What’s It Like to Be a Teen Mom?

The best answer to any question.
May 9 2014 12:24 PM

What’s It Like to Be a Teen Mom?

This question originally appeared on Quora.

Answer by Imogen Moore, freelance journalist:

Advertisement

I was 18.

After having my second child at 36, I can say that 18 is a great physical age to have a child. I had plenty of energy and didn't care as much about a clean house, so I had a lot of "extra" time to play.

But it's pretty lonely. Obviously my peers were doing nonbaby things, but I was also rejected by other parents at the playgroup and school. There is a huge stigma to being a teen mother (strike 1). I was also low-income (strike 2) and single (strike 3), so I found it difficult to be taken seriously by my daughter's teachers or even just by other mums and dads who were more "grown up."

The irony is that I was juggling work, university, and parenthood and was still the only parent at the school gates who seemed happy to see his or her child—maybe it was because I wasn't involved in a conversation with another school parent, so I had no need to shoo her away!

Every decision has the undertone of "her her her" as its soundtrack. If I made a good decision, then that noise would fade for a while. If I made a bad decision or a dubious one, then the noise in my head would become overwhelming. And I made a lot of bad decisions then compared to the decisions I make now, as an older, wiser, and better parent.

Although I was a pretty bad parent to her (honestly, 18 is not the smartest age), her existence kept me alive and made me avoid the worst of life's situations and people. It was only my belief that she deserves better that kept me away from the truly destructive path that I was on.

Basically, although a teen pregnancy is a bad situation, because of it there are two slightly battered but good, loving, and compassionate people in the world who came pretty close to dying or not existing at all.

It's funny what can save a life.

More questions on Quora:

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 2 2014 6:00 AM Can’t Stomach It I was shamed for getting gastric bypass surgery. Should I keep the procedure a secret?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?