Young Mums – Help or Harass?

I made a comment on Twitter the other day about being surprised with the amount of grief and insults some of the young mums on the site were subjected to and since I have mentioned it, it has been niggling away in the back of my mind so I wanted to revisit it here, with no character restrictions, and because it should be the season of goodwill, yet it seems some people have missed this completely.

Having never wanted children I have never really given any thought to the different types of parents that do and how varied a range of people they are, I had no reason for it to enter my mind. I joined Twitter to follow, and hopefully get followed back by, anyone who was baby related. So I searched for Mum, Mom, Mummies, Dad, Daddies, well, you get the idea and I did just that, I followed people to my heart’s content. In a very short space of time I built a decent size number of followers that I could start airing my thoughts to. It has been wonderfully therapeutic and I am glad that I did, thanks to all those that have been there.

Over the last few days my own situation has taken a bit of a turn for the better so I haven’t needed to put down in words as much content as I usually do but this has allowed me time to be able to spend my spare minutes reading the tweets and blogs of the people I follow and wow, has this been a real eye opener?

One of the most prolific groups of tweeters I have come across are the so-called “young mums” and, from what I have seen in my brief research, these range from 15 – mid 20’s, mums of all shapes and sizes that are sharing their experiences through Twitter on a daily basis, when it’s good and also when it’s bad and they are disappointed, upset, annoyed or whatever the negative emotion may be. It strikes me that what they are doing is no different to the reason I came on here in the first place.

But there is a difference. It’s not the age gap, it’s not the experiences, it’s not even the difference in countries. It’s the reaction from the people around them that is so shockingly different.

I have been lucky to get some very positive feedback from most of the people who follow back, those of you that aren’t just advertising your baby products that is, but it seems these young mums aren’t always offered the same level of compassion and it confuses me.

I am not suggesting that there is no support given, far from it, as well as helping each other there seem to be a lot of experienced parents willing to offer their wisdom to these new breed of mums and I applaud that in the same way that I am grateful for the advice I get given.

However, since tweeting, I have not had a single bad word from any of my 700 followers, this post may change that, but I can’t say the same about these mums. Some of the comments that i have seen would invoke violence if said to someones face directly, spilling pity on the mum-to-be’s child, questioning the promiscuity of the mother and that’s just for starters! It’s this aggression that baffles me the most – What can it possibly achieve?

No matter what scenario I go through in my head I don’t really understand the outcome that these purveyors of doom and gloom are hoping for, do they think that by telling a young teenage girl that she is a worthless skank that has no job that this mum-to-be will politely say “Thank you for making me realise the error of my ways, I will put my baby up for adoption right away now that you have bought it to my attention!” Of course not!

I know that there is a part of our society that spends time on the internet insulting people at random and my first thought was that this was all it was, just morons trying to get a reaction whilst they hide behind the anonymity of the site, but then I questioned why I don’t get it? Why did no one tell me that I had ruined my life and was bringing an unwanted child in to the world and I should just go ahead and die? In fairness, some of these young mums had shown much more bonding with their babies than I had in the early days so why do I deserve any more respect than them?

So what is it? Can anyone shed any light on this for me?

That is a genuine question, no matter how much I rack my brains I can not get to the bottom of why this happens.

In my short time on here I have been overwhelmed by the passion and the spirit that a lot of these young mums have shown, a real kick ass attitude to making sure their baby is looked after whatever happens, shouldn’t we be applauding this rather than knocking it out of them?

I have found bringing up a child to be one of the hardest challenges that I have ever had to face and I am only 9 weeks in! I have my partner, a good job and a strong network of family help around me so I am lucky in that respect. I hope that I will be around one day to see my child have his own but as I am a bit older I am aware that there is a chance that I may not be so blessed. I hope that should he make a mistake in life and get a girl pregnant at a young age that he will be surrounded by people willing to help him through and not berate him for what has happened.

I also said on Twitter that I am not suggesting that all teens go out and get pregnant and it’s the right thing to do, of course I am not advocating that, no one who isn’t emotionally ready or physically capable should be planning a baby but mistakes happen, contraception fails at times, most of us at some time have taken risks when we were younger if we are honest with ourselves but maybe we were a bit luckier with our gambles.

So, when these mistakes do happen, and a girl takes the brave decision to keep the baby and bring it up to the best of her ability, whether the partner has stuck by her side or not, shouldn’t we support them and help them out with advice and help rather than feed them vile messages about how their life is over?

On that subject, is it really over? At my school there were a handful of girls that got pregnant during their final exams who have now done more with their lives than a lot of the others who didn’t have children, and also bought up lovely members of society, not the next prison statistic! I am sure to have a baby at a young age will be damn tough but if the only thing you do in life is bring in another life that is happy and well-adjusted, then is that any less that what the majority of us achieve? I know when I die the only legacy I will leave is my son, not my flash car or flash house or how many sales I made at work, it’s the way he behaves as a human being that I want to be judged by.

My own mum would have been in this category. I was born in the 70’s when mums were younger as a rule but we are forever saying that youngsters these days grow up quicker and mature so much faster so why should we believe that someones age is an indication of how they will do as a parent? Why do we judge these people by age alone and not their abilities or find out more about their situation?

Even if someone goes out and foolishly decides to have a child when they are ill-equipped to do so is it really anyone elses business and again, what does insulting them achieve?

For those of you that have read my other posts you will know that I do tend to rant when I am passionate about something and this post is no exception, something that I would never of thought twice about has made my blood boil and I just had to get it out there.

I’m pretty sure if I was 15,16, 17 or even in my early twenties and expecting a child I would be scared, petrified and if it had been an unplanned pregnancy I would be beating myself up for the mistake, I wouldn’t need someone else doing it for me. What I would need is advice, encouragement and understanding to help me bring up this new member of the world in the right way.

So if you are sitting at your keyboard now, and you are about to preach to some young mum about how disgusting you think they are, just stop and think about what you are doing, then, if after thinking about it you have no words of constructive wisdom to give them, back off and leave them alone – they really don’t need your input!

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3 thoughts on “Young Mums – Help or Harass?

  1. Coming from a mom that is no longer so “young” while I personally don’t feel sex before marriage is the right choice in life… I also don’t feel it’s ever right to take it out on an unborn child. Also if the mom-to-be or mom is a teen… still a child herself I don’t think anyone has the right to make their life harder. They may have made a very poor choice or they may be a victim that gave in to some teen boy that high pressured her… Either way… don’t make it worse by name calling or threats etc…
    Reluctantdaddio you have it said well. How would you feel if you would have been called names, were told your life was over or called evil down on your baby… Parents of any age go through many changes… these young ones have to do so much quicker… They may not be able to take care of the little one… maybe open adoption, maybe adoption or maybe a family can take them both in… to get them on their feet…
    I’m glad you have found some relief from your own concerns… don’t be surprised if they crop up now and again… We got sitters for Kodiak yesterday and I took the other two skiing and snowboarding… I felt guilt the whole time… He was not even with family but close friends… I did things with the other two I don’t like… (snowboarding) but I gave it my best shot… I still love them, I still enjoyed them, and I would do it all over again… Today I’m exhausted, stiff, sore and achy… but I made memories that will stick with them forever!!!
    Remember not to be too hard on yourself… Parenting is a give and take, and a stiff learning curve… just when you get one kid all figured out you have another and that kid is nothing like the other kid… then the first one switches their game… but it’s never dull!!!

  2. I’m so glad you’ve taken the time to write this interesting post that has helped you sort through your feelings about the injustices you have witnessed, and hope others will read it and reflect on it… Through my own experience, my husband has found that his eyes have really been opened up by fatherhood, and mine too by motherhood. And I know that I am far more aware of the fact that in this society, which, by and large, is driven by white middle-class males, for the interests of white middle-class males, then women, mothers, children get a rough ride. And if they’re young women, they’ll get an even rougher ride… This does not mean that all white middle-class males will attack these women – of course not! – but society is set up in a way that men (and women) who have a comfortable, privileged background may well ‘pile in’ to attack this minority group without first thinking… merely because these young women are ‘different’. It takes a fair bit of emotional maturity, internal reflection and an examination of deep-seated prejudices to get to a place where a person doesn’t immediately tweet knee-jerk verbal abuse.

    Thanks again for writing this post.

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