Young mum, Emily Alexander, is sharing the experience of facing and overcoming being judged for being a teenage mother.
Since becoming a mum to Riley at the age of 16, I have been judged for being a teenage mother and faced with lots of criticism from plenty of people. Many of whom have been elderly people who I have come across whilst on the bus.
It’s funny you see, that throughout our childhood we are told to ‘respect our elders’. Yet out of all the judgment I have been faced with, most of it has been given by those who are much older than me.
Now I’m not saying this means ‘respecting our elders’ is wrong, because it is not. I will continue to be polite to anyone and everyone. I will also teach Riley to respect his elders, just like my parents taught me. However, I will not let him put up with others judging his life and the decisions he makes along the way.
My greatest fear
To be brutally honest, I am scared for Riley to grow up. The world itself isn’t what causes all the negativity we hear on a day-to-day basis, it’s the people. I am not even half way through my life and yet I have been faced with such negativity by many people. Some are given by people who I don’t even know. As his mother, I am supposed to protect him from all that’s bad in this world and yet being frowned upon for who he is, is something I won’t be able to protect him from forever because no matter how hard I try, there are some people in this world who will do everything in their power to make sure a person knows just how little they think of them.
And to me, it sucks that I feel that way about it. But with the amount of judgment I’ve been given in the last 10 months – who can blame me for feeling that way?
Being judged for being a teenage mother
Now you may be asking yourselves what it is that’s been said about me? Well let me explain a particular comment from a stranger; which knocked my confidence as a mother.
As I was standing next to Riley’s buggy on the bus one morning, a woman sitting opposite me said these words to the person on her right: ”I feel sorry for her son and can’t dread to think what his life will be like as a teenager. She is such a young mum and has ruined her life. She is only a child herself and it is impossible to be a proper mother when you are that young”.
Although she said much more than this, I’m hoping you probably understand why this knocked me down. First of all, I was opposite her. I could literally touch her with my arm we were that close. Why did she speak so loudly? Was she trying to reduce me to tears? Did she want me to know just how little she thought of me? I will never know. But what I do know, is that every word she said; was wrong.
The critics are wrong
Yes I am young, but does that make me any less of a mum than what a middle aged mother is? No it doesn’t. Have I ruined my life? I most certainly have not. In fact, I’ve made it worth living.
That day knocked my confidence as a mother more than you could ever imagine. Because of her I have questioned myself as a mother. Have I ruined Riley’s life? Am I a good enough mum for my son? It sucks that I have had to ask myself such upsetting questions. No parent should have to feel that way. Not one.
I have been a mother to Riley for nearly 10 months and ever since I found out I was pregnant, my priorities changed. He is my world and I won’t let people like the spiteful women I came across that day make me feel like I can’t be a good enough mother to my child. Because of Riley, I am a better person. Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle with certain things in life, but doesn’t everyone? It’s a part of living.
Overcoming the judgement
Throughout your life you will be faced with criticism, there’s no doubt about it. But it all depends on how you choose to deal with that criticism. After listening to that lady say such hurtful things, I let it knock me down for quite a whil. However, I am now starting to realise that you’ve just got to prove them wrong. And I already have proven her wrong, and I will continue to do so.
Admittedly, this women was not the only person who felt that her opinion on my life was needed to be said. Sadly, when certain people from high school found out I was pregnant, they also felt the need to say that me and my partner had ‘ruined our lives’. But this doesn’t bother me anymore. Instead, it makes me more than proud to let them see just how wrong they really were.
Becoming a mum at the age of 16 has not ruined my life. My son has taught me the meaning of unconditional love and I could not imagine my life without him. Do not let the spiteful things people say about your life, define you as a person.
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Little Lullaby is interested in stories from young parents that are under 25 years old. You can look at stories on our website for inspiration: littlelullaby.org.uk/. You can also send us an email by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss any topic you may be interested in writing or vlogging about.
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