It’s great to feel I have my membership, says Tracy.
Oh how I needed Parent24 when my son Conor was born! No matter what mommy-dilemma you’re going through right now, somebody somewhere has been there, done that, and survived. That knowledge does help somehow, when you’re up at 3am with a snotty baby and an exam to write in the morning.
I was 15 when he was born, back in the olden days of 1994 even before dial-up internet. My mother became my best friend, giving me advice and support and puzzling through the confusing bits with me.
I devoured every parenting book I could find while pregnant, and by the time he arrived I knew it all. Well, all the theory, for what that’s worth. Which isn’t a lot, as we all discover eventually. Babies don’t work like the book says they do – and that’s probably the most helpful advice you’ll ever get.
I could recite the order of milk teeth appearance, backwards, if you like, and demonstrate sixteen swaddling techniques to soothe fractious babies.
But still, besides my mother, I had nobody to talk to about being a mommy. Nobody to share the excitement, the worries or chest-busting love bubbles with. I’d seen other moms talking at the clinic, for example, but I wasn’t included. I’d just get “the look” when I turned up. Tsk-tsk, raised eyebrows, the whole menu of Mommy Mafia nastiness.
I didn’t fit with them. People expected me to be your garden-variety tragic teenage mother type, drug-addled and loskop, my child all bratty and kwashiorkor’d – but we weren’t like that. And even if such a thing as a Teenage Mothers Support Group had existed, I don’t think I would have liked that either. I didn’t want special treatment, or capital letters. I just wanted to talk, to brag, to share.
I thought I’d achieve Mommy Club Membership if I proved I wasn’t one of those sepia-toned Teenage Pregnancy Government-Issue Poster Girls, clutching a teddy bear symbolic of my lost youth or some such tripe. I wanted to be seen as I saw myself – just a mom, as “real” and committed a mother as any of those other clinic tannies.
I got over it as time went by and enjoyed every minute of those early years. Still, if there’d been some way for me to be heard, it might have been a little less lonely.
Whether you’re a rookie parent at 15 or 40, you still need the same advice. Married or single, gay or straight, black or white or any combination of the above, being a mom or a dad is the same. You worry about the same stuff and coo at the same baby antics. You still want to talk about the same things.
Like we do here on Parent24 every day, even though all of us have different families, different stories, different lives. It’s special, and we’re lucky to have it.
Did you have to prove yourself to be included in the Mommy Club? Does Parent24 provide a place for you to voice your thoughts, fears or embarrassing tales?