My buddy Denene Milner, of the beyond fabulous MyBrownBaby.com, asked me to contribute a guest post during her month-long “Let’s Talk About Sex” series she’s running on her blog. She’s trying to give parents the tools they need to talk to their kids about sex in a way that gets it all out in the open. I chose to write about what I know best – young motherhood.
I quickly took the pregnancy test out of the bag and fumbled with the instructions: Pee on the stick, wait three minutes, discover if your whole world is about to change. I didn’t even have time to put the test down on the counter before “PREGNANT” appeared on the little digital screen. Oh, sh**.
That was five years ago. I had just turned 20, was smack in the middle of my junior year of college, and was looking forward to a summer internship in New York, the first step on my road to world domination. This was not the time for a baby.
Instead of feeling elated about the news, I was burdened by how I thought others would react and my own personal shortcomings. I wore extra large shirts on campus for the rest of the semester and didn’t speak a word of the pregnancy to anyone except those who absolutely needed to know. During that period of my life, I probably averaged at least three full-blown crying fits a week. On the bus. In my dorm room. In the car on the way to the doctor’s office.
Of course now, as the mom of two (my son was born two years later), I feel like my kids are the best thing that ever happened to me. But it took me a long time (and a lot of tears) to get here.
As a young mom, I’m fully aware of the challenges of becoming a parent before you’re ready. This is not for the weak. In essence, it’s an endless game of catch-up. Rushing to find a pediatrician. Rushing to save money. Rushing to get a spot in an affordable daycare center. Rushing, rushing, rushing. And I don’t want that for my kids.
When they decide to bring a life into the world, I want them to be bursting with joy. To be confident that they have the skills they need to be an amazing mom or dad. And to know that if they do need anything, their Mom is only one phone call away.
But in order to do this, they need to know they can come to me, or their father, with their questions and concerns. And I admit, this stumps me: How can I be an “askable” parent? How can I begin to build that line of communication now, so my kids always look at me as their ally, rather than the warden?