I am so overwhelmed right now- I should see my therapist, but I really and truly don't have a second to spare, and it's just going to be like this for the next several months at least.
I am a young mom to the sweetest little two year old boy you can imagine. I am also a full-time college student, a full-time nanny, and a part-time dog-walker. My husband, who I've been married to for four years, works full time and studies at the university full time. DH and I are both in our early 20's. We are hard-working, dedicated people and- not to toot my own horn or anything, but we make great parents. We were both raised in large families and we're very good with kids, and we have a very stable relationship and a beautiful living environment. We are a very well-loved little family, and all of our friends were thrilled when they found out that we were expecting a second baby. Even my doctor is excited about this kid.
However...I just got back from a family reunion, with all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc. I have always loved these people and I've made them a priority in my life. I did not intend for them to find out that I was pregnant at the reunion, but unfortunately morning sickness hit me right in the middle of the trip and my mother felt that she had to explain my "weird behavior" (vomiting and taking naps) so that people wouldn't think that she was "coddling her kids" (??).
We were all sitting at the dinner table when my mom suddenly announced out of nowhere that my son is going to be a big brother in the summer. I would have been upset enough about the way she ignored my wishes and shared my news without even consulting me. However, the reactions her announcement received completely blew me out of the water. In particular, my favorite aunt, who I have always felt very close to and spent a great deal of time with in my childhood, made a disgusted face and said, "Omg, how old is she? Nineteen? What is wrong with her, can't she figure out how to use birth control?"
Bear in mind that I was sitting directly across from her at the dining room table, looking right at her as she said this. I was absolutely floored. For the record, I'm 23, not 19, and as it so happens I'm pretty familiar with various forms of birth control. I was on the pill, for example, when I conceived my first child. He was and is as welcome as sunshine in our home, but we certainly didn't plan to start having children when we were 20 and 21 and still in school.
This same aunt when on later to take my sister (who lives with me because my parents are going through a rather stressful divorce) aside to confide to her how angry she was with me when she first heard that I was expecting my son, and had the audacity to tell my sister that it was clear to her that I didn't even want "that baby."
It's slowly beginning to dawn on me, after three days of criticism from my family members, that they all think that I made the wrong choice in not aborting my son. I find this truly horrifying- he is a beautiful child and everyone loves him so much. As awkward as the timing was, I can honestly say that it never crossed my mind to terminate the pregnancy. I was ecstatic when I found out that I was expecting. Motherhood has not ruined my life. We are still making solid, steady progress in school and my son is enjoying a very relaxed, happy childhood at the same time...and it's a lot of work to meet both of those goals. We chose to have this second child because the timing worked out perfectly, as we're planning to move out of state in two years and I'll have to take a year off from school to make that work anyway. The next time we see a gap like this coming up in our lives where a child would really fit in well is in 8 years when we are both done with school, and I'd rather have to work harder now and let my kids grow up as siblings than to essentially have two only children separated by a decade, who perhaps never really get the chance to develop a close bond with one another.
I'll be the first to admit that our situation isn't ideal, but we are thriving and happy. Where is all this judgment coming from? Will I always carry this "young mom" stigma around with me? How is it "coddling" to "let" me take a nap in my room with my son in the afternoon when I'm 9 weeks pregnant and as sick as a dog? Do I need to severe ties with these family members in order to protect my children? I don't expect to be treated like a deity, but HELLO I'm accomplishing some reasonably incredible things here and it's taking every ounce of energy and determination I have to keep up...whatever happened to "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all?"