsk, tsk.
'Gave baby up for adoption?' Tsk, tsk.
'Waited to get pregnant at 40?' Tsk, tsk.

We are all totally screwed. Fuck it all! =P

Stephannie | 5:00 AM

Although I'm older, by the standards of new moms (29) I have felt alienated for sure. You were right on when you said the first few months were the loneliest...eight months later, it's still pretty lonely.

Jade | 5:24 AM

I'm not a mother myself, nor do I plan to be one in the near future, but from the age of 13 I have been home schooled partially in order to help raise my younger brother. Despite the fact that I was fully trusted by both parents - and, to be honest, I think I did a pretty good job! - it's a decision that is often met by some sort of abstract horror.

I know girls who have had abortions out of embarrassment, just as I have known girls who were too embarrassed to ask their doctor for the contraceptive pill (in fairness, risking such a thing because of embarrassment doesn't exactly demonstrate a readiness for sexual activity, but still..) There are some people who just don't understand the amount of pressure that kind of criticism can create and in the case of those who aborted, it's also a cause of what is likely to be long term grief. Which is partly why I'm so glad blogs like your's exist.

As an 18 year old, I understand the importance of such a perspective that can be difficult to get from your parents. Hearing about such issues from somebody relatable (=young), whether or not they've screwed things up or come out on top, is vital. Not even necessarily in relation to raising children, but in terms of taking care of yourself too. Maturity in teenagers needs to be challenged and questioned as opposed to being dismissed, because these days life experience and sense of responsibility has little to do with age.

Sabrina K. | 6:02 AM

Yes!!! Thank you!! I'm 25 years old and I have a 4.5 year old and an almost-3 year old. When I was pregnant someone actually asked me if I was still in high school! I got nasty looks from people in the elevators at the medical center my OB was in, even with my second child. WTF??!?!! I was OVER 18, fully a legal adult, and for the second kid I was even MARRIED!

No, I wasn't in a position to have a baby when I was 16 or 18, I damn well wasn't in a position to have a baby when I got pregnant with one! It's called "growing up" and everyone has to do it.

Plus-- I totally love you for saying "Pro-choice includes the choice of the woman to become a mother"

Mrs. Chicken | 6:11 AM

I wish I hadn't waited so long. Seriously, I am TIRED.

And I would love another baby. But I am just too old.

It makes me sad to think of all the time I wasted. I know young mothers have some obstacles, and I don't advocate teen motherhood, but I do think there's something to be said for being a mom in your young 20s.

Kendra | 6:23 AM

So well spoken! When I met my husband, everyone told me he was too old for me (14 years difference). When we got married, my mother assured me he was too old to have children (never quite fogiven her for that one). When we got pregnant immediately, she was appalled that we were having a baby, when we hardly had any money (never mind that I was 27, and she had 2 kids by that age). I told her that she had often reminded me that for the entire first year of my life, all I owned was cloth diapers and a single blue t-shirt. And I turned out okay.

No, we don't take vacations to fancy resorts. We have one car and live in a very modest house. Our kids go to public school and often wear hand-me-downs.

It was hard for me to become a mom (all three times) and I was 27 the first time. I can't imagine what it must be like for younger mothers and/or those who weren't planning it. I hope they feel supported by all the other moms in the world, who know it's never easy.

Melinda | 6:26 AM

I love reading your blog and Christine Coppa's blog. The strength and character you both have amazes me every day.

bekah | 6:34 AM

Im 24 and pregnant with our first, and while I didnt think I was actually THAT young to be having a baby...the looks I get seem to prove that the world thinks otherwise. Its weird...why is this their decision to judge? My mom had 2 children by the time she was my age, and she was a FANTASTIC mother, age has nothing to do with it.

Anonymous | 6:38 AM

Thanks for writing this article! the thoughts are ones that MANY young and older women feel. I m 27 and pregnant w my first baby. It was planned and Im doing ok financially BUT not married, don't own a house yet or have 100 thou in the bank. All I had was a loving my long term partner that wanted to start a family. sounded like enough to me!!! and the comments some people make are unbelievable! The media gets into people's heads you shouldnt have children at this age or until this and that BUT PUSHING things like birth control and abortions left right and centre. ITS POPULATION CONTROL is all it is, when u have 10 year olds singing along to the birth control commercials... makes u wonder what ever happened to the respect and value of motherhood?

Leslie and Jeff | 7:20 AM

Great post. I was surprised when I first started reading your blog that the story of you, Hal, and Archer is very similar to my story. The only difference, really, is age. I was 28 when I got pregnant by a guy I had been dating for a couple of months. I had just got a new job and he actually worked in the office next to mine. I was still going out on the weekends and had no plans to have a baby in the forseeable future. He handled the news well, and I FREAKED OUT. I had to keep telling myself that I was a "grown up" and could do this.

Also like your story, mine has a happy ending as well, although I was surprised at the pressure I felt while pregnant when people asked "what happened" and who the daddy was. I kept thinking to myself, "I'm grown up! What does it matter?" And now, it doesn't matter and I too wish that people would be sensitive to how stressful pregnancy is even for those in the most carefully planned situations.

Jaci | 7:34 AM

I had my oldest son when I was 27. I was a single mom for the first 3 years of his life, juggling work and graduate school and life. Ten years and 3 kids later, I now have the support of an amazing husband and I still don't know what the *eff* I'm doing half the time. Just makin' it up as we go along!

Jen C | 7:39 AM

I LOVED this post. I am 28, husband is 32 and have a 6 year old son. We just lost our pregnancy for child number 2 at 19 weeks. I get the yound mom comments, the "you are having the kids too far apart" comments - you name it.

I just asked my husband this morning if I was a bad mom because I hate Oprah. I have never felt that we fit the mold. I have finally decided to embrace the fact that I don't fit with my other twenty-something friends, or the "older" moms.

ashleyd! | 7:48 AM

freshly 26 with no children. i'm scared shitless, but my husband is dying for a child. he'll be 30 in a few months. i honestly can't tell you why i feel like i'm waiting so long... we've been together for 9 years.
maybe if i KNEW something as cute and healthy as Fable would come out... we would have years ago!

Baby in Broad | 7:58 AM

I LOVE this topic. Westley was born 5 weeks before my 25th birthday, and I'VE never felt like such a baby in my entire life. I tired going to a moms' support group: the other mothers were ALL in their late 30s and early 40s. We were all dealing with the same newness of motherhood, but they were looking at it through this filter of having left well-established careers, and that's all they wanted to talk about. And they didn't seem willing to listen to anything I had to say. That fucking hurts--being alienated in your SUPPORT group.

Let's put the judgement away already. It's just unnecessary and hurtful.

Suzy | 8:07 AM

I'll be 41 in a few weeks and my 3-week old daughter is sleeping on my chest as I type this. I didn't wait until 40 because of my career or bank account. I was ready to have a baby years ago when I became a widow in my 30s. Older moms don't always choose to wait.

Kate | 8:12 AM

you had me until "a few hundred thou in the bank"....

wow - I must've missed the boat there. I happened to not have my first child until 31, but I definitely still don't have my few hundred thou in the bank. (and I'm a frugal, uber-saver who works at a large law firm -- the type any outsider would probably *assume* is swimming in cash...but of course I'm not. making a comfortable living, yes, but not feeling rich, especially in this economy.)

Anyway, I totally agree with the general message of your post, though, and I do not know why I'm even going into this random tangent. It just struck me, though, because you should perhaps be careful not to generalize about a different age group of moms more than you'd want them to generalize about young moms. Not all of us are driving luxury cars.

unrelated: I love your look and especially your bangs! I got some chopped for myself recently, but the dude did not make them look nearly as hip as yours. I wanted brow length but got mid-forehead. : )

Babe in Babeland | 8:16 AM

This is actually a topic that I have planned to and will be blogging about in the future! Because I feel it so much. I'm 28 and have a five month old baby. I think 28 is a middle of the road time to have a baby, and no one really says I'm too old or too young. EXCEPT for the fact I live in NYC. And people here wait AT LEAST til they're in their mid- to late-30s to have babies. I feel like I'm on average about 10 years younger than most moms I meet. And while other moms have been friendly to me, I sometimes feel a bit out of place.

I didn't think I'd ever have children until my mid-30s. I was one of those people who really did want to have a successful career and be financially sound and blah blah blah before I even thought about procreating. But sometimes things in life happen unexpectedly! And so, here I am at 28 a new mom...trying to figure out this motherhood thing AND wife thing all at once, since it was all happened so quick and unexpected. I know I'm not really THAT young, but I guess for the mindset I was in and the life I was living prior to becoming pregnant and the fact that everyone around me who is a mom is quite a bit older, well, I DO feel young. None of my close friends have babies (and they all thought I would be the LAST one to have a child!) It has been quite an adjustment to give up my carefree life, and it has been hard these past five months getting used to this thing called motherhood. In the end, I know I'll probably be happy that I didn't wait til my late 30s to have a baby, but right now, it's all a bit overwhelming.

-Jonna

Anonymous | 8:20 AM

I have been following your blog for a couple months now...as a no child lady who just married at thirty and didn't go to college until I was 26, I definitely understand being judged for bucking the system. I left home when I was 18 and didn't look back until I was 25 and realized I loved my family and I actually missed them. Imagine that, they weren't so horrible after all!
I also was the child of a 15-year-old mother. She couldn't raise me, so my grandparent's did. She had my brother when she was 18, but raised him. Believe me, she got all the looks, the labels, the judgement. And when I turned 15, I realized how lucky I was to NOT be in her position. I don't think she would change much now, both my brother and I are adults with healthy relationships, including with her. But I don't understand wanting children that young. I don't judge young women who take charge of their reproductive health--I used to volunteer at Planned Parenthood--I definitely think being proactive about our sexuality and experience as women is good. I really enjoy reading your take on things and helping me remember that just because my own experience showed me what I don't and didn't want doesn't mean that's right for other women.

Liz | 8:29 AM

I would have loved to be a young mom, but I wasn't fortunate enough to meet my husband until after college, when we were both in graduate school. Now that we're both about to graduate from law school, and I'm 27, we'd love to have kids right away, but we won't get to, as I've had to commit to taking a job that I can't take time away from for at least a year, and he hasn't found work yet. I'll probably be 30 before we can start trying, and that is like a stab in the heart. I've daydreamed about an "accidental" pregnancy allowing us to have that young parenthood that we both want and "making it work," but we can't bring ourselves to have sex without taking precautions against pregnancy. I worry every day about the fact that we're cutting our time to have kids short and risking infertility, that we're going to be older when we have them, that I'm going to have to work like a fiend after they're born because of the horrendous student loans that we both took out -- but some of us aren't lucky enough to meet the right person while we're young and before we've encumbered ourselves with responsibilities and debt. Not all of us "older" mothers are older by choice, and many of us feel like you "younger" mothers are judging us for being materialistic, or greedy, or not loving enough - some of us would have loved to have had kids before we were 25, but life didn't work out that way.

Amanda B | 8:33 AM

I don't understand the need to judge in general. Who cares if someone has kids at 20, 30, 40 or never. I absolutely love kids and enjoy them, in fact I teach them, but I never want to have my own and the comments and questions I get about that are so rude it blows my mind. Why can't we all just be happy for what makes others happy?

alissa | 8:47 AM

Right on! It's true. I just don't get why mothers push each other away instead of finding ways to support each other.

Gloria S. | 8:48 AM

I would like to win her book. It seems like an interesting story. Also, thanks for writing this post. I feel the same way even though I'm 26 and not yet a mother. Hopefully, soon though since we are working on it :D
Have a LOVELY day!!

Girl | 8:50 AM

Thank you so much for this. This made me cry. I just found out last week that I'm pregnant. Luckily, it's with a man I've dated and known since high school, someone I truly love and was planning on marrying anyways. My parents also were in this situation when they had me--unwed, judged, and without a clue.

Already I can hear people hissing around me, saying, "How sad, she screwed up," "Her life would have been so amazing," "Oh, well, at least she's doing the responsible thing." Like hell I'm doing the responsible thing! Really, is going through with this childbirth and raising a baby possibly on my own responsible? It's masochistic at best.

I just cringe and wait for the day when someone will say those things in front of me, "Oh, that's too bad," they'll say. And I'll demand an apology, possibly at knifepoint, because there's no way I'm going to think of the little pink meatloaf inside of me as a mistake, a screw-up, or something that's "too bad."

Clearly, you hit on a note today. Thank you again for your kind, inspiring words.

Birth of a mother, April 2009. Here we go.

Girl | 8:56 AM

Oh, I just turned 22. Not married, still living at home, still driving a car that technically belongs to my parents, still doing my family's dishes, and feeling more scared than ever.

All your stories give me hope.

Katie | 9:14 AM

I got date raped at 23, found out a month and two weeks later I was pregnant. He's four now, the love of my life. I feel isolated and judged, I have felt it from those who have gone before me even. Those who had a child(ren) out of wedlock even! (My mom got pregnant at 16, unmarried and my dad was 21. They've been married for over 30 years - so it can and does work). Now, I've got my first boyfriend in over 4 1/2 years and he's almost as in love with my son as I am. The isolation still ensues (my son is biracial, my bf is white like me), but being loved and sharing love for a child with another person help to get me through every day. That, and my son's amazingly brilliant smiling eyes.



(sidenote: the word verification is only one letter away from my son's name, how weird is that?)

Cindy | 9:16 AM

I still get the comments of "you have a child....at YOUR age!"

LouEffie | 9:45 AM

Great post! There is enough judgment out there regarding most of our choices to strangle even the toughest person. Everyone has an opinion about what you're doing, when you're doing it and how you go about getting there.

When I called to tell my mother I was pregnant, (I was 28 years old and unmarried) instead of being excited and elated, the words that came out of her mouth were...(Sigh!) "So are you going to get married or what?" My heart hit my stomach. Here I was thinking that I may not be able to conceive b/c of medical issues and the woman who should have been the happiest for me judged me immediately instead. My then boyfriend and I WERE planning to get married, but I didn't need her disapproval of me being an unmarried mother to reach that decision.

You're right, we should all be supporting and trying to uplift one another instead of tearing each other down when we are most vulnerable. No down turned noses. No judgment. Isn't it time?

Leslie

Mamalang | 9:47 AM

I was 24 when I got married, fresh from college, to a man with a 4 year old. She is my daughter, and always will be. Within a year I had another. I didn't think I was that young, but I started feeling it when I was around the parents with kids my oldest daughters age.

And now? After a 3rd at 29, I walk between the two worlds. When I am with the parents of his friends, I'm the older mom. And some of those people seem so young. But that doesn't mean they can't be good mothers, or shouldn't have chosen motherhood (it just means I have to work harder not to roll my eyes at some of the things they spout...lol). And with my (now) 15 year old? I'm a baby. But the other parents don't question my age any more...To them, I obviously must at least be in my 30's, so I'm not too young anymore.

I'm a firm believer in allowing people to live a life that they choose, making the best decisions for them.

My mom had me at 19...I decided that was too young for me, but that doesn't mean it won't work for others.

Fraulein | 9:59 AM

The lesson here is you're going to get judged no matter what you do, so you might as well do what makes you happy. I waited and had my first (and likely only) at 35.

When my daughter was 2, a very old Italian lady from my mother's church (someone of a generation in which everyone began having kids in their late teens, whether they wanted to or not) accused me of being my own kid's grandmother. I'll never forget how horrible that felt. But in her experience, 37-year-old grandmothers were common. So one way or the other, we're going to get judged by somebody.

Michele Horne | 10:06 AM

I got pregnant the very first time I had sex with my boyfriend... who I had known for only 2 months! Damn it! But, we made it work, have a wonderful home, 3 kids and we are madly in love! I know many people who have 'planned' their life and it has worked out far worse.

Overanalyzer: | 10:58 AM

As always, great post!! I am 28 this year and sad to admit that my tendency to worry unnecessarily has meant that I'm putting pressure on myself to have certain things crossed off the list before I think about having kids. Eg - savings, no debt, decent job, own my own house - all things that aren't realistic but I guess I'm influenced a lot by my parents (and my mum's tendency to worry - seeing a pattern here?). They had all those things when they had me, and so it's been imprinted on my brain subconsciously that those things are necessary to give a child stability. I rationally know that that isn't true, however I can't beat the undercurrent of FEAR and PLANNING. Wow, was that TMI?!

Nicoolmama | 11:03 AM

I love your blog!! Just love it...
I had my first little boy at 19. While I might not have been "ready" it changed my life just like it would change the life of someone who is "ready."
He is my blessing.

OEsme4046 | 11:34 AM

My life plan, included me getting married at 21, and to have a kid or 2 by the time I was 25. I am now 26 and I have nothing.
I always knew that I wanted to be a young mom. My mom got married at 30 and had me at 31. I did not want to follow in her footsteps.
I love kids so much, that I wanted to enjoy them as much as possible while I was still young.
People always said, "You're too young to have a family", or "You'll miss out on your youth by having kids so soon". Maybe some people felt that way, but I had a different perspective. I felt as if I had grown up years ago. I never felt the same age as my peers. I knew at heart I was older, more mature.

Naturally, there are some women out there who do get pregnant young, and they can't handle it. Those people are the ones that people talk about. No one ever mentions the 17 year old girl, raising a baby by herself, working a full time job and trying to finish school. Those are the girls that I admire and the ones who should be credited. Those are the girls that I secretly wish I was. May not make much sense to some, but that's just me.

Katy | 11:50 AM

I don't know, Rebeca. I think it is an LA thing. Here in Cincinnati, people think you are stranger for having a child at 35, rather than 23. In fact, one young lady at the Grocery store asked my very pregnant, 36 year old friend, if she was going to die because she was "so old" and having a child.

However, I do think that you should not compare having a baby at age 23, with the father still around, when you are out on your own, finished with high school and an adult, with teenage pregnancy. 16 is not 23......... Though I will not ever describe myself as "ready for a child", I can say that I could have handled it a lot easier at an age where I had my own apartment, had finished college, had a job (though a shitty one) and a car, than when I was a sophomore in high school, a child, living with my parents.... Yeah, at 23 it would have been FUCKING HARD, but it would have been doable.

In our city, teenage pregnancy is at epidemic levels. We have schools, where underprivileged young women make pregnancy pacts, because they have been taught that the only thing a woman is worthy for is to have babies, where they themselves have been so very neglected, that the only way they think they can be loved is to have children..... then once the babies are here, the reality is that babies are fucking hard.

It's sad and tragic. It's not a good thing. I know that it is probably a very isolating experience for many of these young women and I am not okay with that at all....... But there are many good reasons to warn young women about teenage pregnancy and to teach them to avoid that situation at all costs. I know that there are some girls that really kick ass and make it happen, but they are the exception, not the rule...

pandorican | 12:45 PM

I was nineteen. And if i had to do it all over again... not sure how things would go. But I respect and admire those who make it work, at ANY age. Especially those who go at it alone. My time as a single mom to a newborn was probably one of the hardest things I ever had to go through. People forget that we are all Moms, all trying to do our best.

Jessica | 1:11 PM

couldn't agree more. Motherhood is a damn hard. Ther last thing we need is other people judging us and critisizing our decisions and choices. As women, AS MOTHERS, we should make an effort to support eachother, even if our parenting styles differ. Becuase, in the end, aren't our goals all the same? to raise happy, healthy, smart, caring, kind people?

Faith | 1:21 PM

I had my first baby at 23, and that was after waiting two years after getting married, so I felt like I was very ready. Now I'm 29 (on Friday!) and have recently given birth to baby # 4. I definitely get looks from ladies (esp. elderly ladies), and even get questioned. I've always looked younger than I really am, which adds to all of that.

As far as isolation: I agree with you that the lonliest time is after the first baby, especially. I am a military wife, and didn't want anything to do with the military social system, so it was partially my fault -- kind of isolated myself -- but it was quite a while before I made an effort to seek out other moms.

Since I've started finding other mothers at the different places we've lived, I've only felt unwelcome at two of the groups (didn't go back), but largely, at least where I've lived, age hasn't seemed to be a factor.

Bex | 1:44 PM

I found your blog eight months ago when I found out I was pregnant (Surprise!) I was 31, in a loving but still new relationship, and terrified. So I scoured the Internet for personal blogs by women who had gone through unplanned pregnancies, and yours was the first I came across. It was a huge comfort to me.

I am not a young mother, but I am an unplanned, unmarried mother. Any type of mom seems to come with its own stigma. It's so ridiculous. We judge because we are uncertain about our own choices. I chose to keep this baby (a little boy, due in two weeks!) because I knew that once I held him in my arms, I would never regret it. I KNEW I wouldn't, even then when I didn't FEEL that I wouldn't. I held onto that knowledge with everything in me through the judgment of friends, the difficulties in my relationship, the massive changes that had me doubting whether I made the right choice. And now that I've made it through the darkest times, and my baby is nearly here, my feelings have finally caught up with what I knew to be true: I made the right decision.

So whether you choose to have a child young, or keep an unplanned pregnancy, or not to keep a baby that comes at the wrong time, ultimately you can't let anyone else's opinions matter. Because you are the one who will have to live with your choices, just as those who judge you struggle to live with theirs. And I fear regret far more than I fear what te world thinks.

Tiffany | 2:14 PM

Married at 17, first kid at 18, second at 21, third at 24.

I love that you are covering this on your blog.

jjlibra | 2:33 PM

oh and want to add that actually, you can't win because i have a friend who married her college sweetheart and waited until after graduate school to have a baby. they were both 30, had masters degrees, owned a house and then when she got pregnant all she heard was "well it's about time!!"

Miamimegs | 3:13 PM

It's funny, I had my last baby when I was 29 and within 6 months of having him I thought, "wow, am I so glad to be done with the baby thing!" I actually felt bad for my friends who were just starting to have children in their 30s!

Three Scobeys | 3:57 PM

I love/appreciate/admire your constant insistence that we moms support each other because, well, women can be MEAN. We can be each others WORST critics...and that is such a shame. You inspire me to support my fellow moms/women/human beings as much as I can. Be damned the critics in my head!

Rachel | 4:34 PM

awesome as usual

Listen Up, MoFos! | 5:19 PM

As the daughter of a teenage mom (she was 17 when I was born) THANK YOU SO MUCH! I never cease to be amazed by your clarity and the beauty of your thoughts. At 37 I can tell you I would love to have more mom friends of any age, especially if they are anything like you.

CKD | 6:10 PM

You, and the other commenters, are awesome! I love the many perspectives I read here.

At 31, I am still single and childless, and don't view that as a character flaw, although I do hope to have a family one day. In the small town where I live, 22 year-olds tell me it's OK! They know lots of women who are older moms and they don't act old at all! Um, thanks.

I often feel judged (or worse: pitied) because I haven't had a family yet. So, you know...apparently there's always someone waiting to tell you you're doing it WRONG no matter what your path or timeline or whatever.

Keep on living good lives, raising happy kids and supporting each other in our choices!

Tara | 6:49 PM

Already have a gazillion comments, but I'll add my two cents anyway.

GREAT post about the choices we make in life when we become mothers. I was 20 when I had my daughter and 22 when I had my son. The nurses in the hospital kept asking who was the father even though my husband was only, oh, two feet away. "He would be the one holding his son," I would say with an obvious attitude.

You really hit the nail on the head about what it means to be a young mother. I invite you to check out my blog, the Young Mommy Life.com, where I pretty much just shred every stereotype of young moms to pieces. Enjoy!

Anonymous | 7:37 PM

I have to agree with Katy. I know we need to support mothers of all ages, but I still can't get behind telling 15 and 16-year-old girls they should be empowered by their teen pregnancies. That is not OK. I know a TON of young mothers who are amazing, sassy, professional, successful role models, but I also know many teens moms who just can't handle the responsibility. I don't think there's anything wrong with saying: pregnancy at any ages...just try and finish high school first.

Bex | 7:43 PM

alright - so my experience: first child, my age, 27.

not exactly a spring chicken.

but i wasn't expecting it either but after 4 and a half years of motherhood and a second child later i laugh when people tell me they are going to "wait to have a child for ..." what better time than now? if you want it, go for it! having children is so involved and changes you so much - there is no GOOD time to do it.

maybe you didn't want it till you had it. but i don't personally know any moms who wish they hadn't become a mom - bad days and all.

Amy | 7:46 PM

I think part of it depends on where you live. I remember wondering, when I read your book, what all the talk about you being so young was. 23 isn't that young to have a kid, at least not in my part of the country. Sure, many women are waiting, I was 31 before I had my first one, but I certainly don't judge anyone who's younger. We do need to support one another, no matter the age or situation.

In Due Time | 7:58 PM

I'm coming from another angle. I wanted kids at 18, 19, 20, 21.. I just turned 25 and I am still childless (not by choice! Thanks infertility!)

But now, I'm going to be one of "THOSE" mothers. THE OLD ONES! lol

I still look 16, though. I imagine I'll get those nanny questions even when I'm 30, 35, or 40.

Amanda K | 6:16 AM

I have to say THANK YOU for this post. You've made me realise it's NOT a crime to be "only" 27 with baby number 5 on the way. I got pregnant with my first at 16 and to this day I am STILL fearful of telling people my age in case they "do the maths" and work out how old I was when he was born. It's CRAZY that it still affects me in a negative way but it does. And when people ask me how old I am because I look so young? I just smile and say thanks! rather than admitting that I AM young. I'm still with the SAME GUY that I was at 16... we might not be rich, we might not have all the bells and whistles in our house and we may not have a fancy ass car, but we have love and we have our family and THAT is what counts. Not being "ready", not money, not anything else but us.

Jen | 7:04 AM

A post script to my comment way above. I was 35 when my daughter was born. When I say to a young mother that I could not imagine having a child at her age, I never meant it to be judgy. I meant it with admiration. I *was* self-absorbed and irresponsible. (That didn't change until the day my daughter was born.) I never thought that young mother would take it that way. I will think before I speak next time. Thanks for opening my eyes to that!

Kate | 7:38 AM

Thank you for this. I had my first son at 16, my second at 22, neither planned. I rearranged everything in my mind and life to do the best I could by my boys, and even though I know it's born of fearful and narrow minds - it doesn't mean it doesn't sting when people trash my decisions or express pity for my kids.

Anonymous | 7:55 AM

Honestly, I get a lot annoyed when early 20-somethings claim to be so "young" as mothers. I found myself pregnant with my daughter as a teenager and by the time I was in my early 20s I had two degrees and was teaching at a university. So 23 and pregnant isn't really "young" unless maybe you were lost or unsure of where your life was going, which at 23 is fine, but it doesn't quite qualify as a "young" mother. Compared to a 30-something mom, sure that seems young, but early 20s is still adulthood.

Because if you found yourself pregnant at 22 or 23, you still had a good several years living as an adult, whereas someone younger went from kid to adult REAL fast. Even if you were an immature early 20-something, you still had years under your belt that a teenager did not.

Young mother? You don't know the half of it.

ELM | 8:09 AM

This post hit the nail on the head. I am a Ph.D. student at a R1 University in a department that "claims" to be family friendly. I am 27 and now am pregnant, by choice, and I am having to deal with comments about being a "young mom". Since when is 27 a young mom? If I were to follow in my dad's footsteps, 1/2 my life would already be over...so is 27 really that young?

I chose this path because I value family as much as I value my career. What is wrong with that? In my estimation, most people are uncomfortable with someone else's choices when they don't mirror their own.

I didn't want to take a chance on my biology and wait another 4-6 years to start trying. I didn't want to put my career before starting a new chapter in my life with my husband; why put off the good stuff in life?

I'll be the first to say that I don't have it all figured out. I have to have a baby, teach, and finish my dissertation, but I am part of a team and I believe we can make it happen, even when I don't see how it will work out.

While I am at peace with our decision and I cannot wait for the next 4 months to go by some moments, I did not anticipate the subtle jerky comments from my peers.

Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com | 8:21 AM

So, a FIRST happened to me yesterday afternoon. I took my dog for a walk on a new path in the trails near our house and ran into a woman pushing a stroller. She stopped to ask me how far along I am and how old I am, yadda yadda, and then BOOM! she said that she and her husband waited until they had $2 million in the bank before having a baby. Because, AND I QUOTE, "it's just irresponsible not to."

I was all "um, we have a few hundred in the bank, does that count?"

And it totally reminded me of this post. ONLY IN LOS ANGELES.

Monica | 8:56 AM

No matter when you have kids if you're a good parent you make it work, and if you're not it really doesn't matter how old you are or how much money you have.

People need to determine what will work for them and not be concerned that it might not be the choice that everyone around them is making.

My personal situation was as a fairly young mother. I had my son when I was 21, and my daughter a mere 14 months later. Although my marriage did not last past my daughters 1st birthday, my kids have been a great joy in my life. I have persued a career, remarried 14 years ago, and now my kids... my babies are both in university. I'm 42 years only and while some of these women are considering starting their families, both kids are working, studying and living (together) on their own. My husband and I are planning the next phase of our lives and I'm so proud of the young adults they've become.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 9:03 AM

I totally believe it, Sarah. I had a boyfriend once who said he wouldn't even think about having kids until he had Ten Mill in the bank. Dude grew up with money and was already on his way when we were dating but TEN MILLION? Really?

Meanwhile we were like you. A couple hundred in savings. Classic, classic.

Cate Subrosa | 9:10 AM

Yes! Thank you!

I am not weird because I chose to get pregnant at 24. I looked at the paths available to me and chose this one. It just means my motherhood experience will be different to if I had waited, not better or worse.

Thank you so much for being a voice, standing up and saying that.

Betty | 9:21 AM

I didn't feel like getting pregnant at 23 was a big deal. I was out of college, had a great job, had been married for a few months, etc. The pregnancy and my resulting twin daughters were a delightful surprise.

I was shocked when my daycare provider asked, out of the blue, how old I was. When I told her, she burst out laughing and informed me that I was just a baby myself and had no business having kids so young. Our experiences were so different-- she was 42 and had three children barely older than mine. I wasn't going to judge her and was furious and very hurt to have her judge me. After that point, she started to treat me like more of a student-- as though I was still learning how to be a mom.

How sad that we can't just coexist. Another horrible case of the mommy wars.

Jenna G | 9:30 AM

I'm 27 and have a 16 month old, but I was married very young (per other's standards) at just barely 21. A lot of my friends married young and have babies, but I think it's because we live in the south and most of my friends are fairly religious. One of my friends waited until she was almost 30 before getting married, and people were like, "wow, I really hope she finds someone soon." I think we all have to squash the snide judgmental woman inside of us and realize that people are different and that's what makes us interesting.

Stephanie | 10:34 AM

Amen Sista! Imagine this: A college graduate at 23, stable career, I fall in love with a recently divorced man who is 20 years OLDER than me, I quit my job, move back to my hometown to be with him, get pregnant, then (Gasp!) get married to him and start my family. Oh, you don't even scratch the subject of judgmental folks with I crossed paths. Let's just say I'm now married 6 years and pregnant with baby number 3! Can I get a front row ticket and rock it out with you? :)

Heather | 10:44 AM

Great post. And I have to say I never would have agreed...until I became a mother myself. My sister got pg in h.s. and then her daughter also got pg at 19...and I had a few judgmental thoughts, believe me. However (!!!) I did support them the best I could w/rides to stores & such.
Now that I have become a mother at the "ripe old age" of 38, I have nothing but the most profound respect for both these women in my life...because they are doing a fantastic job of raising their kids (my niece has 4 children under the age of 6 and she's 23!). I can't imagine doing this motherhood gig at 18, 19, or 38, without an enormous amount of emotional, physical and financial (!) support.
Thank you again for the wise words and support to all of us moms!

paula elaine barnett | 11:24 AM

I'm in the midst of it right now. 22 art school drop out that's 18 weeks pregnant with my first. i definitely went through a "FUUUUUUUUUUCK shit fuck" moment, and still do when I realize that i have no established career, i don't own a home, i'm still in school (for art history. really, really, what can i do with that? sure, plenty, but in these screwed economic days i better get fucking creative FAST otherwise i'll be applying to my local community college's nursing program), and i'm stuck up here in portland whereas my family is in ventura, ca (really, we can trade. you take Portland and ill go back to L.A.)
and everyday i wake up and realize that i have to do this, that the kid is coming no matter what i tell it.
but i've never been happier (and the ultimate present isn't even here yet.)

Erin | 12:01 PM

My husband and I did wait (pregnant with our first at 33) to start a family. But, I distinctly remember hitting a point in my early 20's when I decided if it turned out I was pregnant, then there would be no turning back.

Age doesn't make a good parent. Love, compassion, caring, these things are what make a good parent.

Aimee Greeblemonkey | 2:52 PM

Great post. I did wait till 32 to have my son, but that was my choice. Other people's choices (or hand of cards that was dealt them) is their business.

Hef | 7:14 PM

Just found you via Ms Single Mama. I loooove this post. Love it. Exactly what I needed to hear today.

I had my daughter at 19. I'm 22 now. I remember attending a neighborhood playdate when my daughter was an infant and listening to the other moms reminiscing on the Carter v. Reagan campain.

I wasn't even BORN.

Not one mom in a group of 10 was under 30.

All of the "well-intended" condescending BS I've heard over the last 3 years makes me want to vomit.

lacy | 8:58 PM

I will have my first child this fall. I am 25. I am nervous and scared, but when I saw that little heart beat on the ultrasound monitor, I knew I could do it. It is not a planned pregnancy but I never wanted to live an over-planned life, so here it goes!

Danielle-lee | 9:10 PM

I think we forget that even if they are 16 and it wasn't planned, they are still SCARED and nervous just like those of us who had kids in our 20's, 30's, or 40's. I worked with teens for several years, and I met one of the best moms ever-she was 13 when she had her first, and almost 17 when she had her second. Sure, neither were planned. Sure, she was a kid, having a kid. But omg, she was ROCKING as a mom. I tried to think of her when I was pregnant.

laurenzo | 10:39 PM

i'm the youngest saint bernard owner at the dog park... does that count?

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 218   Newer› Newest»