Maybe you are like me. Perhaps finding out that you are pregnant and you want to keep your child has turned your life into chaos. You’re not sure how things are going to work out and maybe you are feeling some regret – or a lot of regret. I really wanted to escape the consequences of my actions. I had been pretty careless doing whatever I wanted. Now that those voices of “sex can wait” were right, I was really hurting. I was embarrassed, overwhelmed, even scared. But I have to tell you, all of these feelings were different from shame. See, I felt remorse because I couldn’t perform under the pressures I had faced, and I had let my mother and family down. This is a natural response when we make a mistake. Yet always remember this point, mistakes are a part of being human and living. No one escapes this. When people try to shame you for making a mistake, it is just flat-out wrong. If you are facing teen pregnancy, rejecting shame from your peers and society may be something you have to confront often.
It was hard enough facing my new world being pregnant, but being judged and questioned felt unbearable. I didn’t want to talk about my situation. I definitely didn’t want to explain myself either. People are curious and gossip is enjoyed, but this was definitely one of the worst parts of being a teen mom: Facing rude people with nosey questions. To tell you the truth it still happens. When people ask the age of my children, I usually get some kind of further probing questions that follow when my first answer doesn’t satisfy.
In many ways I have gotten used to it, but I definitely carry myself differently then I did when I was a teen mother. As young mothers, be prepared and know your worth. Own your current situation with responsibility and self-forgiveness for any mistakes you have made. Know that when people come at you with rude put downs or demeaning questions that they have no reason to ask, they are in the wrong. You have every right not answer questions that make you uncomfortable. Truthfully you are more than worthy of love and support. Do not feel bad about giving yourself time to adjust to your new life as a mom. Maybe you will not get the kindness you deserve from everyone in your reach of the world, but you can choose to embrace it where it is available. Support groups, social media, your family or friends, a teen mom community where other moms get what you’re going through – all good sources to fuel up on love. Soak up all the support and positive material you can find. Be ready for stereotypes and judgment, just never accept them for your life.
I heard a wonderful speaker from the civil rights era give a talk recently. She had lived and worked in a time when she had good reason to fear judgement and cruelty. She pursued her education and, step by step, she had lived a successful life. She said something that day that struck into my core,
“Never let others make you feel inferior, let someone else wear that label.”
How many times as a teen mom did I put my head down and wear what someone else said I was? I was hurting and overwhelmed, unsure and stressed out. I needed support, not judgement. Let’s strive as a culture to end the hurt. #Youngmamas, keep your head up! #pleasingabba
Need some suggestions on how to respond to rude questions or people? I found this post to be helpful: