Sunday, November 18, 2012

Does the 'teen' contradict the 'mom' in teen mom?

Teen pregnancy is, no doubt, a growing epidemic in this country today.  While statistics say that these girls are too young to handle this great responsibility, are more than likely to not finish school, will not stay with the baby's father and are more likely to have children who end up in jail or, in turn, become teen parents themselves... does not mean the entire stereotyped group WILL succumb to these statistics.  I use my title as 'teen mom' in a past tense.  That is something I've gone through, not who I am.  I am a grown woman who did graduate high school with my class, has since married (the father of my baby) and has had two more children.  We are a close family who make an honest living, own a nice home, raise our children with high morals and value and are respected by the people who know us well.
This subject, nevertheless, is still dear and close to my heart.
The biggest and most important part of growing up is learning from the experiences we grow through.  As teens, there are many misconceptions in our behavior.  Who hasn't once cheated on a test, sneaked out of the house, lied to their parents or have engaged in even the smallest sexual act?  Although these surely do have consequences, they are quickly forgiven and forgotten by others.  Lets say, however, that the world ostracized you for life over that one decision.  What if you had to wear a sign that always labeled you a cheater or a liar or a harlot - would that automatically define who you are?  Even if it just happened once and you've learned from it, are you stereotypically in the same rank as smugglers, launderers, robbers and prostitutes?  My bet is most of you would answer 'no' and think that this comparison is ridiculously exaggerated and over the line but to the people who condemn and judge young mothers only because of their age are doing the exact same thing.
The consequence of teen pregnancy is very visible and cannot be forgotten but that consequence is also a gift from God.  It takes a special young woman to step up and embrace that responsibility with all of her heart, body and soul along with the blood, sweat and tears.  God never gives us more than He knows we can handle.  No one is completely and truly ready for a child whether you're 36, 26 or 16.  For the girls that have risen to this and have wrapped their lives around this gift... they deserve nothing less than our support and respect.
For the girls that have fallen into the statistics, all we can do is pray for you and hope that one day you'll see the greatest gift that can be given is already in front of you.  These statistics are out there in this world but are not 100% and could be applied to certain mothers of any age.
Being a mom at a young age does not mean that your life is over but it has been taken into another direction and a path that God has paved for you.
So... does the 'teen' contradict the 'mom' in teen mom?  Only if we allow it to...  Lets open our eyes and see each other for our strengths and how we can overcome.  Lets take the 'teen' out of the equation and see them as who they are and what they've worked hard to accomplish.  Am I considered a teen mom still after 17 years?  Don't stereotype, don't criticize, don't judge.  We are all created equal and if God has blessed you with a child(ren), he has given us all the same name... 'Mom'.

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, 'let me take the speck out of your eye', when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
Matthew 7:1-5