By now, most of us young moms are familiar with the ever-popular snarky comments, judgmental stares, and outright rude treatment from other people towards us and our mothering abilities.
And while I still don’t really get why people assume that mothers our age–for most of us, that means early twenties, not even teens–are somehow unusual, irresponsible, or ignorant, the truth is, it does happen. Posts like this hilarious one from Michelle Horton of Early Mama pretty much sums up all of the rude comments that young moms receive.
But there are times when I think, what exactly is it I want people to say to me? What would have helped me in those first precarious days of finding out I was pregnant? Or, what pray tell, would I say to my sister, the same age I was when I was pregnant with Ada?
7 Things To Say To A Woman Facing Unplanned Pregnancy
Yes, it sounds simple, and it is. But there were so many instances during my first pregnancy when people simply didn’t know if they should congratulate me or not. After all, was it even a good thing? Was I happy about being 21 and pregnant? Allow me to assure you–it’s ok to congratulate a young mom and it will help her see that it is ok to be happy about her pregnancy.
2. “You look great!”
There is a huge difference between “You look so young!” which is, in essence, a completely derogatory statement, and the positive, “You look great!” First of all, odds are she probably isn’t feeling that great and in the beginning, it can be hard to cope with all the changes your body goes through. I don’t care if she looks bedraggled or big as a house, all pregnant women are beautiful and she deserves to hear it.
3. “How are you feeling about everything?”
I found that during my pregnancy, most people avoid the issue of the scandal that was my unplanned pregnancy completely. It was much easier not to talk about the (literal and figurative) elephant in the room. Even through a baby shower and wedding planning, most people just skirted around the fact that I was definitely not a normal mom-to-be or bride-to-be. In the middle of a stress-fueled breakdown, I found myself just wanting to stand on a chair and scream, “Can we all please stop acting like this is normal? Because it’s not!” It is ok to address her and her emotions–find out how she’s feeling. If she wants to talk, she’ll talk.
4. “You’re going to be a great mom.”
Hands down, the though that she is not going to do a good job is a young mom’s worst fear. Heck, I think it’s every mom’s worst fear, young or old, unplanned or planned. Don’t be afraid to encourage her–she needs to hear that there are all kinds of different mothering styles and no one can say which one is “best”.
5. “You’re going to have so much fun.”
We’re all pretty quick to point out all the hard parts about being a young parent–the challenges with work and home and sick kids and school, but how about the good parts? How about the hands-down amazing parts? I love to hear, still to this day, some of the positives about being a young mom, like how we can have more energy to play with our kids, and how much fun it can really be to experience the world together.
6. “It’s going to fine.”
I was so lost in my turmoil of doom and gloom after I found out that I was pregnant that I completely lost all perspective. It took my mom giggling when I told her about my pregnancy to smack some sense back into me. People–it’s a baby, not a death sentence! And guess what? Babies grow up, situations change, and life really does have a way of working out in the long run.
7. “I know of this young mom who…”
Wrote a book, went to med school, placed her baby in a loving adoption. Fill in the blank here and encourage her with a real-life story of a young mom who has succeeded. If you need help, order my book or check out my young mom interviews for some stories to share.
*For a complete talking guide for young women facing unplanned pregnancies, order my book here. Discounts for bulk purchases are available too!