What a Baby Is by Judy
Getting knocked up at seventeen was not an accident.
I wanted a baby. I was well aware that the unprotected sex I was having with my boyfriend could result in pregnancy, and this was part of the reason I did it. I wanted to have a baby.
My mother died when I was thirteen. I had lost an uncertain, unplanned, unwanted pregnancy shortly before her death. My boyfriend was going to leave me. I was lonely. These were only a few of the sick and manipulative reasons I thought that I should become a mother.
I wanted a baby so badly. I really thought I did. Every day I used to longingly gaze into the Baby Gap at tiny onesies, and coo as children were caravaned through the mall in strollers. I'd sigh dreamily at Huggies commercials and say to my boyfriend, "I want a baby."
Rocking her to sleep, outfitting her in itsybitsy pink garb, and teaching her (Or him. Whatever) things the way that I wish I'd been taught. I wanted a baby. I thought I would be a good mother. Better than my own.
I thought that through becoming a mother, I could give birth to myself, and give myself the life that I deserved. I thought that having a child would bring back what I had lost. If I had a baby, my boyfriend wouldn't leave me and I could be complete. Whole.
Having a baby would make everything better. If I had a child, I wouldn't feel depressed anymore, I certainly wouldn't have to obsess over my weight anymore if I got pregnant. I wouldn't drink, wouldn't hate myself.
I wanted to cuddle and kiss a baby the way I wanted to be cuddled and kissed. I wanted someone to need me. Someone to depend on me. I wanted to be the most important person in someone's life. I wanted a baby. But really, I didn't even know what a baby was.
Now, when I hear girls, even younger than I was when I started saying these same things, I feel I should warn them. Like I should tell them "no, don't go get yourself pregnant just yet, wait until you're a little older'" and persuade them to get their shit together before they start a family.
Get a puppy, get a kitten, get a job baby-sitting, I want to tell them. Don't have a baby.
I want to tell a girl who obsesses daily over the thought of having a baby not to do it, but then I'm overcome with guilt. Where do I get off telling a girl she'll regret becoming a young mom?
I certainly don't regret having my daughter, I love her to bits! But it is hard to be a teen mom. I get jealous of my childless peers who can stay out all night polluting their bodies with smoke and alcohol and have fun without the reminders of the baby waiting at home to take drink their milk. I feel left out; I feel rejected;
I still feel alone, only in all new and different ways.
Teen motherhood isn't all bad. It's a deeply fulfilling experience, and every mother I have met will swear to it's awesomeness. Having a baby forces you to grow into so many new roles. But there is no reason to rush into them.
I have no right to tell anyone to steer clear of motherhood. I have a baby.
A beautiful baby who looks just like me and makes me melt daily. She is healthy, and makes me happy. Her father and I are still together, and we adore her. But as much as I love my little girl, I do know that things could have been easier on everyone involved if I'd waited a little longer to answer the beckoning call of motherhood.
They are wonderful, beautiful things, children, but not in any of the romantic airbrushed Pampers-ad ways you think. Babies are hard work, and isolating. Having a child will leave you an unrecognizable body. They are frustrating and depressing sometimes. And I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we are sick of hearing about unprepared mothers who can't handle their new baby breaking down and abandoning them in trash dumpsters.
But I have no place giving warnings. I did it, I had my baby, I got what I wanted, I made it.
It doesn't always work out for everyone, though.
If you're already a mom, or on the way to becoming one, I hope this does not discourage you. That is not what I wanted. You can do it, you will make it.
And it will be a wonderful beautiful experience.
The teenagers I hear craving babies, please know that being a mom isn't all cuddling and hugging and dressing up and rainbows and butterflies.
That's all a part of this intense, life-long experience of motherhood. But, this choice to parent...it's a person. A person who deserves the best of you.
Just wait a while, before you decide to bring a baby into the world.
I just really wish I could tell them all, every one of these young kiddos who wants to have a baby, what I wish someone had told me when I getting myself pregnant. That until you are living it, until you hold this tiny, dependent human in your arms, you don't even know what a baby is.