Pages

DOES YOUNG MUM = BAD MUM?

Thursday, 15 September 2016


This is a topic I have wanted to discuss for a while, but as yet I haven't been able to articulate it well enough to turn it into a video. As you guys will already know, I became pregnant with Oliver aged 19 and had him shortly after my 20th birthday. Although I’m not the youngest of ‘young mums’  and actually gave birth when I was no longer classified as a teenager, I still fall into that category. 

And its been tough.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it, being a parent is hard. It has the most amazing moments yes, and I wouldn't change my life for the world, but it is hard. One of the hardest aspects of parenthood for me has been constantly feeling like I have to prove something because of my age. I have to prove I am a responsible parent. I have to prove I am earning money to support my own child. I have to prove I am a good mum. The media loves to perpetuate this stereotype of all young mothers being these awful women who have no intention of working, go out partying every weekend and dump their children with ‘grandma’ whenever the opportunity arises. I am sure that there are some young mothers that behave in this manner, but I also know that there are older mothers that do the same. 

The truth is I have yet to meet a single young mum who fits this stereotype. Yet I felt the need to prove I wasn’t what society expected. I went back to work part-time when Oliver was only 2 months old, a decision I now look back on and regret. It wasn’t for monetary reasons that I went back to work, although that was nice, it was because I felt as though I had to show everyone that I paid for my own child. That I was the one funding his milk, nappies and clothes.

I’ve felt a tremendous amount of pressure since Oliver was born to show that I am just as capable as a 30+ year old mum. I’ve had other mums comment, trying to be lighthearted, that they wouldn't take my parenting advice because of my age. I had a girl from my secondary school see me in town whilst pregnant and ask me ‘are you happy about that?’ As if I should be unhappy and hide myself away in shame. I’ve had trouble forming friendships with other mums partly because of our differing ages and partly because of my own defensiveness. And that is wrong. I shouldn’t feel like I have to be on guard all the time or like people are judging me. 

I know that I love Oliver and that Oliver loves me back in equal measures. I know that I am a good mum. I just wish that the media would spend a little less time portraying all young mothers as being burdens on the state, because I would hazard to guess that it isn’t true for the majority of us. 

2 comments :

  1. Love this Ellie. I'm 21 and had the exact timeline of baby through to pregnancy as you. I had a shock and was born with the most beautiful baby but with an unexpected disability and I feel it helped me come out of my shell. No one should judge you, because well blowing my own trumpet here but I think I've done a pretty darn good job. My babies, happy, loved, fed, played with and now healthy and alive, surely that means we are doing something right :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Yasmin. Sorry for not replying to your comment sooner, I have only just seen it! Yes exactly, the main thing is that your child is happy and healthy, regardless of your age. I think there is far too much stigma in society about being 'too young' to have children, and also a stigma about being 'too old'. You just can't win! Hope everything is going well for you xx

      Delete