Being a teen parent is more rewarding than you think

In the world that we live in today, woman are feeling even more empowered than ever before. With the rise of female celebrities donning their feminism caps such as Beyonce and Miley, there really is no going back. The modern woman can multitask. Not that she couldn’t before but 21st century life is a lot more demanding than it ever used to be. Not only do woman now make the same amount of money and have the same opportunities as men do in their careers, but they are also doing this while raising children, studying in further education, owning homes, driving cars, maintaining a social life, helping with homework in one hand and answering emails in the other, and many of them are single. 2014 woman are forced to lead busy lives; reminiscent of Sarah Jessica Parker in ‘I Don’t Know How She Does It.’ Woman fawned over this book and this movie all asking the same question: how does she maintain a career and be a mother at the same time? I used to ask that same question, until I became one of them.

I am 20-years-old and I am currently studying Multimedia Journalism at a Glasgow Caledonian University, I work 10 hours a week in a restaurant, I am renting my own flat, I own my own car and, most importantly, I am a single mother to my two-year-old daughter Lily. I never thought I would be juggling all of these things just past my teenage years but here I am.

Three years ago I couldn’t believe it when I seen that little blue plus sign, it was positive. I had barely turned 18 and just been accepted into university. I had my whole life ahead of me and that little blue plus sign just blew everything out of the water. I had a choice; I could become a statistic in a long line of teenage parents that don’t work, didn’t further their education and lived off benefits. OR I could incorporate this child into the future plans that I had already made and give him or her a life that I knew I was capable of. I chose the latter.

It has been extremely difficult. Nothing is easy about being a parent, no matter what age you are. You are none the wiser and no more experienced as to whether you have a child at 18 or 80. Nothing can possibly prepare you to become a mother. Nothing can prepare you for the sleepless nights, constant crying and nappy changing, how little time you actually have left for yourself and the alienation you feel from your friends and family who are not going through the same thing that you are.

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But that doesn’t last forever. Nothing can prepare you for the love you feel. The love you can feel for that one tiny person that you grew inside of you. Nothing can prepare you for the joy and admiration you have for your child. That first time she says ‘mummy’, the first time you hear her laugh and see her smile. Knowing that you have the privilege of waking up to a miracle every day, nothing compares.

There are so many teen pregnancy prevention speakers out there, many of these were teen parents. Although I understand that teen pregnancy is unbearably hard and I wouldn’t glamorise it or recommend it for anyone, I don’t regret my decision to keep my child and I definitely wouldn’t lecture teenagers on teen pregnancy when I was a teen parent myself.

Being a teen parent forced me to grow up. It forced me to see the world through someone else’s eyes instead of just my own. I became selfless, kind, generous, I make decisions for two people now, not just one and I now spend my nights and days worrying not just for myself, but for her as well. I don’t wish I had had Lily later on in life. I have accomplished and achieved so many things in my life and I can’t mention one person from my hometown that is my age and has achieved all the things I have at such a young age. That is all down to the fact that I am a mother. Being a mother forced me to be this ‘modern multitasking woman’ and I am glad I am.

I don’t feel as though I have lost my youth. I feel empowered as a woman. I can’t imagine how my life could possibly be any better without Lily in it. Sure I would have more freedom, less worries, more time with my friends, but it would have less meaning. I met my reason to live at 18, not many people can say that. She will get to spend more of her life with me and she doesn’t have to worry about me dying of old age any time soon. Most mothers I know that had their children younger are closer to them and I hope to be that close with Lily someday. She is my motivation and my inspiration in everything I do and she makes me the best version of myself that I could possibly be. Yes I was a teen mother. Yes I get judged every day because I have a child. But chances are I’ve achieved more at 20 years old than any of those people that stare at me when I push my pram down the street. And that is something to be proud of.

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