Dear, With A Baby
I’ve been struggling. I see the pictures you post of your new baby, and I can’t figure out how I feel… or if I’m allowed to feel anything about it at all. You’re so happy, but I’m so happy… that it’s you and not me.
If I’m being honest, I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I think I’ve started to figure out why your new life has taken so much of my focus away from my own.
I want to start off by first promising not to judge your age, or your decisions. I will not talk badly behind your back, or whisper to my friends, calling you a “slut”, or “white trash”. I will also not pretend to be your new best friend, just because your child is really, really, cute. I will also never judge your parenting skills, or the way you spend your money. But most of all, I wont pity you. To pity you would be to belittle the massive decision you made to have this child, and I have zero right.
Yes, maybe I wish I could have seen you graduate college, and that you would have waited a bit longer…but it’s not up to me. It’s not my right to say – at all.
You are a young woman, but you are now a mother, and may one day be a wife. These titles make you qualified to make such decisions that have kick-started these new chapters of your life.
When I first heard the rumours, my feelings were admittedly conflicted. You were pregnant and I was drunk, gossiping about it. I feel ashamed for having had these feelings, for saying anything at all, but I have since dug deep to try and understand, to prove less judgmental or ignorant.
I refuse to judge, because you, just as easily could, (and can), judge me for the decisions I make during a single weekend of partying… Just because I am not pregnant, doesn’t mean I have slept with less people than you… It does not mean I have been any smarter than you… It simply means that my path has turned out differently. And although I wouldn’t choose the life you now live (if given the choice), I know I am not better than you, and I will never think I am.
When you discovered you were pregnant, I can imagine you were scared, utterly terrified about your next move. But I do not know how scared… because I am not you… and I have not felt that very moment…in your very own shoes.
Yes, you had options… Or maybe for you personally, for religious beliefs or otherwise, there was only one option- to have this baby. Either way, no matter the reason, you made the decision you felt you needed to make, and the only thing this makes you – is brave. It was a decision that was your absolute right as a human being to make and no one can take that away.
To choose to have a child this may be unimaginable to me, but we are different people now, in different situations, with different dreams, different emotions, and different goals… and that is totally OK. We may be the same age, we may have grown up together, and we may have loved all the same boy bands, and colours… But is only natural that we are different now, and in continuing with being honest… I am so happy that we are.
We are each on unique paths in which we will accomplish very different things; we will experience very different lives. Neither of us is better or worse than the other, and I do not hold myself on a pedestal just because I have “successfully” used birth control without error or “oops”… I know that life can change instantly; I know this wasn’t exactly ideal for you, and I know our situations could have easily been reversed.
While I understand that graduating first, then getting a job, then getting married and then having kids may have once also been your dream… you have been given a path of selflessness, and have bravely embraced the unknown. Just because I do not feel ready to be a mother at 21 years old, doesn’t mean you aren’t capable. Just because I don’t think I could do it, doesn’t mean you can’t.
I really hope you do not see me as ignorant, or less mature… now that you have so much more to be responsible for. I have been trying to understand, and even if I can’t… please don’t take it personally. I promise not to take it personally either, when you shake your head at me while I complain about juvenile things like assignments, hook-ups, or going out. I know your job is harder now, I know you have more to lose, and I respect you a hell of a lot.
My honest wish is that this path offers you nothing but reward and continued strength. We may not be close friends, but I genuinely hope you will not struggle in love, or financially, or in any other way that young parents have been known to. We may never again follow the same path, but remember that we are both actively following our hearts, and one day, hopefully a day very far from now, I’ll get the chance to be a mother just like you. Hey – maybe ill even come to you for some advice.