"She just seemed to attract life everywhere she went"
Ever heard the term geriatric pregnancy? Is there an equivalent for young parents? What do we call the ones who aren't teens, but aren't at the prime of ages 26-32? From a very young age I had a deep love for working with infants and being around new parents. I knew that I wanted that for myself one day.
At eleven and twelve I was caring for my neighbors and family friends infants. Our home was filled with babies even after my mom had her last baby. I rocked a Nirvana tee and snuggled all the babies. I felt blissful.
When I made the decision to start trying for kids before twenty I knew there would be judgement and all sorts of comments, but there are some situations where it is much more professional to keep those comments to yourself.
I knew from a young age I wanted children and I wanted them early. I had this whole plan to marry a doctor or a lawyer right after graduating from some bachelors program, maybe as a baker or an accountant or even a teacher. I would work for the first two years of our marriage, but then I'd stay home to raise our kiddos, yes there is a "s" on the end of kiddo. I wanted multiple, many, lots, maybe 8...
Being one of seven I wanted to give my children the fun big family I had growing up. Even when my siblings and I didn't get along I never once in my life wished for a smaller family. Some of us actually wished for one more baby in the family.
None of us could comprehend life without one of us and there was a good chunk of our lives we all were still at home, 7 kids under 13 years old.
Our childhood was fun, adventurous, and never left us wanting because even when we didn't have everything our parents knew how to make do and have fun with the things we did have. My dad was crafty, we even had a half pipe in the driveway and my own playhouse in the back.
After growing up with such fun and surrounded by such love and fostering a great love for working with moms and children how could I not want kids of my own?
That idea I had in my head of marrying young and staying home was quickly replaced with a new dream when I discovered just how important my career would be to me.
I began attending births at 15 years old, was certified as a doula at 16, graduated high school at 16, and began traveling the world and running my doula business.
Not long after settling into the adult world I began considering having kids. Fast forward to the random night I discovered the amazing "Young Single Moms by Choice" Facebook and really began my fertility journey. This group was filled with people with all different stories. Some wanted a baby now, but were happy falling in love later and co-parenting a child while others wanted to do this parenting thing completely on their own and never have a romantic partner be a part of that.
My reasoning was more of the former. I decided at thirteen that I would never set goals I needed a man to help me accomplish, or anyone for that matter and frankly, that didn't limit me much because I was an ambitious, strong willed teen.
Of course, I'd need the help of a fertility clinic, but I didn't need any kind of romantic involvement in the whole thing. I was focusing on dating and loving myself. I'm still not closed off to finding a partner. I still date people and look at people with a romantic lens, but I'm also not sitting around waiting for someone to help me fulfill my desire to be a mother.
The fertility process brought lots of unsolicited advice and opinions, but also so much support. It brought me closer to my mother in many ways and closer to friends who could relate to my story, the fertility process, and just pregnancy and baby related things overall.
I was surprised to find the level of support the fertility clinic provided me with. My doctor is and always has been amazing. He told me most nineteen year old's would have been turned off by the cost of treatment alone and that he hoped, and so did another doctor, that their children turned out as driven as me.
There was one nurse that had a different reaction to me seeking care at the clinic. She came in to do my IUI and asked my date of birth. I said the date and then "2001". She blurts out "You're our first 2000s patient. We're inseminating a nineteen year old. Holy cow."
I was instantly uncomfortable.
She continued with the rudeness... She asked, "um...what do you do for...do you have a job?" I responded confidently and told her of my many successes in doula work. Why was I justifying myself to this random nurse I may never see again? Why was she allowed to talk to patients this way? Anybody could see the judgement oozing out of her.
She continued though, mentioning I may be some kind of prodigy, but not feeling confident I was in a position to provide for a parent just yet...she needed more information. She asked if I lived at my parents house, if they were paying for the services, and just other questions about my finances.
That IUI failed, so did two others, but I blame it on her rude comments.
I often think about how if I had a salary of 32K at nineteen I would not be seen as financially stable enough to plan a pregnancy, but that salary at age twenty-eight would be just fine. There is no doubt that more years of life experiences help us grow, but it also doesn't feel right to be so against young people having babies.
Some may choose to have children later, some earlier. My career is extremely important to me, but it also is one that a baby fits well into. We all are doing the best we can and trusting that we are doing what is right for ourselves.
My life vision changed after those pre-teen year and I get to keep changing it, but the constant has been a desire to be a mother and do that earlier rather than later.
When talking about "ism's" there are many that we discuss more often, but ageism isn't some term that was created to describe the young people bothered by stereotypes. People face it in pregnancy on both sides of the spectrum and it leaves them feeling less supported by the providers they are supposed to trust.
I seemed to just rock that tired mom look from age four anyways...tired mom was my spirit animal.
There is a difference between needing a partner and wanting a partner. I want one someday, but I do not need one.