For some reason being a young mum seems to give everyone the right to pass judgment on you. Announcing a pregnancy often does cause a big reaction, and you would hope for it to be a positive one, but for most young mums this is not the case. I guess I can’t speak for everyone, but it seems as though 9 times out of 10 a young female is faced with a mixed reception when she shares her news. The negative comments received often take over the initial excitement of it all, and to me it just doesn’t seem fair. I mean, would you turn round to an older woman who just announced she was expecting and respond with, ‘was it planned?’. Or ‘are you going to keep it?’ Having a baby is a blessing and whether it’s a surprise or if you’ve been trying for months, what has that got to do with anyone else.
In my case those were the most common questions that were thrown at me, but I also had the pleasure of receiving sly digs from those who felt I’d like to hear their opinion, (I didn’t!). They would say things like, ‘it’s a shame you wont get to do the things you’d hope to’, and ‘don’t you wish you had experienced life a little?’. Well first of all, for that individual to insinuate that I won’t be getting the opportunity to do everything I wished is completely wrong. I am just as motivated, if not more, and in as good a position as any to still go out their and achieve every single dream I have on my bucket list. This idea people seem to have stewed in their minds about younger mums being restricted to living a life of changing nappies, and wiping noses are completely ludicrous. My daughter is the driving force behind everything I do now, and she will always come first but she hasn’t taken over my individual identity. As much as I am a mother, I am also a writer, a friend, a girlfriend, an actress, a business woman and all the other things I choose to be.
So I would love to know where these ideas stem from; and why people think that at a younger age you are less adequate to raise a child. Being a new mother already puts you under the spotlight as it is . All the health checks and midwife appointments after baby is born aren’t set up as tests, but I can’t help but feel nervous, as they sit there watching me handle my new born. Before they pull out their scales, weighing her to make sure she’s put on enough weight, and checking her body for any marks. I wait with anticipation, almost to get the all clear that I’m doing things right. Then of course there’s the visitors that come round after the birth to see you, and silently judge whether or not they think you’re a good mum. It sounds pretty cynical of me I know, but I don’t think it’s a conscious decision to witness a situation, and not create an opinion in your own head. I have huge amounts of admiration for younger mothers, because they have to deal with all of that, as well as the judgements people pass on their age. It’s a lot. One of the inspirations I had for writing this post came from a collection of comments my health visitor made during our 3 week check up. After seeing my daughter was a healthy weight, that I was managing to breastfeed, and that everything else was okay, she light-heartedly said, ‘I have to say I’m impressed with how well you’re doing’. Before adding, ‘you would put some of the older mums to shame’. I know she intended for these comments to be complimentary, but it came across in a condescending way. Her words subtly communicated her opinion that she was surprised by the positive example I had made of a new mother; having expected me to be struggling a lot more in comparison to those who are older. Well I’m glad I was able to “impress”! but you shouldn’t have had such little faith in me in the first place.
So in conclusion here’s what kind of “young mum” I am… I’m kind, thoughtful and loving. I’m a little bit silly and have a playful nature. I get worried about little things, so am constantly checking in with Google. I’m completely besotted with my baby, my boyfriend and our little family. I’m excitable, and get giddy about the future, and watching my baby grow. I’m imperfect, but I learn from my mistakes. I’m super organised, and obsessed with items having their own place. I love the company of friends, but also the company of social media! I’m squeamish but have a high tolerance for pain. I love putting together outfits for my daughter every morning. I still hold my breath when I change her pooey nappies. I try and take her out every day, mostly to keep my own sanity. I am learning on the job, but I’m motherhood’s most keen student.
…Is that so different to every other mum? Do those qualities show that I am young in age? And if they do are they bad qualities to have in Mum?
Please leave a comment as I would love to hear some opinions on this topic…