We are Not Your Statistics.

Yesterday an article popped up in my newsfeed about “Teen Mom” Farrah Abrahams.  I don’t follow any of the Teen Moms or what they’re up to, but the title kind of caught my eye.  So…basically what I got from this was some girl got a TV show for becoming a teen mom, became a porn star then alcoholic, got implants, and is now apparently touring the country to promote her porn film while her 4 year old daughter stands by with Farrah’s parents and watches this all unravel.  Oh, and she has some book called My Teenage Dream Ended.  Nice.

But this isn’t about her.
It’s not about her choices and her actions.
This is about what those choices do to the rest of us young moms.

I can’t read or post or talk about the stigma.
Or if I do, I get asked why I feel the way I do.
Why I feel judged.
Why I feel like my path was so wrong.
Why I feel that people disapprove.
Why I’m so incredibly self-conscious.
Why I question every choice I make.
Why I write letters.
Why I keep my head down and pray my kids don’t make a peep.
Why do I even care.

Why?  Because of the looks.  Because of the comments section on any article regarding young parenthood, which confirms my fear, that yes, people assume the worst in me due to my age.  Because of the remarks of those who think they’re better than me.  Because of all the broad statement statuses on my newsfeed.  Because of the people who think their age somehow dictates their experience levels.

And I know a lot, if not most of my hurt feelings come from myself.
From my own self-consciousness.
From my own doubt.
From my own worst fear that they’re right.

But it’s very hard to not take it personally when another person asks
“Are you married?”
“How old are you?”
“Was this planned?”
“Did you even graduate college yet?”
“I remember those days. But I was much, much older and more mature than you.”
Didn’t you people learn if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?

I guess I understand the fascination with young motherhood.  Every week there’s another article coming about the statistics of young parenting.  How we have nothing going for us.  Our marriages are a joke and doomed from the start.  Our kids are at a disadvantage.  How we have set up our children to fail.  That our children will have poor self esteem due to the age we had them.  Our self worth is cut down over and over again with the thoughts that we are not even good enough for our children.  I fear for the day when Little S or Rae are in tow and can understand the glares and the questions and the shame in my voice when people say these things.  I can’t always hide behind my keyboard pounding my fists and claiming “I AM NOT A STATISTIC.”

So what do I do?
Do I believe them?
Do I give up on my kids?
Do I give up on my marriage?
Do I stop trying to be the best for my kids?
Is my life (and my children’s lives) really over?
Am I Farrah Abraham?

Or do we make our own statistic?
I refuse to think that young mom automatically equates to uneducated, classless mom.
These are the real young moms.

The one’s who are there for their kids.   The one’s who are supporting their kids by whatever means possible.  The one’s who spend their days listening to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song hours on end and wrestling a diaper bag and a car seat everywhere they go.  The one’s who put those tiny babies first and not off on their parents so they can try to retain their adolescence.   The one’s who spend their days reading the same parenting books as more “age-appropriate” moms in hopes of keeping some sense of sanity.  The one’s who are not only providing for their kids, but pushing themselves through school and being the example that no matter the circumstances, you can succeed.  The one’s who don’t miss bedtime.  The one’s who gave up their own futures to provide one for someone else, even when that’s not the “appropriate” way to handle things these days.
The one’s who, yes, made a mistake, but took that mistake and made it into something beautiful and wonderful instead of taking away another life.
And I think that should be celebrated.
Not ostracized and criticized.

We’re not your statistics.
We’re creating our own.

M

6,233 Responses to “We are Not Your Statistics.”

  1. Kelly | July 24, 2013 at 12:29 am #

    in cultures the world over, you are at the prime of your childbearing years and perfectly capable of raising a child. you are an adult. you have parents who raised you to know Christ and for that you should be (and are, I know) grateful. you are fully equipped to be a mom of two beautiful children. when you are my age and they want to go repelling with you (if you keep in shape) you’ll be all “yeah, dog!” and loving life because you have some much life to live.

    you are not a statistic. you are blessed that you grew up young and have the best of life to live with the people whom you love the best.

  2. Jess D | August 7, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    Amazing post! You captured my thoughts and feelings on young motherhood. I feel the same way about the statistics, and the way people react to me as a young mother.

  3. Anonymous | December 9, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    WOW! I seriously love you so much.