In the eyes of most Americans, I'm probably way too young to have a baby. I mean, how could I possibly be a good mother? I haven't even had time to sow my wild oats yet! I haven't traveled the world! I haven't built my career! I haven't discovered who I am as a person! I haven't MATURED!
I'm a mom, whether you like it or not. And I'm proud of it.
I'm not saying everyone should have babies in their early 20s. It's up to each individual woman to decide when (or whether) she's going to have children. Each woman is so incredibly different that there is no "one perfect time" to start a family.
I'm not going to apologize for finding an incredible man that I wanted to spend the rest of forever with. I'm not going to apologize for caring more about a family than about a career. I'm not going to apologize for creating the most beautiful little person in the world.
Sorry, but no.
I don't feel like a foolish child who "accidentally" had a baby too young. I created this life for myself on purpose. I have a college degree, an amazing husband, and a beautiful daughter. And I was supposed to give this up for...partying every weekend? Gallivanting around the country like Jack Kerouac? Dating a bunch of losers?
Playing board games with friends is enough party for me. There will be plenty of time for gallivanting (I'm not dead, you know). And I can do without the losers.
I didn't have to give up any of my biggest dreams in order to be a mom. Having a family always was my biggest dream.
That's not to say that there aren't many other worthwhile things in life to do. I still have goals and dreams separate from my family--but being a wife and mother will always come first.
I'm not going to walk around being ashamed of the life I've been given (and that I've joyfully accepted). Not everyone can have what I have, so I'm not going to be ungrateful and act as though I deserve something different. I already have way more than I deserve. I feel incredibly lucky to have this opportunity so early in life.
I'm tired of concealing my age because I know people will make judgments. I know I'm not a perfect mother, but I also know that I'm just as dedicated to my child as any 35-year-old woman would be. And it's not anyone else's job to judge whether I'll be a good mom.
Today I'm going to let go of caring. Today I'll freely tell you that I'm 22 years old and I have a baby. Today I'll tell you I'm proud of my life, and I hope every woman who reads this feels the same way.