I am writing this post mainly because I need to vent! So, if you don't feel like listening to a rant of possibly epic proportions please look away now....
Ever since I was a teenager I have know I wanted to have children relatively young because I wanted to have the energy for looking after little children and, although I have nothing against older mums, I knew that for me kids were on the agenda by my mid twenties.
However, Cameron was an unplanned baby and the timing was far from perfect. I was also alone for almost my entire pregnancy, which was not easy. It was as soon as I started showing, around four months, that I started getting the dirty looks from people in the street, in shops, everywhere I went basically. Even in the maternity unit, a place where I should feel comfortable as a pregnant woman, I was getting looks from nurses and the other pregnant women. When I would answer questions such as where the dad was and I would say that he didn't want to know, I would get such a knowing look. It was if they were silently saying, that doesn't surprise me.
I have never had a huge problem with confidence, but it started to really give me a complex and make me feel totally rubbish about myself. In typical me fashion, I combatted this feeling by scowling at everyone I came across and sometimes resorting to loudly bitching about those looking at me. This made them glare more, it was a vicious circle. The worst culprits were the old women who are clearly still stuck in the 50's when a young unwed mother should be sent away to hide during her pregnancy.
Things only got worse the further along my pregnancy I got, and the bigger my bump became. I even heard people blatantly talking about me when I was out, one muttered 'disgraceful' right in front of my face in tesco express! What really got to me was that once, when I was out renting a video with one of my male friends Stuart who is in his late twenties, I was actually congratulated for one of the first times since I had started showing my pregnancy. It was as if it was okay to be young and pregnant, as long as I had a man standing next to me. How is that fair? It wasn't my fault that my unborn child didn't have a dad around.
Being pregnant should have been one of the happiest times of my life but it was ruined by small minded people who would rather judge me than take the time to find out that I am a sensible young woman who only want the best for her son.
Things haven't really improved since having Cameron. Walking around town with him in his pram I often get the odd dirty look from people walking by. Sure, sometimes I may be being paranoid, but this is only because of how many people are judging me, it now feels like everyone I meet is. The only time I really feel like I am able to relax and not be judged is around my friends, or when I am around other mums. Generally, regardless of age, mums will be friendly to other mums wherever they are whether in the street, in the shops, at the swimming pool.
The worst thing is when I have to walk into Uni with Cameron, something that doesn't happen often as my mum looks after him while I have classes, but that was unavoidable this afternoon. I had library books that were already a day overdue and as they are one week loan only, the fine is something stupidly high like 50p a book, per day. Not having childcare for Cameron today, I had no choice but to push him into Uni to return the books. I chose a bad time to go in as there were loads of people coming out while I went in so it really felt like we were going against the tide and meant I had plenty of people staring at me as I pushed the pram. It actually upsets me more than I would like to admit, to see people my age or younger looking at me as if I am some kind of alien for having had a baby whilst studying. Anyone would think I was one of those 12 year old girls you see in the news that go pregnant. I am 21 years old! For all they know I could already be married, not that it matters in this day and age. I got to the library and couldn't even use the drop in box so ended up asking a stranger to take my books back for me just because I couldn't bear to have the whole library stare at me as I tried to return the books with a young baby and the pram.
I may be paranoid, but the sad truth is that a lot of people do judge young mothers just from looking at us and taking 30 seconds to make up their mind that we are obviously all just drop-outs who had a baby to ride the benefit system. That isn't me. I am Emma and due to a mistake with my pill I got pregnant and I am against having an abortion so I 'manned' up, gave up my 'carefree' life and became a good mum. Judge me if you want, sure it hurts when you do, but I will still be a young mum and I am proud of that.