Being a parent is difficult already, let alone becoming one at a young age. At a time when becoming a parent is seen as the end of one’s life, young parents are often faced with difficult questions from people around them as well as dilemmas within themselves. Here are the stories of people who become parents at a young age, and how they face the stigmas and challenges in life.
“Spiraling down the rabbit hole of “what ifs” isn’t unique to younger parents, but it can be an especially difficult mind trap to overcome when most of your peers are living very different lives… it can be hard to stop the “shoulds” from ruling our lives — whether it’s that we SHOULD be married first, we SHOULD have waited until we graduated, we SHOULD have waited until we’re 30, we SHOULD have “sowed our wild oats” and traveled and really lived before being sucked into the boring blackhole of parenthood.”
“Of course, when you’re younger, you have fewer years of Real Life Experience, but no matter how old you are, taking care of a child is the hardest thing you will ever do. I got pregnant at 22 and I believe in some ways a woman in her 30s might have been more prepared than I was to have a child, but if she doesn’t have experience with babies the same way I didn’t, she’s going to have just as tough of a time swaddling and changing diapers.”
“The reality for most young parents, even the ones who didn’t expect to have kids when they did, is that they dial down the typical 20-something recklessness and rise to the responsibility that their new role as parent demands.
Honestly, young parents are often more easily able to become super responsible parents than people who have kids later in life because they have way fewer years of child-free life to shake off. Being a parent, and doing all that they have to do in support of that, becomes their reality so early, when their lives are still malleable and taking shape, that they don’t have to rearrange a whole other single life they had before.”
“I’ve always been a driven person, but it’s not just about me and my career. That whole work-life balance becomes much more critical when you have kids at home. Growing up, I wanted to be the CEO or the president of some mega-corporation. But once I saw what that would take, in terms of time away from the family, it just ended up not being worth it.”
“It’s easy to turn young parenthood into an excuse in life, into a reason not to fight. But being a young father is the reason I fight. I want a better life for my children so they can have the things I never did. I want to lead by example and show that no matter what, we should never stop trying.”