A Teenage Mom
At 19 I was a single mom to a special needs child. I looked for a community to talk to, to understand what I was going through, to help me navigate through, however in 1990, small-town, middle-America, that was tricky. The support group for parents of special needs children didn’t work out, too much info, too much anger, too soon. The young mothers group, I had very little in common with. I was worried about heart defects and early education intervention and they were worried about court dates and new boyfriends. That said, the leader of the young mothers group arranged for a few speakers to travel to various High Schools and she asked me to join.
We sat on the gym “stage” platform. In front of about, let’s say a gym full of teenagers, their elders by only a few years. We talked about our kids and our lives with the baby. It wasn’t meant to be scary, so much as realistic.
Knowing What You Know Now
When it came time for questions, of course this one came, “Knowing what you know now, would you still have had your child?”
It was a question to the panel. I signaled to the others, I’ll take this one.
“I love my son. More than anything. Life is hard, I don’t have money, there are already things I cannot give him. So, if I could have my son exact son five years from now, yes I would wait. But I don’t have that option.
And that’s why we’re here. Love your children enough to wait, wait until you can give them the life you want them to have.”
To tell you the truth it was definitely my most spontaneously eloquent moment. At least that’s how I remember it.
So, like many a woman before me, I was learning the “hard way.”
Even so, I never wanted to change my boy, no not a bit.
Great post Mardra. Thank you for sharing.
Or, wait…is THIS my new favorite? (If you’d just stop writing such sweet, informative, profound things!)
Seriously, I have always admired you for this story (and other things) because it was just the perfect sentiment. IF I could… but the EXACT same child.
THAT is the type of thing people should hear after they get a Down syndrome diagnosis.
Thanks Kelly. You’re may favorite.
LOL! I love that you’ve turned us into the “young mothers” instead of the “experienced mothers” ! Yeah, I like that more better…. lol. Notice how i just grouped myself right in there with ya? Cool how I can do that because I relate to your story so much. Thanks for sharing it! <3
Oh yes- that’s us. We are definitely grouped together – for sure!
Your response was absolutely perfect and your honesty was essential. Thanks for adding this post to DifferentDream.com’s Tuesday link share.
I love your answer. I think a LOT about this same thing but that I wish I had my exact son earlier rather than later. I bet those students remember you and your wisdom!
So glad Marcus exists!
And that you are 49 now.
1990 was a crucial year for me too when it came to my understanding of those who rock an extra chromosome.
Two sources: an infant development textbook and a friend – or sister of a contemporary who I respected very much.
And mothering / parenting is a renewable resource. Probably not infinite…
And now I see why the group didn’t work out.
“Too much info … too much anger … too soon”. Really can see how that is overwhelming for a teenager – and I remember it too!
Imagine if that group were full of teenagers.
YES: The life you want THEM to have – not the life YOU want to have. Even though Indigenous policy leader Sally Scales said much this thing about her kinship bond with Walter – how she would not stop living her life.
Hello Adeliaide –
Perspectives colliding can be empowering. Thank you. <3