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The Young & The Pregnant

on September 16 | in Pregnancy | by | with 66 Comments

[info_box]Guest Blogger #3: Mae Burke. The voice behind Mother, Mae I? If you ask her fellow Rockport-Fulton Fightin’ Pirates about her, they’ll tell you she’s the overly opinionated girl who they’re surprised can see out through all of the eyeliner and bangs. If you ask her fellow D-F Dubbers, they’ll tell you she’s the overly opinionated woman carrying around the half naked toddler who they’re surprised can see out of the poop covered cloth diapers and cook books. Come by her blog to say hi sometime and see how she got from point a to point b.[/info_box]

Hello Mommypotamus…readers! (“Mommypoty-ites” didn’t sound right and neither did “Mommymaniacs”)

When my mom found out she was pregnant with me, Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach” had finally been kicked off the Billboard Charts, but for her, it would be a platinum hit forever. The year was 1988. She was 15 years old.

“The worst part of my Sophomore year is that every time I walked down the hallway, no one ever looked at me in the eyes,” she said. “They looked straight at my belly.”

Yep, she called me SOBBING after watching the scene in Juno where Ellen Paige’s character has the same experience.

After hearing this [when I called her this evening, she began to tell that story and before she got to "Sophomore year" I had finished it for her ;] and other, much more horrifying stories, I decided I was never going to have sex…Well, I decided I was going to wait until I got married. This was not something my family did-or does. My mother’s sisters were the same age [some younger!] when they had children, her mother was a teenager, as was her mother. The list seemed never-ending.

After fighting endlessly with our marriage counselors about not wanting to take the pill, it was hard to convince them [or anyone else for that matter] that we weren’t going to get pregnant on our honeymoon. After all, that’s the worst thing an 18 and 20 year old could do, right? I was going to stay in college, we were going to get our respective teaching and music degrees, travel the world, have tons of inconsequential sex, and not have kids til our late twenties.

A little more than three months after we got married, the Lord told me to quit school so I could take care of kids. That same week a friend asked me if I could help her with her two girls a few times a week.

WHEW!!!!

For a good hot minute, I thought God was telling me I was gonna be a mom!!! Does He not know my plan?!?! SHEESH! Get it together Big Guy!

Two weeks later, we got a positive pregnancy test.

When I broke the news to my family and friends, I was ecstatic, bouncing off the walls with joy and fulfillment and purpose!

Now, while I didn’t think our situation was as dramatic as my mom’s, nor that it was Glee worthy, most of my family and friends did. I was met with a slap on the wrist, a hung head, a wagging finger, and more often than not “I told you this would happen.”

From that point on it has been two years of “WOW, you’re SO young…” I thought with number two on the way [I am now 21, 10 weeks pregnant] that this time would be different. Nope, not at all. I even got a “Wait, why do you want number two already?” from a man some of you have come to know quite well before we found out we were pregnant again. ;]

So what is this about people?

Why is it that a 27 year old, single woman can get more support and approval on her pregnancy and child rearing than a married, Christian woman? [Not that the don't deserve it! That's not my point.] Where did this stigma come from? Post feminism maybe? A decline in the appreciation or desire for a “traditional” family? A growing national desire to be financially and socially successful before “giving up your life”?

Breaking News!!!!

I can’t even make this up- as I’m editing this my upstairs neighbor [eye roll...you'll have to follow my blog to learn more about that ;] comes down to tell me about “An exciting business opportunity for you and your loved ones” [Garden State, anyone?] I tell her I can’t because I’m pregnant again and she tells me to stick out my hand so she can slap it. True story.

Tonight, I finally called my mom.

I knew I wanted to explore this, and I knew that I couldn’t REALLY say what the pros and cons were because my journey has just begun. My mom had me at 15, Kayla at 18, Allison at 19, and Hannah at 23. She has been there, done that-and all before most people finish college. Here’s what the wise ol’ gal had to say:

Pros

[arrow_list]

  • She was young enough to keep up with us. She was able to run after 3 toddlers in the prime of her youth! I mean, *I* was like the easiest, most helpful, never a hassle child you can imagine [ASK HER! She will back me up on this!] but I know some moms would give up a pinky toe if they could just have that extra year or two sitting on their butts watching the Bachelor taken off.
  • She remembered what it’s like to be a kid. Sometimes it’s hard to remember 30 years ago [says the 21 year old...I seriously have memories from when I'm two...] my mom only has to remember 20 [or 15 in my case!] years back in order to relate to her kids.
  • She’s a young grandma so she has more time for grand babies! I KNOW all of you grandma’s out there would trade some of your own child rearing days for some of the grandbaby loving days IN A HEARTBEAT! My mom-though she might still want to- doesn’t have to!
  • Now, she didn’t add this as a pro, but I will- my mom will be 40, yes FOR-TY!!!! years old when her nest is empty.

[/arrow_list]

Cons

[arrow_list]

  • She admits, she wasn’t mature enough to know when she was being selfish “doing what i wanted to do instead of what I should have done” when it came to raising us those first few years.
  • She says that with age she as learned a lot of tough life lessons that she just hadn’t encountered when she was 15.
  • Now she is more financially stable. She said that this DOES NOT mean she’s making more money, but that she understands money more now and probably wouldn’t have made the mistakes that she did when starting out.
  • She said the worst was the judgment. “Parents, kids…I wasn’t safe from anyone.” I grew up never knowing the wiser, my mom dealt with it with such grace…something I pray I can learn to do.

[/arrow_list]
Aren’t all of those “cons” what every mother out there has to say? This list could have easily been written by a 45 year old woman about her starting her family at 30. I didn’t realize this until after I started typing it all out. My mother’s “regrets” were only partially due to her age.

So then I asked her the burning question “What, if anything would you change?” I could hear her think sincerely about it. Her only change would be the choice of [deadbeat douchebag jerk-face] partner she had me with. That was it. She was adamant that her age was very important in having us and she would NEVER change it. It kinda blew me away…

What about me? I’m a product of this, right?

While yes, it’s annoying to hear *spit take* “WAIT, you’re mom’s HOW old?!? You mean, we’re the same age?!?” In every gathering of women I’ve ever been in, and yes, I think it’s super weird that she’ll be 75 when I’m 60, and yes…truthfully, sometimes I felt she was more of a sister [in both the good and the bad ways] at times growing up. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

So here’s to breaking down stereotypes all of you young moms out there! Here’s to raising beautiful, intelligent, sometimes weird children. Here’s to a society of confident women. Here’s to raising our children to follow God’s plan, even when it doesn’t match up to our own.

Here’s to you, “Grandma Viducic,” you 37 year-old grandma, you.

Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”

Thanks for letting me share, Mommypotamus!

*Leave a comment below to help Mae win the SUPER BIG guest blogger contest!

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66 Responses to The Young & The Pregnant

  1. Des says:

    okay, love this post and I love your “voice” when you write. Good job! I was 21 when I got married and 22 when I got pregnant and even 4 years after you I still got a lot of that. Now living in Europe (where women do not even THINK about getting pregnant till 30) to be 26 and pregnant with my 3rd is insane to them. But I say bring on the insanity!

    • Mae says:

      This actually wasn’t *too sore* of a topic til recently.

      I kid with my friends that I should move to Mexico where this is more common, lol. Or just get a darker tan [I'm a quarter Mexican] that way I could just get people’s racist judgement and be done with it all ;] [i kid, i kid]

  2. Kristine says:

    Now that I’m in my mid-30s and haven’t had kids yet, I can really agree with the pros you mentioned. :) After spending a couple hours with my beautiful but high-energy niece, I’m already worn out. It makes me think, how will I ever have enough energy for kids of my own? I wish I could borrow some of her energy. :) Plus, when my kid is 18, I would already be 54. (And that’s if I miraculously get married and have a baby next year…which might not happen.) Yikes!

    • Mae says:

      There is still great hope for you! Not only are you a part of a very loving and wise family, but with age DOES come wisdom! I guess I forgot to mention that Eamon, my husband, has parents who are the exact same age as my grandparents…like their birthdays are in the same month! And I do have to say, they raised a fine young man! ;]

  3. great post Mae! it’s hard to believe like you said, that people would have less respect for a married woman for being pregnant at a young age and more for an older single woman. i, unlike you, got pregnant at 25, was separated from my now-husband for 3 mos of the pregnancy, and only had ONE negative reaction that i know of (it was horrible, and it was from my “Christian” boss), everybody else was like, “you don’t need him anyway, your baby will be fine with just you…”
    there is not a single thing wrong with the way you and your family did things, and it’s really sad the way society looks at things so backwards! but, no matter what you do, there will always be somebody who disapproves, because we’re all different. what matters is that your kids are being raised in a loving, godly home, whether you have them at 18 or 31 or 44!

  4. Lilys Grandma says:

    This post makes me so proud. YOU make me SO proud.

  5. Wow, what a great post. You’re a great writer! Thank you for bringing some attention to this topic. I’ve been wanting to get pregnant and have children since I was in my early 20s. I got married 2 years ago and have desperately wanted to start a family but for a number of different reasons we had to wait. I get SO TIRED of hearing ‘how young’ I am and that I have plenty of time, what’s the rush etc. Just because more women are having children in their 30s these days does not mean that having them earlier is too young. Just as I respect a woman’s decision to not have children or start her family when she is 40 I so wish that my desire to have children when I’m ‘young’ would be respected.

    This year I turned 27 and my husband and I are finally ready to start a family in 2011. I’ll be 28. My dream of having all my children before I’m 30 and being a really young mom is out the door but I wouldn’t change anything because so much inner growth and transformation has occurred in those years which will make me a better mom. I’ve been looking forward to starting my own family since the day my 40yr old mother told me she was pregnant (I was 14).

    I have decided to blog about my experience of preparing my body/mind/soul for pregnancy and will continue to share my journey through conception, pregnancy and birth.

    Thank you for sharing your journey. It’s so nice to meet a young mom who is loving her decision to start a family :)

  6. Heather says:

    Thanks Mae for such an entertaining and perspective-challenging post. I laughed out loud!

  7. Tana says:

    I can so relate to both of these extremes…I got pregnant my first semester of college and had to drop out – I was eighteen, and everyone said I was a baby having a baby and was throwing my life away.. Six more children later, I had my latest baby at age 44, but with three grandchildren already here. I got more than my share of raised eyebrows at that, too. I can see LOTS of pros for both extremes, early or late, and I wouldn’t change having my babies for anything. People can be so weird about it, either way, though. I think our society has forgotten how to be happy about having children.

    • Mae says:

      “I think our society has forgotten how to be happy about having children. ”
      I couldn’t agree more! There are so many areas of child rearing that have brought this to my attention and it saddens me. I think I’ve met you once and I swear, my first impression was “She looks SO wise” I wanted to just listen to you talk all day!
      One of my coworkers said “Babies having Babies” every chance he got…it was hard to have a gracious spirit.

      • Tana says:

        Thanks, Mae. If I have learned anything in life, it’s from real living, making lots of mistakes or being on the receiving end of other people’s mistakes, and having God’s grace through ALL of it. I am sorry to admit that I laughed out loud about your coworker’s heckling. I’ve SO been there! It’s only funny later on!

  8. Aunt Anissa says:

    Megan you are wise beyond your yrs :) Of course I had 5 by the time I was 22. I really don’t know how I did it at the time..But I know at 41 theres no way I could do it now ! Someone once told me when I found out I was pregnant wth #5 that God would not give you more than you can handle :)
    He knows exactly what he”s doing. You are a beautiful, wise woman.

    • Lilys Grandma says:

      Sister, we did a great job, and our lives…our children and grandchildren are proof of it. We struggled…but who doesnt? Thank you, for taking the time to read maegans post. I am overwhelmed with pride, and knowing that she “gets it” makes my heart smile.

  9. Shari VV says:

    Yay for you! What a great post and you are hysterical. I’m one of those cracking up that your mom is 4 years younger than me!! I just had my first baby and I’m 41 :) I bet you are a wonderful mom who will be able to relate to your kiddos at a level I can only dream of, despite my grand delusions that I am and will still be hip enough to handle my son’s teenage years.

    • Mae says:

      One of my very dear friends is exactly your age. She has 6 kids, one who is 6 months older than Lily. We joke all the time that she’s my mom away from home, but the truth is she’s one of my best friends!

      And don’t worry about being “hip” I think all of our children are gonna think we’re trying WAY too hard ;]

  10. Julie says:

    What an interesting post! I have a few things I’d like to say.

    First, to be really analytical for a second: society flinches at the thought of young women getting pregnant because it’s just a fact that statistics are not on your side. I won’t reiterate them here because I’m sure you have heard them thrown at you a lot. What I want to say is that while statistics can be useful and helpful, they don’t determine one’s trajectory in life. Our current President’s mother was 18 when she gave birth to him. Whether you like him or not (NOT the point here!), you cannot deny he has been extremely successful and accomplished much for himself as a person. With a teenage mother! Tons of people, yourself included, have had very young moms and have grown up into happy, well-adjusted, successful adults.

    I have a similar yet opposite experience from you. I am 31 and remain childless by choice. I’ve been married 5 years, and people are starting to get somewhat uncomfortable with the fact that we haven’t reproduced yet, and that we have no plans to in the near future. I am receiving a similar judgment as you, just for different reasons. Society seems to have this vision that you are supposed to have kids in your late twenties, and that’s it! If you deviate from that on either end, something must be wrong. What I think is that we should stop passing judgment on people’s choices. When to get married, if they get married at all. When to have children, if they have children at all. Whether to be a working mom or a stay at home mom. You get the picture.

    I get called selfish for not having kids because my husband and I travel a lot. It’s so ridiculous. They are really too personal to share here, but let’s just say that someone calling me selfish is really insulting and they probably wouldn’t if they knew my real reasons. So I don’t entirely know why society seems so intent on judging all women who don’t have kids in their late twenties. But you are not alone in your choices being less than mainstream and being judged for it.

    You are taking a road less traveled, and you are working hard to make it work. I have infinite amounts of respect for that. It doesn’t have to be the same road as me for me to respect it. You made a choice, and it’s a valid choice. Life is hard no matter which road you take. But life is also incredibly beautiful, and it can be no matter which road you travel. Keep going… :)

    • Tana says:

      Hi Julie, my husband and I travel ALOT with our baby. He has flown 25 times already, in his nine months of life. We have been all over the US, both during the pregnancy and many times afterwards. Just so you can know, when and if you do decide to have a little one, he or she won’t have to slow you down much. The biggest problem we have now is that taxis don’t like to pick us up if we don’t have a carseat (which we never do because we pack light, only take carry-on luggage) so we now always have to rent a car/carseat, take trains or buses or trams, or walk, haha. He has been to the mountains, the beach, hiking, walking, up to Pike’s Peak on the cograils, at jazz festivals and food festivals and through more museums than I can count, and all kinds of restaurants. We are taking him on his first trip out of the county to COLOMBIA in a couple of weeks. But we also have trips to England, Mexico, and Canada planned. Breastfed babies are the easiest! They require no special equipment and will sleep anywhere as long as Mommy is there. Plus they tend to be less fussy and are easily soothed by nursing. My husband was really worried that we would lose our fun when the baby came, but it has been AWESOME!

      • Julie says:

        Hi Tana! Thanks for the response. That’s wonderful that you are not scared off by traveling with a baby, your travels sound amazing! I am actually not terribly fearful of the prospect either. Everywhere I have been, I’ve encountered children under age 5. I met this family on a plane this summer who recently took their 7 and 9 year old sons to Cairo, and the year before that they all went on an adventure excursion to Costa Rica. We have some good friends who took their 15 month old to Shanghai (15 hour flight from NY!) and he did fine. So I know we would keep traveling the way we do after a baby. Having children is just not where I am in life right now. Maybe someday!

        where are you going in Mexico? I absolutely adore that country, I hope to explore more of it in the years to come. I would be so curious to hear about Colombia too, that one is on my list. My husband is a little scared due to its reputation, but I’m game!

    • Mae says:

      Julie, I am VERY glad you commented. I always enjoy [read get frazzled, argumentative, hot headed, amused, and sometimes even let out an "AMEN!"] reading your comments.

      You’re totally right, our country was built by and maintained by men and women who do not have cookie cutter pasts! And while I didn’t vote for him [but don't you DARE! call me a Republican...I voted Paul ;] our current president IS an example of success with a hard working, young mother. The funny thing about statistics is that they never seem to help YOU. If there is a 1 in 5 chance you will survive the type of cancer you were just diagnosed with, hypothetically of course, the odds don’t really matter to you. You either will or won’t survive. Does that make sense?

      And I don’t know what it is in us that makes us so quick to judge, I’ve been on both ends. So again, I agree with you when you say “What I think is that we should stop passing judgment on people’s choices.” I have been equally as insulted when someone calls me “irresponsible” when they have NO idea what they are talking about and have learned recently that thinking someone else is “selfish” for making choices like yours is hypocritical.

      Thanks for the shared…yet opposite…yet identical experience. Cant’ wait to read your blog ;]

      Oh and ps, way to live my once “dream life”…no mine more lines up with Tana’s…which is yours…plus kids!

      • Julie says:

        Hi Mae! Thanks for the response. I 100% see your point and agree with you about statistics don’t really matter to you when you’re in the situation. I’m not knocking statistics, they certainly have their place. But like I say sometimes to illustrate this point: NYC is overall a very safe city. But it still has some bad neighborhoods. Acknowledging that it is a safe city can be helpful in some circumstances. But if I’m being held at gunpoint in the south Bronx, do I really care how safe the upper west side of Manhattan is? No!

        There are unfortunately some teenage mothers who do a terrible job with their children, we all know that. But it doesn’t mean anything to you personally. Smearing every young mom with the bad decisions of some is just wrong. And on the flip side, it’s not like waiting until your late twenties/early thirties to have a child ensures that you’ll be a good parent! I know, I’m sure you do too, some absolutely horrid parents who are older than 25.

        My hope is that maybe we all can stop being so judgmental and realize that everyone has different circumstances, ambitions, experiences, value systems, etc. You never know anyone else’s individual situation as well as they do. And I definitely include myself in this, I am really not perfect at this!

        Great post!!

  11. Julie says:

    I was 21 when I got married and 22 when I had my first. I wouldn’t change a thing! I love my son and my other children as well. I think when you are doing God’s will, then you have an inner peace, but sometimes it’s hard to remind yourself of that when you do get those comments. My 4th is due any day now and I still get, “Is this your first?” I should mention I look really young still. But I am glad to hear your story. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Connor says:

    Hi Mae, thanks for sharing your experience! you have an awesome turn of phrase and i really enjoyed reading your post! there are always pros and cons to all things in life but an attitude like yours will always make the best out of whatever the situation. Its a shame some feel the need to inflict their prejudices or opinions on others but i’m sure the love of your family is more than enough to compensate for the odd petty remark :0) I also happen to know your mom and she is one of the coolest grandmas ive ever known! I look forward to reading more x

    Connor.

    • Lilys Grandma says:

      Thanks Connor! Maegan has always been very mature and all too realistic to Lifes curve-balls…my only hope is that she embraces mother-hood with an open mind, and knowing, that no matter what ANYONE else says. SHE knows whats best for her children, and, when something isnt working, just change it.
      I applaud her for being so outspoken and well written…People take notice!!

  13. Lesley says:

    Great Post Mae…my mom was 16 when she had me…so I too have always gotten the weird looks when I share her age. But we too grew up more like sisters than mother and daughter at times…and while that was fun…we now realize that it probably wasn’t always best! Then you have me who did the total opposite of her… I didn’t have my first baby until I was almost 31! All situations have their pros and cons…I think the biggest thing is identifying the challenges for those and doing our best to make the wisest choices out of them!!

    • Mae says:

      I think that this:
      “I think the biggest thing is identifying the challenges for those and doing our best to make the wisest choices out of them!!”
      could be the best comment yet! REGARDLESS of age, if we all had this attitude for ourselves I think it would be much easier for us to not pass judgement on others! Thank you for sharing!

  14. Christy says:

    I don’t think I could ever agree it was God’s plan for a teenager to start a family…that’s the only part of this post that sticks out as wrong to me. It’s great that you have a positive outlook, but I would hope this is not an encouragement for teenage parents.

    • Lilys Grandma says:

      As you read, i was a teen mom, and tho i do NOT advocate ANY other teenage girl to do so, I can NOT say that it was NOT part of Gods plan, for my life to unfold the way it has, creating 4 beautiful, intellgent, funny, and all around *normal* young women. God does have a plan, and tho i could have made better choices in Life, I know that what has HAPPENED was MEANT to be, and all a PART of Gods plan, FOR ME.

    • Mae says:

      One, that was not the point of this post- it was to point out that even a married woman will be judged if she gets pregnant “too young.”
      Secondly, I will not continue this conversation if you are not a believer. To say that you believe that God’s plan is “wrong” hints that you don’t believe in His Sovereignty in all situations. Also, you have no idea the horrible circumstances in which my mother got pregnant. God truly blessed her in a shit-storm of a situation.
      Either way, I don’t think that you or I can effectively argue what is or isn’t God’s plan as neither of us are Him. But I can guarantee you that in my instance God spoke directly to me telling me [AT NINETEEN] that it was time for me to start a family.

      Know that I do not take what you said lightly.

    • Kelly F. says:

      In America, women used to get married much younger than they do now! My husband’s grandmother’s sister (great, great, aunt, or something like that?) got married at 14! And the funny thing is, women were prepared for marriage then, unlike much of society today. I think in school I was prepared well for a career, but not for being a wife or mother. Anyway, I think the age is unimportant compared with one’s readiness. We got married at 18, and I had a list of things I wanted in a spouse and had prayed and thought this through. We waited to have children, but I wish that we hadn’t waited because they are such a blessing to me! God doesn’t list a specific age in the Bible for getting married or having children (seems that our physical ability to have children starts quite young, though), but He does tell us what makes a good wife and mother – those are the things we all strive for. I think as long as we are seeking Him, and maybe getting wisdom from others in our journey, motherhood can start early or late, and still be part of His plan. I especially don’t think it could be wrong for a married couple to have children, even if they are young! I think Mae is doing a great job as a mother, better than some older mothers I know, so I don’t think age is necessarily an indicator. I wouldn’t advise an unmarried woman to go out and get pregnant, whether she is 15 or 30, but even God says that He can work all things together for them that love HIM, as we can see in the story of Mae’s family.

  15. I don’t think she’s trying to promote teen pregnancy in the sense that unwed high school girls should get pregnant, but rather that young mothers shouldn’t be looked down upon– after all, she was married and done with high school.

  16. Kayla Viducic says:

    Maegan this is a great post. I read almost everything that you write and they are all great. You have a way with words. You are so pationate about what you write and feel it just makes sense. I’m proud to be your sister and I love you no matter what you do with your life. Love you and miss you tons.

  17. oh, and i’m pretty sure Mary the mother of Jesus was a teenager… that was definitely God’s plan!

  18. Esther says:

    LOVE IT! love you, Mae, and your blunt honesty, your beautiful testimony…I love you for being so real! may we all follow your example of being open and real. A loud “AMEN” to the verse “let no man despise your youth…”

  19. Eamon says:

    Maybe the stigma isn’t there for men, since most men my age just bolt when situations like this arise, but I do find it hard to explain to people why I am the only one working! Other young parents just don’t get it, and I think they are actually either making life harder for themselves, or putting the cost of lifestyle on the children.

    I love that picture of Lily and her grandma!

  20. Whittney says:

    Mae! I have been thinking about your post all day and am ashamed to admit that I have judged young mothers from time to time. (Boo. Hiss) Here are my thoughts:

    First, I know quite a few young people and SO MANY of them are irresponsible, self-obsessed and totally out of touch with reality. I can see very easily why everyone around them cringes at the thought of them raising a child. But you and Eamon totally shatter that stereotype. You are a very gifted and selfless mother. You educate yourself about birthing choices, nutrition, attachment-style parenting and are constantly seeking the Lord for wisdom about your marriage and Lily. I also see you choosing to rely on the Lord to provide. In the last year of getting to know you, I have been so impressed.

    Second, our culture on the whole puts money, material possessions and education before family because they have lost eternal perspective. I know constantly being judged gets under your skin but I think you have a great opportunity to let others know about your love for the Lord. When they chastise you, you can say something like “I know that you think being a young mother is irresponsible, but I am committed to raising my children for the Lord b/c they are a gift from Him. What wisdom can you offer me from your parenting experiences?” That opens the door for conversation about your faith AND softens their heart toward you.

    Now that I said all that, I want you to know that I would very likely poke someone in the eye if they assumed I was a bad mother b/c of my age. Do as I say and not as I do!

    You’re doing a great job Mae!

  21. What struck me was that your mom is a year younger than me…and I am chasing around a 2 and 4 year old! While I don’t really want to be a grandma right now, I would have loved to have started my family earlier than 33 but, I did not even meet my husband and get married until 30. That was God’s plan. I think when you are older, it can be hard to give up your life for your kids because you are so set in your ways. Sure you might be more financially stable but that is not what it takes to have a happy family. I am amazed at how people pass judgement so quickly. If you are able to provide a stable loving family, more power to you.

  22. biscuit23 says:

    Thank you for this post! I was 21 when I got married (and I’m 25 now). We’re waiting on the kid thing, but I’m not taking oral contraceptives (we’re using barrier methods+Fertility Awareness Method)…and every time anyone finds out about that, I get the whole “responsibility lecture.” Jeez!
    Anyway, great post, and thank you for your honesty. There is definitely a stigma to being a young mom, especially where I come from. However, God leads us all down different paths, and we all have to be willing to respect that. Among young parents, pregnancy does not always equal irresponsibility. Sometimes it just equals blessing. :)

  23. Em says:

    Living in Chicago, I’m a young mom at 28. Isn’t that insane?!? All my mommy groups are filled with much older women. It’s not an issue until they start reminiscing about the ’80s, then ask me what I remember and I say…”Nothing. I was 8 when they ended.” I’m also taking time off from teaching to be with my daughter, which gets a lot of head-shaking. My thought, though, is that by the time other women my age are having kids, mine will be in school and I’ll be back to my career. I’m just doing things in a different order.
    My husband was born to a very young mother, and I think he turned out great :)

    • Mae says:

      That IS crazy! I have had very similar experiences with the “pfft, how could you remember that?” One time someone made a pop culture reference that I honestly shouldn’t have known and they said “HA! What were you, 10 when that happened???” I thought about it and said “…no, actually…I was 4!” It tends to make some people uncomfortable ;] And go you for taking the road less traveled and taking time out for your kids! I know it’s not everyone’s decision, and I know not everyone CAN do it, but it is always great to see a mom who can, DO!

  24. Michelle says:

    Well, I definitely have to agree with you that there is a stigma in our society against young mothers. It certainly seems more socially acceptable to have a baby when you are 40 than when you are 20. And frankly, that is just backwards to me. I can say this because I’ve been both. Having 6 children who’s ages span from 21 months to 19 years old (today!) I’ve experienced prejudice from both ends of the spectrum. My first child was born when I was 22 and my last child was born when I was 39 (for those of you that don’t do math – I’m 41now). I can honestly say that my mother wasn’t happy the first time I got pregnant and nor was she happy the last 2 times I got pregnant. The first time she felt I was too young and wasn’t going to be able to finish …. dun, dun, DUN… (that was my scary music)…college. Didn’t matter that I was married or self supporting, I just wasn’t going to have that piece of paper because I was choosing to stay home. The last two times she wasn’t happy because .. well … I was too OLD now. Go figure. This is how I see it. There are young mothers who are absolutely fabulous. One of them wrote this post. :) There are some that frankly don’t deserve a dog much less a child. However, I know plenty of older mothers who completely disgrace the name of motherhood. I think it’s not so much a matter of age anymore (or at least it shouldn’t be) as it is in pious judgement. I think that when we sit back with our Pharisaic arms crossed we can most definitely find wrong in people. Judgement, rather than compassion and prayer, is a much easier reaction for all of us. I’m guilty as are most of you. It’s a heart adjustment we need. It’s reminding ourselves that ALL children are a gift and blessing from the Lord, no matter the circumstances of how they arrived here. And I guess that’s all! lol!

    • Mae says:

      Michelle, I know you know I know you know what I’m going through…my mother-even though I beat her record of holding out til 15, wasn’t that thrilled when I got pregnant either. She’s a GREAT grandma and she loves Lily more than she loves me [true story!] but it was heart breaking not to hear “YESSS!!!! MY BABY’S HAVIN A BABY!!!!”…either times… I love you and your courage and your stubborn confidence!

  25. Ashley says:

    what a great post Mae!! as a teenage Christian young lady who wants to stay pure until marriage, and give God control of how many kids/spacing and all that, your blog is a wonderful testimony to me. i love that there are young moms out there, not much older than me really. anyways, great post, and i love your blog!

    • Mae says:

      What an amazing decision, Ashley! It’s so hard to convince young women these days that purity before marriage is essential and WORTH IT! My husband and I can tell you of the “horror” stories we heard from all of our friends who had at least one partner wait, but we both waited…and we’ll just say it’s fun ;] Thanks for reading and commenting!

  26. Lucy says:

    I’m 30… wait, no, 31 years old (yes, I forgot for a moment, had to calculate), and I still feel inexperienced when it comes to raising my baby. I loved this post, sincere and… here’s to following His will in our lives, not our own, in everything we do, with Thanksgiving and joy!

  27. Valerie says:

    Mae you are an awesome mom. =) I’ve enjoyed reading your honest, non-sugar coated thoughts on life and parenting. Life’s a journey fo shizzle. =)

  28. Awesome writing and a great perspective. Loved it!!!

  29. This was beautifully written.

  30. B Hulet says:

    Wonderful!!!!

  31. Lainie Sisson says:

    I am a friend of your mother. She’s a beautiful woman, inside and out. I can only imagine how blessed you are to have her as an inspiration. My 17 year-old son and girlfriend are expecting their daughter to be born in 3 weeks. I hope to inspire them as she has done for you! I have no doubt that you will be a success in all that you do…as an adult, a woman, a mother, and someday a grandmother as well.

  32. Jennifer M. says:

    Thanks for writing this I really enjoyed reading it. I had a similar experience to yours. Got married right out of high school at 18. I was a preachers kid and everyone thought I was pregnant I am sure lol. Planned on going to college but decided why get myself into debt when I dont even know what I want to do with my life? I’ve always wanted to be a mom more than anything else anyway. So after 7 months of marriage I quit the pill and got pregnant at age 19. I turned 20 a few days before my son was born. Went on to have 2 more boys and my youngest just turned 1. So I have 3 kids and I am 25. Honestly I could have waited a couple more years and been more mature. But God has plans and he has grace and he is growing me more and more. I wouldnt take back my children and I’m glad I didnt go off to college at that age! My children showed me what I really want to do. I started making health conscious decisions when I started having them and now I’m a very crunchy mama! I love birth and I am so into learning about health and nutrition. Having kids blossomed me into a woman I am proud to be. Sure I am not perfect but God cant use people who think they are. I have so many skills and wisdom from being a mom that I could have never learned in college. And I am not knee deep in dept either. Children are a blessing from the Lord!

  33. Eli says:

    It was never explicitly said, but my family somehow left with the impression that it`s best to finish your education, do what you have to do, and then have children.
    My mother was super strict also, so when I turned 18, I became a party girl, smoking, eating sh*t and not caring, quitting school, working meaningless jobs… Eventually I grew out of it, I wizened up, went back to school, did (well, still doing) everything properly (and, yes, quit smoking 4 years ago ;)). I am now 25 and have 2 years left to complete a psychology degree.
    My boyfriend and I have been together for 7 years. We do plan to marry as soon as I am done with my school. School is important to me, I absolutely enjoy learning (psychology is pretty interesting after all). There is also an element of some sort of implicit pressure from my family to have an education. Every single person in my family is extremely well educated, and I know that no matter how many times they tell me that they will be happy if I was a garbage woman, I know that this isn’t the entire truth. But I am only doing this for 3% of the reason why I want to finish school before kids. A good 62% is because I want my education – and all of the experiences that come with it – starting a safe cosmetics club, the parties, the friends, the incomparable feelings of zen after the last final before summer… The remaining 35% is that so I can have better chances of one day landing a decent job.
    At the same time, I am yearning to have his babies – or could it just be that I’m reading too many “mommy” blogs? ;))) (NB – I am reading them for their health-advice value ;))
    I think it is natural – I have found the man I want to spend my life with, and I’m quite in touch with my role as a female in this world. When my time comes, I want to have 1, 2, 3, 4…. we will see.
    As much as I’m “open” to mistakes, I know I will be quite distressed if it happened before I throw my convo hat. One thing is sure – I will NOT spend 9 more years in school (like I had originally planned a few years ago) in order to get a PhD. Not while my uterus is screaming. Perhaps one day after I’ve had all my children, but we will see when I get there.

  34. Sunny says:

    Awesome post.

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