When people ask how old I am, and I reply with 24, they quickly do the maths and realize I became a mum at a young age. I was 18 when I had Mia, in college and living a typical teenage life. I was care-free, I knew children were in my future, but not my near future.
If you’ve read ‘I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant’ you’ll know that her arrival was far from expected. Her birth left me in a state of shock for months, for months it felt like my life had been turned upside down.
Eventually, once the dust had settled, I knew she’d been sent to me for a reason, she saved me.
I didn’t leave the house for the first few weeks of her life, I was petrified of the looks I’d get and the comments that would be whispered behind my back. I should have been proud of my beautiful little girl, but I hid.
Many assume young mum’s are bad mum’s. Some of the stereotypical comments I’ve heard/read over the years have filled me with fury. I have cried, I’ve raged, I refuse to be tarred with the same brush.
At 19 I became pregnant again, this time with my little Theo. By the age of 20 I was a mother of two.
Most of the girls I went to school with were at university or in full-time high-flying jobs. I’d swapped notepads for coloring books and nights out for night feeds. I’d put my aspirations on hold to be there for Mia, and that was okay.
I realized I couldn’t control fate. If my children had arrived in ten years time, they wouldn’t be the children they are. They wouldn’t be the children that have made me whole.
When I announced my pregnancy with Theo I lost a lot of friends.
All those who had kept their assumptions at bay just couldn’t hold back any more. It broke my heart, but nothing was going to stop me embracing those early days, not this time.
At 24, I have a 6 and a 4-year-old, and I couldn’t be prouder. It’s not been easy, but I have no regrets. Becoming a mother at 18 wasn’t the path I thought I’d follow, but it was the right one.
When Mia turns 18, I’ll be 36. Still young enough to show her a decent night out and probably embarrass her greatly. Their grand-parents are younger than average, they have the ability to do more with the added bonus of handing them back at the end of the day. Would they have been so pro-active if I’d had children at 30?
I truly believe that there is no ‘right time’ to have a child. Having my children young has given me new aspirations and opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
I don’t let the fear of judgement consume me anymore except from the rare occasions when I’m the youngest one at toddler groups or someone assumes I’m Mia’s big sister. I’m not ashamed to be a young mum, and you shouldn’t be either.
Age is just a number – it’s love that counts.