Dear Young Moms- it's worth it

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I'm generally pretty open about my personal life. I think vulnerability and honesty are important qualities to have, especially if you want to relate to other people in a real way. There is nothing worse than someone who pretends to always have it together- even online, where it's far too easy to fake having an awesome life with your edited pictures of your kids smiling and your perfectly styled outfits. But that isn't always real life. And here at Simply Liv, I'm all about life as it really is. Genuine, simple, hard, beautiful, real life.

That said, there is one area of my life that I think I tend to gloss over. It's not that I'm ashamed, or even trying to hide anything (because, honestly, I can't hide it). It may be that I feel it makes me less knowledgeable or inspiring to others. Like my words aren't as valid as someone else's in a different scenario. But here it is, my big confession:

I'm a young mom.

A really young mom.

I had Evie a few months after my 20th birthday. I was a sophomore in college. I was dating the guy I planned to marry, but we definitely weren't at that phase yet.

This was maybe a week or so after we found out about the pregnancy

Finding out I was pregnant was probably the hardest wake up call I've ever received. In all honesty, I didn't want to be pregnant. I wasn't sure I'd even be good at being a mom- maybe 5 years down the road, sure, but definitely not at 20. There were still so many things I wanted to finish- college mostly. I wanted to travel and write and play music and have time with AJ- just the two of us. And now it felt like I wasn't going to be able to do any of those things.

And let me tell you- I'm 100% sure I took everyone I knew by surprise too. I could see it in everyone's faces when I told them. I was the "good girl" who did well in school and was expected to succeed. Not the "kind of person" who has an unplanned pregnancy. I was even that girl in my head, which made coming to terms with this new reality even harder. I had to completely rewire my thinking of who I was and what was happening.

I won't even get into how AJ (who is now my incredible husband and an amazing father, just for the record) felt about the situation. We both had a lot of adjusting and changing to do, simply put.

Over the nine months it takes to grow a human, I did a lot of growing myself. I knew that the needs of this baby, whoever she would be, had to be superior to my own. I knew the things that seemed so important to me at the time, would still be there when I was a mom (besides the alone time with AJ part...I'm not sure that one will ever come back ;). I knew I needed to grow up quicker than I wanted to.

And I did. A lot.

I'm not saying I've arrived, or that I'm the "ideal" mom. I just knew that this baby was going to be my life now- and I had to be okay with it.

Young parenthood and unplanned pregnancies in general are pretty frowned upon in our world today. You're supposed to have a career, and a life plan, a husband and lots and lots of birth control before you even consider starting a family. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people warn their children about having kids young, as if it's the absolute worst thing that could happen. I've had my fair share of dirty looks and rude comments and intrusive questions. Those still happen pretty frequently- even with a ring on my finger.

But I've learned a few things along the way-

- Life, in all its craziness and unexpected turns, is beautiful. It's the situations we don't know how we will ever make it through that end up shaping us and giving us the unique strength we need.

- It really is the simple things in life that make it worthwhile. The people who love you through hard times. Having a safe place to unwind. Enjoying the good days and knowing that the hard ones won't last forever.

- What you "do" and how "good" of a person you are, ultimately, doesn't matter. Your worth isn't found in your successes and mistakes. Therefore, the need we feel to appear perfect all the time, is all just for others. Life is messy, houses get messy, relationships are messy. There is no "one size fits all" approach to handling our messes- but having gone through my own hard thing, I can extend the same grace to others, knowing that their life isn't perfect either, just like mine. Having Evie was undoubtedly the best thing that has ever happened to either AJ or I and we wouldn't change a single unplanned moment of our (almost 3) years together.

Whew....there you go. The nitty gritty, taboo detail of my life. And honestly, I'm proud of it.

So all that to say, if you can relate at all- maybe not in the motherhood way, but in the life-not-going-as-you-expect-it to way. Be vulnerable. Don't try to hide the ugly, hard moments of your life. Be open. Be true. Share your story.

And to all my young mamas out there:

You go girl. You blow me away with your bravery and strength. Don't ever let anyone look down on you for your age. Own it, and learn from others. Be the best you can be. You inspire me.