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

War Stories

The Right Target

Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.

The NFL Has No Business Punishing Players for Off-Field Conduct. Leave That to the Teams.

Meet the Allies the U.S. Won’t Admit It Needs in Its Fight Against ISIS

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

Should You Recline Your Seat? Two Economists Weigh In.

Medical Examiner

How to Stop Ebola

Survivors might be immune. Let’s recruit them to care for the infected.

History

America in Africa

The tragic, misunderstood history of Liberia—and why the United States has a special obligation to help it fight the Ebola epidemic.

New GOP Claim: Hillary Clinton’s Wealth and Celebrity Are Tricks to Disguise Her Socialism

Why the Byzantine Hiring Process at Universities Drives Academics Batty

Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 3:29 PM The Fascinating Origins of Savannah, Georgia’s Distinctive Typeface
  News & Politics
History
Sept. 23 2014 11:45 PM America in Africa The tragic, misunderstood history of Liberia—and why the United States has a special obligation to help it fight the Ebola epidemic.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Lead Security Engineer Had a Legacy of Sabotage
  Life
Education
Sept. 23 2014 11:45 PM Why Your Cousin With a Ph.D. Is a Basket Case  Understanding the Byzantine hiring process that drives academics up the wall.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Sept. 23 2014 3:04 PM Chicago Gabfest How to get your tickets before anyone else.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 8:38 PM “No One in This World” Is One of Kutiman’s Best, Most Impressive Songs
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 5:36 PM This Climate Change Poem Moved World Leaders to Tears Today
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 23 2014 11:37 PM How to Stop Ebola Could survivors safely care for the infected?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 23 2014 7:27 PM You’re Fired, Roger Goodell If the commissioner gets the ax, the NFL would still need a better justice system. What would that look like?