I was a young mom. Am a young mom. Not a teen mom. But in a world where — as the folks at Beloit College so appropriately (and depressingly) pointed out — today’s college students can’t remember a time when there was such thing as “too old to get pregnant,” it’s one of the few places in my life where I’m happily “below average.”
I’m happy with when I gave birth. All things going as planned, we’ll pay off the mortgage just in time to send her to college. That works for me.
Pretty much everything about the when, the why and the how works for me. What doesn’t is the attitude that comes with admitting in 2011 that you’re a young mom. It was what, 15, 20 years ago that this was still “normal,” “average”? How soon we forget that technology, science, may have changed the world for women, but women haven’t changed all that much.
Let’s just shoot these myths in the foot, shall we?
1. We Were Just Too Dumb to Use Birth Control: OK, I can go on and on about the careful planning and lengthy discussions that came before my husband and I even began TRYING to get pregnant. But I don’t really need to. Just look at the statistics. Only 7 percent of women in America are at risk of an unintended pregnancy AND are not using birth control. The rest of us are either infertile, using contraception, or TRYING to get pregnant. Yes, even at 22. With a mortgage. And our brains intact.
2. Young Skin is Elastic Skin: I don’t care what you saw in the magazines. My stomach is a disaster and forever shall be. And yes, I used cocoa butter. And yes, my weight gain was well within the healthy limits suggested by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. It’s called genetics. Leave me and my one-piece alone.
3. It’s a Competition: I was not the first person from my high school graduating class to get pregnant (she delivered BEFORE graduation actually). I didn’t sign a pact. I didn’t have my eyes on the class reunion (which I skipped, by the way). I did care about when I was ovulating. When I could pay off the aforementioned mortgage. My baby, my time table. There’s no winning or losing here people.
4. We’re Too Lazy To Work, So We Chose Motherhood: I’ve heard the census statistics. Stay at home moms tend to be younger and less educated. Talk about a generalization. Save for my seven weeks of maternity leave (which included one week of paid vacation due me by my employer), I have never “not” worked. Not once. And most of the young moms I know are in the same boat. In fact, in my circle of friends, the age is significantly higher in the stays-at-home category.
5. We’re Overgrown Teens Who Have Started the “I Want to Be My Kid’s Friend” Trend: My kid is my kid. I am her mother. She will not be having sex in her bedroom or eating candy at 2 a.m. And she can’t borrow my clothes. I’ve made sure she won’t want to.
Are you a young mom? Do these myths drive you nuts?
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