To my teenage self…
I remember you sitting there with your boyfriend in your final year at college, planning the adventures you would have whilst travelling the world in your upcoming GAP year. I can still feel the electric excitement at all of the possibilities and opportunities you were going to experience, the burn of ambition as you dreamed of law school and a high flying academic career and the weight of expectation from family that you would be the one to go far in life. You were on fire. Beautiful, head-strong, smart and sassy.
And yet here you are a week later, clutching a positive pregnancy test, sunk onto your knees on the bathroom floor. That weird, high pitched haunting sound is you darling, your cries. They are unforgettable. You feel like your life is over, don’t you, but I promise it isn’t.
I know you didn’t plan for this to happen. I know you are scared. Scared to tell your parents, scared of the reactions of family, scared to lose your friends as they go off to university, scared to lose the life you had planned and more than all those things you are scared to be bringing another person into this world. I wish I could put my arms around you and protect you, give you a reassuring hug, tell you it will be ok. Because it will.
Within you is strength and courage that you didn’t know you had and you will find this I promise. Give yourself time to think things through and to adjust. After all, you have nine more months to wrap your head around this. Be kind to yourself, you are only a baby yourself. Don’t roll your eyes, you don’t know everything, you never will. Be open minded and patient, you will find time to create a new life for yourself and your baby. Trust your instincts, you are a mother now. Life is going to be different to the way you had it mapped out. Life hasn’t read your map though darling. Be strong, courageous and determined and you will find that life, although different to how we imagined, can still be wonderful, exciting and full of adventure.
Stop crying, tell your mum. She won’t be as angry as you imagine and she can help you so much. Ignore the haters. You are going to need a thick skin. Prove them all wrong. You are going to make mistakes along the way but you can learn from them. Don’t let anyone put you in a box.
Brace yourself for heartbreak, sometimes people are not who you thought they’d be. You may not be who you thought you’d be. Try to be kinder in future and learn from that mistake. Don’t hold on to regret or bitterness. It’s not all about you anymore. There will be sacrifices to make and painful lessons to learn but you will be a better woman on the other side of it. Don’t feel too guilty though, everyone makes mistakes when they are growing up.
You are going to have a son. He is a lovely, gentle soul who will fill your heart with happiness. Although it is hard to imagine, you will one day find it impossible to think of a life without him. He is warm, funny and equally as brave as you but he will need you tremendously. Hard to believe now, whilst you are so in love but there will be years of single motherhood ahead. Take on life together with your boy and be a happier, stronger woman for having him there with you. . The bond between you will be unbreakable. Even harder to imagine, one day you will have a daughter too. You cannot begin to imagine the happiness you will feel when that day comes. Better than any GAP year, I promise.
When the nights are long and you feel exhausted and alone, summon your strength my darling and remember the old saying that “this too shall pass”. Always know your worth. You may not get a degree or fancy career right away but there is time for all that later if you still want it. One day soon, you will mean everything to your children. They will show you your worth. Value it.
Now, pick yourself up off the bathroom floor, hold your head up high and embrace this new path in life. It is ok to be scared, adventures are always daunting. I will leave you now my darling but remember what I have said. Always know that you can do it, you will do it and most of all that you will eventually find great happiness in doing it.
PS. You are going to be a great mum.