You know this Mama Bear loves being a mommy. I am seriously honored whenever another mommy comes to me for advice. Sure, I am not an expert in mommyhood but I think there isn’t better praise that for someone to think you are doing a great job at being a mommy. I’m not a “picture perfect” person who only shares a small piece of the picture. The one that is Insta worthy, and cuts off all the real, ugly stuff. I come as I am. Struggles and all. I think this is why certain people feel comfortable to come to me because I am not pretending I am the perfect mom and I am not here to judge you as you figure things out. Maybe we both can learn from each other. Think win-win. Seriously, I try to live by this.
Let’s get back on track. I love supporting other mommies. Three completely different pregnancies that gave me three completely different kiddos taught me that EVERY pregnancy is different. A family friend came to me recently for support. I strongly believe a baby is a blessing under any circumstances, but I understand that depending on what chapter in your life you are currently at, you might feel differently about it. And these circumstances I refer to can be so many things like age, financial stability, career, family, among other things. My friend was struggling not because this is her first pregnancy but because she felt she had no support. This is something I can relate to. Please allow me to share a bit of the circumstances around my first pregnancy.
I was 22 years old when I had my first child. What I heard then and what I still hear now is: “wow, too young!” We weren’t married. I had not finished college. We lived paycheck-to-paycheck. Both of our families lived in Central America. Those were my circumstances. I felt very unsupported with my first pregnancy because everyone had an opinion and 80% of those opinions were around the same: I had ruined my life for getting pregnant too young. But I saw things differently, which is what I want you to keep in mind when you make comments to a woman who is pregnant. Remember we are a hormonal rollercoaster and when you have additional circumstances because you find yourself in the wrong chapter in your life, well it can become overwhelming. Our bodies are about to undergo a physical and emotional journey that is very uncertain. The only need we need during this time is support.
I got for you a list of comments people made to me. I want to share with you my perspective and why they were hurtful. And I also want to share with you how I handled it. Perhaps you are in the same shoes I once was and you need help to make it through:
“You are too young to have kids.” Let the record reflect that age and maturity aren’t necessarily related. Just because a person is young it doesn’t make him or her immature. On the opposite side, just because a person is old it doesn’t make him or her mature. Maturity is reached at an advanced stage of mental or emotional development characteristic of an adult. Now when it comes to age here are some pregnancy age-related facts:
- A woman can get pregnant when she is ovulating.
- A woman can start producing eggs about a year after she begins menstruating until she reaches menopause.
- The older a woman is, the more difficult it is to become pregnant because fertility declines.
- Women are at the peak of fertility in their 20’s.
So, NO, I don’t think I was too young when I got pregnant. People often associate being young with being immature which is not always the case. In fact, I was a mature person, during the peak of fertility, who decided to start a family early in life. There was nothing wrong to my timing because it was mine and I made it work. I feel it was a blessing because I got to meet my babies sooner in life and there is nothing wrong with that. And if you are on the opposite end of the aforementioned fertility age, you are not too old to have kids. Only you know the circumstances that lead you to wait and you will make it work.
So please, please, please, PLEASE do not tell a pregnant woman she is too young or too old to have a child. And is probably better if you don’t make this comment to any mom. Our timing to become pregnant is ours and ours alone. No comments or opinions needed to such a personal choice.
“You will never have a good career because you are a mom”. I mean, excuse me?! Was it challenging to get my college degree because I had kids? Yes, yes it was. But it was not impossible. In fact, it was my work schedule that was harder to adjust to the college schedule, before and after kids. If you want to finish school after you have kids, I am here to promise you it is absolutely possible. Will it be easy peasy? Nope. Not at all. Not a bit. But what helped me through it was to see my kids as a motivation to do it and not an excuse of why I couldn’t do it.
As far as being a working mom, you can do that too. Nope, not easy again. Totally doable though. If you absolutely want to move up to the top of the ladder in the corporate world, you can also do it as a mom. You will find the balance between the amount of time you spend with your family and the amount of time you spend at work . Only you and your family know what is best for you. It is possible. It will require a compromise, but you can make it work. Again, please, please, please, PLEASE do not tell a pregnant woman she will be a bad mom if she wants to have an education and a career. Her choice please stay out of it.
“You will never get to travel with kids”. Hhhmmm…. not true! Will it cost more? Yup, it will because there will more of you traveling that is just math ya’ll! Will you enjoy it? Yup, you will enjoy it because you will feel so much joy to share experiences with your kids. If you want to travel the world before you have kids, do it. If you want to travel the world with your family, do it. This is your choice and only you know which one is the correct one for you. So please, please, please, PLEASE do not tell a preggo she won’t be able to travel because of her child(ren). That is not true.
“You will never do anything fun anymore because you have kids”. Kids are fun! People who decide they don’t want kids think the only type of fun is around partying, drinking, doing adults-only stuff. That is not the case. Will you be able to still do “grown up” things after having kids? Yup, you still will be able but more likely not as often. Maybe before kids you hung out a lot with friends and now you spend time taking your kids to classes or to the park or to a game. You will find so much joy, I can’t even describe, when you see your kids scoring a goal or getting excited about a ladybug. Besides good friends accept you and your family and are willing to do things with your family. Some might like it more than others, that really depends on everyone. You can still have date nights with your significant other. You can be a responsible parent and still have fun with your kiddos. It is just a different kind of fun. Please, please, please, PLEASE do not tell a preggos having kids sucks the fun of life. You will have to be a responsible parent, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any more fun in your life.
“You ruined your life when you got pregnant”. This is by far the meanest thing I’ve heard, and it couldn’t be farther from the truth. I know circumstances vary for each preggo out there and this usually said to younger moms or moms who might not be “prepared” to have a child. I have been very clear and I will reassure you that having a child is not easy. It comes with endless challenges and opportunities to grow. This is not the end of your life. Even if you never been around kids, you will figure things out. Even if you are young, you will figure things out. Even if you haven’t finished school, landed your dream job, created your own company, traveled the world, you name it, you will figure things out! Do not let anyone make you feel like this is the end of the world. Your world, your life, YOUR choice. How you react to things is your choice and if you choose to make mommyhood best thing ever, then it will be! So please, please, please, PLEASE never ever tell this to a preggo. If that is how you feel about parenting, that is your choice but trying to burst someone else’s bubble is quite pathetic.
SUPPORT is all any pregnant woman needs… aside from satisfying those crazy cravings (do feed me all the cake!) Surround yourself with people who support you in this journey. It is more than okay to take distance from people who bring you down while you are going through a physical and emotional rollercoaster. Enjoy the journey. Embrace the changes. Be the best you can be and let slide those things that don’t bring you love, joy, and support. Good luck with this journey fellow mommies!
Mama Bear Kim