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What it was like to be raised by a teen mom

March 2, 2015, 12:26 pm | This story has an Influence Score of 900

By @mariocantin

These are the stories of  four Quora users.

Story #1:

by Joe Lawson

It was, inconsistent. My mother had me less than a month after she turned 15. My "father" was an adult at the time, maybe 29 or so. He skipped town when he found out the good news. My mother and I stayed with relatives for the first year or so of my life. After a while though I guess it became stressful for everyone. They asked us to leave. My mother then hitchhiked from North Carolina to Texas with me in tow. Then she started a pattern of shacking up with men just so we could have a roof over our head.

I don't necessarily agree with some of her decision making, but I suppose her options were limited. An uneducated teen mother living in the American south, it couldn't have been easy. I was probably not in safe conditions sometimes, but I know it could have been much worse.

As time passed I learned to deal with the oddity that was my home life. Kids are good at adapting. There were times when my mother's new boyfriends weren't that much older than me. There were times when the guy was pretty cool. There were times when the guy was an asshole.

Personally I feel like it helped me to learn how to deal with all sorts of people. I tend to get along with a wide variety of personalities. Kinda of a survival tactic I guess. I imagine this isn't always the case for children of teen mothers. For me however, I learned to acclimate.

All in all I have to say it wasn't that bad, I have to thank my mother for that, she did try.

 

Story #2:

by Celestine Emberton

My mother had me when she was 15. I am 17 now and cannot imagine what it must have been like for her.  She met my father in a remote malagasy village. They fell in love and got married. My dad left temporarily to go back to the US to get the money to take my mom and her unborn child (me) into the US. Many people told her that he would never come back, and she worried about this a lot. She did not have to deal with the social stigma associated with being a teen mom, because it was fairly common in Madagascar, as most teens are arranged to be married. My mom says that after she had me she felt relieved, and she stopped worrying about whether my father would come back (he did). She says that if she were to do it all over again she wouldn't change a thing.  

My mom and I share a very special bond, we grow and learn together, and she is my best friend. People often ask if we are sisters. We give each other for advice and help each other out. People are often shocked when I tell them my mother's age, but it has never been a big deal to me. She has raised me well, and I am very thankful for that.Edit: I thought I would add a picture of my mom and I (along with my baby sister).

From left to right: Me, my Mom, KiraAlso thank you so much for all of the upvotes, when I wrote this I never thought so many people would see it. I just wanted to share the story of my mom, she is truly an amazing person and I am proud to be her daughter.

 

Story #3:

by Anonymous

I was born when my mom was 18, still a young and dreaming girl, believing that she had what life was supposed to be: a husband and a child.

A year and a half later, she had another child, and past another year one more. At the time, she was a mother of 3 kids and to help even more she and my father got divorced.

She left her life back and started living only for her children. She had to work at two places, sometimes 3, in order to give us at least the essentials (food, clothes and a home). With that much responsibility and lack of knowledge eventually she got depressed, and I don't know how she gained strength to fight it and overcome it, but she did.

Since she had to work a lot, and had nobody else to take care of us, as the oldest son I had to take care of my brothers. Sometimes she was so worried about the money that I can't remember how many times I saw her crying because of that. I had to learn very young how to cook, how to clean the house, how to pay bills at the bank, among other stuff. I don't think this has created any problem for me. Today, I like to cook, I don't like to clean the house, I pay my bills online and I control my money very well, and my brothers see me as almost a father.

She has always been a hard worker, she always taught us that we should be kind, and I feel like she mastered the art of being a mother. She is the best mother I can think of and I'm very grateful for having her and for how she sacrificed herself for me and my brothers. Everyone of my family, including my wife, loves to talk to her and listen to her wise advice. She is like a psychologist for my family.

I believe life was much more difficult for her than for her children. Maybe not having a father around had more impact in who I am today than her being a young mother.

 

Story #4:

by Anonymous

My mother was 19 years old for one month before she had me, so I barely qualify to answer this, but here goes anyway. I've always felt that a lot of the things that made my upbringing difficult, and that continue to plague my relationship with my mom even now, were due to how young she was when I was born.
 
As the mother of small children, she was amazing. Sure, she and my dad had to work hard to keep us fed and clothed, and I'm sure it couldn't have been the easiest time for them, but my sister and I never wanted for anything and generally led very idyllic lives. I had a very happy childhood. Things changed once I hit puberty, and beyond. My theory is that my mother stopped developing… perhaps maturing? is the best word, the moment she had me. She didn’t have time to question aspects of her own upbringing (strictly Catholic in a small town in a third world country). She never learned to control her anger, pull herself out of slumps or depression, to let go of grudges. These are aspects of her personality that didn’t come up when she had two sweet little girls in tow; having a teenager and a preteen in the house was a very different story. In reaction to my grandmother’s treacly sweetness when she was growing up, she tried to be the callous, somewhat withdrawn mother of her own dreams- never saying I love you to me until I was what, 19 or 20? And even then, only in writing on a birthday card. She never hesitated to scold, or scream, or bust down a door to censure you to your face, and though we of course had times where we laughed and got along great, there were never times of affection or expressions of pride to balance out the bad moods and emotional battery. 
 
Questions of how to calmly or rationally deal with a child who now had her own opinions and interests had never occurred to her- she went from being a model student at Catholic school, to being a parent of two in short order, busting her ass at shitty jobs while putting herself through English lessons and computer classes in order to better her job prospects, for the sake of our comfort and futures. She didn’t have time to question her own fearful, almost violent reaction to her daughters discovering boys. A teenage girl being on the phone with a boy for hours is cause for eye-rolling in most households, but at my house it was a cause for public shamings and having invectives about being a whore hurled at you.
 
As invested as she was in assuring that I received a quality education, and that I worked hard and was a good student, she didn’t have the time, ability, or interest to put into analyzing  why a grade of ‘C’ on a report card (when every other grade was an ‘A’) led to a nuclear meltdown from her, or how much it could hurt a kid’s feelings to hear her mother tell her she will be good for nothing but working at McDonald’s with grades like this. These are minor examples of an ongoing theme: now that the issues of the day weren’t ‘who needs juice’ and ‘don’t fight over Barbie’, now that she had to deal with people who were on their way to being independent adults who thought differently from her, my young mother could. not. deal. 
 
I can’t say that everything was bad, always. My mother has a good sense of humor, when she’s not stewing in a rage over something. She is intelligent and industrious, and doesn’t hesitate to help when she can. I know that my mother loves me and my sisters more than anything in the world, and I know that on occasion she has been proud of us. I also know that, when I was 18, 19, 23, I had a lot of the same personality issues that my mother has- the tendency towards depression, the resentment of those around me for things that I caused myself, the inability to control my mood and my reactions, etc. etc. I can’t imagine that her way of being, so much like a tempestuous teenager, and the fact that she didn’t have time for an inner life to develop beyond the age of 18, is a coincidence. I’m 29 now, and living somewhat far from home, so my relationship to my mom is ah-mazing: we talk on the phone almost every day, we constantly email each other pictures and updates. Still, I bear small bruises from my teenage years and early 20s, when my mother and I butted heads constantly, over things small and large ( -bruises that bleed again, on occasion, when I hear about some of the things my sister who still lives at home has to put up with). I also am much calmer than I used to be, and constantly discuss with my fiancé the things I hope to do and be when I have children of my own: a non-judgmental, loving mother, who openly speaks to her children about everything from Barbie all the way to sex and drugs, who doesn’t hold grudges or place insane expectations on her children, a mother who is ok with the fact that she is raising independent adults and not tiny versions of herself forever. 
 
Sorry if this isn’t what the questioner had in mind, but my theory of my teenage mother staying a teenager forever is one I have always wanted to discuss with others.

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Source: www.quora.com. Link: https://www.quora.com/Teenage-Parenting/What-is-it-like-to-be-raised-by-a-teen-mom

Republished with permission, as per Quora's Terms of Service, under the subsection titled, "Quora's Licenses to You".

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