The moment that you find out that you’re growing a tiny human is a moment that you will remember for the rest of your life, no matter what age you are. It is a moment that is filled with an array of emotions; fear, excitement, worry and wonder, but it is one that you will cherish for all eternity.
It is true that everything changes, your attitude, your priorities, your worries and sometimes your plans. But that is not always a bad thing.
It is fair to say that even in today’s society, there is often still a stigmatism attached to being a young mother. You may sometimes feel that other, older individuals are looking down on you and that society as a whole views you as less capable in comparison to your older counterparts in relation to parenting. You may face challenges, such as continuing your education, maintaining friendships and keeping up-to-date with your once lively and vibrant social life, and you may wonder how you’re going to do this.
What you may not realise, is that you are capable, you are strong and you will be equally as good a parent as those ten years your senior.
Initially you may scrutinize what others are thinking regarding the new direction your life is taking. You may hear ignorant and unwanted comments like ‘What a waste of a young life’ or ‘what will happen to her career?’ These comments will come from those whose business, your life is none of and you will realise in time that you have defied them and proved them wrong in so many different ways.
Having a baby while still in education, is no walk in the park. Between meeting assignment dates, keeping hospital appointments and planning for the biggest change life has to offer, you will find yourself exhausted and often stressed, but you will succeed. You will learn to juggle your priorities and become effective in managing your time, qualities which will be of benefit to you as a parent. You will work harder than any other time in your life, in an attempt to sustain your top grades and pave a solid pathway for your future. None of this sounds like an un-capable parent.
Your usual Saturday night out will more than likely be replaced with an evening full of cuddles and cleaning. This however, is temporary. Before you know it, your son or daughter will be all grown up, but you will still be young enough to have fun with them and enjoy each milestone their lives have to offer.
You may not have had the opportunity to hold down a full time job for long enough to qualify for maternity leave or benefit. This does not mean that you cannot provide your child with everything he or she needs. It just means that you will have to be efficient in managing your money. This is a skill many individuals your age will not yet have mastered, as they have not been required to. You however, will learn the meaning of money management quite quickly, a skill requisite for any successful life.
Up until now, you may not have had many real responsibilities, however now that you’re a parent you have been entrusted with the greatest of all responsibilities; sustaining another’s life. You will care for and worry about your precious child more than you ever thought was possible and you will learn the real meaning of love and empathy. You will experience the greatest of highs when things are going well, and the most harrowing of lows when your little one is unwell or in trouble. Your scale of emotions will stretch above and beyond that of your previous life.
Career wise, you will worry about when the right time to return to, or start work is. You will agonize over childcare options and may feel an overwhelming sense of guilt for leaving your little one in an attempt to follow your career aspirations. But worry not, your child will thank you in years to come when you have made a life for them that you never thought was even possible.
It is important to know that having a baby by no means leads to the extinguishing of your hopes for the success of your career. Yes your priorities may change, but your abilities do not. You can still have your ideal job and be a competent and capable young mother.
Some mother’s may choose to stay at home and look after their child full-time. This is a job which can be more testing and rewarding than any you are employed to do and deserves recognition and respect.
So don’t stress over the ideals of those whose opinions are irrelevant. Don’t dwell on negative comments made by uneducated and old-fashioned individuals. Look to the future and to the life you have to look forward to with your little family.
Your life isn’t over because you’ve had a baby, it’s only beginning!