To you girls who think teen pregnancy is the way to go, here's what you can count on for the next 9 months - 20 years.
- Body Changes: You will grow, jiggle, and ache in places you never knew you had. A pregnant belly can be beautiful, yes -- but afterward, it ain't so pretty. You are probably done with bikinis after this. If you nurse, guess what? The "boost" you get in the bra-line will eventually go away, and those puppies won't salute the sun in the same way ever again.
- Your life is no longer your own: When you are pregnant, every choice you make effects the child in your body. Guess what? THAT'S THE EASY PART. After the baby is born, every choice you make effects the child outside your body. Let's see.... you're 17 or 18 now. So, you'll be about 38 years old by the time this child is fully out on their own. (Wow. You're old.) But you'll still be young, right? And you'll finally be free! ...That is, until you realize that the stupids are hereditary, in which case they'll be calling you Grandma at 38.
- Your Relationships will change: In the movies, there is a compassionate family that surrounds a pregnant young woman. There is something so pitiful about her that it seems wrong to hold a grudge. But there will be people in your life who will not be able to handle this. Friends without children will go on with their normal lives. Sure, you have had the good sense to get pregnant with 17 buddies... but my guess is you will have a blast experiencing post partum depression together. The sleep deprivation that comes with a new baby will not make you the easiest person to get along with. This won't be an all night slumber party -- motherhood is relentless, and you will be changed by it.
- I'm not even going to go into labor. That can be your happy little surprise.
- Responsibility Begins Now: You have chosen to embark on the adult portion of your life sooner rather than later. That means you are now the head of a family. You will have to find a way to earn money for it. (I tell ya, blogging doesn't pay the bills, sweetheart.) You will have to worry about earning money for yourself and your child, and you may have to go on assistance to do it. But, check your pride at the door, because a good mother will do whatever is necessary to guarantee a good life for her child. And clothes, food, and all the wonderful things your parents have given you were not free.
Perhaps you think that I am painting a dark picture, or that I was not ready for my own children. Well, I will say now what few women will admit -- no one is fully ready. Motherhood is as different from your girlish youth as living on Mars is different from Earth. I waited until I was 28 to have my first child, and even then I don't think I knew what I was getting into. I look at myself now, at how happy I am in this role and how well my children are growing and I feel so grateful. Because entering motherhood was like passing through a wall of fire -- it was truly difficult and changed the core of who I am. I will never be the person I was. I will always be connected to my children -- old, young, sick, well, living, dying, and even after they have passed away. They are a part of me and always will be. Everything I experience is seen through the lens of being their mother.
You will learn this.
Good luck girls,