So pleased to feature Hannah Wingert of Annalie’s Baby Boutique today. Hannah is in my same boat–27 with 3 little ones, so I definitely relate to her. Unlike me, however, Hannah is incredibly crafty and runs her own online children’s boutique. You just have to read Hannah’s experience with how people treat her as a young mom–nurses talking to her own mother instead of her, looks at her wedding ring. And we can take a cue from Hannah to just let things roll of our backs when it comes to the rude comments and stares because, as Hannah puts it, “I’m a good mom and that’s all that matters!”
Take it away Hannah!
Tell us about yourself:
I’m 27 years old, a mom of three little ones, and married to my husband of 6 years. I own an online children’s boutique (www.annaliesbabyboutique.etsy.com), and I LOVE to sew and create new things. I also babysit 4 days a week, sub at the local library, and stay busy with church and family activities.
What was your reaction to finding out you were pregnant?
Hubby and I had agreed to wait until I finished college and got to where I could work from home before we would start a family. 7 months after we got married, I was in the process of registering for college to earn a degree in medical transcription when I went to the ER for asthma issues. Since I was a few days late, I asked for a pregnancy test. I was completely blown away when it was positive. On one hand, I was excited to be having a baby, but on the other hand, the timing was terrible, and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to stay home with the baby, especially for the first few years.
Did you consider adoption or abortion? What made you decide against it?
I am very much pro-life so abortion was never an option. Being married, I didn’t consider adoption either although Hubby suggested it when he found out I was pregnant. He says he was joking…
What stigmas and stereotypes did you encounter as a young mother?
I look really young (up until a few years ago, I still had people ask me what grade I was in) so a lot of people assume that I’m a teen mom. Before I had three kids (apparently, when you have that many, people realize you’re not a teenager! Or maybe it’s just that my kids have aged me that much…) I used to get a lot of pitying/dirty looks and would usually try to flash my wedding ring at them so they’d see that I was at least married. Then, when my oldest daughter was still a baby, I lost my wedding ring. The looks and comments got even worse after that. When she was 4 months old, she had to have an ultrasound to check for hip dysplasia. My husband was working, and I was nervous about navigating the Mayo Clinic by myself so I asked my mom to come with me. I can’t tell you how many people assumed that she was the mom and I was the older sister. During the ultrasound, my daughter started crying so I tried to comfort her. The ultrasound tech looked at me condescendingly and said, “Oh, what a good mom you are.” I could tell she thought I was a teen mom and that my mom was virtually raising the baby for me. It was humiliating. Just last month, I took my youngest daughter to the doctor to have her frenulum clipped and asked my mom to come along for moral support. I left the older 2 kids with my sister so it was just me, my mom, and the baby. While in the office, the nurse would look at my mom instead of me when asking questions. She was nice, but she obviously thought I was too young to have a baby. When she left the office, I struck up a conversation with my mom about how so many people think I’m too young to have a baby even though I’m 27 and married with 3 kids. The nurse was standing right outside and must have heard because after that, she directed her questions to me.
How do you deal with the rude people?
I try to let things roll off my back. I know I’m a good mom and that’s all that matters!
Do you have any thoughts on breastfeeding v. bottle feeding?
I struggled with breastfeeding my two older children. I breastfed my first for a year (we supplemented with formula) and my second for 3 months before my supply diminished too much to continue. With my third, I decided to bottle feed right from the start and it was the best decision. This is the first time I’ve been able to fully enjoy having a baby. Breastfeeding is great, but if it’s stressing the mom out too much, that’s not good for the baby.
Any advice for other moms?
Find some other moms close to your age in your area who you can turn to for advice and support. Good places to find them are playgroups, church, the playground, etc.
Did you have postpartum depression?
Yes, although I didn’t realize it at the time. I felt like I was in a fog for my oldest daughter’s first 6 months. The labor and delivery were physically traumatic and having a baby was such a huge adjustment for me. My second baby screamed almost non-stop for the first few months and that was incredibly difficult to deal with.
How do keep yourself sane as a mom?
Chai lattes, sewing, and begging/bribing my little sister to come over and entertain the kids every once in a while so I can clean the house without interruptions *blissful sigh*. It also helps that my older sister lives just a few minutes from me and has three kids very close in age to my own so we are often going through the same thing at the same time and can give each other moral support.