I can't really call myself a "young mom" anymore. I'm 28, which is a much more socially acceptable age to be momming at than, say, 19, which was how old I was when I was getting ready to pop out a baby.
While every pregnant woman and new mom is usually subjected to a barrage of unsolicited "help" and opinions, something about being a young mother invites a whole lot of additional criticism and public lectures that can be everything from funny to irritating to straight up rude. What didn't help my situation at all is my diminutive size and refusal to wear big girl clothes; I have always looked a few years younger than I actually am.
Here's a handy list of the things you shouldn't say to a young mom--feel free to print it out, tuck it into your pocket, and then crumple it up and use as a gag should you feel the urge.
1. "Thank you for choosing life"
This one was my favorite. I am extremely pro-choice, and those awesome plastic fetuses you handed me at the clinic that I got my free pregnancy test at had no bearing on my decision to have a baby.
2. "What a good big sister!"
Innocent enough, so I won't hold it against you. But don't act scandalized if I correct you.
3. "It must be hard doing this on your own."
This assumption can go DIAF. It is hard to be a single mom, but not every young mother is one. My boyfriend made it clear that it would be impossible to get rid of him, even if things didn't work out between us.
4. "How much do you charge?"
The first time someone asked me this, I assumed they thought I was a prostitute so I told them they couldn't afford my lovely lady lumps. The woman was very confused and that's when I realized she thought I was a nanny. Even if I was, no poaching, bitch.
5. "Here, why don't you let me..."
I love advice. But please don't physically try to take my baby away from me because you think I'm too stupid to hold her correctly.
6. "Babies raising babies, such a shame."
If the thought of teen motherhood makes you sad, go do something useful about it that isn't tut-tutting people at the playground.
7. "There's a great program at the Community College for girls like you."
I'm actually thinking of going to community college this year, so don't think I'm dissing CC. But I was already in college at the time my kid was born, and I actually wasn't the only mom there getting a Bachelor's, so pound sand, jerk.
8. "Do you know who the father is?"
To be fair, apparently a lot of pregnant women get this. I don't know what's up with that, but I often answered "no" just to see what would happen.
9. "Generic joke about teen moms."
By all means, let's make light of our horrible sexual education policies and teen motherhood. Go on, I'm sure I've never heard this one before.
10. "Scathing rant about fertility"
My fertility isn't your business. When you're unsuccessfully trying to conceive and you see someone young with a baby, I can understand why your first reaction might be anger and a feeling of being ripped off. Here's something to consider: young women *might* have craptastic uteri, too, and some of them *might* just decide to upend their entire lives to have a child they weren't expecting, because it just *might* be the only chance they get. Now, if you want to have a coffee or a cocktail with me while we swear at our ladyjunk together, I'm down for that.
11. "When are you getting married?"
Every time you ask me, I'm waiting five more years.
12. "Maybe next time you'll be more careful."
Nope. Nothing but unprotected sex parties from here on out while I neglect my infant! Who's with me?