There is no book or class out there that could possibly prepare you for the adventures you are about to endure as a parent. When I was 21 years old, holding a positive pregnancy test in my hand, I felt my world stop – all the things I had planned, my goals, my career, my future – just blurred out of focus. I was shocked. I never thought I’d be a mom at 21. I cried and felt hopeless. It felt like I hadn’t lived my life to the fullest and I was not ready. But I guess no one ever really is, whether a pregnancy was planned or not.
Obviously being a young mom, I heard a lot of “but you’re still a baby yourself”, “what about school?”, “can you really handle being a mom at your age?”, “you just wasted your future” – and so much more. I was constantly criticized for getting “knocked up” too soon and not doing things “how I was supposed to”, but to be honest, I wouldn’t change a thing. Yes, I’m a young mom, but that doesn’t mean my life is over.
Do I regret it?
No, I don’t. Some might say that I missed out on my twenties, and it did kind of feel like that at first. But the moment my daughter was born, everything changed. I realized that my life was so much more than parties, drinking and dating. And I most definitely do not regret putting my career on hold just to be able to take care of my baby and be with her every day. I truly cannot imagine my life without my husband and my daughter and I wouldn’t trade any of the sleepless nights for one minute away from the two of them. My baby’s smile lights up the entire room and makes me love her so much it hurts, and to me, there is nothing better than that.
Now I’m taking my third year as a mom, and although it’s been tough at times, I can proudly say that I’ve grown so much as a woman and a mother. I’ve also discovered some little-known perks of being a young mom and I’d like to share them with you.
Transitioning into motherhood could be quite disorienting. Yet, when other moms complain about how difficult it was to switch gears and give up the lifestyle they’ve been accustomed to, I couldn’t relate.
I went from being a college student to a young mom. I didn’t have a decade of “me” time, lazy Sundays or a vacation. I was already on hustle mode at 21, so everything from that point on felt like progress.
I’ve heard a lot of young women say that they’re waiting till they’ve “accomplished everything they want to accomplish” before having kids. And again, I just want to say that your life does not end when you have a baby.
I think it’s beautiful to be able to show your kids how to get from one point to another despite the countless obstacles and setbacks. To grow a life alongside your child and be able to share your accomplishments with them like having them watch you accept your Master’s degree or starting your own business.
Nothing will change your perspective quite like bringing a new life into the world. It could be a desire to do good, a spark of creativity or a fundamental rearrangement of priorities. Becoming a mom can change us in ways we never expected and it gives us a reason to do more and be better.
Many young moms, including myself, are grateful to have had that shift sooner rather than later.
Your 20s are a time for self-growth and self-discovery, a time to define adulthood and ourselves. Others would think that the only way to find one’s self is alone, somewhere, in solitary introspection.
In my experience however, there’s nothing quite as introspective as motherhood. It will show you your flaws, shortcomings and deep-set issues. Seeing yourself through the lens of a new life can be transformative and has given me an urgent reason to grow up and be my best self.
“When I had my son, it wasn’t just about me anymore. My thoughts revolved around him and how I could give him a better future.” – Mommy Audrey
Giving birth to my daughter at a young age also means that my parents are still young. Not only will they be able to spend more time with her, but they’re able to share their knowledge and help me as well. I’m thankful for the support and love they’ve given me and my daughter.
“I was a teen mom. It was in high school when I got pregnant. I had no idea how to take care of a baby, I could barely take care of myself. That’s why I’m so thankful I had my parents with me. They showed me how to do everything – from changing diapers to putting my son to bed. And I love how they get to be very involved in his life.” - Mommy Nela
This is the best perk for me.
Having my daughter at 21 instead of 31 means I have an extra decade to be able to watch her grow into the person she’s meant to be. An extra decade of love, growth, warm hugs, hand holding and heart tugging. And that to me is precious.
So yes, I am a young mom but my life is far from over– in fact, I think it’s just getting started. To all the young moms out there, face this stage with optimism. The love and joy that your child will bring you will be immense. Planned or not, a baby will change your whole life, and with them you can live the greatest adventures ever imaginable.