1. How old were you when you first got pregnent? I was 21 when I got pregnant. I delivered 10 days after my 22nd birthday.
2. What was your initial reaction? Was this planned? My initial reaction was a complete panic. I was a young college student working at a bar full-time to support myself. Also, I worried about what the father would think. We had broken up two weeks before I found out.
3. How old is your little boy now? My son Kooper is an absolutely perfect two and a half year old.
4. What was your biggest concern when you were pregnant? I think my biggest concern was obviously the health of my baby. I was also concerned if I was making the right decision on keeping the baby. The dad chose not to be involved, I hadn't finished college and I'd have to move home with my parents for support. It seemed the odds were stacked against us. I prayed long and hard. But I think I always knew in my heart that I couldn't do adoption. Luckily I have a supportive family who provided both emotional and short-term financial support.
5. What's one thing you wish you could go back and tell your pregnant self? I would go back and tell myself how perfect my life is now. How the struggles were so worth it. How happy being his mom makes me. I cannot imagine Kooper not being in my life.
6. Your situation is unique in that most of your close girlfriends are "early mamas" too. Is that something you all planned? I feel so blessed to have such a tight-knit group of girlfriends who are all moms. We had been friends in high school and the babies have brought us so much closer. None of the pregnancies were planned, but they're all amazing mothers!
7. In your opinion, what's the biggest advantage to early motherhood? I believe there are many advantages! I'm the "fun mom" at the park and in the bouncy house, going down the slides and on the little rides at the fair. Another advantage is the extended family Kooper gets to be around. His Great Great Grandmother and Grandfather are still living and involved in his life. I think that's extremely rare. I think it's also nice that my husband and I will be young when Kooper and our future children are grown. We look forward to traveling when the kids are in college, both with and without them!
8. The biggest challenge? Although motherhood is challenging, I truthfully don't feel disadvantaged as a young mom. I met the love of my life with a four month old and he is the most amazing father. I don't miss going out or having freedom. I so enjoy being a mom and we can't wait to expand our family!
9. What do you think is the biggest misconception about you, as an early mom? I think the biggest misconception is that I'm a bad mom. I've also been asked how much I charge per day from people who assume I'm the nanny. Just the other day at the grocery store, a little old lady stopped me and said,"I've been watching how you interact with your son and you seem to be such a great mom. I'm shocked -- how old are you? About 18?" I know she meant well, but I felt like she must have been watching to judge me, assuming I'd be a bad mother because I'm young. I was very surprised and wonder how often this happens.
10. What would you tell a fellow young mom who is stressing about her decision? Breathe. Pray. It will work out! Being a mom is the most rewarding experience on the planet. Enjoy it -- they go from newborns to toddlers in a flash!
Thank you Kendra for sharing your experience! If anyone is or was an "early mama," or just has a perspective they'd like to share, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.