It turns out, when your oldest is four days away from turning 18, you spend endless hours replaying your pregnancy as if it was yesterday because somehow it was, even when it wasn’t.
Last week I was featured in an article aimed at debunking the stereotypes of teen parents portrayed in the media. I was honored to be in the article but not quite prepared for the full-circle-ness that would follow. In the past week, as I count down the days until my daughter who grew up with me, grows up herself, I have been contacted by countless young moms. They are all in different stages of parenthood but every single one, whether single or married or 17 or 23, wants to know how to be good enough.
When I was pregnant and unsure and covering my stomach with men’s sized t-shirts in hopes of avoiding second glances, a group of our old neighbors, women whose children I had grown up with, offered to give me a baby shower. I was embarrassed by the idea just as I was of my circumstances but accepted their invitation and decided to even wear maternity clothes for the occasion.
I remember this…
I remember resting a white napkin above the belly of my mint green maternity outfit.
I remember sitting at the head of the table and wondering how to address them, if not as my friends’ moms.
I remember genuine questions about my pregnancy and laughter as they reminisced about their own.
I remember advice on my hospital stay and perfectly wrapped gifts.
I remember shifting in my chair and resting one hand on my stomach and being okay with my waddle as I walked to the buffet table.
I remember one afternoon where I sat with a whole group of women who believed in me.
And I remember kind faces who saw past my appearance to support me in my circumstance.
I wrote them thank you notes, for the crib sheets and the baby swing and the thoughtful luncheon but I wasn’t quite old enough to put words to the hope they didn’t know they had given.
I’m nearing the age many of these women were when they sat at our table and I know they had to push aside memories of the years prior when I rode my bike to their house or set up a lemonade stand across the street and swallow thoughts of how my future would change in order to give me a day I so desperately needed.
I will always look twice before judging another mother.
The second glance is where her true story begins.
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