24 and pregnant: Figuring it out

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On the fears of motherhood and what comes next.

By Terri Cluckie

When I was in high school it seemed teen pregnancy was rife. Like literally everywhere so we had to do all we could to protect ourselves against this disease because it could bite us all and then our lives would be over. We were constantly prepared for what not to do through fear of what might happen, but not for what do to if it actually did happen – at any stage in life.

Now that I’m 24 and five months pregnant, it seems the tables have turned. Somewhere in the seven years that I left high school, teen pregnancy has all but disappeared and somehow we’re all waiting til we’re in our 30s to have babies – or so the articles I’ve been reading keep telling me. The thing is though I know this isn’t true because I myself know seven women, all different ages and at different stages in life, who have either just had a baby or are pregnant right now.

When I search online for advice on pregnancy and careers, all the wonder women who are featured are older than I am, have already had a start in their careers, are killing it, and even though they struggled, are apparently definitely making it work. I love these stories; they are inspirational but they also make me scared and feel slightly under-accomplished (get over yourself, Terri).

But really, what happens when you fall pregnant and you don’t have your life sorted out already? And how many people are laughing at me for saying that? If Girls and Sex and the City has taught me anything it’s that actually nobody has it figured out, period, but that doesn’t always stop the mind from spinning.

Let me share with you my story. Up until a few months ago I was living in New Zealand as a writer for a publishing company. I am now unemployed and living with my mum back in my hometown in Scotland (my inner comedian actually loves this story). So right now I’m trying to figure out how one adjusts their life when they’ve had to leave one and start another. How do you get your “career” back on track when, 1) You have a tiny life growing inside of you and, 2) Are you sure you even have a ‘career’ in the first place? These are questions I ask myself on a daily basis and it’s a roller coaster because some days my mind thinks, ‘WHY? WHAT? HOW?’ and then other days it’s, ‘Terri, you will find your way. It’s only been two months. You really need to relax.’ But I can’t relax because that’s not what I do.

I’m not afraid to be a mother, I’m not afraid of how much my life is going to turn upside down in a mere four months. I can’t wait to meet my son and each day my stomach grows, it fills me with pride and real happiness. I’m so excited to have a baby with someone I love. What terrifies me is the thought that my son might not have a happy life (a burden that will follow me to my grave now) and the thought of losing myself in the midst of motherhood. These are scary things to me. I’m only 24 and I barely know myself, how am I meant to raise a tiny guy so that he has the best life possible while simultaneously figuring things out for myself?

It would seem I’m also terrified of already screwing up my chance at a non-existent career which is ridiculous because other than write I really don’t know what I want to do with myself anyway. And truthfully, if it weren’t for my baby I would still be stuck in a place that I was actually miserable in. So why is it then that pregnancy has me suddenly terrified of ruining something I didn’t have in the first place?

I could blame a million things but stopping reading articles that don’t relate to me would be a start. I’m usually good at switching off to things I don’t like but when something is playing on your mind that can be difficult – like birthing videos. Why are they always on your YouTube suggestions when you least need them?

Life is full of adjustments and unexpected turns and only time will tell. Maybe not much will change; maybe everything will change. The only thing I know for sure is that I’m going to have an extra best friend to take with me.

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I haven’t figured it all out yet but these are a few sources that get me through the day whenever I’m experiencing a trough on the roller coaster:

1. Jessica Grose – she is a writer of many things, but I mainly read her work at Slate.com where she writes about women’s issues and being a parent. Her articles helped me a lot when I first found out I was pregnant, particularly this one: The Case for Having Kids in Your 20s.
2. Jessica is also the editor-in-chief of Lenny Letter which is another goldmine of information about women from all walks of life, mothers or not. I always find it provides me with guidance even when I’m not looking for it.
3. Tamira Jarrel – a beauty blogger who also happens to be a Mum of two. She doesn’t necessarily talk about being a mother but for me it’s nice to know someone around my age can be successful on their own terms while juggling motherhood.
4. The Pool – a website for women that covers everything. Check out their candid Parenting Honestly section. It’s pretty brilliant.

[Photo credits: www.bustle.com and Google Images]

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2 thoughts on “24 and pregnant: Figuring it out

  1. I love this. It’s so strange how we are both in the same boat now, mothers at 24/25 and yet in completely different boats at the same time. What I worry about is having to justify NOT wanting a career to people. To explain that I’m so happy being a stay at home mum, that’s it’s what I’ve always wanted. Where we stay there is this attitude that if you’re married with a baby and living in your home town then you’ve failed at life, and that you must be bored and hate your circumstances, and I absolutely hate that attitude. It’s bullshit. I picked this life, it’s the life I wanted, it’s not something that I got stuck with. I had options, I could have done anything, hell for a while I lived the life other people wanted me to and I was miserable, but this, the life I’m living now is the one I want, what I’ve always wanted. And I’m so unbelievable happy. Having a relationship with someone I adore and having a child were my dreams and they have came true now, and maybe to some people those dreams are small but they were MY dreams. Now I have new dreams, for my child to be happy, in whatever way that happens to be, to keep going to bed each night with a man I love and who makes me happy everyday and to watch my friends live all these different exciting adventures and knowing I’ll always be their safe place to land, that I’ll always be available to them when they need me. I’m so proud of you and everyone else who are out there achieving everything they want. My dream now is just to keep being happy and stop worrying that my happiness looks different from somebody else’s.

    I’m so proud of you for what you’ve done in the past, everything you are doing now and everything you’ve still to do. You’re going to be an amazing mum and whatever career you do chose to do you’re going be great at. You are always working towards what you want and I love you for it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have it all figured out yet, you’ve already got the important part figured out and that is that you love your son and want him to have a good life. Everything else will fall into place, there’s no rush. There’s no right way of doing anything despite what a lot of mummy forums and articles will have you believe. One day a 24 year old girl wil be looking for stories on how to have a career and a baby at their age and they will see your story. X

    Like

    • You’re such a babe. Always so supportive, but that’s my Bo ❤ You're in the best place now. I've said it before but you just glow now. I'm so happy you've finally got to your happy place. Your circumstances don't need approval from anyone else – just because it wouldn't be someone else's choice doesn't make it the wrong or "shitty" choice for you. This is exactly what you were meant to do and I'm so proud that you're there. Love you xxx

      Like

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