Every time I see a pregnant young woman, I wonder….
What did she think the day she found out she was pregnant? What did Mom say? Is Dad still speaking to her? Are church women walking up and saying, “Ooops,” while glaring at the round evidence of her sin? Are other moms warning her that her life is over? Is she listening to all of this? Has her self-esteem plummeted? Is she avoiding church? Has she decided to give up everything for this baby? Shake! Shake! Shake!
If you are a young (teen) mom, here is what I want you to know:
1. Yes, you have sinned. No, God doesn’t like sin. But, He loves sinners! And, He is eager to forgive us. Ask and you will receive.
2. Even if others condemn and shame you, please know that you have committed a sin like everyone else. Therefore, don’t wear the shame others place on your shoulders. When Jesus died, shame died with Him. Give it to Jesus. Do not carry it. It is not yours.
3. Don’t curse out/disrespect/snap back at everyone that tries to shame, condemn, frighten, belittle, and hurt you. They don’t know (or perhaps they forgot) that God is a God of second chances. Odds are, they don’t know the peace of God’s forgiveness. You do. Pray for them. They will one day reap their words and actions. So will you.
4. The plan God created for you before you were even thought of…that plan, that life…it’s still YOURS for the taking. In fact, being a young mom that still realized her potential is an even better comeback story. God isn’t discouraged. You shouldn’t be, either.
5. Believe the hype, this kid is going to be a pure miracle. Oh what joy it is to be a mother. Time to take a good look at yourself in the mirror. All the gunk you see, all those lies you believe, the issues that have been passed down from generation to generation…seek help from a counselor, pastor, life coach, and/or Godly friend.
6. Believe the hype, this kid is going to rock your world! *Imagine me pulling my hair out!* Your child, is as author Mark Batterson says, is a “holy complication”. Whenever God blesses our lives, He complicates our lives. But, remember that God’s complications will enhance our lives in ways we never could have imagined.
7. Don’t stop dreaming. Don’t stop planning. You need to be successful now more than ever! You have a little (soon to be big) life to provide for. And, as their mom, you should set them up for success, not failure. Let this child be a driving force not a stop sign. Tara of The Young Mommy Life took her baby to class with her at the university. Emma & Jessica of Stethoscopes & Sippy Cups are in medical school preparing to be doctors while caring for little ones. You don’t have to give up on your dreams.
8. Moms worry. Moms carry guilt. Moms feel like they don’t do enough. Reduce this with prayer. Since before my daughter was born, I prayed for the village that would raise her (grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, neighbors, church family). Too much craziness is going on for me not to cover my child in prayer. I need the Holy Spirits “ok” about babysitters, schools, after school programs, neighborhoods, which route to take to school, which extracurricular activities to choose, pediatricians, etc.
9. Grow up. I didn’t say give up. I didn’t say quit. I didn’t say never have fun again in life. I said grow up. You have a responsibility now. Whenever you make a decision, your first thought should be your child. Not a man. Not your friends. Not the fact that Bruno Mars is coming to town. Think of your baby.
10. People want to help you. There are people who will watch your kid for a few hours or even keep them overnight. Be mindful of their generosity and time. Pick them up when you agreed to pick them up. Call to say you’re going to be a few minutes late. Don’t take advantage of people who are kind enough to help. On the flipside, pray for God to surround you with people who genuinely want to help you and not take advantage of you.
11. Don’t beat yourself up when you’re not Clair Huxtable. (I just love her!) You won’t get it right 100% of the time. This provides an opportunity to show your kid how to apologize when they make a mistake (because you’re going to apologize, right?). Your child learns conflict resolution and patience and preserverance from, guess who, YOU! So, let your mistakes be a lesson. Teach them humility, grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
12. Mom and Grandma can be great teachers, but sometimes they’re practices are out-of-date. I almost blew a gasket when my (older woman) babysitter cut a hole in my daughter’s bottle nipple. First of all, we never put cereal in her bottle. And, secondly, bottles come with a variety of nipple sizes. No need to ruin a perfectly good nipple! So, make sure you’re talking to up-to-date moms about the latest news on parenting. And, sometimes you just gotta go with the old school. But, do what works, not what’s always been done since 1932.
13. Take the hand-me-downs! My boyfriend’s mom knew a lady whose girl was about 6 months older than ours so everytime she grew out of her stuff, she’d give it to us. My daughter’s closet was all that. I loved getting big trash bags of clothes and organizing them by size. It was like a free shopping spree for me.
14. Get public assistance if you need it. Don’t let anyone shame you from helping yourself and your child. Remember, you are a mother. You make good decisions for your family. Period. (But, you’re following your dreams….continuing your education…making a comeback and a come-up so you don’t have to stay on welfare forever.)
15. Stay in the know! The library always has free programs for children and adults. Public health offers free teeth screenings. And, local organizations might offer free workshops and concerts. Know what’s going on and keep your child healthy and learning.
16. Consistency. Children like to know what’s happening next. They need stability. Once they get on a good schedule, protect that schedule. It benefits them and YOU.
17. Entertainment VS. Education. This goes for both you and your little one. Instead of feeding on useless TV shows and radio songs, start indulging in the History channel and audio books. I felt like such a good mom when my girl was watching the ABC123TV YouTube channel instead of the 19th episode of Dora. And, now, we’ve discovered ABC Mouse! She’s learning how to tell time and do additional and subtraction. Likewise, I read my Kindle during my lunch breaks and try to watch inspirational TV as much as possible. Research shows that this is what separates the rich from the poor, the haves from the have nots. And, I know you want you and your baby to be a have.
18. Self-control. Children mimic you. Play your new Beyonce CD at night when your talkative toddler is in the bed. She shouldn’t be singing the lyrics to Drunk in Love. It’s not about you anymore. Grow up.
19. Stop having kids! Yes, God has an awesome plan for your life whether you have 1 kid or 20, but you still need to use wisdom. I have a friend with 6 kids. I’d like to help her more, but I can’t fit 4 carseats in my tiny Mitsubishi Lancer. And, she can’t even afford 4 carseats so I’m risking my license to even help her out. Be smart about your life. If you don’t care about you, others will soon stop caring, too.
20. In case it hasn’t sunk in yet, pray pray and pray some more. Messing up when it’s just you is one thing. Messing up when it’s you and your child is another. I don’t want you to struggle unnecessarily. So, before you choose a university, pray. Before you choose your major, pray. Before you apply for that job, pray. Ask God what His plans are for you so that you can begin taking steps in that direction. He will answer you.
21. Celebrate!!! They say having a baby is the one time God lets you participate in a miracle. Do not hold back all the love that’s bursting inside of you because someone else feels like you shouldn’t be happy. Whatever happened to cause you to get pregnant expected or unexpectedly, it’s done now! No need being sad for 9 months. Be giddy about your baby! 🙂
Lastly, YOU CAN DO IT! All setbacks are set-ups! When we’re weak, unsure, afraid, that’s when we do the only thing that’s left to do….get down on our knees and beg for God to rescue us. The trick is learning to go to Him before we become unglued. You didn’t ruin your life. Your child is not a mistake. You are not a walking billboard for shame. You can still have an awesome life! But, just like all of us, it’s up to you to create the life God put you on Earth to live. You get to choose what your future will look like. Choose wisely.
I created Woman, Live! when I realized that I had the choice to die an unlived, unhappy, forgettable life OR I could die having lived a full, impactful, exciting life that mattered! I’m sure you can guess which one I’m choosing.
Congratulations on your little (or not so little) miracle. As soon as I publish this post and log off for the evening, I’m going to crack open the door and kiss and snuggle my sweet miracle who’s asleep in her room. She’s definitely TWO handfuls, but she’s also the light of my life.
I, too, was shamed and ridiculed for having a baby out of wedlock. But, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God created me to be brilliant. This was just a holy complication. 🙂
With extra warm hugs to all my mommies,