Different countries, different ages, same feelings, same facts.
Both being mothers & having had our 1st children at a younger age we thought it would be interesting to see how we compare and identify with one another. We found we had way more in common that we had different. When we as women learn to listen we will find as women and as mothers a shared commonality that helps us help each other grow. Let us know who you are, how you liked this and please share with others. Peace and blessings to each of you that read this!
My name is Millie, I live in the US, am 34, married now with 4 wonderful sons. I had my 1st child at 19 and can still remember the inadequacies I felt and the adjustment into motherhood. It is so interesting to speak with another mother and get to share that with our readers!
**picture by Veronica Angel Designs; www.facebook.com/veronicaangeldesigns **
My name is Megan. I am from England and I’m 18. I have one beautiful 9 month old daughter. I was 16 when I got pregnant and had her at the age of 17. It’s been so difficult being a mummy so young but I’m loving every second of it.
1. Did you enjoy actual pregnancy? If yes what was your favorite part? If no, why not?
Millie: I was pregnant with my 1st son at 18 and I mostly enjoyed pregnancy. I think it was being young and energetic and fun! Everything was new and fun with my 1st son.
Megan: Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy my pregnancy. I had hyperemesis gravidarum so I was extremely sick all the time and in hospital because of dehydration and malnutrition. Once I got to 34 weeks pregnant and was on 3 types of anti-sickness medication 3 times a day, I finally began enjoying it.
**Hyperemesis gravidarum is basically extreme sickness during pregnancy. Reasons for it aren’t clear just yet but there are 2 theories. First one being, a maternal liver disease. The second one being, our bodies aren’t use to the change, automatically thinking its a foreign object in the body and the constant throwing up as a way of trying to get it out. Let us know in the comments if you have had this.**
2. Did you have any challenges during childbirth? What was your biggest memory from that experience?
Millie: With my 1st son I was in labor 19 hours when our heartbeats started to drop rapidly, I was not dilating and they made a decision to give me a C-Section. I remember being devastated and so scared! I had never had a major surgery before. I tried very hard to act like I was okay, but I had tears running down my face as they wheeled me into the operating room. I think the hardest part was feeling somehow like there was something wrong with me because I could not deliver naturally, but I came to peace with that later on (many years later I want to add).
Megan: That sounds horrible, Millie. I bet it was all worth it in the end! The challenges I experienced were nothing in comparison to Millie’s. I went into back labour so that made it harder than normal. My blood pressure went up so high that the doctors and midwives were scared I was going to have a heart attack so I had blood pressure medication. My contractions stopped so I was put on a hormone drip. After 12 hours of labour, I started pushing and the midwife decided to do a double episiotomy. **An episiotomy is a surgical cut made in the perineum during childbirth** I had two of these. So, I was essentially cut from one hole to the other. After the labour I had to have a blood transfusion as I was so anemic that I couldn’t walk unaided.
Millie: Wow Megan! That sounds so scary, especially for being 17! Who was with you during this? Did you have support in the hospital and afterwards?
Megan: Iris’ father was with me during contractions, alongside my parents. I had my mum and dad in the room with me when she arrived. I was also in hospital for 3 days and they were both tied to my hip! I had loads of support.
3. What was one of the 1st biggest changes when you came home as a new mother?
Millie:No sleep! Really I think the biggest thing was just not being able to do things whenever I would want to, like nap or go out with friend. It was such an adjustment being responsible for this other life, knowing that I had to put him 1st. I couldn’t go to every party or to a movie or even for a walk with the girls as easily. There is some sacrifice becoming a mother, whether we always want to agree on that or not, well at least in my opinion. Young mothers, especially in our teens, when we are supposed to be the most selfish and learning who we are, have to put a lot of that to the side in order to care for our children. I know for me it was more than an adjustment, but it took time for me to learn who I was and I felt like I was always behind the curve compared to my friends.
Megan: My answer is similar to Millie’s. Although I did get a lot of sleep, I never was able to go out with friends. A typical teenager was able to go out to the cinema, bowling, to their friends house and even out drinking. Selfishly, it was horrible. I hated seeing my friends do what I couldn’t do. I hated not being able to be a normal teenager. However, I accepted the negatives once I became pregnant. Even though I still find it difficult now, I’ve accepted that I gave up my teenage years to grow up alongside my daughter and I really do love it.
4. What are some challenges you feel you face as a young mom?
Millie: I think I touched on this in number 3., but a big part is giving up the time we are supposed to be learning ourselves to care for our children. It takes time for anyone to find balance with motherhood and independence of who we are, but for young moms we can face even more setbacks.
I also remember feeling inadequate or not like a real mom around the “normal age mothers”, like they looked at me differently. I didn’t fit in with my friends who still “had lives” and I didn’t fit in with other moms because they saw me still “as a kid”. I felt like it took me longer to find my place. Megs, did you ever feel like this?
Megan: Yeah, I feel exactly the same currently. My friends aren’t mothers so they obviously don’t have the same responsibilities as me which makes it difficult to relate to them. Other mums, who are older, see me as a child. I get funny looks in public and awkward conversations occur when someone asks me my age. The ‘you’re not old enough to be a mum’, is probably the hardest part. My age has nothing to do with how I will be as a mother but annoyingly, others see it very differently.
I’m unsure as to whether Millie experienced this or not but I lost many friends during the pregnancy. People never really bothered with me as I couldn’t drink or go out. That is one of the things that affected me most. Apart from the wonderful being in my tummy, I felt very alone during my pregnancy.
Millie: I did experience that! I mean people got tired of me cancelling that they just stopped inviting me. I felt very alone even though I had this amazing child. I lost a lot of friends, but I eventually gained new ones. I can also fully relate to the awful comments from older women. I understand that we are not the norm, but we as women need to be more careful of what we say to each other. There were very few women building me up then. I am obviously not a teen anymore, but I am always respectful of any mother, any age, because I know how words can hurt. That was a hard time for me, an adjustment period, but I found support in other younger mothers through activities which helped me form a new circle of friends.
Megan: Exactly. I am always respectful to other mothers as we are all essentially experience the same thing, just with different twists and turns. Women should build women up and it’s so horrible hearing that at the time you didn’t receive that, Millie.
5. What is one suggestion or piece of encouragement you would want to give mothers of any age?
Millie: It gets better. Time takes time. Just because you become a mother does not mean that you will automatically have the house, the career, the car, the husband. As a young mom I always felt like I fell short of these ideals I built up in my own mind of how our life should look, the life my son deserved and everyday we didn’t have those things somehow meant I was not giving my son a good quality of living. That is wrong. I may not have had everything in the order I was brought up to think we needed them, but I love my son and I did my best everytime. It didn’t happen overnight, but today that child is an amazing 15 year old soon to be man, we have all those things I thought I would never have because little by slowly we earned them. Breathe easy mothers! It gets better. It really does.
Megan: I completely agree with Millie. Things will not always happen in the ‘ideal order’. Things take time, you must have patience. I’m still waiting for ‘the house, the career, the car, the husband’. I have none of those things. I’m just focusing on my daughter and waiting for those things to come along at a later date.
Being a mummy is the hardest thing in the world, not everyone will agree with you on how you bring your child up. You’ll get advice from here, there and everywhere but do what is best for you and your little one. A mummy’s instinct is usually the right answer.
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