When or why a person decides to have a baby varies, of course, for everyone, but for young moms who make that choice, there seems to be a lot of questions and general, unsolicited comments associated with that very personal decision. In short, the list of things new moms in their 20s are tired of hearing is a long one. So often we have to defend our decisions to procreate, but why?
In my own personal experience, it seemed like some of the more seasoned parents had a "been there, done that" mentality when it came to discussing my pending parental venture. I'm all for learning parenting tips from other moms, but I'm not exactly thrilled with the condescension that was thrown my way because I was a young mom. Really though, I wasn't that young; I was 25 when I had my first son. I was married, employed, and I had great insurance through my job. So when my husband and I decided to start a family, we were surprised at the amount of people questioning our decision.
There are so many things everyone gets wrong about young moms. I think age is nothing more than a number, and based off of some of the behavior I witness from other adults every day, I'm confident that it isn't indicative of maturity. Having kids in your 20s has no bearing on how fit for the job you are, and someone questioning or commenting on your decision to become a parent isn't a reflection of your abilities as a mother, but rather a reflection of what our society thinks about motherhood in general.
So, enough of the rude questions and comments about when a woman decides to become a mother, okay? How does that saying go? "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all?" Sometimes, silence is better than saying or asking the following nine things because, trust me; we're tried of hearing it.
"You're Still A Baby"
Well, since babies aren't capable of having babies yet, I think it's safe to assume that, no, I'm not still a baby. I'm young, yes, but I'm completely capable of going to the bathroom sans adult supervision. Does independent bathroom use automatically dictate whether or not someone is ready and/or wants a baby? Absolutely not. However, it is one of the many reasons why telling a woman that has a baby that she, herself, is still a baby, is a ridiculous and condescending statement.
"You're Not Ready"
Says who? The only person who is qualified to make that statement, is the person deciding whether or not they want to have a baby. Plus, is anyone ever completely ready to have a child? I mean, it's sort of difficult to gauge someone's maternal aptitude until they've been tested in real time, which makes the whole journey of parenthood pretty much a "baptized by fire" experience. Not everyone has the same pre-parenthood checklist. The boxes I checked on my list before I became a mother might not match the boxes of my friends or anyone else, so choosing the "right" time to have a baby varies greatly from person to person.
"Say Goodbye To That Body"
Our bodies don't pack up and vacate along with the placenta when women have babies, so why exactly are we expected to bid them farewell? We're leaving the delivery room with the same body we used to walk into it. There may be some battle wounds and changes and that body will probably be sore, but it's still our body.
"Was Your Pregnancy Planned?"
It could be said that every pregnancy is planned because when a woman finds out that she's expecting, she has choices. She has the right to make decisions pertaining to her own reproductive health, and if choosing to carry a pregnancy to term is what she decides to do then, yes, she planned to have a baby. It might not have been a long, thought out process that took years to perfect or compile, but the moment when a woman finds out she's pregnant, she's got to make plans regardless of the timeline.
Plus, why do people suddenly think it's OK to ask someone about the sex they were or might have been having, and what they had hoped to gain from that sex (besides an orgasm, I'm assuming). I mean, you wouldn't ask anyone else about their sex intentions, so why as a pregnant woman?
"How Old Are You?"
What ever happened to manners? This is one of those questions that is never really appropriate to ask anyone.
"Say Goodbye To Your Social Life"
A lot changes when you have a baby, but there are things that stay the same after you have a baby in your 20s, too. Having a baby doesn't deduct from a woman's need to be social or maintain relationships with their friends. Being social might be a bit different once a person becomes a mother, but it certainly doesn't cease to exist, either. Telling someone to say goodbye to their social life sort of seems like an ominous thing to say. It's like telling a woman that she has to choose between being a mother or being a friend; that she can't choose to be both, and we all know that's simply not true. Woman can be anything and everything they choose to be, including a mother and a friend.
"You Should Have Taken Some Time For Yourself"
It is true that becoming a mother means sacrificing one's personal time and space for the sake of another, but someone doesn't to lose their entire sense of self to do so. Maybe we feel like we had all the time to ourselves we needed before we had children, and maybe we didn't, but there's not a lot a person can do about that once they've already had kids, so reminding them that they maybe missed out on unbridled amounts of "me time," accomplishes nothing other than possibly making them feel resentful. Being a mom is hard enough without others putting a spotlight on the things they think we missed out on.
"But None Of Your Friends Have Kids Yet..."
Well, someone has to be first in this scenario, so why not us? What's wrong with being the first of your friends to have kids? If your friends are really your friends, they'll share in the excitement of bringing a new member into the squad. Being the first of your friends to have kids means that your baby is going to have an army of cool aunts and uncles chomping at the bit to spoil them, and maybe even babysit them so that you can catch up on all of that "me time" that you're supposedly "missing out on."
"You Should Have Waited Until (Insert "Perfect" Time To Have A Baby Here)"
When exactly is the perfect time to have a baby? If there is such a thing, it's definitely different for everyone. For me, it was shortly after I got married and I was watching my husband make silly faces at the toddler in front of us in the checkout line at the grocery store. In that seemingly small moment, I knew that he would make an amazing father and I didn't see the purpose in waiting to start a family. We had our own boxes that we wanted to check before we had kids, and we did check them, but our boxes were our own, and what we wanted to accomplish before having children isn't necessarily what other people want to accomplish. The "perfect" time to have a baby varies greatly from person to person, and someone else telling us when they think is the time we should have waited for, is a complete waste of their own time that could have been better spent on saying things like, "Congratulations on starting a family."
A mother in her 20s is still a mother, and she still needs the same support that every mother, no matter their age, does.